We'd like to explore Cork a little and highlight five reasons why you should be using it in your workspace/home/classroom. Or rather, lots of reasons that are then grouped under five headings.
It has so many things going for it that it is a must for any making environment. Yet, although its credentials are solid, it still doesn't get utilised anywhere near as much as it might do. Let's explore...
Cork is one of the most Eco-friendly raw materials on the planet, fact. If you wanted to plan a lesson on raw material sustainability then there are few materials better suited to serving as a positive example.
The Cork industry is regarded as being very environmentally friendly as the tree that the bark comes from continues to grow and thrive after the bark is removed. It is is also 100% recyclable and has an incredibly small carbon footprint, making it an attractive alternative to other materials. always the best solution.
Cork has good elastic and compression properties which makes it surprisingly durable. It also has really good thermal, acoustic and anti-vibration resistance. It is also naturally waterproof.
Cork is considered a slow combustion material in that it will burn if subjected to a persistent ignition source, but it will then burn very slowly and without a flame so it is unlikely to spread. When it does burn, it does so without releasing any toxic fumes.
Some cork sheets have an adhesive backing that makes it easy to stick them in place once they have been cut down to size. The backing is acrylic based and solvent-free which makes it laser cutter friendly. You can find out more about Cork here.
Five Reasons Why You Should Be Using Cork:
Still not convinced? Not even after we've told you about its exceptional properties and its low carbon footprint. I guess it's time to bust out the practical examples then.
1) Working With Cork:
Our opening gambit is how easy cork sheets are to work with. Both the 1mm and the 3mm varieties can easily be worked by hand. You can comfortably cut the sheets with either a craft knife or scissors. It's also easy to punch holes in it, making it easy to join pieces together, either with fasteners or by sewing. The image above shows an inexpensive leather working kit on amazon that would be suitable for making something like a phone/tablet case.
Cork sheets are also suitable for use on a laser cutter. Not only do they cut well, they are also suited to having designs engraved on the surface. when using a laser cutter, ensure that your laser height is spot on and also test power and speed settings on a corner first.
2) Making Vice Blocks And Clamping Mats:
If you've ever had cause to put wood, or other easily damaged materials, into a vice you'll know that sanding out the damage can be a pain. You can solve this with vice blocks that have cork stuck to the clamping faces. Some of our Cork sheets have an adhesive backing, making them perfect for this application.
Similarly, when clamping things to the workbench, either for gluing or working, there is also a chance of superficial damage. A cork mat on the bench, to protect the underside, and a cork faced clamping block on the upper side and you should come out the other side damage free.
3) Cork As A Substitute For Leather:
As cork is so easy to work with, durable, and also waterproof, there are a lot of items that are traditionally made with leather that could easily be made from cork. Things like wallets and all manner of protective cases for things like phones/tablets.
You can hand make the pieces with a craft knife or scissors, then stitch the parts together with an inexpensive leather sewing kit. Simply arrange all the pieces as they will end up, pre-punch the stitching holes and then stitch. If you use a laser cutter, then you could also engrave any personalisations that you can think of on the surface.
4) It's Great For Making Items For the Home And Workspace:
Cork can be used as a practical addition to something and also as a decorative one. A few examples of both are; Trivets, coasters, placemats, notice boards and also as protective/decorative sleeves for pots, jars, cups and plant pots. To name just a few.
Cork makes a great thermal barrier and even though our sheets are relatively thin, it can still make picking up a hot container like a coffee cup more viable. If you were looking to make a trivet, I would use a wooden base with an adhesive-backed cork top, this would be perfect for most applications. You could also stick multiple pieces of cork together for this, but a wooden base makes sense.
5) Use Cork To Protect Your Projects:
Cork can protect your projects in lots of different ways. It can protect against knocks, abrasions, and also impacts. You can insulate your project against heat, vibration and water. It can do all of those things decoratively, with the addition of a little paint or by cutting into imaginative shapes.
If you've made an amplifier enclosure with an integrated speaker, adding a cork base or feet can serve to decouple it from the surface that it is sat on. This can improve the sound quality of your enclosure and also reduce the transmission of vibrations that may annoy people below.
If you want one last reason, we previously put up a step by step tutorial on how to make a sustainable lampshade out of cork. Learn how!
Pro's and Con's summary:
|✓||It's 100% recyclable|
|✓||It's easy to work|
|✗||There are no cons|
|✗||This is not a con|
|✗||Nope, still no cons|
|✗||Not even 1?|
Made With Cork/About Cork:
- Sustainability in Maker Projects Ft. Cork & Bamboo.
- How To Make A Sustainable Lampshade With Cork.
- What Is Cork And How Sustainable Is It?
- What Are Sustainable Materials?
Sign up to our Newsletter:
If you've enjoyed our content, why not also sign up for our newsletter? That way, you'll never miss our new product updates, offers, news and more! Sign up here.
©Kitronik Ltd – You may print this page & link to it, but must not copy the page or part thereof without Kitronik's prior written consent.