Snake Skin Blanks...

Signed-In Members Don't See This Ad

Russell Eaton

Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2009
Messages
788
Location
Stockbridge GA.
IMG_2164.jpg

IMG_2172.jpg

IMG_2173.JPG

IMG_2174.jpgI have been asked to give a review of the snake skin blanks. I hesitated to make the first post but have been encouraged to tell all publicly. The reason for this is not to hurt the vendors that make quality blanks, just those that are substandard.
I purchased these blanks from Gary Max. I ordered them and got them promptly. I was anxious to turn them and jumped right in. I started on the rattlesnake first. The blanks felt kind of sticky at first. I figured they were hot from being in the mailbox, so I let them cool in the basement. I noticed the first problem when I went to square the blanks with a pen mill. The tubes on both of the Rattlesnake blanks pushed through the other side. I will post the picture of them. I was not pushing hard as I was holding the blank with my hand. When I started the python blank I was very careful as well with good results, no damage to the blank from the mill and the tube stayed put. I put the python between centers and turned it down. I was very proud of the desired size when the skin started to come through the outside of the blank. I stopped turning at this point and left the man cave. Not in a good mood I slept on it and contacted Gary the next day.
After a couple of pm's back and forth Gary Informed me that he would not give me a refund, only replacements. It was several weeks before I got his address, I was on vacation and had some work issues. I returned the blanks AT MY COST. He promptly sent me the blanks back. The new rattlesnake blanks looked like the old ones with more clear added to them to cover the tubes. That is my best guess. The python skin blank was not any better.
Just to wrap this up I will not be doing any further buying from this vendor and could not recommend him to anyone else.
Once again I did not get any refund I paid shipping both times and have nothing but a three Sierra kits with no tubes to show for it.
The first picture is of the first rattlesnake skins that I received. All the rest are pictures of the "replacement blanks".
I am sure that I will get flack from this but if it saves some of YOU a few dollars I am fine with that.
 
Signed-In Members Don't See This Ad

Gary Max

Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2004
Messages
6,226
Location
Southern Kentucky
Good---Thank you for posting this here.

1)----Show me where you bought this from me on this site. Remember buying a item other than here is a different animal.
 

ldb2000

Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2007
Messages
5,381
Location
Laurence Harbor, NJ, USA.
I'm not defending this vendor just making a couple of observations on the stated problems .
One , Polyester resin blanks have a sticky surface to them as part of the design of the resin . This allows any further pours of resin to stick to the surface better then fully cured resin . This sticky surface can be avoided by either post curing the blanks for an hour or more in a low temperature oven at the expense of creating a more brittle blank , or adding a surfacing agent (styrene/wax mixture) . The sticky surface has no negative effect on the blanks other then being sticky .
Two , Tubes pushing out . The cast object (snake skin) has to be stuck to the tube by some method . This means it must be glued to the tube by some method . most glues are softened by heat and in casting there is heat created by the curing of the resin and post curing (if done) . This heat can break the glue bond to the tube causing the tube to break loose . While annoying this can be easily repaired by simply putting a couple of drops of thin CA on the ends of the blank and allowing it to soak in . Also using a barrel trimmer can cause enough heat by friction to break the glue bond to the tube causing the same problem . I always advise using a sanding of the ends rather then barrel trimmers on any cast embedding blanks to avoid the heat problems .
Again I'm not defending the vendor but lets complain about things that he has some control over .
 

Gary Max

Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2004
Messages
6,226
Location
Southern Kentucky
5th----Here are the blanks that you returned to me----the two Rattle Snakes where never even mounted on a lathe---instead you screwed them up trying to square the ends and you removed to much material---now the blanks are to short

Second---the Python----you turned it and hit the skin----one drop of CA and it would of been fixed.

But I said nothing and replaced your whole order
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Gary Max

Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2004
Messages
6,226
Location
Southern Kentucky
Bottom line------you bought three blanks from me and screwed them up ----a month later you contacted me and I offered to replace them Free of Charge-----3 weeks later the screwed up blanks arrived. You have dragged this out over two months.
 

