Preserving labels

Sometime after chatting about the brand, a friend whose surname is Lightfoot fetched in an empty bottle of Theakstons Lightfoot ale to have a go at. This bottle is the typical larger real ale brown beer bottle, which ordinarily doesn’t present any real difficulty in cutting. With this one though, I wanted to preserve the labels, to keep the name connection and hopefully still be able to make something useful.

As the label was large, this only really left one cutting position – on the rim at the top of the bottle before the neck. My preferred method of cut running so far has been the use of pouring and dousing with hot and cold water. However, the Lightfoot labels are paper, so would not last long getting wet, given the proximity to the score line. There wasn’t enough room between the label and score line area to use a sellotape, so I thought I’d give clingfilm a go. I first folded a length over, giving a trouser leg bottom style seam for the closest edge, and wrapped it tightly around the bottle covering the label by about 6-7mm. I took particular care to angle the bottle down, so the water ran away from the wrapped label as much as possible.


A gentle heating and dousing process left a reasonably clean cut, which was then given a very careful finishing with various grade diamond pads, and finally with ultra-soft wire wool. The result was a very good edge and the care taken and the clingfilm wrap left the label totally unaffected, and in the condition it came to me. Care was also taken on rinsing the dust from the edge finishing to preserve the label. Here’s the end result to the left.


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