What’s Wrong With My Portuguese Floor Corker?

I don’t remember when I bought my Portuguese floor corker, or even what it was like to cork bottles with my old double lever corker. Except that it was like air travel going from propellers to jet engines. Now my jet engine is making funny noises and doesn’t run as smoothly as it did when it was new. I used to (not) notice the smooth quiet action of the lever as I pulled it down, but now I the creaking sounds are unmistakable. How do you maintain a floor corker anyway?

Maybe I should read the instructions. It did come with instructions, sort of. There was a sticker on the side labeled “Instructions” that read:

Pour le bon fonctionement de cette machine nous recommandons de:
– ne pas tramper les bouchons
– bouchage a sec
– lubrifier le piston et les articulations
– nettoyer la machine apres usage
Made in Portugal

Here’s what Google Translate has to say about it:

For the smooth operation of this machine we recommend:
– Do not tramp caps
– Capping a sec
– Lubricated the piston and the joints
– Cleaning the machine after use
Made in Portugal

That’s a translation from French; the Portuguese translation came back almost the same as the original, so I think the instructions are in French. Any idea why they tell us, in English, that the machine was made in Portugal and then go to the trouble of translating the – very terse – instructions into French? So from the creaking sound and from, ahem, carefully reading the instructions, I’ve decided I need to lubricate my Portuguese floor corker.

Far more helpful was this forum thread on WinePress. They may not be addressing the same problem I’m having (or even the same corker, but the Italian and Portuguese models are very similar) because they focus on the pivot pin. I notice the noise almost goes away when I take out the removable jaws, so I think that’s where my problem is. At least I hope so, I don’t see how to get at the pivot pin to lubricate it. If I am to lubricate the jaws, I’ll want to do it with a food grade lubricant. This is something I don’t know a lot about, so I’ll be off giving myself a crash course in lubricants. In the meantime, I’d love to hear any suggestions you might have.



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One thought on “What’s Wrong With My Portuguese Floor Corker?

  1. Skip

    I just bought a Portuguese floor corker today and corked a couple of cases of mead. The action is silky smooth and it is a dream to use.

    I’m not sure where you are supposed to lubricate it. I would just try to work a little dab of lubricating grease into every moving part that you can reach with the aid of a tooth pick. You might need to disassemble the handle at the top pivot.

    Petro Gel and Lubri-Film are two NSF-approved food-safe lubricants that I use on mixers, grinders, keg parts, and so forth. You don’t really need a food-safe lubricant for your corker though. A common lithium or molybdenum heavy grease should do fine. The only parts of the corker that come in contact with your bottles or corks are the plunger and the clamping jaws, and neither of those need to be lubricated.

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