Smitty37

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2009
Messages
12,823
Location
Milford, Delaware 19963
What's the difference???

Good---Thank you for posting this here.

1)----Show me where you bought this from me on this site. Remember buying a item other than here is a different animal.
Not to take sides in this discussion but I do have one question Gary. We frequently review items not bought on this site so I'm wondering why buying elsewhere would be an issue. Thanks for your reply
 

lwalden

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2005
Messages
1,237
Location
Trophy Club, Texas, USA.
Can you provide some clarification to this statement? I may be reading this wrong, but it looks like this statement indicates that unless a member buys something other than from a classified on the IAP, that there should be no expectation of quality or warranty? Not sure why that would be, so I'm guessing I'm misreading this. I would guess any one could provide a vendor review of an item bought from PSI, for example, regardless of whether they bought it via a classified in the IAP section or directly from the PSI website, or even on ebay. Am I missing something?

Good---Thank you for posting this here.

1)----Show me where you bought this from me on this site. Remember buying a item other than here is a different animal.
 

lwalden

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2005
Messages
1,237
Location
Trophy Club, Texas, USA.
Interesting, looks like it was bought here after all. I'd still be interested in more detail on why it might make a difference in the expectation of quality or need to stand behind one's product based on venue used to sell.


Good---Thank you for posting this here.

1)----Show me where you bought this from me on this site. Remember buying a item other than here is a different animal.
Not that it matters, but...

http://www.penturners.org/forum/showpost.php?p=1047673&postcount=5
 

Russell Eaton

Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2009
Messages
788
Location
Stockbridge GA.
1. bought the blanks on 6-30 off your ad.( see attached link to ad)
2. got the blanks on 7-2 or 3
3. it took till 8-10 to get your address
4.no blanks blew up. the snake skin was not tight to the tube and came through. not on just one but ALL.
5.If I messed the blank up why is the tube pushed out the other side? I don't cast blanks you tell me how You messed them up.
The bottom line is YOU messed the blanks up not me. I am just the person that will stick up for myself and try to help out some other people. The delay on returning the blanks was part me but part you as well. It took till 8-10 for me to get your address. I will admit it took 2 and 1/2 weeks for me to mail them, that is the breaks when you have problems at work.
 

Attachments

lwalden

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2005
Messages
1,237
Location
Trophy Club, Texas, USA.
Question for you, Russell. I know some vendors we use (Bill Baumbeck for example, at Arizona Silhouette) get a lot of heat from folks because they have a policy that requires that you notify them within a short window of time of any issues related to missing or defective items. While I know a lot of folks aren't happy with Bill's decision to have this policy, I do know he publishes this fact. My question (related to Gary's message below), was did you receive any indication from Gary that you only had a limited time in which to inspect the product he sold? In other words, was there some communication or indication that if you did not identify an issue within the first week, or month, or some other time frame, that any warranty (implied or otherwise) would expire?

Second----when did you buy these and how long did you wait to contact me??
 

Gary Max

Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2004
Messages
6,226
Location
Southern Kentucky
I was under the impression that as a person selling at MVV I had to stand behind what I sold here------that's the reason.
I do not remember Russell ever asking for a refund----I just told him I would replace the product.
It is not my fault he over turned the blanks the second time---as a matter of fact---reading his tread today was the first I heard about him having trouble with the replacements.
Timely manner-----it's been over two months.
 

lwalden

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2005
Messages
1,237
Location
Trophy Club, Texas, USA.
So if I understand what you're saying below, tied in with your first post where he had to prove where he bought, and that it would be different if he did not buy it on the IAP, your position is that if someone buys from you through a MVV listing you're forced to stand behind your product, and if you sell elsewhere you don't stand behind what you sell?

