|The following is a message I received
from a customer who was having difficulties turning the
snakeskin blanks in the 'normal' manner. I applaud
Barry in developing a solution for a problem he was having
instead of just complaining about the product. This is
what separates a craftsman from a hobbyist. These are
"I'm posting this note to hopefully help
other turners. I bought a rattlesnake blank from you
and followed the instructions to the letter. No matter
how careful I was the blank still shattered and broke apart
exposing the skin below. I was able to refill the
voids with CA glue but then tried to think how to continue.
This is what I did: I took a medium grade bastard file
(new) and at a slow speed worked it back and forth making
light cuts with the file. I worked slow so as not to
heat up the blank with friction. I worked at it until
I got the shape that I wanted. Then I sanded it
through the stated way and puffed it out and the blanks came
out perfectly. Would have never thought of using a
file to turn these blanks. Try it yourself and I think
you will be surprised at how well it turns out.
Please share this with others because these blanks are
very fragile. Thank you for your time and I will be
back buying more blanks."
Barry N. in Kalamazoo, MI
And another helpful
"After squaring the the ends and
knocking off the corners of the blanks with my disc and belt
sander, I use a Stanley Surform Plane with a flay, regular
cut blade and calipers to take the blanks down to about 1/8"
greater in diameter than the bushings. This goes very
quickly. Then I take a medium wood rasp and take the
blanks down to a diameter a little more than 1/16" greater
than the bushings. This means that the special clear
resin is about 1/32" above the bushings. At this point
I use 60, 80 and 120 grit sandpaper to smooth the blanks.
Next, I use the regular sequence of sanding and polishing to
finish the barrels. I have made a number of the
Tropical pens from your kits and so far no disasters.
The Stanley Surform plane can be found at any Home Depot for
Harold S. in Jupiter, FL
And a couple of another helpful
"Just wanted you to know that the rattlesnake pen blank
turned out beautifully. I was a bit apprehensive when I
read the instructions and decided to try to turn it anyhow.
I used a carbide tool and turned around 1000 rpm. At first,
while it was still square, I had a grab or two on one end,
but I kept a light touch and as it rounded up, I was able to
cut deeper and quicker. Also, I think that it helped that I
would make a pass or two, and walk away for a while to let
it cool off a bit. Anyway, I have a first class Sierra now
that everybody is trying to steal from me! I'll probably
order a few more after I catch up on a few more projects.
Thanks again for a quality product, and really fast
Robert G. in Union, SC
"I received my order a few days ago and just got to try out
the white coconut baron. As I was reading the instructions
and just how fragile the blanks were, it got me worried. I
have blown out a snake skin blank and it was not pretty. I
didn't want a repeat performance. I sharpened my tools and
began. My blade on my band saw is on order so I had no way
to chop off the edges. I had some 80 grit sandpaper. After
I started, it was going pretty fast. I never once picked up
a tool. I used only sandpaper to get it to size. It took a
little longer but not much. I was very impressed with the
Baron kit with the white coconut. I purchased the closed
end mandrel but forgot to get bushings for the cap end. My
bad. It is 1am and I am tired."
"The whole reason for the email was to thank you for the
instructions. I probably would have blown this blank out if
you had not put it in the instructions. I get a little
overzealous. Anyway, found another way to almost guarantee
no blowouts on these blanks. Just use sandpaper. Thanks
again for the order and the kit. It is a fun hobby that
just keeps getting better."
Chris C. in