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How to make a Cabochon inlay

Use s small piece of contrasting scrap wood, plastic or Corian™ to make a unique Cabochon insert that adds interest and design your bottle stopper project. First determine the diameter of the cabochon. It can be as small as 1/2” or as large as 1-1/2” (3/4” cabochon shown in the photos).

While your stopper blank is still square, drill and mount your blank onto the headstock using the Bottle Stopper chuck mount. Put a drill chuck into the tailstock and, place a Forsnter bit the diameter of the cabochon into the chuck. Turn on your lathe and drill a recess about 1/16” deep. Remove the drill chuck and mount the live center in the tailstock with the point inserted into the dimple point of the recess. Turn the bottle stopper blank to an appropriate profile rounding up to the edge of the recess. Sand and finish your stopper - the top will have a recess ready to accept your cabochon. There are many ways to turn the cabochon inlay disc - here’s one our favorites.

Penn State Indusries carries a dedicated pen blank drilling chuck that is ideal for turning a pen blank into a cabochon up to 1” in diameter. Place a pen blank (can be a short piece of pen blank scrap) in the chuck. Turn a dome to about 1/4” high at the end of your blank, match the diameter to the recess you drilled in the bottle stopper blank. Finish and polish the cabochon dome, part it off of the blank, then glue it into the recess in the stopper blank.
Additional Accessories to make a cabochon:
Forstner Bits: 3/4” Bit #FB34 $5.95, 1” Bit #FB1 $6.95, 1/2” x #2MT
Drill Chuck: #TM32 $29.95 , 1” Capacity
Pen Blank Drilling Chuck: #CSCPENCHK $79.95