1.25″x 8 Niles ™Mandrel
$18.50 Fits spindle size 1 1/4″ x 8 tpi
$25.98 with 2 stub drill bits: 5/16″ and 11/32″ $26.70 value
$29.98 with 2 stub drill bits and 3/8″ tap $31.95 value
Niles ™mandrel threads onto the head stock spindle and has the unique tapered-cut flute making it the best self-tapping mandrel on the market. It has a 3/8″ x 16 tpi threaded stud that works with just about all the stoppers on the market and numerous other projects: ice cream scoop handles, shaving brushes, pizza cutters, etc. They have a black oxide coating for rust prevention. The neck or step below the threaded stud is 13/16″ diameter which matches the tops of all my stoppers. This mandrel does not use a draw bar. It comes with 2 nylon spacers (a spare because you will lose one!) which are used to help keep the wood from locking on the mandrel as you turn it. Use a 1 3/8″ wrench on the flats to start turning mandrel off the spindle.
If you are making the whiskey stoppers, SS-620 and/or SS-630, you might like the mandrel adapters that are the same diameter as these 2 stopper styles.
*Tip: if the wood does get a death grip and you can’t get the project off the mandrel, put the whole thing in the freezer for 10 – 15 minutes and it will unthread once the metal shrinks. Also try a little beeswax or soap on the mandrel before threading it into the wood.
The shorter stub drill bits won’t “wander” if they hit a tight wood grain. The 5/16″ is the standard size when threading a 3/8″ hole; the 11/32″ is for dense wood, acrylic and resins.
The bottoming tap cuts threads all the way in unlike regular taps that leave about 1/4″ untapped and it makes threading quick and easy.
Check this: Mandrel Comparison if you are not sure which mandrel to purchase: this page explains the differences and usages. If you are still not sure, please call me: 717-486-5232 and I will help you out.
This is a list of lathe spindle sizes and Morse taper if you are not sure: Lathe Specs
Basic bottle stopper turning video (threading the mandrel starts at about 3 min.): Roper Woodturning
Michael Roper is an experienced turner who gives lessons in various turning techniques.
Made in the USA Niles mandrels are only made in Missouri.