Alternatives to TruStone

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magpens

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For a long time, I was hesitant to try TruStone as a blank material.
When I did try TruStone, I found it to be not as difficult as I had expected and I really like the results.

But TruStone has become rather expensive, so I am wondering about alternatives.

I tried FauxStone and am not happy with it because the colors are somewhat dull compared to TruStone. . Also, it seems that the heat generated in turning causes the colors to lighten considerably even though I am turning at only about 400 rpm and taking very light cuts of 0.002" or less (metal working lathe). . Furthermore, FauxStone does not seem to shine up as well as TruStone.

Please tell me about your experience with FauxStone and any other alternatives that are available. . I would also like to know where to buy any alternative XxxxStone blanks, please.
 
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Shock me

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Which varieties of TruStone did you like the most? They differ greatly from the turquoise products which I find soft and plasticky to the jaspers and lapises which are quite hard and stoney
 

magpens

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Gregory,

I have not turned a great variety ... have done some turquoise and green, some white with gold matrix, some reddish ones, some black ... found them all quite easily manageable by keeping the speed down and the cuts light .... but have not done any jasper mainly because I don't like that part of the spectrum !! . I'd like to try some lapis but have not found any for sale. I do my work on a variable speed metal working lathe with carbide cutters.

It would be nice to hear more about your experiences with TruStone ... and similar materials.
 

TonyL

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I have turned a lot of TS, but not every variety. I did try some of the "imitations" and found them more difficult to turn. The imitations that I tried where the lighter colors/shades. I wouldn't rely on just my experience given the limited varieties that I turned. I don't know if mokume gane is considered TS, but I have much success with that.
 

magpens

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Tony,

Do you remember which brand name of imitations you tried ?

Mokume gane, I believe, is primarily a metallic composite material. . As you say, it is very pleasant to turn and can produce very attractive results, but the particular color offerings that are readily available to us pen turners don't seem to have the same WOW-factor as TrueStone, in my opinion ... possibly because of the gray and black backgrounds.
 

Shock me

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I've tried the turquoise faux-stone because as I mentioned, I find the turquiose TruStone to be too plasticky. The faux stone was no better. I like the harder TruStones much better, so much so that I havent been interested in trying anything else
 

More4dan

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You must be talking about the M3 mokume gane made of metal dust and resin.

https://m3mokume.com/store/M3-Mokume-Pen-Blanks-p104826549

They do have reds and blues along with the blacks, grays, silvers, and golds.

The TruStone has a much greater color variation.

M3 is very durable, strong, and scratch resistant. It can be polished to a beautiful finish.

The TueStone is more brittle and will break if dropped. The finish is however amazing. It polishes like glass and has a remarkable feel that I describe as “buttery”. It’s worth trying.

The M3 at $30 for a 3/4 x 3/4 x 5” blank might have you running back to TruStone. Real Mokme Gane is made of layers of Copper, Brass, and or Nickel Silver sold buy the inch. $44/inch for 3/4” diameter made of coper and brass.

http://www.sakmarenterprises.com/inventory_2_color_round

That will get you running back to M3 composites.

Danny


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magpens

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Danny,

Thanks for your post. . I realize now that there are mokume gane offerings than I had previously been exposed to. . I think there was a promotion 4 or so yrs ago in which the coloration seemed to be dominated by dark backgrounds which kind of "depressed" the appeal of the product and I was put off by that. . But your post brought to my attention some more attractive pieces. . I should try them ... but the price !! . I now remember that a member here, Wizard, (and perhaps others), has presented some of his work with the brass/bronze/silver toned materials and they are very attractive ... in fact, I think he won 2nd prize in the kitless contest last year at this time.
 

Terredax

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At the price of true Mokume Gane, one needs to understand, that it undergoes galvanic corrosion.
Using copper and silver, will create a battery when they become wet. Salt from your skin, hand lotions, and soaps create an electrolyte that causes the corrosion, because of the battery effect and the current passed between the metals. The copper will eventually dissolve completely, and the silver will remain. This process can happen at different rates, based on the environment the material exposed to. So how does this apply to pens? Someone with sweaty hands will cause the process to happen more quickly. If one chose to apply a permanent top coat, the galvanic corrosion can be prevented. Polish and wax isn't considered suitable.

Just something to keep in mind if your pockets are deep enough to give this material a try.
 

More4dan

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Most Mokume Gane that you could hope to afford uses Nickel Silver which is closer to the copper in the galvanic series. Just like our quarters in the US are made of Nickel Silver over Copper. . Nickel Silver is made of mostly copper with zinc and nickel which gives it the “silver” color. Or brass and copper are used that are also close in the series.

Pure Silver and Copper would create a problem if left wet, say in a ink dropper design for a fountain pen.

In fact gold plating on a stainless steel nib would have the same issue with many water based inks. Solid gold or Solid stainless steel would be less corrosive than combining the two.

Danny


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magpens

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Thanks for that info, John ! . Good to know about the galvanic thing ... I am not a chemist, but I suppose that somewhere in the dim, dark past I might have come across that before.
 
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