Some time ago, Bottlecutting Inc introduced a line of cork tops for bottles, in a large and a small size, so I was very keen to try them out and ordered some right away. The large size covers bottles with a inside diameter of 90-100mm, and the small size covers 63-73mm, and both sets are a triple pack. The large size is bigger than most UK wine bottles, so I went with the small size pack, hoping they would be good for wine bottles and craft beer bottles. The retail cost of $8.99 and 12.99 respectively is reasonable, but given the poor rate of the pound to the dollar, and overseas shipping, they are not the most cost-effective option for UK customers, but that’s our problem, no reflection of the product or company. I just hoped I wouldn’t be clobbered by customs and excise when they landed, as I have been on other purchases from North America, as they certainly know how to cane you with admin charges. (I wasn’t, just cheap enough. phew!)
I was very impressed indeed with the quality of the cork tops. The immaculate cork is smooth, dust-free and high density, with a small grain, if that’s the right word (probably not!). It feels very high quality and certainly gives me the impression that the corks will remain durable and presentable for a long time under normal use. The quality feel is further emphasised by the superb packaging it came in. Bottlecutting Inc are very good at the marketing and presentation of their products, and output like this adds a quality feel to what is essentially can be a very rough and ready hobby.
The fit is ok on a larger UK beer bottle I tried it out on (Schiehallion Ale), and also pictured here is the fit on a normal wine bottle, which is ideal. You need a good few millimetres protruding to spin or pop the top off. The smooth graduation of the wedge makes for a good, airtight fit, so this will be an ideal product to make storage jars for sweets and other foodstuffs. A good all round quality product. I’ll certainly make good use of this set to good effect with a couple of my favourite label bottles.
I’ve finally come across one of the eco-friendly, lightweight wine bottles, so was interested to see how well it cuts in comparison to regular wine bottles.
First impression was that it was hardly detectable as being much lighter, but I’m sure that’s just a trick of the mind, and that the true difference in weight as a percentage is actually quite significant. It certainly didn’t feel overly flimsy, that’s for sure. I soaked the labels and removed them, then cut it low down on the Ephrem’s bottle cutter with the help of my home made extension jig. The bottle cut and separated very cleanly using my usual hot water method.
At this point, I could see the major difference and obvious weight saving is in the thickness of the bottle body itself, as you can see in the comparison photo to the left. The wall thickness in parts was under 2mm, similar to many beer bottles. The base was punted, and had no significant loss of thickness compared to many common wine bottles. The edge smoothing process obviously required a lighter touch, but was fully successful. Many brands may well switch to more eco-friendly packaging over the next few years, so it’s been useful to try one out to see how they stand up to cutting.
A very inexpensive and simple type of bottle that has turned out very useful has come from something I actually drink myself – j2o orange bottles.
I started with the original size bottles, with the longer necks, but actually the smaller party pack sized bottles are proving to be even more useful than the regular ones, and at something like around £5 for 12, give me a good number to have a go at.
The labels virtually float off invisibly after only a few minutes soaking in hot water, and the bottles are instantly sparking with just a quick dry on a tea-towel , proving them to be very easy to prepare! They are great size to roll on the Ephrem’s , and cut really well.
Though they feel very smooth to touch, it’s when they are clean and cut that you really notice the attractive ripple effect in the glass as the light refracts through the bottle. I’ve kept some of the short necks from these bottles for using as bases for green beer bottles in the mixed colour effects, but they are quite attractive just on their own, and seem to be popular with people I’ve shown them to so far. I’ve passed some of them on to friends and family, who are using them with tealights.