Sunday, August 6, 2017

Carving Material Review: PZ Kut White and Orange

Well, by popular request, I've decided to take my sharp implements to these two slabs of PZ Kut to bring you a review of both - but have discarded the usual design theme for that series to create something that can be used for this year's Box ON!  That's right: if you want to see the following post's result in person (and perhaps whack me across the head in so doing) all you need to do is turn up!

I have both a piece of white AND orange PZ Kut.  I'm going to do a single post for both, but if you're new to this blog or letterboxing,  you should know: this carving material is now extinct.  You can no longer get it.  This carving material is no more. It has ceased to be. This is an EX-material! I've only come into possession of scraps due to the generous contribution of Fish Below the Ice.

Oh man.  Before I get started on this review, I gotta say, I had some serious angst doing this test.  The unfortunate result of this carving review series of posts is that I've gotten super picky about what materials I carve and particular what I like.  I had this suspicion that I wasn't going to like these materials because of my current feels about some of the harder-type materials that I had started carving with.

So, because the resulting stamps are for Box ON!, you should be aware that the review contains spoilers.  So,  in case you don't want to see the image and design and spoil it for when you actually see the stamps, I have the rest of this post below - you'll have to come back after the event ;)


Okay, it goes without saying: one is white and the other is orange.  The white is a very dense and opaque looking white, a little creamy - not the screaming white of OZ Kut.  The orange is slightly translucent - and screamingly orange.  It loves to reflect light.  It's quite the orange, this material.

Pretty sure Fish cut this with a hack saw.

It's the only explanation, really.

Size and Weight:

Size-wise, they are both about 6 mm thick - I'm not sure what size the original blocks came in (these both clearly came fro larger blocks and their edges have been cut oddly).

Crumble Factor:

Neither material pills when rubbed (and no crumbling post-carve), but I did notice on both that one side was more velvety and the other was a little more shiny. I'm not sure if one is considered the "right" side to carve on.  Ye Olde AtlasQuest entry suggests that the grade was written on the "wrong" side.  Mine obviously don't have that.  Eep. The other note is that you can see extruder marks on the wrong side - I see those on both, on the side I would consider the velvety side.  Shiny-side transfer coming up!


I decided to try an acetone transfer - I'm preferring it nowadays on my other carving materials.  It transferred... ok.  Just okay.  The white better than the orange.

Yeah, I know...

... I'm an idiot.


I was scared.  Super scared.  My right hand's bones and sinew were recoiling in terror.  Were these going to carve like Firm/MZ/NZ/OZ?

For the white: No.  It was delightful. Delightful.  I was completely taken aback.  They were right.  THEY WERE RIGHT!  It was certainly harder than some of my other materials, but it was super smooth and the material *wanted* to be cut.  When I took a gouge or knife to the material, it sliced very well and did not have any of that horrid elastic feel when taking pieces out. I really really liked carving text in this.  Very nice.

Orange: Meh.  Okay, it was harder than the white, but not that great.  It had this neat feature that with a knife, the cuts went lighter so that you could see where you sliced.  The pieces broke out well, but the colour made things hard to see...


I'd probably say that the inking was pretty average: the ink beaded up a bit - but not horribly - on the stamp.  The ink was pretty even, so it's not too much of a problem, and I know there are ways to get the ink to sit better on the rubber (sanding or acetone).


Now that I've had the opportunity to carve PZ, I know just how far OZ is from being White PZ.  The differences between Firm Kut, MZ Kut, NZ Kut and then OZ... they all seemed about the same difference from one another... As a result, I just assumed based on the reactions of the PZ Kut carvers that came before that OZ was just one more equidistant formulation away from being PZ.  It's not.  It's a pretty major leap away.

I can totally understand now why carvers miss both white and orange PZ.  If it was back on the market now... to be honest, I'd still go with a couple of the Asian formulations, but this white stuff is leaps and bounds better than most.

The last 2x2" piece is going to a good home.

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