Here is the update and sample carving information from ElectricMedic. First the actual blocks. The little fox is the same image on PZ Kut from the last round. They sent it back to me for comparison purposes, since I wanted to see the differing gouge mark qualities. Baby Bugs is Sample #1 (the same material Electric carved last time with the musical rose image) and Baby Taz is the new Sample #2 (which we've all been calling OZ Kut). The fox image is able to sit on top of a quarter with a fair amount of space left over all the way around (except, perhaps, where the rose stem is sticking out), just to give you some idea of scale.
I printed each one side-by-side on a piece of cardstock I had sitting on my work table - nothing particularly special with respect to surface. In fact, I think it tended to wick a little bit with my Memento Bamboo Leaves ink because the pad is fairly new and pretty juicy. The black ink is Versafine Onyx Black. The lines on all these carvings are beautifully fine, and amazingly even. I can take a couple of pointers away, just looking at Electric's finished carvings. :)
Electric's preliminary sort of stream-of-consciousness thoughts ran something like this (Medic typed as he was talking and carving -- quotes from Electric and Medic are in bold italics).
Using the regular staedtler , works terrific. It feels easier to use the staedtler on sample #2 than sample #1. The knife cuts through the material like butter. Much easier than the first stuff. Was able to make a deeper cut without having to put a lot of force behind it. That is all the prelim as I haven't finished carving the design. To me it is a winner but I will finish and then give the final report.
Medic's comment completely cracked me up, so I just had to share it:
I was sitting on the couch and I heard these strange noises from the man cave. Lucky I knew what was going on in there otherwise I would have been curious. I heard...WOW....OH MY...THAT'S IT....THIS IS PERFECT.....SHE HAS IT......
That just made my evening! LOL! Then the pertinent bits from the final report went like this:
The new material solves the problem we had with the first pertaining to knife cuts. I was able to cut deeper and bigger chunks with the knife and pull them out and also the materiel still ripped apart like it should, no rubber band problems.
Tried to use dull gouges and all seemed to work fine. The sharp gouges made perfect straight lines like a knife. The ones that are not as sharp still cut the material half decent but if you look close you can see slightly rough edges, not as clean as if using a sharp tool.
IMHO, I recommend running sample #2 only. That will please the vast majority of PZ White carvers. Definitely easier to cut with a knife and a sharp gouge still cut like butter.
So, that's what I'm doing. A trial run of Sample #2 (A.K.A. OZ Kut) is in the extrusion schedule for this week! (Yikes!) That means that by the middle of May, if not sooner, there should be a brand new material for us all to try out. I am looking forward to seeing how the actual extrusion process effects the material - there's a good chance it will make the block even better than the lab samples - I'm hoping so!
Once again, I hope ElectricMedic will chime in here and let me know if I have missed anything they think people should know about the future OZ Kut. And many, many thanks for your gracious help with the testing.