Difference Between Pen Blank Materials

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  1. #1
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    Difference Between Pen Blank Materials

    Hi Everyone
    Finally ready to start getting into the pen-making a bit more fully and I thought I'd better get an idea of the pros and cons of the various blank materials.
    I've got plenty of wood so can always try a variety of different species without worrying about wrecking them.
    So, grateful if those more knowledgeable than me (all of you!) would advise on the pros and cons of the various plastic blanks.

    Materials I've seen advertised and would like advice on machinability, finish etc:
    Acrylic
    Acrylate
    Polyester
    Casein
    Ebonite
    Are Kirin, Erinoid, Omas and similar brands really better than the cheaper acrylics in terms of finish and impact?
    ...and any other materials you think are worth commenting on.

    For now, I'm keeping clear of the fancier stuff such as stone, embedded objects etc.

    Thanks in advance
    Duncan


     
     
  2. #2
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    The world is your lobster with turning..... Wood is good
    But if you think plastic is fantastic then it can be a bit baffling....
    Most things can be turned but your right they can be very different, always sharp tools, small cuts and good speeds will see you right...
    Acrylic can be brittle it depends on the amount of hardener or type used...... Acrylic Inlace is a real splinter one to watch... If your using sharp tools, you should also be producing long white ribbons which go everywhere and wrap around everything
    Casein, ebonite and omas again nice and easy to turn but can be smelly as can horn and antler.....
    My recommendation would be to try reputable blanks ie GPS or Kirinite or Axminster/ Turners Warehouse blanks, till your comfortable then you should have an idea where and what to buy from the pleather of home casters especially hybrid or watch part blanks.......
    I only open my mouth...to change feet...
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  3. #3
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    If you are just starting out I would buy some blanks from Axminster they are reasonably priced and usually easy to turn and finish.
    I buy my blanks from a number of suppliers but they are not cheap one of my favourites is Pam Harris. The turners workshop is another I like Conway Stewart and Oma's blanks as well as some others. But like you when starting out I bought all sorts of stuff not knowing what I was doing and probably wasted a lot of money. So you are right to ask the question.

     
     
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    Me I WOOD stick with your huge stock of it all the lessons you learn then put into practice on acrylic etc so often you will not always be told or tagged as to what type it is. Same with wood within the same species some are punky some like steel. Have fun try not to sweat the small stuff..Welcome.

    Peter.
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    One cannot beat wood, every piece different in hardness, grain, colour and working to a finish that gives the wood that "wow" factor. My opinion!
    Kelvin

     
     
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    It's only wood for me too. Love it I never developed any love for acrylic, especially turning it.

     
     
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    Wood is beautiful, there are many, many beautiful woods out there. I always finish with Melamine lacquer. I buy acrylic blanks I cast Epoxy resin blanks, easy to turn and great finish. I don’t turn or cast Polyester anymore, it can be brittle and unpredictable. As stated, your options are limitless.
    Kind regards John.

     
     
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    I must be odd as I like turning acrylics as much as timber. I developed my own style of turning & finishing which makes it easy. I always tell newbies to practice on pine. It’s cheap & plentiful. If you can turn pine then you can turn nearly anything & if it turns out well then you have a nice pen. The grain in pine can be quite pleasing, especially xcut grain. If you ruin it, it’s cheap enough to throw away. It’s better than ruining your more expensive blanks.
    If it looks right it usually is! My namesake
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  13. #9
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    Thanks gents,
    I have a couple of Axminster blanks which I'll have a go on before splashing the cash, - and it certainly looks as if I should steer clear of polyester, initially at least.
    I have turned a piece of, what sounds like acrylic, to make a small mushroom and found it easy enough but I didn't want to use the acrylic pen blanks on the "practice" slimline pens that I've got - I'll use wood on those.
    I can't post pictures yet but will try and do so once I get going; probably not until next week though.
    Duncan

     
     
  14. #10
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    Personally speaking,I prefer wood.As John says there is so much beautiful timber out there waiting to be tried.Blanks cut from the same stock always has some variation from the adjoining blank.That is why wood is so unique.

     
     

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