I was under the impression that as a person selling at MVV I had to stand behind what I sold here------that's the reason.
I do not remember Russell ever asking for a refund----I just told him I would replace the product.
It is not my fault he over turned the blanks the second time---as a matter of fact---reading his tread today was the first I heard about him having trouble with the replacements.
Timely manner-----it's been over two months.
 

Gary Max

Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2004
Messages
6,226
Location
Southern Kentucky
and if you sell elsewhere you don't stand behind what you sell?


You added that not me----- I don't understand why but then I Don't know what you are thinking either.
 

Willee

Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2007
Messages
295
Location
Corpus CHristi Texas
This is just one reason I would never sell unfinished cast resin blanks unless I could make them totally idiot proof (no offense intended to anyone here).

Cast blanks are different than wood blanks.
As the person doing the turning you need to know how far off the surface of the tube the embedded items actually are.
Without knowing this you are turning blind and will only know how small of a diameter you can cut down to by hitting something or not.
I turned a PC board blank intended for a Wall Street III (Sierra Vista) down to a standard Wall street II (Sierra) size and started hitting a few board components.
That was my fault ... not the maker of the blank.
When turned down for the Wall Street III it worked perfectly.

In My Humble Opinion ...
It would be a reasonable expectation of the buyer of a blank that the CR covering the tube and the embedded items be thick enough to allow cutting down to the normal size of the pen it was intended for without hitting the embedded objects.
If not then the blank is defective.
It would also be a reasonable expectation of the buyer that the tube would be glued in such a way as to not let the tube be pushed out of the casting during the normal trimming, turning, and assembling of the pen.
If not then the blank is defective.
 

lwalden

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2005
Messages
1,237
Location
Trophy Club, Texas, USA.
You are absolutely correct, Gary, I did add that, including the question mark. I realize the sentence was a bit long, and that it did incorporate references to several posts. Since you didn't understand and didn't get what I was thinking, I'll try again. I was asking you a question. The basis for that question was from 2 different posts you made. In your first post (#2 in this thread) you said "1)----Show me where you bought this from me on this site. Remember buying a item other than here is a different animal."
In your seventh post (#15 in this thread) it appeared you were answering a question posed by both Smitty37 and myself (posts # 9 and 11 in this thread)
Questioning why it would matter whether Russell bought from you via the IAP classifieds or not. The partial answer in your seventh post was "I was under the impression that as a person selling at MVV I had to stand behind what I sold here------that's the reason." (underlining was mine, for emphasis).

So based on your two posts, you indicate you recognize that if you sold an item through the MVV classifieds you "had to stand behind what I sold here" but if Russell bought that item other than here (through the MVV classifieds) that would be a different animal. The implication seemed pretty clear that the "different animal" meant there was not a way to force you to stand behind your product. While the implication seemd pretty clear, bluntly, that seems like a rather shortsighted policy to take, for any vendor interested in either repeat business or maintaining a positive reputation. And that was the basis for my question- and the gist of my question- is it true that your willingness to stand behind the quality of your product is based on whether you "have to" as a condition of being allowed to sell in the MVV classifieds, and that it is different if sold outside that particular forum? Please let me know if further clarification of this question is needed.

and if you sell elsewhere you don't stand behind what you sell?

You added that not me----- I don't understand why but then I Don't know what you are thinking either.
 

Willee

Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2007
Messages
295
Location
Corpus CHristi Texas
This is the first report I have seen about problems with the blanks Gary Max sells.
I would think that if there was a defect in the way he makes them others would have reported it by now ... just saying.

I also think that Gary Max has done what he should have done and replaced the blanks when requested.
If this is just one isolated case then I would give Gary Max the benefit of the doubt about the quality of his work.

