Ed's Polyester Resin (EPR)

Bottle Stopper Tutorial 


The following photo tutorial will describe how to prepare, turn and finish an EPR Bottle Stopper. First, you'll need an Exotic Blank. You'll also need a cone stopper base, stopper mandrel, drill chuck, a 23/64" drill bit, a 3/8" tap and tap handle, wet/dry sandpaper, various hand and power tools, eye protection and a dust mask of some kind.

Exotic Blank stopper blocks measure approximately 1.5" in diameter and 2.25" tall, giving you plenty of material to work with.

Click on each photo below to view a larger image.

First, put on your safety glasses and dust mask. Then secure your Exotic Blank in a pen vice as shown, to hold the block securely while drilling. Mount your 23/64" bit in the drill press and drill a hole in the center of the block approximately 1" deep.

Use a belt or disk sander to sand the hole-end of the stopper flat.




Use a square to insure that the end of the block is true and at a 90 degree angle to the body of the block.




A 3/8" tap is being used to thread the 23/64" hole. This is the same thread pattern that the stopper chuck and chrome cone stopper base use. Be careful when beginning the tap, to enter the hole squarely and tap the threads slowly and gently.

Note the small chip at the edge of the tapped hole. This is normal and to be expected. Also note that the stopper chuck has been mounted in a #2 MT drill chuck and then installed in the lathe's headstock.

I've made a little wooden block to go between the tailstock's live center point and the end of the block. This helps steady the piece while turning, without making a dimple in the block's end that might split the block, and would have to be turned away later.

The block has now been threaded onto the mandrel and the steady-block has been installed between the tailstock and the end of the piece...ready to turn.



Note that the hole-end of the block is flush against the mandrel's bushing, providing lateral support for the piece while turning. The mandrel bushing also acts as a stop-gage, indicating where the Exotic Blank and metal cone stopper base will transition. 

The toolrest has been moved as close to the turning as is safely possible, and about 1/4" below the turning's center line.



Using a sharp skew, approach the piece high, and gently move the skew down until the bevel meets the turning and begins to cut.

Here I'm using a different skew with a rounded cutting surface. This is a useful tool for cutting concave surfaces in Exotic Blanks.

Now the tailstock has been moved out of the way and the toolrest has been moved to the turning's end.

Again, using the skew, and starting high on the turning, engage the skew's bevel point and begin cutting.



After the piece's shape has been finalised, it's time to sand. Always wet-sand plastic. I'm using Silicon Carbide wet/dry sandpaper, cut into 2" squares. The grits from left to right are 240, 400 and 600.

Keep a cup of water handy to wet down the sandpaper. We'll use each grit of paper to sand the piece while the lathe is running at slow speed.



You'll know when the sandpaper and turning are wet enough by the fine slurry that's produced. You don't want to see any dust at this point.

After sanding through each of the three grits, turn the lathe off and wet sand using 600 grit paper in the direction of the headstock for a minute or so to remove pesky scratches.

Then remove the turning from the lathe, and you're ready to finish the piece.


I prefer to buff using the first two wheels of the Beall system (Tripoli and White Diamond) immediately after wet-sanding. A robust Tripoli buff will remove 100% of any residual scratches and the White Diamond is a very effective final polish. 

Here is the finished turning, ready for assembly.






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