How to make corks more solid and hardy?

Hi! I'm trying to create the chess pawns out of corks, i need to carve just a few more of them.
But i want to made them more durable.
Right now they're tender and fragile (i'm worried that i can break them easily).
Is there a way to make them more hardy? like some glue or some kind of paint...
I want to keep them rough, without bright or smooth surfaces, but i want them to be harder, what can i do? thanks!! :)

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verence4 years ago
Some mat lacquer for wood should help.

To make them more sturdy and rigid, you can push a small nail or needle into them from the bottom. the nail/needle being a bit shorter than the piece, of course.
FenriX (author)  verence4 years ago
The idea of the needle is great! And really simple... the mat lacquer is just one of the many hardener for wood, so i think this is the best answer, thanks for all the advices, i'll start by placing some long wooden needle from the bottom, then when i'll cover them with some kind of hardener i'll cut the piece of needle that i don't need and i'll leave the rest of it inside the pawn.
This should do the trick, thanks again! :)
FenriX (author)  FenriX4 years ago
Emm... One question!
Is there a way to pierce the cork with a wooden needle? 'cause it's nearly impossible to pierce it, the toothpick breaks or it simply won't go into the cork.
i tryed piercing the cork first with an iron needle opening a little hole, then making it bigger with the toothpick, but it's really hard and inefficient...
Maybe if i burn the iron needle i can go into the cork easily?
verence FenriX4 years ago
I'd guess using a hot needle will just create a mess. Cork doesn't melt. Try drilling a hole into the cork with a Dremel tool or similar. Make the diameter a bit smaller than the diameter of the toothpick.
FenriX (author)  verence4 years ago
ok, thanks!
Re-design4 years ago
Pick up a can of "wood hardener" from the paint department of the hardeware store. You can soak them in this chemical and it will soak in and add much more strength than something you paint on. I've used this on small christmas ornaments that were cut out of then wood.
FenriX (author) 4 years ago
I've found this solution:
80% water
20% glue
then chalk.
This should harden the corks without changing their shapes or making them bright...
Can it be?
Coat them in a 2 part epoxy.
FenriX (author)  mpilchfamily4 years ago
mmm, this can be a good idea, but the epoxy won't turn the pawns' surface bright?
Depends on the epoxy but for the most part there will be a bit of glossiness to them. Pretty much anything you use will end up changing the luster of the surface. Either distorting the look or making it shiny.
FenriX (author)  mpilchfamily4 years ago
Mmm... i'll consider the option of coat them with the epoxy, but the shiny part is what i'm trying to avoid. So i'll try to find something else, and if i don't i'll coat them with epoxy.
Thanks!! :)