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Old 03-06-2018, 10:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Waxhaw, NC
Posts: 436
Photos: 21

Default About DiamondCast Blanks


Thanks Jeff for opening up the vendor forum for me! I wanted to introduce myself and create a thread that hopefully answers any questions anyone has about the blanks I make.

I've been turning for about 10 years now and along the way had decided that I wanted something to set my pens apart. My mother is a gemologist and having grown up running around in the back rooms of jewelry stores for years I had the idea of integrating diamond into resin blanks. As it turns out, the results are spectacular. Originally I'd planned on just using these for my own pens but after doing a few trades with fellow pen makers and getting positive feedback I decided I'd offer them up for anyone.

Currently I offer blanks in 3 different sizes.

Standard Flat Cast Black - Individually poured, 5.25 x 13/16"
Round Kit Pen Blank - .81" x 6"
Round Kitless Pen Blank - .722 x 9"

Questions I often get:
  • Will these dull my tools?
    Not any more than any other alumilite blank. The very fine powder won't hurt HSS or Carbide. I've done a lot of testing in this regard and actually see more wear turning stabilized wood.
  • Do these contain real diamond or some sort of glass pearl?
    These blanks have real diamond in them and come with a certificate stating as much.
  • What resin do you use?
    For the moment all DiamondCast blanks are made from Alumilite. I like the color separation, it works well with the diamond, and the short cure time helps with production. I may experiment with other resins for different properties in the future.
  • Any turning/finishing tips?
    Alumilite is easy to drill and turn. Be sure to paint the inside of the blank after drilling for best results. While my blanks are fairly opaque, it's still a good idea to back paint them. My website specifies prefers colors for each blank to help get you started. After turning you can polish to a shine. However, if you want to REALLY kick up the sparkle a notch, try finishing with CA like you would a wood pen.
  • Should I get round or square pen blanks?
    Both! In all seriousness though they do differ a bit. When I'm in production mode I like the round blanks because they save me time. (No edges to knock off!) The round blanks are big enough to turn JR series sized pens from, no problem. Other than that, the differences have to do mostly with the figuring in the blank. My square blanks are laid up in a way that offers very unique figuring that is almost burl like. They are not swirled, but are deliberately poured to achieve a unique look. The only down side is that flat cast blanks with pearl often have an angle where they look less shiny as you rotate them. Finishing with CA helps alleviate that. Round blanks have slightly less figure in them but they sparkle 360 degrees around.

I think that about covers it. You can find my inventory here: http://www.mckenziepenworks.com or head on over to https://www.signaturepensupply.com/ and grab them along with some awesome pen kits from the good folks at Signature.

-Tim McKenzie
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Old 03-06-2018, 10:21 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Oregon
Posts: 130
Photos: 0

Default

Congrats, Tim! I'm excited to see these taking off. All the pens and razor handles I've made from your blanks have gotten a lot of "oohs" and "ahs".


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Noot17 is offline   Reply With Quote Top
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