The tubes pushing out kinda bothers me ... BUT ... I have hung up pen mills in tubes to the point I did not think I would ever get them out.
If you are not careful a lot of heat and pressure can be produced ... especially if you are using them with a power tool.
Heat with pressure is what I use to remove pool cue joint pins and they have been epoxied deeply in place.
Again ... Garry Max should be given the benefit of the doubt here.
 

lwalden

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2005
Messages
1,237
Location
Trophy Club, Texas, USA.
Willee, my comments and questions haven't been related to the quality of the blanks, either the originals or the replacements he sent. And you're right, he did send replacements.I've turned quite a few rattlesnake blanks myself, and know there's all kind of ways to screw them up. I probably had a 50% to 70% failure rate with the first dozen or so I tried to turn, largely related to using a gouge and then a skew that wasn't as sharp as it should have been. I know there's the possibility of having cloudy/silvery/ghosting around the scales, and that it makes a big difference how much time the vendor spends trying to get a clean seam. I agree with you that tubes should stay in place. But I wasn't trying to ask about those items, I was asking for clarification from Gary on specific comments he made- comments that indicated Russell had to prove that he'd bought the blanks here, and when asked why that was an issue, his response seemed to indicate that if they were sold here, he had to stand behind them but if they weren't sold here, that would be different. And I'm not questioning Gary's right to decide that he wouldn't stand behind his product unless he had to as a result of the requirements this site imposes on vendors that sell in the MVV classifieds, I'm just trying to get clarification that I'm understanding the posts he made since that seems like a self destructing approach to take.

This is the first report I have seen about problems with the blanks Gary Max sells.
I would think that if there was a defect in the way he makes them others would have reported it by now ... just saying.

I also think that Gary Max has done what he should have done and replaced the blanks when requested.
If this is just one isolated case then I would give Gary Max the benefit of the doubt about the quality of his work.

The tubes pushing out kinda bothers me ... BUT ... I have hung up pen mills in tubes to the point I did not think I would ever get them out.
If you are not careful a lot of heat and pressure can be produced ... especially if you are using them with a power tool.
Heat with pressure is what I use to remove pool cue joint pins and they have been epoxied deeply in place.
Again ... Garry Max should be given the benefit of the doubt here.
 
Last edited:

Gary Max

Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2004
Messages
6,226
Location
Southern Kentucky
I have nothing more to add to this---the facts have been posted,
I would like to thank the folks for all the nice PM's and support from friends.
 

Willee

Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2007
Messages
295
Location
Corpus CHristi Texas
Willee, my comments and questions haven't been related to the quality of the blanks, either the originals or the replacements he sent.
(snip)

I was asking for clarification from Gary on specific comments he made- comments that indicated Russell had to prove that he'd bought the blanks here, and when asked why that was an issue, his response seemed to indicate that if they were sold here, he had to stand behind them but if they weren't sold here, that would be different.
Yes, I understand what you were asking.
Since Gary did replace them he did stand behind them so that is what you would call a MOOT question.
I chose to ignore that issue also because it did not pertain to the real issues of the original poster.
I just did not see any wisdom in going down that road at this time.
 
Last edited:

bitshird

Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2007
Messages
10,236
Location
Adamsville, TN, USA.
Snake skin blanks are hard to turn, the best of the Sierra type pens to use is the Sierra Vista, it was made for this purpose, These 5.00 look alikes don't have much room at the end of the blanks, they are only .471 Dia. so you can fudge .002 or maybe .003 and 99%of the people won't notice the fit. Cobra skins are thicker than a lot of Rattle snakes, I don't think the shin should come loose from the tube though, but since Gary made good and did the right thing, I have my snake skin supplier send me small skins and out of 40 we cast we lost 7 all done using the look a likes, I did 8 sierra vistas and a completely different animal, I know my tool I know what I cast, I have a reasonable grasp of the concept and know what to expect, but like I said I still lost 7 all at one end or the other, all with the lesser expensive pen kits. I don't necessarily agree with your thinking that the tubes were loose, to me it looks like there might be a few teeth marks where the blank squaring tool bit into the tube. Since the skin is CA'd to the tube, and the skin is only .003 to maybe .006 thick and that would be a thick hide, it would be more than a slight possibility that your squaring tool dug in and spun the tubes loose, (even though you were holding it in your bare hand) realize there isn't much CA holding a skin that has been tanned and still has some flexibility to it, the skins aren't as dry as a piece of paper. Although Gary's first 5 or so posts as though they should have had some factual bearing on the issue did seem a bit childish, but I still think he did the best he could in this situation. I've seen his work, it's as good as you'll find, Snake Skin is a whole nother animal to turn, I've looked at a lot of your work and I don't see why you should have had these troubles, but better luck next time, and find a drawer to hide your barrel trimmer in and forget which drawer.
 

