Mahogany Wine Bottle Balancer & Drill Fixutre

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Project by Jim Jakosh posted 11-11-2012 04:43 PM 3794 views 18 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have an order to make a few wine bottle balancers and the old fixture I had was too hard to control using a Forstner bit so I made a new one out of plywood. It works real well and needs no clamps because the guide and the part are contained on the sides and the bottom end. But it needs an improvement!!! I need to mill out just below the part to put in a sacrificial piece of scrap to be changed for each new part. When the Forstner bit comes through into a void, it walks to one side and freezes in the hole. By putting a piece of scrap under each cut, the bit will always have wood on all sides and will cut clean through. I also found out that silicone on a Forstner bit greatly reduces the heat and expansion of the bit.

This first balancer is made of 3/4” mahogany with a wine bottle pattern wood burned int the top. The hole is 1 5/16” at a 45 degree angle and the bottom angle is 50 degrees.

I was going to make a bottle inlay, but I broke the 1/8” carbide bit on the first try so that will be for another day.

It is finished with clear matte spray and will balance a full or empty bottle.

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

26 comments so far

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 3320 days

#1 posted 11-11-2012 04:59 PM

Nice setup Jim, I like how you did the bottle pattern on the holder

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10923 posts in 4860 days

#2 posted 11-11-2012 07:48 PM


Thank you Thank you Thank you!!

Very nice.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View Rustic's profile


3256 posts in 4404 days

#3 posted 11-11-2012 08:42 PM

nice balancer and jig

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View peteg's profile


4436 posts in 3630 days

#4 posted 11-11-2012 08:53 PM

Nice jig there Jim to get tht angle just right, well done (as usual)
like the contrast insert :)

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View MShort's profile


1798 posts in 4226 days

#5 posted 11-11-2012 09:35 PM

Thank Jim.. Nice jig setup.

-- Mike, Missouri --- “A positive life can not happen with a negative mind.” ---

View Bob Collins's profile

Bob Collins

2821 posts in 4491 days

#6 posted 11-11-2012 09:41 PM

Another nice jig Jim, wine bottle balancer always intrigue people.

-- Bob C, Australia. Your best teacher is your last mistake.

View Randy_ATX's profile


881 posts in 3249 days

#7 posted 11-11-2012 10:07 PM

Congrats on the top 3. Added to favorites – thanks for sharing.

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View icemanhank's profile


523 posts in 2963 days

#8 posted 11-11-2012 11:12 PM

Nice jig, thanks for posting

-- "These are my principles. And if you don't like them, I have others." ... Cheers, David from Sydney Australia

View WoodenFrog's profile


2737 posts in 3721 days

#9 posted 11-12-2012 12:10 AM

Clever you are Jim!!! Really cool!!

-- Robert B. Sabina, Ohio.....

View Lenny's profile


1672 posts in 4334 days

#10 posted 11-12-2012 12:38 AM

Hi Jim. First, that is a nice-looking balancer. I too like the wine bottle design. In the interest of learning, which is a hallmark of Lumberjocks, I’d like to make a statement and ask a question. I have no experience with wine balancers. However, a fellow LJ recently visited me and used my drill press to enlarge the holes he had cut slightly undersized in a good number of these balancers. The thing is, he indicated that the bottom angle is between 42 and 45 degrees but he drilled the holes with the piece lying flat (90 degrees) with no jig being needed. I saw him test a few and they worked fine. My question is, are there two (or more) schools of thought on the angle at which the hole should/can be drilled? Thanks.

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

View thewoodworker01's profile


93 posts in 2953 days

#11 posted 11-12-2012 01:08 AM

Boy thats definiately neat. I should make a should make a couple…

-- Most people say "Measure Twice, Cut Once." I say, "Cut Twice, Measure Once".

View dakremer's profile


2748 posts in 3899 days

#12 posted 11-12-2012 06:29 AM

Lookin really nice, Jim!! Keep up the good work

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View harry1's profile


533 posts in 3092 days

#13 posted 11-12-2012 07:34 AM

Jim, fate is incredible, I’ve spent about four hours today experimenting with such a project, all of that time was taken with attempts to drill the hole at 40°, the mitre being at 45°. I ended up tilting the drill press table and clamping the wood with a thick piece beneath it. However I clamped the wood, the hole went in at an angle but excited perfect. I gave up in disgust after deciding a jig was the only way to go and came into the office and low and behold, here was your post! If only I had attended to my emails this morning!

-- Harry, Western Australia

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

24974 posts in 3913 days

#14 posted 11-12-2012 12:44 PM

Lenny and Harry. The hole need not be at an angle like you can see in this project: ( ). The first ones I saw were cut at 45 degrees and it looked cool so that is how I approached it. I did find the bottom angle to be 50 degrees in one sketch. Actually the goal is to have the bottle not only balance but balance level and I had hit that on some earlier ones but can’t find anything in my plans of how I did it. I guess I never wanted to get to making any more. I gave all my early ones away so I could not measure them.
There are few things at play here to make the bottle balance. You have to get the center of mass of the bottle- empty or full – over the center of the foot. So the bottle can be at any angle just so you satisfy that criteria. I make my balancers about 11” long and the distance from the bottom to the center of the front hole is 8”. That should give anyone wanting to make then a starting point. The shape and the angle of the hole is up to the designer.
It seems to me there is a blog by Degoose but I could not find it. He has made a ton of them!!

When I get my fixture modified to have a replaceable bottom, I can experiment with different size holes to get it to balance level, too. I know when I put a straight hole in a board the bottle balanced but stuck up pretty high. I think Larry used a 1 3/8” hole.


-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View kiefer's profile


5735 posts in 3474 days

#15 posted 11-12-2012 03:06 PM

Hi Jim
Nice looking balancer and when you come up with the sweet spot formula please let us know .
How about stacking two pieces on top of each other or clamping the work piece and jig together?
Just some thoughts .

-- Kiefer

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