Thursday, April 5, 2018

Tan Material Sample Results Round #4

Unless the two extra folks I sent samples to (who weren't in the official Merry Band of Testers) send back information and/or images, I think this is the last sample post you'll be subjected to for a while. 

Once again, thanks to nosox, Wise Wanderer and Open Space for their very helpful suggestions with respect to questions to help all the testers in their analysis and evaluation of this new material. It created a perfect springboard for thinking about material qualities and getting similar pieces of information from a wide variety of carvers. 

Also, even if you aren't interested in the actual results of the sample test, the carves are definitely worth an admiring look. 

What, if anything, did you to do prep the block before transferring your image?

One treated one side with acetone and left the other untreated on one of her carves (noted in the scans), one lightly sanded her text carving and did not prep the other, one did a very helpful side-by-side comparison of how sanding or not sanding the material affected the transfer outcome. 

What type of transfer did you use?

There was a wide variety: heat, wintergreen oil, acetone/laser jet print, and wax paper.

Did it take a transfer well?
Is the transfer clear and high contrast, showing detail well?
Does the transfer stay on the material without smearing or sliding?

All transfer methods worked reasonably well to very well, except for the wintergreen oil transfer onto one of the blocks that was not sanded. 

Many thanks to BaliWho for doing a test of prep and transfer methods. From the left, sanded with heat transfer, not sanded with heat transfer, sanded with wintergreen transfer and not sanded with wintergreen transfer. It's pretty obvious that the sanding really helps the transfer process with this side-by-side comparison. 

What tool(s) did you use?

Staedtler #1 V - modified and unmodified gouges, x-acto knives, unmodified Speedball #1, #2, #3 and #5 cutters, and a pinched .25 Speedball #1 cutter. 

Using properly sharpened tools, does the cut path have clean edges?
Is the consistency of the block smooth or grainy?

Edges were clean and the material was smooth for all three testers. 
Many thanks to Baliwho for some very helpful side-by-side comparisons. She carved what she calls the "Vampire Zombie Clown Molly", even though the transfer was problematic for her, just to test the inking qualities after the carve (above and beyond the call!). Clearly, sanded worked way better. And, by the way, I loved the Euchre carving - I used to play that game with my family when I was a child. Lots of memories there. The largest carving in this group is Rachael Ray at about 1.5 x 2 inches. 

Does the gouge or knife slip during shallow cuts or when ending cuts?

One said she slipped a little using extra pressure on cleanup cuts and thought that it was a matter of adjusting to the fact that it doesn't take as much pressure as the material she's been using, one slipped a few times, but also felt it could be adjusted to, one had some trouble with slipping as she felt her tools got duller and she needed to use more pressure on her cuts.

Does the material release easily from the block as you finish each cut?

One had a few straggling pieces, but thought it was more her carving style than the material, one thought it released easily, one had a lot of trouble at the end of cuts, especially with her x-acto knife. 

How would you rate the level of pressure it takes to move the tool through the material? 

One said it was soft and easy to carve, requiring very little pressure to move the tool through the block, noting it was much easier on the hands when working on a large, detailed image or doing a lot of carves in a row. One thought that pressure was not an issue and that the material was firmer than Speedy Carve and about the same as OZ. One said it feels just as firm as OZ but takes far less pressure to carve. 

Many thanks to The V's who carved with Staedtler modified and unmodified #1 V gouges, an x-acto knife and Speedball unmodified #2 and #3 gouges and thought this material dulled her tools more rapidly than OZ or PZ Kut. (I think it's very cool her new signature is carved on this stuff!) The larger "Insomnia" image had acetone preparation on the left of the block. "Insomnia" is about 2.5 x 3.5 inches and the new signature carve is about 1.25 x 2 inches.

Rate the ability to make fine straight lines.

One said it was a "dream" compared to Speedy Carve and easy to shave along the second side of a line to get nice, thin detail. One said it was easy to get fine lines and details. One said "very good". 

Can you imagine this block at about .25 inches thick? If so, do you think it would be firm enough to hold fine details, or squishy such that stray background marks would show if the stamp were not mounted?

This group had no concern about the squish factor.

Did you try tools with different levels of sharpness and did it make a difference if you did? 

One said the material seemed to dull her tools and it became harder to carve as they lost their edge. One didn't try different levels of sharpness. One said her tools were at all different levels of sharpness and she noticed no difference. 

What type of ink(s) did you try?

All three of these testers tried lots of different inks. 

Many thanks to kudichan who tested the limits on fine lines and text with a modified Staedtler #1 V gouge, modified Speedball #1 and a pinched (.25) Speedball cutter. She thought the material was smooth and easy to carve and that ink transferred better if the image was thoroughly sanded before carving. The reclining woman is about 1.75 x 3 inches and the text carving is about 1 x 2.5 inches.  

Does the carving hold the ink smoothly and evenly?
Do large positive spaces hold and transfer ink well?

One was very pleased with inking results, saying that it was the best she'd experienced since PZ Kut, especially if the carving was cold - she even froze one of her images and it worked well with all inks except one that was frozen, itself. One said that inking went pretty well on both sanded and unsanded material, with dye ink being a little less evenly distributed and that sanding made more of a difference in image transfer than in inking and printing. One had some issues with printing partly due to the slight curvature of the sample block and she also thought that sanding really helped for good coverage. 

Other observations and comments: 

One noted that black StazOn ink didn't seem to dry as quickly on this material after printing. 

One said that the surface was smooth - like butter, but that it needed more pressure to carve deeply. She rated it as, "Just like OZ, without the pain", saying that she got quickly fatigued while carving OZ and didn't experience that at all with this new material. 

One held high hopes of this becoming her new and everlasting favorite material, but wondered a little about the drier consistency holding up in the wild. 

One really liked the material overall and would use it over Speedball pink, with some concern with respect to blade carving and the dulling of tools. 

Finally, I just really want to thank all the intrepid testers for the amazing work they did, the fast turnaround times and the willingness to answer any other questions I had about their experiences with this material. It's been great to get such excellent feedback and have so much helpful information to move this quest for the perfect carving medium a little further down the road. 

Well, okay, maybe not finally. I do have one more thing to say. I pulled the trigger today and ordered a great big pile of this stuff and will be spending the next few weeks reorganizing and cleaning out my garage. I've got to find someplace for all the pallets to land, once it gets here. Yikes!


kudichan said...

Yay! SO glad to hear that you placed an order :D Thanks for everything, Webfoot!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to get my talons into this stuff!


I am so excited! Thank-you so so much for all you do for all of us.

BNL BaliGrl said...

Yeah! I can't wait to get some of the full thickness/non-curled stuff! Seems like the results were pretty consistently positive for most people. Thanks for finding us some new carving stuff.

Anonymous said...

It's exciting to see such success -- I know it must make you smile.

~Mama Cache