lwalden

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2005
Messages
1,237
Location
Trophy Club, Texas, USA.
Willee, my comments and questions haven't been related to the quality of the blanks, either the originals or the replacements he sent.
(snip)

I was asking for clarification from Gary on specific comments he made- comments that indicated Russell had to prove that he'd bought the blanks here, and when asked why that was an issue, his response seemed to indicate that if they were sold here, he had to stand behind them but if they weren't sold here, that would be different.
Yes, I understand what you were asking.
Since Gary did replace them he did stand behind them so that is what you would call a MOOT question.
I chose to ignore that issue also because it did not pertain to the real issues of the original poster.
I just did not see any wisdom in going down that road at this time.

I realize this is most likely beating a dead horse, but:

This was a vendor review, not a transaction review (albeit based on a transaction). The reviewer indicated he was dissatisfied with the quality of both the original and the replacements. This portion of the review obviously has a lot of room for subjectivity. The reviewer posted pictures, allowing each of us to better determine our own subjective opinion. Some will think the blanks were fine, and there was not a valid basis for the negative assessment. Others, after looking at the pictures, may have also questioned the quality of the blanks. Those that think the blanks look fine will no doubt agree that Gary stood behind his product, and may agree that my asking Gary to clarify what his policy is was a moot question (and thanks for using that correctly, I see and hear so many folks calling that a mute point!). Those that questioned the quality of the blanks may look at it from the perspective that having a poor product replaced by another poor product is not much of a guarantee (granted the subjective nature of what quality should be). It's a lot easier to say that replacing a broken camera bought on-line with another broken camera doesn't satisfy a manufacturers obligation, given the lack of subjectivity in having a broken camera. Willee, you indicated you "chose to ignore that issue also because it did not pertain to the real issues of the original poster", and I would agree somewhat if this was strictly a review of the transaction instead of the vendor. Generally it's pretty easy to nail down whether a vendor will stand behind their product or not. Gary is the one who seemed to indicate he had different standards based on whether you were buying from him through the most valued vendors classifieds or not. I asked for clarification, since this struck me as odd. In responding to my post, Gary indicated I had added words and he didn't understand why or what my thoughts were. As is obvious from this and my previous posts, I can tend to run on a bit. I know that. But after breaking it down in more detail, Gary put a non-response (in my opinion) out there (I have nothing more to add to this- the facts have been posted.).

From my perspective, I still have no clear idea whether he only stands behind his product if it was bought from the MVV classifieds, or if he always does, regardless of where it was purchased. And that is based on his posts. As Gary himself said, the facts have been posted. Those facts are that Gary replaced a set of blanks with another set of blanks that the purchaser was not satisfied with. Maybe the customers expectations weren't realistic, we'll all get to form our own opinion on that. It's also a fact that Gary posted a challenge/demand to Russell to prove that the blanks were purchased here, and specifically said that "buying an item other than here would be a different animal". It's also a fact that when this statement was questioned, the only clarification Gary offered was that if they were purchased through the MVV classifieds, he is required to stand behind them. Maybe I'm just burned out with all the double-speak and non-answers we seem to get out of the politicians in both parties these days, but come on- how hard is it to say I'll stand behind my product, regardless of how and when you bought it? Or if that's not the case, bluntly admit that you only stand behind your product under certain circumstances? Either way, it is what it is. It would just be nice to know. And if we don't know, "Caveat Emptor" (let the buyer beware) would seem to be appropriate. Gary, my apologies if you have provided a clear answer and I have missed it. Seriously. And if you haven't, and could provide clarification, I really would appreciate it.
 

