Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Carving Material Review: Unnamed Chinese Carving Material (SLQ)

Solid coloured carving material
So, this continues a series of posts on all of the different carving materials I can find that can be used for stamp carving.  If you want to see how each stacks up against the other, you can check out this comparison chart.

Like the sandwich-style material, this slab comes from China with no real explanation of who makes it or any other sort of brand info.  If you're a letterboxer, you may have seen on the AQ forums this referred to as SLQ, referring to the Etsy/eBay name of a user that was initially selling it, SweetLoveQiner.

To be honest, having searched the breadth and depths of various sites for importing this kind of thing from Asia, I think both this and all the other similar solid colour listings each come from the same factory and are essentially the same.  Same goes for the sandwich style stuff.  I haven't been finding great prices, but if I do, I will definitely be buying...  cuz this stuff is great.

Either this is close scrutiny or napping.

Cost wise, this stuff is more expensive than I would otherwise want to spend on a pink stuff replacement.  It often comes with free shipping, so that helps, but it took a long time for mine to come (I blame Canada Post).

Again, no heat transfer, just like the sandwich material
My first thought when I pulled it out of its clear, nondescript package, was that it was quite similar to the sandwich material.  It has a nice velvety feeling to it and it is much more rigid than the pink stuff.  It does not have that wet feeling that the sandwich stuff has, but otherwise, it is almost the exact same.

The material comes in a wide array of colours, and I chose this purple which came just as vibrant as it appeared in the online photos.  

Size and Weight:
It's quite heavy- heavier than I expected, while still in the range of thicknesses like the pink stuff (8 mm thick).  Interestingly enough, it's the same width as the sandwich material.

Acetone transfer worked just fine.

Just like the sandwich, it was a no-go for a heat transfer.  The more I work with this stuff, the more I think that it is made using the same formulation as the sandwich type - perhaps by the same manufacturer... Too many things in common.

Acetone transfer worked great (and I didn't muck this one up).  It's a little hard to see in the photo because there is glare.  Under my light, I can see the contrast really well between the transferred image and the rest, but if I didn't have great lighting, I think I'd want to choose a lighter colour.  (But let's face it, I'm simple and like pretty colours).

Crumble Factor:
Again, roughly the same as the sandwich stuff.   It will pill up if you rub it too much, but otherwise doesn't crumble away.  I'm quite happy with the balance this one strikes.

All carved up.
What a pleasure.  Both knife and gouge carving this were really nice.  It strikes a lovely balance between the hardness I want (to keep the material put as I slice into it) with a break-factor to allow the pieces to come out when I want them to.

Gouge carving it is just like the cliche: it carves like butter.


Similarly wonderful.  Inks well and doesn't bead, great impressions.

Click to enlarge

All in all, I love it.  I definitely think this is a leveled-up version of the pink stuff.  It's what I want the pink stuff to be.  Kinda expensive, somehow the sandwich version is cheaper, so I'll likely be using that.  If I can find a price-comparable version, I'll be using this :)

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