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How To Make Decorative Bottle Stoppers

Learn how to make beautiful bottle stoppers using this woodworker's lathe technique.

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making beautiful wooden bottle stoppers
  • Time


  • Price Range

    $500 - $1,000

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Cut the Edges Off the Wood

Kathe uses a variety of cutting tools to make beautiful wood bottle stoppers on a lathe. She begins by using a table saw to clip the corners off of a 2 x 2 wood blank of coco bolo wood. Square edges cause too much stress on the gouge and the wood on the lathe.

clip corners off of a wood blank of coco bolo wood

Step 2: Gouge Out the Shape of the Bottle Stopper

Kathe uses a gouge to cut away wood and turn the blank into a round. A gouge is a cutting tool that takes away a large amount of wood. After the basic shape of the bottle stopper has been gouged out, Kathe pushes the tail stock out of the way and then she uses a fingernail gouge to cut a cove into the wood. A parting tool is used for separating pieces of wood. Although this tool is mainly used by bowl makers, Kathe uses it for square cuts on her bottle stoppers.

cut away wood and turn blank into a round

Step 3: Sand and Polish the Bottle Stopper

Kathe sands and polishes on the lathe. She starts with a roughing sandpaper and moves through a series of finer grits. After the wood has been sanded smooth and buffed with the sandpaper, she uses two kinds of waxes to polish it. Kathe touches the wax against the wood and the wax covers the wood as it turns on the lathe. Then, Kathe uses a rag to buff the wax. A bottle stopper is inserted into the screw hole to finish the piece.

sand and polish bottle stopper