Buzzzz4

Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Messages
2,759
Location
Grand Rapids, Mi
I bought two of the red python blanks from Gary. When I received them, I was not happy with those two blanks for many reasons including some of those items in Russell's review. I contacted Gary when I received them and explained my concerns with the blanks and asked for a refund. He did so promptly and the issue was resolved to my satisfaction.
 

DocStram

Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2006
Messages
3,431
Location
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
If I purchased blanks from an IAP member and wasn't satisfied, I would expect to get a refund . . . whether it was stated in the ad or not. I would also expect a refund for all postage costs, especially if the person is an MVV.
My goal would be to keep the buyer happy.

Sorry, Gary, it's just how I see it.
 

Russell Eaton

Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2009
Messages
788
Location
Stockbridge GA.
Eric I am glad YOU were happy. I was informed that I could only get a REPLACEMENT, REFUND was not an option. I paid 52$ for the blanks and shipping, 5$ more for the return, I got a total of 6 blanks and at the end of the day I have 3 pen kits without tubes to show for it. Of the 6 blanks none were of a high quality. I will be happy to show all the local members these blanks today at the local chapter meeting and anyone can answer as to the quality. Russell
 

louisbry

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Messages
2,655
Location
Tullahoma, TN, USA.
Russell, I looked at Gary's original add and it looks like he provided Sierra components. As several have mentioned, Sierra Vista components should have been provided for snake skins.
 

its_virgil

Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2004
Messages
7,045
Location
Wichita Falls, TX, USA.
I was making snake skin pens using sierras (not vista) way before the sierra vista can along. I had no problem with exposed skin on the ends. It all matters how tightly the skin is stretched and pressed onto the tube, what kind and how much glue is used, and how thick the skin actually is. I even make El Grande snake skin pens...the El Grande may just be the pen with the smallest amount of resin left on the tubes after turning. Of course, I make my own blanks so I can control all of the variables. I don't use skin that is thick...actually, I've only cast prairie rattle skin and diamond back skins. Others I have found to be too thick. I do have a section of coral to cast. I was told to get busy on it so I may just have to do that this weekend.
Do a good turn daily!
Don
Russell, I looked at Gary's original add and it looks like he provided Sierra components. As several have mentioned, Sierra Vista components should have been provided for snake skins.
 

louisbry

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Messages
2,655
Location
Tullahoma, TN, USA.
Good information Don. Sounds like suppliers of snake skin blanks should provide instructions so that their method of making them could be taken into account while turning the blanks. Seems like a lot of variables a potential customer should be aware of.
 

bad

Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2007
Messages
348
Location
Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
I recently purchased 6 snakeskin Sierra blanks off someone else in IAP. I put them on Sierra knock off kits from Woodpenpro. The first one I turned got pretty badly screwed up... my fault. I think it's called a learning curve. The rest turned out ok. My point would be to question the comment that you should only use Vista Sierra kits. By the way, where do you get Vista Sierra kits from? Just curious.
 

ed4copies

Local Chapter Manager
Joined
Mar 25, 2005
Messages
23,653
Location
Racine, WI, USA.
In this case, the kits came WITH the blanks.

One might logically assume that the seller was implying that they would work together.
 

Buzzzz4

Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Messages
2,759
Location
Grand Rapids, Mi
Russell, yes it is unfortunate we weren't taken care of in the same manner. I never even tried to turn the blanks. There were way too many flaws to make a nice looking pen. I chimed in only because I wanted others to know it was more likely the blanks than your turning. I received a message when they were in the mail to me that the skins were thick and I would have to leave them fat in order not to hit the skin.
 
Last edited:

Skye

Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2006
Messages
3,489
Location
Rock Hill, SC
.........instead you screwed them up trying to square the ends ......................................

