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I'm looking into lathes, what speed should cork be turned at?  (Mark Pohl)

    I have always turned mine at about 1400 RPM.  (Steve Weiss)

    I run mine set very fast; ~ 1500 to 2000 RPM.  (Onis Cogburn)


Over the years, I've made a few half hearted attempts to turn cork grips with cutting tools instead of sandpaper. Nothing has really worked out all that well. Lately, I've been thinking that a thin, curved blade that could be mounted on the tool post might be a possibility, at least for the initial turning to diameter. In Marty Keane's book, there is a photo of a guy turning a grip with a skew chisel. I tried it once and got nowhere. Is anyone doing anything related they can share?  (Tom Smithwick)

    Try a Dumore Grinder set up.  Now let me say that I do not have a tool post grinder for my lathe, but a friend does on his ten inch Logan and he grinds his grips.

    For those who don't know the tool set up I am referring to, here is a description of how it works.  You mount your glued corks in a metal cutting lathe the normal way, but instead of using sand paper or a file or a sharp knife or a sanding block, you use a small (2 - 3 inch diameter) grinding wheel/spindle/motor assembly that is mounted on your cross slide or tool post.  The grinding  wheel  is  turned  on  and  used   to   grind   the counter-rotating corks.  Smooth, fast and professional.

    I think Summers does it this way, if I recall correctly.  I would suspect that Sage, Loomis et al do it this way too.

    For more info, look up Dumore or Dumor grinder on eBay or the net.

    Now, I suspect that a sewing machine motor and a turned shaft and a small grinding wheel could be fabricated into a relatively inexpensive version of this tool.  The real Dumores are expensive -- even used.   But they are overbuilt for the light cork work we do.

    Who wants to make one?  (Chris Lucker)

      For all you Rube Goldbergs without a Logan or Dumore ... I took two radiator hose clamps and tightened a piece of 1/4" keystock onto the side of my Dremel tool.  The keystock fits into the tool holder on my 7X10 mini lathe.  With the Dremel tool on and the lathe off, I ease the grinder into the cork (on a mandrel, on the lathe) and rotate the cork by hand to get the desired shape.  That method is great for cutting a mortice for a hooded ring, but pretty slow for shaping the grip itself, so I replaced the Dremel tool with a cutoff grinder with the keystock JB welded to the tool.  That works well, but it is still fastest for me to shape the grip with a rasp followed by sandpaper.  Biggest problem for me with any method was dust.  After a horrible case of walking pneumonia, the Doctor told me to do something about all that dust, so I bought a 2 HP dust collector.  You know, it would have been cheaper just to buy the grips.  (Grayson Davis)

    I have also tried many different ways including gouges and still use the old standby --- sandpaper for the best results.  (Jack Follweiler)

    I use drywall sanding screens to shape my cork grips. The open screen allows for quick removal of material without gouging the cork like rasps and other tools do. The screens are cheap and readily available at any hardware store. I cut mine into two inch strips. I then switch to sandpaper for final finishing.  (Jeff Fultz)

    I know Bob Taylor (of Leonard fame) uses a knife to turn grips.  (Marty DeSapio)

      An old Leonard catalog that I have shows a Leonard employee roughing out a cork grip on a wood turning lathe.  He is using a thin knife blade held flat against the tool rest and the cork.  From the looks of the shavings it is a roughing operation only.  (Ted Knott)

      I am just wondering, why when sandpaper does such a quick and beautiful job would you ever want to try anything else.  The only time I tried to use a lathe bit on a tool post to do it I tore out a chunk as big as a mouse.  (Ralph Moon)

        I used to use a file but it also takes out too large a hunk. 350 grit paper allows you to take off a lot of cork to get down to size in quick time, so I repeat Ralph's question, too, why a tool?  (Rich McGaughey)

    I turn my cork down from the 1 1/4 inch diameter to about one inch diameter with my threading tool/pointed tool, and it keeps the cork cylinder shape uniform and centered. [I turn & shape grips on the rod] I only take off 8-10 thousandths each pass and haven't gotten chunks yet. It is rough when I get to that diameter, but comes out with sandpaper, larger to finer grits. I'm gonna try out the Dremel method and see if it's faster/smoother, but only for stock removal. Sandpaper's the way to shape, most control. I just hold the vac nozzle above the tool as I go back and forth for roughing, and hold the one inch wide sandpaper strips on top of the vac nozzle with my left hand and the loose end across the cork with my right, letting the vac suck the dust as it comes off the cork/paper. I highly recommend the Fein vacs for low noise and the inner bag keeps the fines out of the filter.  (Chad Wigham)


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