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Old 01-08-2018, 07:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Blanks from IAP member mckenziedrums

I had an opportunity to turn a pen recently using blanks from mckenziedrums. Tim does something a little unique with his blanks where he uses real diamond dust for the shimmer in the blanks rather than a typical pearl powders.

The blanks come mostly square and in typical 5" pen blank size. The largest diameter I was able to achieve once completely rounded was 18mm so it should be more than enough room for any pen you want to use it on.

Since it's Alumilite it lends itself to either kit or custom pens and is easy to turn and polish. The color saturation and penetration is good with no dead areas that I found. Definitely no air bubbles either so they're good solid blanks.

As for the diamond dust, it's a nice touch but I wouldn't say that the shine factor is quite as high as some of the powders available but as Tim said, it's more about being able to tell your customer that it's real diamond dust and I believe he said he was working on certificates to include that explain this.

My only real criticism, and mind you I have a limited sampling of 2 blanks, is that the saturation of the dust doesn't get all the way to the bottom of the mold, or it floats up. Either way it leaves one side of the blank not quite as shiny as the other. However the thinner the pen body the less that will be noticeable. The pen in this picture is around 15.5mm in diameter on the cap and 14.5mm on the body.

Overall I think they are very nice blanks and provide a bit of variety and new blood to what is available to the pen market.

Nice job Tim.
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Old 01-08-2018, 08:29 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Thanks Carl! Only one minor correction, I do actually use Mica based pigments as the primary colorant. The diamond is used similar to adding a traditional pearl. All the colors are mica based.
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Old 01-08-2018, 08:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mckenziedrums View Post
Thanks Carl! Only one minor correction, I do actually use Mica based pigments as the primary colorant. The diamond is used similar to adding a traditional pearl. All the colors are mica based.
Corrected. Thanks
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Old 01-08-2018, 09:01 AM   #4 (permalink)
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How does the diamond dust affect your tooling when cutting, did you notice any faster dulling of your tools that could be attributed to the Diamond dust over normal wear?
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Old 01-08-2018, 09:17 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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So you're the second person to ask me about that. I don't know that I've had a large enough sampling to determine that. When I raised the question with Tim he said that there have been no reports yet of premature wear on tooling and it cut just as soft as normal Alumilite with carbide bits on both the metal and wood lathe. I didn't notice any difficulty on drilling either so I really can't say one way or another right now. Not enough data.
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Old 01-08-2018, 10:49 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mredburn View Post
How does the diamond dust affect your tooling when cutting, did you notice any faster dulling of your tools that could be attributed to the Diamond dust over normal wear?
Admittedly, I'm a bit biased here... However, I've turned a bunch of these and originally had no intent whatsoever of selling them. The goal was to have something to set my pens apart from others. In the 50 or so pens I've made from these I've not noticed any additional wear. I attribute this to using very fine powder that is suspended in a soft resin, it's not like you're running your tool against a diamond file. I do more sharpening turning stabilized woods than with my alumilite blanks.

I don't know that the powder is "floating" since I thoroughly mix things and the color simply wouldn't be there if it wasn't mixed since it's all powder based... it's more likely that there is one side where the pearl doesn't pick up the light. I've experienced this with other pearlescent blanks in the past. In the turned pen you can rotate it and most of the blank will sparkle and then there will be an angle where it does not. In this particular color combo it is a bit more pronounced since they are relatively dark colors. While I'm not sure it can be entirely avoided, I'm certainly open to ideas on how to minimize it!

I know I've said it already but... Beautiful pen. Thank you again for the honest feedback and for turning this. It's one thing to use a bunch of my blanks for kit pens, something else entirely to see one turned into art!
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Old 01-08-2018, 12:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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A question about the first picture, do you turn the blank round with a single cut? Brave man there if so.


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Old 01-08-2018, 12:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Just to add on here - I have several of these blanks as well and they look stunning in sunlight! I've made a few pens and a razor handle so far. It was easy to turn and I didn't notice it dulling my carbide tool any faster than other stuff.
Definitely recommend these blanks if you're looking for something different!


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Old 01-08-2018, 02:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Blanks from IAP member mckenziedrums

I have noticed the one sided thing on most pearlescent blanks, also. Since we will likely start casting this quarter, any secrets to avoiding will be appreciated.


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Old 01-08-2018, 03:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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All talk of the blank aside (I really like the blank) for a moment. I wanted to tell you that I really like thee roll stop you have implemented. I followed your last one and know that it was an earring. Just wanted to say "good on you" for thinking outside the box. Classy pen. Classier idea. Made me think beyond my own thinking - two points for you! (And I really do love the blank!)
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