Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Carving Material Review: Unnamed Chinese Layered Carving Material - "Sandwich"

Welcome back for another round of: what's that carving slab? Heh.  I mean, what actually is this material? I don't know.  I'm not sure who makes it or what they call it, but it's sort of all over the place online.  It comes in a whole rainbow of colours, and is sandwiched so you're getting two different colours at a time.  So, pretty much from this point forward, I will be referring to this stuff as the sandwich material.

(I note here that this is *not* the same material referred to on the AQ forums as "SLQ" which is not layered at all...)

Ultimately the cost was fairly low - these 4x6" slabs were each under $5 (Canadian) including shipping.  Keep in mind that they also took two solid months to arrive after being shipped from China.

My first thought was not exactly favourable.  The material - though pretty - was really uneven and had a weird wet feeling to hold...

Want to see how this carves? Check it out after the jump!


Appearance:

Okay, see what I mean in this image here?  It's a little hard to see and I've upped the contrast, but the top layer is sort of wrinkled.  I bought a few different coloured slabs and they were all imperfect.  Luckily, the direct flip side of those wrinkles was smooth, so it wasn't a problem, but I will say that all of the slabs were like this.

Beyond the wrinkles, the carving material was a little strange to hold.  They come in individual plastic bags (the rumor being that if the material is left touching itself it will fuse together... I'll check this out and report back...) and when I took it out the slab felt like it hadn't finished drying yet.  It wasn't actually wet, just felt that way.



Size and Weight:

The material was just slightly over 8 mm in thickness and feels about as dense as the pink stuff.  It bends slightly, but isn't floppy { I hate when they're floppy ;) }

Transfer:

Urgh! Another material that won't take a heat transfer! I never would have guessed... this stuff I would put in the same category as OZ or the pink because of how it generally feels - I would have placed money on it being able to take a heat transfer.  No dice.  Acetone worked just fine, but damn, I need to work on my acetone skillz - look at dat smear.


Heat transfer? Ha, lol, no.
Acetone transfer? Yep, but look at that smear!




 






Crumble Factor:


Okay, so, no pilling or crumbling while I carved.  I was happy with this.

Carving:

I was pleasantly surprised with both gouge and knife carving this block.  Gouge carving this was nice and smooth, and reminds me of the good ol' days of the pink.  I pretty much gouge carved the entirety of the cathedral in the image, it carved really well.

As an aside: the sandwich nature of this slab suggests that the colour change is useful in showing where you have carved.  Given how I carve and how thick that first layer is, it's not exactly useful for that purpose.  Like the Horunavi material, it's actually more useful in clearing out large areas *after* the detail work is complete.

Knife carving was also good.  Not great, but good.  The material is dense, but not as hard on the hand to carve as OZ.  The material doesn't have an elastic hold, so pieces break out when you need them to - but a little too easily.  I would actually be concerned that the break point on this would cause problems, though I didn't have any while carving this.

Inking:

This stuff actually inked up quite well and gave good registrations.

Click image to enlarge.

Conclusions:

I liked it.  It's not my favourite, but I would definitely carve on it again.  It's a little annoying that I can't do a heat transfer on it (that's essentially my go-to method for detailed work at this point) but for the cost, it's fairly reasonable.

I've updated my carving material comparison chart so that it's in a spreadsheet and more easily manageable.  This material has already been added, check that out here and let me know if you have any issues viewing it.

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