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Comments On Jan 08, 2017:As a novice turner, I was looking for a project beyond pens and relatively simple spindle projects. I made several sets for presents using both maple/walnut (salt and pepper) and padauk. The instructions are clear and led to a nice finished project. One challenge for novices is trying to get a salt and pepper pair to match takes a bit more precision - but it was a good challenge for me.
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Comments On Dec 18, 2014:I bought 10 of these kits for Christmas projects and made them all in one weekend. I used primarily exotics for the mill body to give the project some weight. The kits are good quality, but the instructions are a little sketchy. I suggest making a test sample or two out of scrap wood before using the expensive turning stock. I ended up using 3 x 3 x 4" long blanks for the mills, slightly larger than the plans call for. I think the smaller size listed on the plan is the bare minimum and this size fits the kit better.
The key to making the kits is getting the relative distance between top and bottom mounting holes to the right dimension. I get this set before turning the outside of the body. I also had to use a small file on each of the lower retaining rings to open up the notch and allow the clip to fit properly, and I recessed the secondary bottom hole for the mechanism mount in the blank body only 1/32" instead of the 3/32" the instructions called for.
To do the outside, after the inner dimensions are fitted to the mechanism, I used another lathe set up with a faceplate-mounted tapered stub that fits into the bored 15/16" thru hole, and then a cone attachment on the tailstock revolving support. This aligns the blank on the center bore and allows machining and finishing of the outer surfaces. I pre-drilled the screw holes in the bottom with a 0.075" diameter drill.
The final projects turned out nice and using a slightly larger blank allowed for a better size to hold in the hand. You can add length to the bottom of the project just by recessing the lower outer bore further. If you accidentally bore the holes too far, you can save the blank by shortening the center mechanism shaft with a stationary grinder and reassemble.
The mechanisms look to be sturdy and should hold up well. Fun project and they turned out great!
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