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painting micromount corks

Posted by Roy Wood  
Roy Wood July 14, 2011 10:55PM
I always had trouble painting the small corks for micromount supports until I stuck them on a piece of tape attached to a support. Now it is easier to paint and they have a safe place to dry.
open | download - DSCN0963.JPG (131.2 KB)
Tom Trebisky July 15, 2011 02:11AM
I paint mine with india ink. I jab a pin into them to give me something to hold (and since I don't enjoy
painting my fingertips), then perch them on top of a desk lamp to dry. With the heat and hot air rising this
only takes a minute or two.
Kelly Nash July 15, 2011 03:10AM
Think I read in Quinton Wright's book how he put a bunch in a jar with some black ink and shook the jar, then strained out the corks. I usually only do one at a time and use a magic marker. I get ink on my fingers but oh well.
Don Saathoff July 15, 2011 10:50PM
Rather than corks, do any of you use unsmoked cigarette filters? For some (unknown) reason, my step-son left two baggies of white wrapped filters here before his last deployment to Afghanistan and I've been using them....some painted w/ felt-tip and some white, depending upon what mineral is being mounted.....I think they look great!

gary moldovany July 16, 2011 12:55AM
While I appreciate the fact that some folks like to "do it themselves", I have been buying pre-painted corks from Sauktown Sales. Sorry to rain on your parade. Gary
Mineralogical Research Company July 16, 2011 03:05AM
Here's another alternative. Cut the cork, toothpick or other mount to size and glue it to the bottom of the box. Then, paint the mount and the inside of the box flat black all at the same time. Painting the inside of the box with flat black eliminates reflections, especially if you want to photograph the specimen later.

Joe Mulvey July 16, 2011 02:28PM
I have a thick piece of cardboard with about 2 dozen sewing pins stuck through it in a grid pattern, about 1 inch apart.

I can load up the pins with 24 corks and paint at once. Impaled, the corks are about 1cm above the cardboard.

I have little numbers next to each pin so that when I mount specimens, I can note the specimen to the number in case I forget which is which.

The assembly line approach all the way through works better for me.
Jonathan Levinger July 21, 2011 07:58PM
I just buy mine in bags of hundred in four different sizes from George Rambo, finest corks from finest man to deal with.
this are non reflective black and do not release the paint in to the glue.
My last purchase was 600 and I am running out after only two months.
Roy Wood July 22, 2011 01:24AM
Thank you all for the input. Not familiar with George Rambo but if he sells corks already black I would like to get in touch with him. Can you give me a web site or Email address?

Thank you,
Ray Hill August 10, 2011 08:21PM
I am with Roy on that one, Jonathan...up to now, I have hand marked the corks I have used with permanent black marker..but Gene, I stopped painting the interiors of boxes years ago, and went for the precut paper liners , since they tend not to leave splotchy surfaces which under magnification, some of the sprays leave , and are way quicker and possibly even cheaper if you buy them by the 1000...they are in punch cut sheets. Once I punch out the precuts, then I cut and fold the trimmings to use instead of corks in some cases . In this fashion, I can use Elmer's school glue to put the cut out riser onto the paper liner and the mineral specimen onto the folded and glued paper base Occasionally I break my rule of easily removeable glue for minerals and cheat with a tiny gobbet of glue gun glue but the cutting/folding and recycling of the excess paper into mounting bases can be done in a production line fashion and is less expensive than using corks...and actually act as a tiny suspension spring to protect glued specimens if boxes fall, .
gary moldovany August 11, 2011 12:54AM
The cardboard liners sound like a good idea, Ray. Can you tell me where you have been buying them? Thanks. Gary
Hans Swarts February 14, 2012 12:33AM

My contribution - see attached .pdf.

Best Regards,

open | download - Micromounting-Tips.pdf (91.5 KB)
Hans Swarts February 14, 2012 12:43AM
Hi again,

Whoops!!! After posting the last one, I realized the .pdf I attached contained more than my little article (written for MMNE - MicroMounters of New England newsletter).

I hop I have not violated any ownership or copyright issues by doing this.

My apologies - I will withdraw the post with attached .pdf if I've stepped on any toes...

Best Regards,

Dana Morong February 25, 2012 05:48PM
Neal Yedlin's columns (in the 1950s and 60s in Rocks and Minerals magazine; in the 70's in Mineralogical Record) had several good hints. One is which someone stuck the cork into a metal thumbtack, stuck the upside-down tack to the top of a magnet, until the paint dried. Or use spring-loaded clip to hold them so as not to paint ones fingers.

