My name is Jeff Amick and I am a new turner on the lathe. I had never used a lathe before this summer. Like all new turners there is a steep learning curve. If you look at my picture you see four of my turnings. First time was a “learning stick” where I practiced using HSS standard tools. After that I thought I had done great just turning a rolling pin. Then I acquired a set of carbide tools from Kelly Crafts. My next time on the lathe and only the first time I used the carbide cutters, I had the confidence to do the lidded box and the bowl! They cut smooth and easy and make projects for beginners like me much easier. I recommend these beautiful cutters to any new turners and to experienced turners alike.
Dave and I have been friends for a while. I thought it was interesting when he started casting his pen blanks and knife scales but wasn't all that excited. I'd never really liked the resin blanks I'd seen. But, Dave put his own Arizona spin on the process and I started to become a bit more of a fan. I bought a few sets of knife scales and really liked how the organic elements were enhanced by the casting process rather than being obscured. However, when I ran into some snags with a couple of Christmas projects, I really came to appreciate the versatility of these materials.
I was making a Texas-themed jewelry box for my Mom and could not decide on what kind of pulls to use. I was bouncing ideas off Dave and he suggested that I might use some of his pen blanks to tie the different woods in the box together. The Cholla cactus was region-appropriate to the Eucalyptus and Acacia woods in the box as well. It was a great idea. I don't think I could have come up with any other pulls that would have worked as well on this box.
I was also scaling a knife blank for my Father-in-Law for a Christmas gift. I had a piece of Maple burl I thought would look nice but it was just too hard to work and too unstable to use. Dave told me to send him some of the burl and let him stabilize and cast it for me. Well, long story short... these are my favorite knife scales. They look great and they polished out to a glassy finish that looks and feels awesome. I like them so much that I had Dave cast me an extra pair to use on a knife for myself.
Dave and Sara are great people and both have helped me out more than once. Dave's castings will be some of my preferred accent pieces from now on and I'll produce more than one knife bearing his scales! I also have a set of the carbide turning tools they make. For the cost, they are a top value and one of the best investments that can be made in turning tools if you ask me.