Trivet From Recycled Wine Corks

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Introduction: Trivet From Recycled Wine Corks

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Materials :

*1 piece of wood (eg. oak) of ~ 80 * 3.5 * 1 cm  (32" * 1.5" * 3/8")
* 64 wine-corks
* wood-glue (preferable waterproof)
* wood oil
* sandpaper

Tools :
* Saw, preferable a jig saw
* Cutter knife

Time : takes about a day to complete : mainly because you need to glue a row of corks, and then wait for the glue to dry.

Step 1: Make a Mold

when assembling this pot holder, the corks will be 'squeezed' into the frame. In order to be able to glue everything together (and then keep it that way for a couple of hours) I decided to make a mold.

It is very simple : cut a square hole out of a piece of leftover wood, eg an MDF board. If you want to make a lot of pot holders, you can cut several mold-holes out of the same board. 

Step 2: Cut Outsides - Assemble Frame

The inside dimensions of the wooden frame need to be precise : if it is too small the corks won't fit in, if it is too large, they will not stay in a nice square pattern.

After experimenting, I've found out that the inside needs to measure 170 mm (6.7"). I guess that corks are about the same size all over the world, but to be absolutely sure I recommend that you double-check this : squeeze 8 corks in a row, and measure the lenght.

If you want to make smaller (eg 6*6 corks) or larger (eg 10*10 corks) pot holders, you need to adjust the numbers based upon this measurement.

In fact I think that a set of 3 pot holders, 6*6, 8*8 and 10*10 would make a very nice set :-)

If you have experience with cutting wood, you could make a miter joint, which will look more professional.

Then apply glue to the 4 pieces, place them into the mold : this will ensure that the frame is flat and square. Let it dry a couple of hours

Step 3: Adding the Corks

Make sure the glue of the frame is sufficiently dry : when squeezing in the corks, they will apply pressure onto the frame, and if the bonds break you will have to start all over again...

Take 8 corks and trim their length with the cutter knife if they would be longer then the frame's height. Warning : cutting a cork is not that easy, and so you need to be careful. I found that this works  best : cut the cork as deep as you can, then roll the cork so it rotates about 45 degrees and cut again, repeat this until it is cut completely.

Then put the 8 corks into the frame : keep the cut side up (so they all align with their top side at the bottom)
In case there is too much pressure to fit the corks, you can slice off a bit of one or more corks that seem to be too big..

Then apply glue to corks : glue to where they touch the frame, and glue to where they touch each other.
Use a leftover pice of wood to temporary keep the corks in place. Check the pressure, alignment. Let it dry

Remark : some glue may/will drip through, so be carefull about the surface you are assembling this on...
Wood glue can easily be removed with water as long as it has not dried completely.

Step 4: Finishing

Remove the pot holder from the mold.
Remove exces of glue by cutting it away with the cutter knife
Sandpaper the outside frame until it is smooth.
Apply wood oil and let it dry. I often use wood oil from IKEA, which is good, cheap and doesn't smell.

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17 Comments

Thank you for your nice Instructable.

Rima

Neat little project, but that's a trivet, not a pot holder.

Well thanks slamonella, as I'm from Belgium, I'm not native English speaking and so I didn't know the exact word for it, but nowI know ! thanks

Your English is better than many native speakers, don't sweat it too much :)

I have a question: how to cut easy the cork? I used a sharp blade, I used a saw blade, but there are 2 problems: cork is kind of elastic material and the friction stops the blade. Thanks!

I added an animation to step 3 that shows how to cut it nice and easy :-)
Good luck !

cutting-a-cork.gif

OK, I saw it after reloading the page, initially I thought it's only an image, after reloading, I saw the animation. Thanks :)

Nice trivet. If you lay them on their sides, you not only get to see all the various winery names and designs, but you don't have to cut them.