Port Tongs

Introduction: Port Tongs

About: Perhaps I am the heretical harbinger of the New Archaic, perhaps I just like wood.

In this episode of Vin Collections Videos, entitled Bottle Battles - Round 5 we successfully improvised a set of port tongs. The key is to get the wire extremely (red) hot and the towel very cold (it actually had ice wrapped inside it).

Again, safety equipment is recommended.

Port tongs are typically used to open ancient bottles of port which have corks that are too fragile to extract with standard cork-removal methods. In general, the tongs are difficult to find and can easily be mistaken for some sort of medieval torture tool. However, they are infinitely preferable to having moldy cork in your vintage port. If you cannot find a set of tongs to purchase, you can easily replicate them in the manner which we demonstrate.

We used a 1/8 inch non-coated steel wire which we purchased at a local hardware store. The length of the wire was approximately 30 inches. We first bent the wire in half and coiled it in the middle to create a small loop. When we were done it resembled the spring portion of a safety pin.

Using a heating element (in this case a gas stove) we heated the coil until it was glowing. Quickly looping it over the top of the bottle, Levi pulled the two ends straight and held it in place as tight as he could for a few seconds. Levi then released the tension and let it drop around the base of the neck. Jesse quickly wrapped the ice-filled towel around the bottle and the neck easily and cleanly broke off.

More videos and wine information at: http://vincollections.com/

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    13 years ago on Introduction

    I remember my high school physics teacher cutting a glass jar with a wire that was heated to a high (glowing red) temperature by running a current through the wire.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    That would be nicrhome wire. You can salvage it out of old hair dryers and toasters. Just make sure you put it on a dimmer switch if you cut it any shorter than it originally was or it'll burn out very quickly. I've seen people salvage it out to make hot foam cutters before and it works very well.

    i bet this too could work: if you soaked a string in some kind of fuel (alcohol, kerosene, gas, whichever burns hotter), tied it around the top of the bottle, and then lit it on fire


    Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

    There's an instructable on just that somewhere on here. Whenever I've broken glass with this heat and cool method, no matter how clean the break there are always tiny shards. I'd rather drink manky cork than glass.