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Blog entry by John Gray posted 09-13-2010 07:36 AM 30104 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m making turned wooden coasters for Christmas presents and having a real problem cutting sheet cork for the inside bottoms. Hobby Lobby sells 3 1/2” pre-cut cork disks but I need smaller ones like 3”. I’ve tried cutting with scissors and with a new X-Acto blades and they seem to always tear before I get a circle cut completely. You can buy smaller cork cutting punches but not in 3” size that I can find. Any ideas? HELP!

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

10 comments so far

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 3687 days

#1 posted 09-13-2010 08:04 AM

Find a plumber that works with 3 inch pipe and get a short piece from him. sharpen the edges and you have a 3 inch punch.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View scrappy's profile


3507 posts in 4230 days

#2 posted 09-13-2010 08:12 AM

Agree with BigTiny. Sharpen pipe should work well.


-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4887 days

#3 posted 09-13-2010 10:42 AM

You can use a compass and replace the pencil with an Xacto knife or a scalpel. Use the veneer cutting technique – do not cut all the way thru the first cut. 1st cut scores the wood, second cut follows the same groove, third cut finishes the cut.


-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View ellen35's profile


2747 posts in 4232 days

#4 posted 09-13-2010 12:19 PM

Check out Blick Art Supplies.
I picked up a cutter that allows for infinite sizes and it cuts through cork with a sticky backing like “a hot knife through butter” to use an old saying!
I paid about $10 for it.
I tried all the other methods and they frayed the edges or I couldn’t get it quite round enough.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Jimthecarver's profile


1124 posts in 4585 days

#5 posted 09-13-2010 01:57 PM

you could sandwich the cork between 2 thin pieces of wood cut them out on the band saw.

-- Can't never could do anything, to try is to advance.

View Lenny's profile


1671 posts in 4326 days

#6 posted 09-13-2010 02:09 PM

Hi John,

Some great ideas suggested above. The only other thought I have is a 3” hole saw mounted in your drill press. You might have to sandwich the cork like Jimthecarver suggests. Good luck.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View 4thumbs's profile


153 posts in 3946 days

#7 posted 09-13-2010 02:20 PM

I’ve done this with a sharpened pipe as BigTiny suggests; has worked well for me.

-- 4thumbs in MO

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3797 days

#8 posted 09-13-2010 03:17 PM

I would use a rotary cutter. They make circle jigs for them. Look in the craft or fabric stores.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 4685 days

#9 posted 09-13-2010 05:37 PM

Thanks Ellen I looked at Dick Blick’s X-Acto Compass Cutter for $8.40 plus shipping and it should do the trick I hope. ;-)
I also like the suggestions of using pipe that has been sharpened. I think 3” exhaust pipe would work it could be chucked into the lathe and sharpened with a file at low speed. The “sandwich idea” sounds interesting too.

Thanks everybody!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But I’m still open to more ideas.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Maclegno's profile


224 posts in 3861 days

#10 posted 09-14-2010 03:33 AM

It might be sufficient to glue the cork to strong paper or thin cardboard (or even thin veneer). this should stop the cork tearing and will be hidden under the cork when it is fixed to the coaster.
I think scissors are less likely to tear as they have a shearing action rather than a slicing one,
Merry Christmas

-- Maclegno,Scotsman in Italy

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