Floor corker getting hard

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AZMDTed

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My wife enjoys being the corker, labeler and foiler in our 'winery'. But the last couple batches she's not having much fun. Our Portuguese Floor Corker has become very hard to push the compressed cork out of the corker. The corker is about a year and a half old, probably 450 or more bottles through it, and has the plastic jaws.

The arm pivot is fine and the jaws compress the cork fine, it's pushing the cork out that has become quite a bit tougher. I'm using Premium #9 1.75" corks from labelpeelers. I see one of two things causing this, either the corks have changed and become more dense or the plastic jaws have more friction on them now holding the cork instead of releasing it. I've cleaned the jaws so there's nothing gumming it up. It would make sense that the plastic jaws have a limit to how much use they get before they lose their 'slickness'.

Anyone else experienced this? I see that I can get a replacement set for under $20, so easy fix if that's the problem. I just want to see what suggestions and experiences others have first. Thanks.
 

bkisel

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Are the bottles still centering? Could it be that the compressed cork is hitting a bit of the opening lip and thus making it tougher?
 

AZMDTed

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Are the bottles still centering? Could it be that the compressed cork is hitting a bit of the opening lip and thus making it tougher?
Thanks, but it's not an issue with the bottles. I've tested it without bottles and it is indeed pretty tough to push the corks out now. I used to soak my corks in Kmeta before bottling so I'm thinking that was some scouring or eating away at the plastic jaws which have created more friction.
 

bkisel

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Thanks, but it's not an issue with the bottles. I've tested it without bottles and it is indeed pretty tough to push the corks out now. I used to soak my corks in Kmeta before bottling so I'm thinking that was some scouring or eating away at the plastic jaws which have created more friction.
You're probably right then... Maybe lubricate a single cork or the jaws and try once just to ascertain you've found the problem?
 

dcbrown73

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Is it possible that through use the compression jaws are suffering deformations of some sort that is causing friction against the cork?
 

stickman

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I agree with David, I suspect the plastic jaws are deforming under compression. A new set of jaws may solve the issue. I have an old Portuguese corker I retired about 5 years ago that was doing the same thing. I ended up getting the Italian corker and it puts the corks in like butter.
 

AZMDTed

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Thanks guys, I've ordered new jaws so we will see. Next step will be Italian corker if the new jaws don't work or when they wear out. There's no doubt a lot of pressure on the jaws with the premium #9s.
 

dcbrown73

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Thanks guys, I've ordered new jaws so we will see. Next step will be Italian corker if the new jaws don't work or when they wear out. There's no doubt a lot of pressure on the jaws with the premium #9s.
When the new jaws come in. Compare the new compression surface to the old ones.

Do they offer metal replacement jaws? That would be the long term answer I would think if wear and tear to the jaws is the issue.
 

AZMDTed

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FYI, I replaced the jaws, cleaned the area where they sit and I still have the same problem. I'm thinking now that perhaps my last couple hundred pack of corks are from an unusually dense cork source. Oh well, I will do the corking for a while then. My old jaws had some minor scuffing in them but nothing that I would expect to cause serious friction.
 

Johnd

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FYI, I replaced the jaws, cleaned the area where they sit and I still have the same problem. I'm thinking now that perhaps my last couple hundred pack of corks are from an unusually dense cork source. Oh well, I will do the corking for a while then. My old jaws had some minor scuffing in them but nothing that I would expect to cause serious friction.
How old are those corks? After a period of time not in a bottle and exposed to air, they can dry a bit and lose their pliability and increase the difficulty of corking. Just to be sure, before you take any more drastic measures, try some fresh corks. When you're buying premium corks, they should be quite consistent.
 

AZMDTed

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They are newly purchased corks. One bag of a hundred was purchased about five months ago, the other just two months ago. Half of the first bag of corks worked normally, the rest are hard. I got a new bag hoping it was a fluke but it has the same problem. Yesterday I tried some old premium corks that I've held onto for a year or more and they compressed and came out just fine. I suppose my new corks could be considered extra premium :) I'm going to write labelpeelers and see what they've heard.
 

3274mike

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Just a thought at some point you stated that you soaked corks in kmeta before corking an wondered if this affect the jaws . As I read this it seemed like this practice was in past tense are you dry corking now because yes they will not go in as easy dry, but I probably miss understand what I read
 

AZMDTed

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Hi, you read it right. The wetness did help them slide out easier, but wet or dry the new corks take quite a bit more force to push them out of the corker. But that's a good point. I may go back to wetting them in kmeta till these batches of corks are gone.
 
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