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Apr 23 2007



http://www.penturners.org/forum/images/icon_posticon.gifPosted - Dec 07 2007 :  3:15:36 PM US Eastern Time  Show Profile  Visit Texatdurango's Homepage  Reply with Quote Copy this URL to Link to this Reply

As I said above, I contacted the vendor in question and received a reply and he was kind enough to send me a few samples to evaluate since we knew nothing of the material. So without further ado, and without getting into what the blanks are made of, how they are made, where they are made, how much they cost, are they worth it, etc, here is my hands on experience with two samples.

I received two “M3 Metal” blanks, one was called nickel silver and measured ¾” square and was 5” long and weighed 5.4 oz, the other was called mokume gane and was ¾” square, 5” long weighing 3.2 oz.

To put these weights into perspective I weighed some of my other blanks of similar size; BOW = 1.8oz, Kingwood = 2.0oz, stabilized box elder burl = 1.8oz, so these new blanks are much heavier.

Using my skew I turned both blanks to ¾” cylinders with no problems, the blanks were similar to several truestone blanks I have turned as they turned into more of a powder than the firm ribbons one associates with resins and acrylics. Turning these was no harder than several of the truestone blanks I have turned, and were actually easier than several truestone compounds I have turned.

Before doing anything else I sanded both cylinders up through 1500 grit then polished with some Flitz metal polish I had on hand. I decided to make the mokume gane blank first and decided it would look nice with the black titanium plating of the Jr Gent kit.

I have yet to decide how to fabricate the nickel silver blank and am thinking it needs to be a closed end design to showcase its beauty. Any suggestions from you artistic types are welcome.

Drilling and further turning was nothing out of the ordinary except for the sanding. I turn with a skew so had a very smooth finish at the bushing diameter so started sanding with 3M 400, 600, then wet sanded with 3M 1000 and 1500 sheets then switched to micro mesh and continued wet sanded up through 12000 grit.

The accompanying instruction sheet said not to use plastic polish due to the high metal content so I used some Flitz polish which I have used for years on metals and plastics and brought the blanks to a nice shine.

I assembled one kit and the finished pen is also shown below and in conclusion I would say these are nice blanks, definitely NOT junk and no “snake oil” present! Will these replace the burls we use everyday, no, but they, just as any other nice material, will find a niche in our pen turners arsenal. The ONLY downside I see is that being metal, will conflict with the metal parts in most kits used so design selection will be critical to pull off a really stunning pen.

Some Photos….

Turning the nickel silver blank

The nickel silver blank before sanding, lots of shiny particles!

The nickel silver blank after some sanding and Flitz metal polish

The mokume gane blank before turning

The mokume blank after the skew

The mokume gane blank after a little sanding and metal polish

Drilling produced a fine shiny powder

You had to see this in person, looked like diamond dust it was so shiny.

The finished pen. Jr Gent black titanium and nothing but metal polish on the blank........ I like it!