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
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.
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
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
nickel silver blank
silver blank before sanding, lots of shiny particles!
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
produced a fine shiny powder
You had to see
this in person, looked like diamond dust it was so shiny.
pen. Jr Gent black titanium and nothing but metal polish on the
blank........ I like it!