99% of a good duplication job is having a good pattern to copy. Learned that myself when I started using a Gemini duplicator. Glass bed the metal, fill in every minor ding and get the alterations done before you duplicate. I’ve gone as far as doing a plain blank as a test run trying to see where I can improve the final job. Much less upsetting if you screw up a $20.00 blank than one which cost hundreds of dollars. Don’t ask me how I learned this lesson.
One other skill which I still struggle with is reading a blank to anticipate how the grain flow under the surface. Sometimes grain flow changes as you cut the blank. Worse is when fancy grain just becomes bland as pine when shaped. That is a sinking feeling, trust me. You almost never see a blank get better the smaller it gets. And any void or defect you come across as you shape will be a bitter disappointment. Firewood and lamp post are made with these.
Ever stock cutter can have a bad job. The less information you give them the greater the chance for it to occur. Macon and Great American are two of the more often mentioned culprits but we never get both sides of the story other than if multiple people have the same problem it most likely is them. I saw on job by Macon which was done well except for the fact the blank was laid out upside down. The grain in the wrist was not running with the wrist but against it. Their answer was this way showed the best figure in the butt. Don’t know how long the stock lasted but first fall with it would be the last I expect.