I got my 220 in so I can run my bandsaw and big lathe. I can now make handles as well as tampers.
I have always enjoyed working with wood. Back in the early 2000s I read that there was no such thing as a good wood tamper. I took this as a challenge to make a good wood tamper. The first tamper I made was out of walnut and it did OK, but it wasn't nearly as tough as I thought it would be, or that it needed to be. After a lot of research I discovered that lignum vitae has the tensile strength of cast iron! I bought some and low and behold, my problem was solved by using a lignum vitae base!
The next challenge I was confronted with was the weight of the tampers. I developed a core weighted tamper. The majority of the weight of a Thor Tamper is in the center rather around the edges. It lends to a more balanced tamp.
In 2007 I developed the "Ridgeline" tamper. I have applied for a patent for my design. I also began making tampers with Corian. You still get the same feel as wood, but it is more stable. Lignum vitae is getting more difficult to find, and it has been over harvested.
I was able to get 24 pieces of Bethlehem Olivewood. I still have 3 full size blanks left! Cost of tampers is based on the cost of the wood and the rarity of the wood.
When I get Desert Ironwood burl it doesn't all have fantastic burl. So those pieces with outstanding color and burl cost more than those with less figure. The tamper on the front page is a one in a thousand or more piece of wood. I have a few highly figured Desert Ironwood blanks cut and ready to make into blanks.
Myrtlewood is one of my favorite woods for making tampers. It is a rare American hardwood that only grows in Sourthern Oregon and Northern California. My mentor has good connections with sawyers of Myrtlewood and I have a good supply that I bought when I lived in Oregon. A Myrtlewood tamper is a bargain since I pass my savings on to you! Pictures don't do this wood justice! Here is a nice figured Myrtlewood Ridgeline tamper.