Turning Archive 2006

stopper review *PIC*

Keith Tompkins
>Some time ago, (October '05) I met with Ruth Niles at Totally Turning Symposium to discuss the new bottle stoppers which she had just begun to market. I brought a few home with me to test out, and promised to write a review for Wood Central. I also tested various stoppers that are available; however I did not consider the cork variety, as I don't consider them to be long-term products.

The stoppers are machined from 303 stainless steel, and feature three nitrile o-rings, which allow the stoppers to seal bottles of various sizes. Both of these materials are approved by the FDA for contact with food. Two styles of stoppers are available; one model has a plain post, the other has an 8mm x1.5 threaded post.

I chose the threaded model for my test run. The stoppers I tested were well made, and the shoulder that meets the finial was accurately machined, making for a nice fit. I think the stainless steel brushed finish compares favorably with the chrome-plated stoppers I tested, and makes for a more professional final product.The Niles stoppers also have a lower profile than other stoppers, which greatly improves the overall appearance.

For stopper finials, I drilled a 4.5 mm hole in my blank while held in a chuck, and tapped it to match the stoppper. A makeshift mandrel allowed me to finish off the finials.

Although these stoppers are a bit more expensive than the others I tested, their appearance alone is worth the extra amount, and this should translate into increased sales.

If I had a criticism of these stoppers, I think the 8mm post is a bit of overkill. While nearly indestructible, I think a smaller diameter post would allow more flexibility in the finial design, and would not weaken the post significantly. A minor detail that won't affect most turners. I also suggested to Ruth that a starter kit containing a drill bit and metric tap, along with a matching mandrel would be a great aid in using her stoppers, especially for newer turners. This is a well engineered and well executed product, worthy of your consideration.

For further details, Ruth may be contacted a rthniles@yahoo.com

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