November 6, 2007

Making a hat block out of cork – Step 3: sawing the ovals and glueing up

Filed under: Making a cork block,millinery techniques and cheats — Cristina de Prada @ 6:41 pm

Peter sawing away...Planning all done, and the oval patterns traced on the cork it’s now time to use the jigsaw to saw them up. Since sawing is the fun bit, and we were sawing 4 pieces, we did 2 ovals each (modesty aside, mine turned out much better!).

Some advice:

1. Do not do this in your living room. Or you will end up with a think layer of cork dust all over the place, if you don’t believe me take a look. I should get a foldable work bench so I can do it in the balcony.

2. Make sure your cork sheet is well fixed to your table, a couple of bar clamps will do the trick. You don’t want your cork to be wobbly.

3. If your jigsaw can be tilted, make sure it’s perfectly flat (unless you want it tilted!)… don’t ask me why I’m telling you this.

4. Make sure to cut outside the line. You need to leave some space for the sanding that will happen later, if you cut exactly on the line you might be eating away too much cork, and it’s easy for the blade to go in the direction you don’t want.

5. Do not bother to use the vacuum accessory (that connects the jigsaw to your vacuum cleaner) because it really doesn’t suck up much (at least in my case).

We did make a dog’s breakfast out of it, I must confess, and we did not get the gradual step effect that I wanted. It was quite a mess, but I’m fixing it during sanding, although it might affect the final shape.

After sawing, the top layers were ready to be glued together (the bottom layer will be processed differently, not glued). I used contact adhesive for the glueing, and I did it layer by layer because each side to be glued has to be covered with a thin layer of glue and let to dry for 20-30 minutes until it’s not sticky to the touch, only then the pieces can be joined together being extremely careful because once in contact it’s impossible to reposition them, so make sure CF-CF and CB-CB match perfectly. The best way is to position the top piece barely hinged on one edge (matching the markings) and carefully drop it down until it sticks.

Because we did such a lousy job with the sawing this is the result after glueing (there is a gap between second a third layer the size of the grand canyon…):

Glued layers


  1. oh oh…this is looking tricker than I thought.
    Will wait to see finished product before attempting myself.
    (That cork dust…did you remember to wear masks?)

    Comment by jill — November 7, 2007 @ 12:37 am

  2. No, no masks… it’s thick dust, not that super fine one that gets into your lungs! But yes, it’s trickier than I thought myself, although it’s getting better as I go!

    Comment by cristinadeprada — November 7, 2007 @ 11:36 am

  3. Wow! You are so brave to attempt this. It really makes us appreciate the skills of the block makers, doesn’t it? A good block is certainly worth its price. K Q:-)

    Comment by Kate — November 13, 2007 @ 9:58 am

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