Casein and acrylic fountain pen

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jalbert

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I received some “Tiffany” casein from turners workshop recently, and decided that I needed to try it out sooner than later. I’d always been curious about the material, but never had a chance to use it. I wasn’t sure what to expect after hearing a decent amount of negative feedback, but I found it quite nice to work with. I didn’t find any issue with water solubility, which is one of the main complaints I have heard (this was wet sanded with no warping or dissolving). I based this pen around an acrylic skeleton made from transparent purple acrylic keeping the entire ink chamber enclosed to eliminate risk of ink seeping into the casein. I made a sleeve from the casein, which was threaded on and epoxied over the acrylic body. The section and cap threads are black acrylic. Since the casein was not large enough in diameter for the cap, I used black acrylic for the cap, and make the finial from casein to be able to tie the cap to the body and make them look like they matched. I made the clip and section band from argentium, and pierced the clip to try and mirror the random stained glass pattern of the casein. This is a somewhat oversize pen, with a barrel diameter of 14mm at the cap threads, and about 5 3/8” long when capped. It uses a Bock #8 nib, and can be filled via converter or ink placed directly in the barrel, as the casein is insulated from contact with the ink.
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MPVic

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Dec 23, 2011
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John, that is an outstanding piece - thanks for sharing. Question: if my screen is displaying the images properly, it appears to be a satin finish rather than a gloss. If that is correct, how did you achieve it?
 

jttheclockman

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As always very nicely done. What is this material called. They have many colors from what I see. I like this stuff alot. Thanks. From this photo it looks like seashells in clear epoxy resin. Why do they call it casein??
 

jalbert

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Louisville, KY
As always very nicely done. What is this material called. They have many colors from what I see. I like this stuff alot. Thanks. From this photo it looks like seashells in clear epoxy resin. Why do they call it casein??
It’s the “Matisse “ pattern. It is made from casein protein derived from milk. Not sure sure of the specifics of the process, but it involves turning milk proteins into a putty through chemical reaction, coloring it, then molding it into sheets/rods of whatever pattern is desired.
 

jttheclockman

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It’s the “Matisse “ pattern. It is made from casein protein derived from milk. Not sure sure of the specifics of the process, but it involves turning milk proteins into a putty through chemical reaction, coloring it, then molding it into sheets/rods of whatever pattern is desired.
Yea I have some of the old stuff that is white and just afraid to turn it. I have used the imitation stuff. But from your photo outdoors that stuff does not look like Casein but ordinary acrylic. I say this because I just made a few blanks that are seashells and cast in clear epoxy resin and this looks similar to them. I am not doubting what you are saying because I did a google search and see this and other colors that are labeled that way too. But they have a swirling look as opposed to seashells. Anyway this looks great and I think I have to get some. I like bright colored blanks. Thanks for showing.
 

jalbert

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Louisville, KY
Yea I have some of the old stuff that is white and just afraid to turn it. I have used the imitation stuff. But from your photo outdoors that stuff does not look like Casein but ordinary acrylic. I say this because I just made a few blanks that are seashells and cast in clear epoxy resin and this looks similar to them. I am not doubting what you are saying because I did a google search and see this and other colors that are labeled that way too. But they have a swirling look as opposed to seashells. Anyway this looks great and I think I have to get some. I like bright colored blanks. Thanks for showing.
The sour milk smell while turning is pretty indicative. This is modern Conway Stewart production, so I would expect variation between it and vintage stock.
 

jttheclockman

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The sour milk smell while turning is pretty indicative. This is modern Conway Stewart production, so I would expect variation between it and vintage stock.
Yes that was the company I was looking at. Again nice work on it. Another winner.
 

jalbert

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Louisville, KY
This is a beautiful pen. I’m also interested in your clip and band work. Is the clip made out of argentium made from sheet or strip? I assume the bands are made from strip. If yes, what size strip are you using?


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Clip is cast from a wax model and refined with a jewelers saw. Band started out as 14g square wire, but I rolled it out so it became thinner and wider
 

carlmorrell

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May 14, 2013
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Cary, NC
I have a casein stash, in fact I just got more, and have that color. The subject of instability comes up a lot. I have had two crack all over the place several weeks after I made them. It's heartbreaking knowing the rarity and difficulty obtaining.
 
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