Wine Stopper Mob Unleashed!

Stopper Mob

Stopper Mob, wave 1

The mob has arrived! Aaannnddd… they look great!  (If, you know, I do say so myself.)  More pictures to come, but at least this way you can see them all. Getting the bodies connected to the stainless steel bases from Torne-Lignum.com has been quite a long road. Here’s the story:

First, I tried something called E6000, which was recommended in a few places. (A lot of places refer to E6000 as an epoxy, but it turns out it isn’t – its a craft glue. This is an important distinction!) The first try was a stopper with a solid flat bottom. After setting for about 24 hours, the body pulled away from the base when I applied force to it. Whups. The glue easily peeled away from both ceramic stopper body and steel stopper base. Essentially, it looked and acted almost like rubber cement. (It wasn’t hard, like I expected.) I decided to try again, thinking maybe it just needed to cure longer. I glued up the original stopper again, as well as two that I had hollowed out the bodies of. For the ones with the voids, I first glued a short metal rod into the steel stopper, then filled the void in the ceramic body with E6000 and dropped the metal stopper and post down into the glue. Clean up the glue that squeezed out between metal stopper and clay body, rubber-band down to apply pressure, and wait a full week.

Unfortunately, even after a full week, just a small amount of pressure sideways to the piece, and it peeled away. The E6000 inside the body hadn’t dried even a little bit – it was still completely fresh. Not what I expected at all, and clearly not going to work. The piece with the flat bottom seems to have worked well, but all of my stoppers have holes in the base now, so that isn’t really helpful.

I finally went and picked up some Loctite instant-mix two-part epoxy. Sets in 5 minutes, has two nozzles with fine tips that allow me to easily inject the right amount of epoxy into the pieces, and dries rock-hard inside of 24 hours.

Here’s the comparison as I see it:
E6000 (glue)

    Pros:

  • strong, flexible bond – would probably work very well with fabrics, etc
  • dries clear
    Cons:

  • Takes forever to cure
  • Doesn’t fill voids well – after a week it was still completely uncured inside stopper bodies

Loctite (two-part epoxy)

    Pros:

  • rock-solid once dry
  • movable in 20 minutes, fully cured in 24 hours, even inside a sealed volume (so the pieces with the large voids still are solid)
  • self-mixing inside its included nozzles – this made getting the epoxy inside the 3/16″ holes in the stoppers and the ceramic bodies easy and very clean
    Cons:

  • more expensive – approx $4 for a 14ml tube, which was enough for six stoppers, two of which had very large voids to fill
  • The self-mixing nozzles have curing epoxy in them, so once you start applying you have about 5 minutes before they lock up solid unless you keep the epoxy moving. The case comes with two nozzles, so you can have two sessions, but you need to work fast. I got better at this as I worked, but it meant filling the holes, matching up the halves, and cleaning up any extra had to happen in a minute or less per piece. No room for errors!
  • the package said it dried translucent yellow, but it looks perfectly clear to me. Maybe over time?

So, epoxy for the win! More photos and maybe an etsy post or two soon.