A really excellent tamper and a total work of art.
Positive Product Points
First up it does the job superbly well, second it looks absolutely fantastic.
Negative Product Points
They look so good I have to fight myself not to buy another one!
I have had a DeLonghi BAR14 for a while and was getting really fed up with trying to use the built in plastic tamper located just to the left of the group head. It is almost impossible to get a good tamp using that but as the machine has a 51mm basket it was impossible to find a reasonably priced tamper in the UK. Someone at CG suggested I checked out a Thor tamper and gave me their website (www.thortamper.com) and I really liked what I saw.
Each tamper is hand made from really good wood and you have the option (which I took) to have it filled with an alloy which makes it even heavier. Whatever wood you go for (I went for Mexican Chocobolo wood partly because it just sounded so bizarre) the actual tamping surface is Lignum Vitae or Blackwood (apparently two of the hardest woods in the world). By the time they've had several layers of bartop finish they simply look fantastic (did I mention that if you're that way inclined you can get him to make matching portafilter handles). If you think I'm over the top go and check out their gallery page.
The tamper cost me $50 which (Mrytlewood would have been only $30) and postage to the UK was only $10 (less than half what a lot of tamper manufactures wanted to charge me). Which I thought was a pretty good price considering that it was hand made to order. I decided to go for a US curved base although you can specify flat or Euro curved if you'd rather.
Using the tamper is a joy. My largest problem is that I now have to learn what the correct pressure is and not overtamp. When I get it right (any problems are down to my lack of experience) I get a great polished puck and awesome coffee. What more can I say.
After checking out the Thor Tamper website I emailed them to get an exact price and find out if they knew for sure what size basket my machine had. If you're in the US you can send them your basket if you want a perfect fit but although I couldn't do that they knew exactly what I was after and were very helpful. The postage was quick and I really can't say enough good things about them.