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In the bottle

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I have little interest in wineries, other than they’re pretty interesting places. However, Sally and I recently visited a local winery of more than passing interest for this beer drinker.

The place had a nice little retail space with all the usual wine racks, plus some gift items. Among those gifts, however, were only a few bottle stoppers for the wine they sell. Although I don’t drink wine, I very much enjoy turning stoppers out of exotic wood – they’re attractive, quick to finish, make great gifts, and since I never plan in advance what shape they’re going to be, they give me more on-the-fly creativity than just about any other woodworking project.

It seemed odd that they didn’t have many, and when I inquired if they’d be interested in carrying locally produced exotic-wood bottle stoppers, they very positively welcomed by the idea. I’m in the process now of turning some samples to show them the next time I go in, at which point we can hopefully come to an arrangement whereby I can supply them with a steady supply of stoppers. There are a lot of details to be worked out, but it looks like I may be going into the bottle stopper business.

Obviously, the hourly wage for something like this will be quite low. If I set aside a day or a week to turn them exclusive of other work I’d have to consider the hourly wage aspects, but I’m not looking at it that way. It takes me about 10 minutes to turn a stopper (this includes all aspects, from initial stock prep to final finish). And you know what? I have lots and lots of little 10-minute windows in the typical week. Sure, it makes sense to do more than one at a time and I’m sure I will. But 10 minutes here or 20 minutes there spread over a week’s time can add up quickly. So, I’m thinking this will be an interesting experiment at an ongoing woodworking sideline. 

Who knows, I may end up making stoppers nonstop.

P.S. By the way, this is my 200th blog for the Woodshop News Web site. I’m not real big on attaching artificial significance to something just because it ends in two zeroes – how is that more special than something that ends in 99 or 01? Still, that’s quite a milestone, so maybe in the next week or so I’ll look back over the previous 200 blogs and make a big deal of it. Or not.

Till next time,


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