I found one paragraph on the second page of his column "The Micro-Mounter" by Neal Yedlin in the January-February 1958 issue of Rocks and Minerals magazine (vol. 33, #1-2, p. 48). Part of it is as follows:

"Try this for blackening corks, balsa wood or paper. A "Magic Marker" kit. A loaded handy container with a fibre glass wick makes the fluid instantly available. Dries on contact to a fine black. No smudge, smear or accidental spilling. Waterproof. Costs less than a dollar, postpaid, and lasts for ages. Available from Arthur Goodwin Co. (he's a member of the m/m clan), 2524 Brookfield Ave., Baltimore, Md."

Was the inventor of the original Magic Marker a collector? I doubt you can order them from him now, but they, and their same-purpose lookalikes, are available in many a shop and even at the malls. What a boon to the world that a collector has done to easier blacken his corks and make his micromounts better mounted.
Doug Rambo March 21, 2012 02:33PM
My father and I use india ink to blacken the corks that we use. We blacken anywhere from 100 - 1000 corks at a time and usually always do sizes 0 through 0000 when we blacken them. It is a tedious process, but we usually have enough corks for our use and enough to sell to others at some of the local micromounter gatherings that we attend.

Here is the technique that we use:

We submerse each size of cork in a bowl of ink and then individually pull each one out (using tweezers), we then blot the base of the cork on a piece of cheesecloth, and set them on a 3-4 inch wide piece of clean glass to let them dry. The corks dry under a halogen desk lamp for 2 to 3 hours before we take them off of the glass with tweezers.

Ron Layton March 27, 2012 06:54PM
Where doe's one get the ink? Stationary stores are a piece of the past around here and Office Depot doesn't carry ink.
David Von Bargen March 28, 2012 02:07PM
I would try art supply or craft supply stores. Places that would carry calligraphy supplies.
Dana E. Wilson March 30, 2012 09:54PM
Like Roy Wood, I'm a cork-tape convert.

I used to use the pin-and-cardboard method, or just dumped corks in a flat, sprayed and shaken multiple times until all the corks were covered.

For me the quickest and cleanest method is to take a strip of heavy-duty double-sided tape and stick it on a piece of card stock. Then I stick the corks to the other side, and spray from several directions. The corks are uniformly covered (except for their bases that will be surfaced glued to the box liner) and they are all lined up neatly, ready to use.

You can paint 40-60 corks on a 2" X 4" piece of tape.

I use the double-sided tape used by woodturners, available from Woodcraft, because that's what I have in our shop. It's pricey! I'll bet tape available from Uline by carpetlayers would work as well and is a quarter of the price.

An occasional cork, maybe one in 20, comes apart when it's pulled from the adhesive. I consider that to be QC that eliminates defective corks.

Rustoleum spray paint, flat black, has worked best for me.

I've tried retouching corks from time-to-time with indelible magic marker but it leaves a shiny, slightly iridescent mark that I find quite ugly.
Christopher Spratt February 16, 2013 09:19PM
Try a local "Hobby Shop" for model Railroaders. They have all kinds of stuff in the way of paint and ink.

Chris. Spratt
Victoria, BC
Tim Jokela Jr February 22, 2013 03:50PM
Painting corks individually is for the birds.

Ziploc bag, India Ink, old strainer. Let 'em soak, fish 'em out, give 'em a shake, and spread 'em out over paper towels, roll and shake 'em around so they don't stick together.

Quick and easy, but major potential for serious mess. Do not do this over a nice rug, or, in fact, anywhere nice. Do it outdoors.

Blackens all the nooks and crannies, with a matte finish.
Doug Rambo February 22, 2016 03:17PM
I just wanted to inform the group that my father, George Rambo who ran his business Mainly Micros, passed away on February 7, 2016. I have not decided if I am going to keep on with his endeavor as of this time. I can check his stock to see if he can fulfill any orders or inquiries placed, but I am uncertain as to what he had on hand at his house.

Kind regards,

Doug Rambo
D. Peck February 22, 2016 05:15PM
Doug, I am saddened at your Dad's passing. He was always good natured, convivial, and fun to converse with. I always admired the way the two of you shared your interest in minerals, particularly the micro phosphate minerals.

Don Peck
Robert Rothenberg February 23, 2016 12:03AM
Hi Doug,

I too am sorry to hear of your dad's passing. I always enjoyed talking with him (and you) and exchanging specimens. He will be missed.

Henry Barwood February 24, 2016 03:32AM

I'm really sorry to hear this. I enjoyed seeing you and your dad over the years.


Henry Barwood
Troy University
Troy, Alabama USA
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