Captured Cabochon Bottle Stoppers


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How-To Photo Essay


The following tutorial will guide the novice to intermediate woodturner through the process of making a one-of-a-kind wine bottle stopper using my "Captured Cabochon" (CC) blanks, available exclusively through Arizona Silhouette. The example shown here will utilize a Peroba Rosa wood blank, pre-drilled and tapped, with an attractive wine theme drawing embedded into the blank and covered with a cast plastic resin.




All of the photos shown below may be
clicked on for a close-up view.

First, you'll need a CC blank and a 3/8" x 16tpi stopper mandrel, available from Arizona Silhouette.

The CC blank you purchase from Arizona Silhouette will already be drilled and tapped, to fit the mandrel.

Next, you'll need a drill chuck. In this tutorial, I'm using a # 2 MT chuck set into the lathe's headstock.

Insert the stopper mandrel in the chuck and tighten it securely, insuring that the large ring-washer fits flush and snugly against the drill chuck.

Here's another view of the mandrel in the drill chuck.



Thread your CC blank onto the mandrel, being careful to not cross-thread (strip-out) the pre-tapped blank. If you have a problem here, and strip the CC blank's threads, wrap a piece of plumber's tape or masking tape around the mandrel's threads and then re-mound the CC blank for a snug fit.

In this photo, you can see a little compression jig I've made, that allows the tailstock's live-center to be snugged up against the CC blank without digging into the resin casting. Note the little dimple in the end of this jig, allowing the live-center's point to seat without splitting the wood jig.

The wooden jig should have a flat end about 1/2" square that fits flush against the cast resin part of the CC blank. The purpose of this setup is to provide support on the tailstock end of your blank while turning.

Now, tighten up the tailstock and live-center against the wooden jig and CC blank. Don't make it too tight...

Turn the CC blank into a cylinder as shown here.

Now it's up to your imagination...turn a pleasing shape.



When you've completed the outside shaping of the CC blank, move the tailstock out of the way and remove the wooden jig. Move your toolrest up to the cast resin part  of the blank as shown, and about 1/4" below center.

Now, using a sharp skew, carefully shear scrape the outer edge of the blank. Make sure the wood to resin transition is smooth and even, and be sure to not cut too deep, damaging the paper design underneath the resin. Also try to get the cast resin surface as smooth as possible during this stage...use a light touch! Do not try using a gouge or scraper for this operation, as it will almost certainly damage the resin casting.

Dry sand the turned blank as you normally would. Be careful when sanding the cast resin area to avoid heat build up. At this stage, many turners may want to continue sanding with micro mesh. However, I've found that dry sanding up to 400 grit followed by a 3-step buff is sufficient.

Apply a coat of sanding sealer and wipe off the excess with a paper towel before it dries.


As you can see, the Captured Cabochon has a milky looking surface and will have many fine scratches on it's surface...that's normal.

Remove the stopper blank from your mandrel and buff out the scratches using Tripoli or Jeweler's Rouges. I'm using the Beall buffing system here.

Next, a light buff with White Diamond will polish the piece.

Apply a coat of Renaissance Wax, wait 30 seconds and buff using the third ( Carnauba wax) Beall wheel.

Wait 10 to 15 minutes, then apply a second coat of R-wax, wait another 30 seconds and final buff. And you're done...

Special note on turning the new 3-D Captured Cabochon blanks...

The three dimensional porcelain rose is set into a 1/2" deep counterbore. Likewise, the USMC collar insignia is set into a 3/8" counterbore. When turning your 3-D CC, be careful to not cut into the backside of the resin encapsulating these objects. Have a careful look at the stopper photos to the right...note that the stopper's top is designed so that there is plenty of wood left behind the cabochon and that the resin has not been cut into.







A wide variety of Captured Cabochon bottle stopper blanks are available in several different woods, exclusively through Arizona Silhouette. Choose form embedded Diamond Back Rattlesnake skin, several patriotic and military themes, as well as many more designs to come.


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