Trustone vs. Simstone
#10
  Re: (...)
Mini “Review”
I have not been turning pens in a few years due to various reasons keeping me away from the passion, but recently I have turned two, one for myself, the second for my supervisor’s supervisor who is retiring. Not sure that this is a completely fair comparison, the Trustone blank is from a few years ago, the Woodcraft price tag that was on it was for approx. the same price as the Simstone. Not sure exactly when the price of Trustone almost doubled, but they could have also changed the formula since I bought my blank. Also, while I wanted a white marble type of pen, as you can see they aren’t exactly the same. While Trustone has several different types of white marble blanks, the one that WC happened to have, back when I bought the Trustone blank, was White Horse Jasper, Simstone only has one white marble blank. In the photos, the Trustone is the pen on the bottom. Immediately clear is that the dark veining on the Trustone is larger in thickness and less frequent, but I think Trustone has some white marble blanks that have more frequent veining. The veining on the Simstone is very thin and a high frequency. Both blanks felt substantial, although the Simstone definitely felt heavier in hand (I did not weigh the completed pens to confirm, but the Simstone pen definitely feels heavier) and more stone like.
Machining both is where the differences showed up. I was able to cut both blanks using my RAS and 60T wood CC’ing blade. Both gave off the same plastic resin smell. I noticed that the Trustone blank cut was clean, while the Simstone had chipped on the bottom side of the cut, along the entire length of the cut. The chipping was minimal but it looked like someone took a handplane and attempted to put a 45 degree bevel across the bottom of the cut (both sides). It happened both times I cut the blank. Otherwise, the rest of the cut on the Simstone looked as clean as the Trustone. Drilling the Trustone I noticed no chipout. The Simstone, however, I had significant chipout on the exit end of the drill bit. I drilled both sets of blanks on the lathe, the first Simstone I drilled out, I was advancing the bit through at about the same pace as the Trustone and when it broke through the back side, it tore out a significant chunk, the blank had a “crater” where the drill bit came out approx. 1/8” deep, luckily I had cut the blank oversize enough that it did not affect things I still had room for the tube to fit inside the blank and use my penmill to clean up the end. The second section of the Simstone blank that I had to drill I took it real easy after getting about 3/4 of the way through and ended up with only a very small amount of chipout. Turning the Trustone, there were some large chipouts, probably due to my tooling being dull and they happened mostly while the blank was still squarish, but once the blanks were rounded, I sharpened my tooling and was able to get the Trustone to cut nicely with no chipout. The Trustone generally turned very nicely and was forgiving of dull tooling as I did not re-sharpen as often as I should have. The Simstone, on the otherhand, was a different story. The chipouts, primarily taking place during the rounding process, were smaller, cutting went much slower. The Simstone is not forgiving of dull tooling, I would almost go as far as to say that if you plan on using Simstone in your project, to get carbide tooling to use with it. I had to re-sharpen very frequently. It took me about 3x as long to get the blanks turned down with the Simstone as the Trustone, I was able to hog off the Trustone, after it had been rounded, not so with the Simstone because it just dulled my scraper and skew very quickly.
Finishing both was simply progressing through the grits. After the final Micro Mesh sanding pad (I forget what grit that is, 12,000?) I then used Meguiars Scratch remover. I did not see much of a difference while on the lathe, but both blanks were noticeably shinier afterward, but the difference was not so great that I am sure anyone would notice if you did not go to that step (I had the Meguiars on hand for treating scratched CD’s/DVD’s and had not used it for several years, so I repurposed it for these pens). The Simstone, IMHO, seemed to take a slightly better shine.
Some final thoughts. In short, after doing some research on the Trustone before I turned it, I had it built up in my mind that it would be harder to turn than it turned out to be, while the Trustone kind of lulled me into a false sense of security when it came time to turn the Simstone, the Simstone was as difficult to turn as I had feared the Trustone was going to be. I don’t turn pens professionally, however, if I did, I probably would not use Simstone unless it was a commissioned piece or a piece that I was going to ask a lot of money for because of its hardness, it takes longer to shape. Perhaps it would not take as long when using carbide tooling, but I was able to shape Trustone in approx. 1 hour with HSS tooling, probably still not cost effective if I was professionally turning pens, but turning pens for myself time isn’t really an issue (aside from getting the time to do it with other things demanding my time), I literally spent approx. 3 hours turning the Simstone pen with the same HSS tooling that I used on the Trustone. But, with that said, while everything I have written probably seems like I lean toward the Trustone blank, I really like the finished Simstone blank better, it feels slightly more stone like than the Trustone and the added weight makes it seem more substantial. Both blanks look much better in person than the photos show.
The Trustone pen I am keeping as my daily driver the Simstone pen I made for my supervisor’s supervisor who is, as I said earlier, retiring. The Trustone is dressed in a PSI Titanium Gold/Gunmetal (or it may be listed as black Ti) Cigar, while the Simstone is a Berea Hardwoods Gunmetal (or black Ti)/Ti Gold Cigar. The one thing I like about the PSI kit is that the tubes were already roughened up, the Berea tubes needed to be roughed up. I know it only a takes a couple of minutes with a piece of sandpaper to rough up two tubes, but I did like that touch that PSI did. The only supplier of Simstone blanks, that I am aware of, is Woodturningz.com.







