How can I buy or make this type of cork-wrapped flask?
March 18, 2015 10:11 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to either buy or make a round-bottomed lab flask with a cork-covered neck. The object of my desire looks like this Kontes Kool-Grip round-bottomed model. Unfortunately they appear no longer to be made, at least as far as I can tell. Where can I find one, or failing that how can I put a very similar wrap on the neck of a regular flask?

I need something round-bottomed (but free-standing) in a 1 liter size, made from borosilicate glass, and with a corked grip. My dad used to have a flask like this which he was very attached to but which broke many years ago. (Way back in college he used it as a reservoir for his bong, and I think it reminds him of days gone by. Dads!) He's occasionally expressed a wish to have a replacement just like it, but says he's never been able to find one. I'd like to find one for him or, failing that, make one.

Can anybody find a supplier for this type of flask? It wouldn't have to be new, as long as it was in good condition; in fact, a vintage one from the 1970s would probably be ideal if such a thing exists. I've done as much of my own searching as I'm able, but I've come up with nothing.

If, as I suspect, this type of flask is impossible to find nowadays then I'd like to make him one. However, I'm not sure of the best way to go about it. The simplest solution would be to get some flexible cork sheet and wrap it around the neck of the flask, but this would be unsatisfactory since there would be a seam and also the cork wouldn't go down onto the flask's body, like it does in the photo.

What I need is a method for applying granulated cork to the glass in a controllable and permanent fashion, such that it looks like the cork was somehow poured over the flask and then set there. I think I have the beginning of an idea of how to do it; I'd need some kind of clear, flexible, heat-resistant glue that will bond to glass, plus a bag of granulated cork. I'd probably mask off the parts of the flask I didn't want cork on, apply the adhesive, and then roll the flask in the cork. This process might have to be repeated until I build up a thick enough layer. Then I'd cut the cork at the masking line and peel it off. Sound OK? Do you have a better idea? Also, what kind of glue should I use and what is a good source for granulated cork?

Your suggestions and advice are greatly appreciated. I feel like this is a project I should be able to tackle fairly easily, but I have a habit of screwing up stuff like this and I want to get it just right. Thanks a lot, Hivemind.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The to Grab Bag (6 answers total)
Best answer: You can buy malleable cork clay that can be dried. I would get the glass bit and wrap the cork clay around it and then treat it in the oven at 150 F for a couple of hours. Depending on level of use/handling (the clay is likely fragile if rolled out thin) I would spray it with some sort of transparent flexible plastic stuff like Krylon Workable Fixatif.
posted by zenon at 10:30 AM on March 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

If you're going to make one, I'd go with straight sides and thin sheets of cork, which you can get from just about any craft store (like Michael's). Sure, there'll be a seam, but it'd still be way better than trying to do this to a curved bottle.

If you're going to go the granulated cork route, I think you can get bags of it from either a craft store or someplace that supplies model train setups --- they'd use it for roadbeds for the trains. As for sticking it onto a bottle: ask the staff, they might have some good suggestions.

Alternatively, try looking for such a bottle in an antique store: I think they were common in a lot of bar sets.
posted by easily confused at 10:32 AM on March 18, 2015

These guys may still have a few in stock. Or here.
posted by craven_morhead at 10:41 AM on March 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

Not quite the same but could you substitute a Chemex? (wood grip). You can even get a lid for it. (The bonus is you can actually make coffee with it, or just use it as a carafe.)
posted by gudrun at 10:59 AM on March 18, 2015

Response by poster: Cork clay sounds like it's just the ticket! I had no idea such a thing existed. I notice that it comes with a sort of adhesive in it; do you think it would bond to glass? If not, it would probably make sense to glue it down. That Workable Fixatif stuff is a good tip as well, it sounds like it would definitely improve durability.

Good job finding one that appears to be in stock, craven_morhead. It's a bit out of my price range for this, though!
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:40 PM on March 18, 2015

The clay is more moist than tacky and it doesn't stick to your fingers. It won't bond to the glass - but really it might not need to. You're going for a layer of cork over a fragile glass vessel so I'm imaging it might get handled but not abused. In my experience a dried bit of cork clay was about as tough as a wine bottle cork of comparable thickness. It does darken with age if untreated, and the surface texture appears very similar to the pictured bottles.

If it does need to be stuck down you'll want to sand the glass and use an epoxy glue like super glue or something specifically built for glass. However, I'm guessing that the cork glue bond wouldn't be particularly strong because you would be able to chip off most of the cork layer down to the a small bit of surface cork glued down to the glass.
posted by zenon at 2:25 PM on March 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

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