Welcome to my website. I started turning
wood in Dec. 1990. Since I had to
support myself and a couple of kids, the first 8 years I
did mostly architectural turning; porch and stair
spindles, etc. for contractors and turning chair
legs, etc. for antique dealers. Before learning how to
turn wood, I was a seamstress and along with sewing
custom clothing and wedding gowns I did artistic fabric
wall hangings with fabrics; then opened a small fabric
shop. After selling that shop, a friend, Annette, and I
opened an antique shop in her barn. We built a
small shelter for her miniature goat and pot-belly pig,
insulated the small barn and opened the shop. That
was when I learned spindle turning and caning chair
I can relate to my
customers that sell their artwork. I understand
creating, producing, marketing and sitting for 2 to 4
days in a booth at a craft fair trying to make a living;
which only half worked so, in addition, I waitressed 4
days a week.
When I started doing artistic
turning, in Feb. 2005 I was commissioned to make two dozen bottle
stoppers. At that time the only style available
for woodturners were the long chrome-plated style shown below.
I made two and definitely did not care for the style nor
Not having metal rods to work with,
one of those chrome stoppers on my son's metal lathe, cut it down to a shape I
liked. The first picture below shows
the shaping cuts of the chrome stopper where I removed
most of the height and
before I shortened and softly rounded the nose.
The new design allowed
my artwork to sit close to the top of the bottle where I
felt it looked so much more comfortable. I
took that cut-down chrome stopper to a small machine
shop in town and asked about having them made; they were
not interested and it took me 3 or 4 weeks to get them to
give me a price....they figured it was a waste of their
time! I got a lot of different brands of empty
bottles (wine, liquor, oil) from the local recycling
center and perfected the shape so it fit the vast
majority of the bottles. I ordered 100 pieces for
my own use. I was pleased with the results,
everything was in proportion and I had so many more
design possibilities with the lower profile stainless
friends saw the stoppers and wanted them, they
showed their friends and club members and thus was
created the SS Niles Bottle Stoppers! I
presented them at a woodturning symposium in Gainsville,
GA. in April, 2005 and had them on my website; which at
that time just had pictures of my shop, turnings and
chickens! The original machine shop and I
were granted a patent Aug. 2008: patent D575,639.
Glass blowers and fused glass workers found my website
and asked about stoppers compatible with glass. I told
them I was a woodturner, I knew nothing about glass but if
they told me what they needed, it could be made.
Next stone workers, bead workers, porcelain, door knobs,
granite and lava rocks. Each dictated what they
wanted or needed so the stoppers for that particular craft were designed by the artists
themselves. I also needed to find a larger, more
professional machine shop to handle the orders.
For my original design I
the taper cone shape of the chrome plated stoppers
because I was only going to fill the commissioned order,
I didn't want to be in the bottle stopper business. Silly me!
A number of customers called saying the stoppers didn't
fit some bottles and I started really looking at my
stopper design for ways to improve it. The inside
of bottles don't taper so with the tapered stopper shape,
only 1 o-ring made contact. In a lot of bottles it
sealed very nicely but I wanted it to seal more bottles
better. I considered switching the
o-rings for the "gasket" (for lack of a better word)
that other companies use...but I really hate to follow
the crowd! I knew the cork shape was the best way
to go but my stoppers were selling so well that I kept
putting off a new design.
Paul is the owner of
Precision Crafted Products, the only
machine shop making my original stoppers,
is unique as a machinist because he has an artistic
sense of design; which is very rare in a machinist who
usually says "I need numbers and dimensions"!
We designed the
stainless steel CORK, there is a patent pending on 3
design variations and it has become very popular with
all of my customers.
One of my customers
who is a glass blower designed an exclusive stopper for
PAU Vodka in Hawaii and we designed a custom cork-style stopper for their top-shelve brand. Another customer who does high-end
jewelry was commissioned by Baccarat Glass to create a
solid gold and sterling silver lion structure for the
top of a stopper for their
decanter. Baccarat loved our stainless cork style.
Guess the cork shape is a winner!
All my products are Made in America! I firmly
believe we should keep OUR economy in OUR country.
In the beginning, as the orders increased I knew I
needed to find a top-quality machine shop and a friend
who designs lathes and lathe accessories introduced me
to Precision Crafted Products in MO. Their
attention to detail, fine quality machining and extra
care in packing was impressive; they make all my
stoppers and mandrels. My stoppers are made from FDA 304
grade stainless, they have been tested and I make sure I
have all the mill certs to back that up because if I say
they are "304", they darn well better be!
Please beware of
knock-offs that look like my stoppers (and mandrels)...
if they don't say Niles, they are not
the same top quality as mine.
This was an
"accidental" business, I just needed to fill one order
for 2 dozen finished bottle stoppers! I never dreamed so
many artists wanted or needed a quality stainless steel
bottle stopper for their artwork.
Today I still sell my
woodturning work through artisan galleries so I am not
just a supplier, I use my products and sell to the
public. I support and promote my customers' work on the
Gallery page where I put links to their
websites or where their work can be purchased. I enjoy and am
proud to have their work displayed.
I hope you enjoy
If you have any
comments or suggestions,
please do not hesitate to
© All rights reserved Ruth Niles 2015
All images and content within this site are copyrighted and intellectual
property of the owner.