Update: I noticed a hairline crack in the lower section of the Simstone pen. It is approx. 1/2" long and partially obscured by some of the veining (runs perpendicular to the veining) although the reason I noticed is that the majority of the crack is in a large white area. I was going to ask my supervisor to see if one of our in-house shops was capable of engraving our Agency's logo onto the top section of the pen, but if it is that fragile, I am not sure it should be done.
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#11
  Re: Trustone vs. Simstone by pprobus (Mini “Review” [br]I ...)
Good to see you back. A lot of info there and the pics did not show up for me.

Arlin
It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

Hi, I'm Arlin's proud wife! His brain trma & meds-give memory probs and has pain from injuries, but all is well materially & financially.  
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#12
  Re: Re: Trustone vs. Simstone by Arlin Eastman (Good to see you back...)
Sorry, they are showing up fine on my end. Is a link showing up, at least?
Paul
They were right, I SHOULDN'T have tried it at home!
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#13
  Re: Trustone vs. Simstone by pprobus (Mini “Review” [br]I ...)
fixed the link on the images. You have to click on the Direct box to the right of your image, then paste that into the Image URL box.

SimStone is very much harder than TruStone. Definitely need carbide tipped tools to get much progress with it. It's also much more brittle. I turned some awhile back and cracked the blanks when installing them on a razor handle kit.




Still Learning,

Allan Hill
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#14
  Re: Re: Trustone vs. Simstone by AHill (fixed the link on th...)
I've turned lots of both kinds, but prefer Trustone when possible.
Nice work you did there, though.
" The founding fathers weren't trying to protect citizens' rights to have an interesting hobby." I Learn Each Day 1/18/13

http://www.RUSTHUNTER.com
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#15
  Re: Re: Trustone vs. Simstone by Gregory of Sherwood Forest (I've turned lots of ...)
Very nice,they have a antique look to them.
Well shama lamma ding dong to you too......
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#16
  Re: Re: Trustone vs. Simstone by Gregory of Sherwood Forest (I've turned lots of ...)
Gregory of Sherwood Forest said:


I've turned lots of both kinds, but prefer Trustone when possible.
Nice work you did there, though.




Thank you for the compliment.

That was my first time with Trustone and it did turn nice, once it was rounded and I sharpened my tools. Perhaps a different type of Trustone blank I'd have a different opinion, not that I don't like the White Horse Jasper, but I prefer, I guess due to scale, the veining of that particular Simstone blank.
Paul
They were right, I SHOULDN'T have tried it at home!
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#17
  Re: Re: Trustone vs. Simstone by dartman (Very nice,they have ...)
dartman said:


Very nice,they have a antique look to them.




Thank you for the compliment. The antique look is why I chose those particular kits. Since we work in (and on) a historic building (my second line supervisor is the building owner's representative and I oversee some of the projects that update/upgrade the building's various systems) that has lots of marble and patina'd bronze, the kit I decided to use for him and wanting a faux marble blank to go with it were to echo the building we work in/on.

Paul
Paul
They were right, I SHOULDN'T have tried it at home!
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#18
  Re: Re: Trustone vs. Simstone by AHill (fixed the link on th...)
AHill said:


fixed the link on the images. You have to click on the Direct box to the right of your image, then paste that into the Image URL box.

SimStone is very much harder than TruStone. Definitely need carbide tipped tools to get much progress with it. It's also much more brittle. I turned some awhile back and cracked the blanks when installing them on a razor handle kit.





Thank you for fixing that. I know I had used the direct link method from Photobucket before, but for some reason the pics were not showing up using that method, so I tried the "IMG" URL on Photobucket.

But you are right, even handling the blank prior to machining it, I thought it felt hard and brittle to the point that I took care not to drop it on the floor. The Trustone did not/does not have that same hard brittle feel, it does feel a bit on the plastic side. Oh well, if I had more time, I'd see if I could inject a bit of black ink into the crack to make it look like a vein.

Since it is a big pen, its kind of heavy, so I doubt he will use it except as possibly a desk pen.

Paul
Paul
They were right, I SHOULDN'T have tried it at home!
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