Cork???

Lou Currier

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Getting ready to turn a pen made with cork....had anyone else done this and any finishing suggestions? I would think that a CA finish would crack because of the would being so soft but then again, it could also harden the cork :ponder:
 

ripjack13

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I haven't done it yet, but it's on the list. I was just going to use one coat of wax to finish it, just to keep it from getting dirty. but if that's not good, I'm all :popcorn:
 
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Sprung

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Don't try to use turning tools on it - won't work. You'll have to sand it to shape. I've not tried a pen with it, but have made a few fishing rod handles.

Cork won't absorb a finish. And you're right that CA would be out. I've not applied anything to cork when I've used it in some things, but you could always test some wax or a wax/oil finish on some some scrap/test pieces first to see how it goes.
 

Arn213

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We have specified polyurethane finish (satin) on cork flooring. There is a company called AMCORK that offers poly base finish “Bonan Traffic”. Not sure how that translate to finishing a pen, but it should work the same because it is on a cork material.
 
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DLJeffs

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In the fly rod world I've never seen a finish applied to cork. Nearly every cork handle or insert i've seen is simply sanded to whatever smoothness you desire. Many of the big rod builders and custom builders apply a cork filler to fill the naturally occurring voids and chinks before final sanding. It makes the grip look all nice and uniform. BUT... that filler quickly falls out with use and the cork ends up looking like cork. I'm sure you have already considered this but cork is very porous and absorbent so any finish is going to soak in and it would take several applications to get a build up that you could polish.

There is another option you can consider. Many cork suppliers also sell a composite cork. Typically this is tiny cork bits mixed in a rubber compound and molded into rings (or whatever, sheets, blocks, etc.). This eliminates the naturally occurring voids and pitch marks. They are usually darker than natural cork but the surface will be more uniform. Unfortunately, the composites are no more receptive to finishes than regular cork.

The other thing to remember is cork soils easily - the oils from your skin, dirt, sweat, etc. all soak into the cork. Cork aficionados love the warm feel of cork and are willing to put up with the negative aspects.
 

gman2431

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This is solid cork. I rough turn and then finish turn with sandpaper. I use a flexible laquer to seal and it works great.

20200926_134224.jpg
 

Mike Hill

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I agree with Cody, have seen that on many corks over the years. As for me - the only finish I put on cork is hand oil and fish slime as well as the occasional dunk in river water - some water may be cleaner than others!
 
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DLJeffs

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This is solid cork. I rough turn and then finish turn with sandpaper. I use a flexible laquer to seal and it works great.

View attachment 196426
This looks like a composite cork...tiny cork bits glued together with some kind of binder. It's not true cork bark. This type of cork is nice because it has fewer pits and chinks. I often put a ring of composite cork on the extension butts because it is very much more resistant to cracking.
 

gman2431

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This looks like a composite cork...tiny cork bits glued together with some kind of binder. It's not true cork bark. This type of cork is nice because it has fewer pits and chinks. I often put a ring of composite cork on the extension butts because it is very much more resistant to cracking.

Ahh yes I see what you mean by the real cork vs this now. I didn't know what the OP was gonna use but this is all I got.

I'm big on dipping my finishes but this one I did have to paint on with a brush for a sealer coat before dipping. After that they turn out looking like glass. I can get a pic tomorrow.
 
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