But I said nothing and replaced your whole order
Looks like the scales are pulling away from the PR too but if I had to guess it was because when the mill hit the brass barrel (which is a no-no) it tugged the tube and twisted the skin against the PR and caused separation.

Regardless, like everything that's been said so far, I don't think any of this was a fault in the product, it was a fault in the buyer's prepping of the blanks. People forget that there are basically three levels in these blanks BRASS-SKIN-PR and the weak link is the skin, which unfortunately hold's the center position. You have to be sooooo careful in prepping these.

I think Gary went far beyond what was expected in replacing any of them because I sure as heck wouldn't have.

(also I wrote this not knowing this was a 4 page thread, doh!)
 

Rojo22

Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2006
Messages
1,531
Location
Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Snake Skins

I had the opportunity to look at these blanks when we held our IAP meeting. I will get to the observations I had in just a little while.

I have purchased quite a few things from Gary Max, mostly cartridge based purchases, and have NEVER had a problem with any of the transactions. He has always been spot on with stuff, and is very helpful when contacted by email. This is just my opinion, but it is based on at least 4 transactions, some based on $100 plus orders. I would still consider Gary Max as a vendor for any of the items he sells.

Now for my observations. I have NEVER CAST SNAKESKINS. I have though cast quite a bit of other "tricky" items in PR. I have cast everything from Coke bottle labels, to fabric, to pictures, and to decorative papers. I have used the Resin Saver molds to make my blanks, since it offers the best chance of success when making these types of blanks. The first observation that I would like to offer for the blanks that I saw, were that the ends of the blanks were "Chunked" out. This either occurred during the pouring process (Some type of "gunk" was on the end of the mold and was not cleared out before pouring) or the material was "broken" out while being removed from the mold. My initial guess is that they were molded this way, because the chunked out parts exhibited the same finish as the rest of the blank, not a shiny broken glass looking finish if it was broken out later. My guess is that this could happen in transit as well, as I have dropped a newly made blank on the floor and had it display the same type of issue, although the blank I viewed did not have the shiny broken glass finish that I have observed in the past when this type of damage occurrs. The point being, there was ABSOLUTELY NO PEN MILL USED ON THE BLANK, and there was no way I would have attempted to make a pen out of the blank shown me. The material was obviously "chipped", "broken" or "not poured" all the way down into the snake skin. IF I HAD POURED THIS BLANK, I would have attempted to put the blank back in the mold and tried to attempt "filling in" the area that was not covered by the material. IF I HAD PURCHASED THIS BLANK, I would have immediately asked for another blank or a refund. Looking at the blank, there was NO WAY that I would simply have added some CA glue and been ok with it. This blank would have been a challenge to successfully finish by even the most experienced snake skin turner by modifying it to such an extent to even make the attempt worthwhile, which would have included filling the voids in with additional cast material. For someone who does not cast, there would have been no way for the blank to be done successfully.

I was not involved with the "first" attempt by Russell to make the snakeskin blank, so I cannot attest to any damage done to the first set of blanks. I have however seen Russell's work with other delicate pen kits, and would assume that he would have been reasonable with his technique. Again, not seeing the original pen blanks, I will not comment on those.
 
Signed-In Members Don't See This Ad

JerrySambrook

Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2006
Messages
1,312
Location
Southwick, MA, USA.
Looking at the pics of this that are posted, two things look to have happened

The top pic, looking at the insides of the tubes from the way the pic is, there was either residue on the tubes insides, or on the pen mills used to mill the ends. This caused heat to occur and caused the tubes to unbond.

The bottom most pic (the red blank), it is fairly obvious when looked at it full sized, the the person who worked on this blank was using a scraping technique, and had the scraper (or skew on its side) in a positive rake as evidenced by the chatter marks that are visible going up to the chipped out area. Yes, the blank looks thin, but with proper technique, there was no reason that on chipped out as evidenced by the pics provided.

Sorry, but the original pics would lead many to believe that the errors are on the side of the turner.
 
Top Bottom