Welcome to the first article in a series of three that we’re calling “Anodized Aluminum 101“. Ever wonder what causes color variation? Want to know what the anodizing process looks like? Not sure why there are no white anodized aluminum rings? Stay tuned to find answers to all these questions…and more.
We make it our priority to give you the most consistent products we possibly can. We do this because as artists ourselves, we know it’s important. You have a vision and you need certain materials to make it into a reality. We not only get it – we’re obsessed with it.
In the beginning of 2010, we started on a journey to create our own anodized aluminum rings and we set out on that journey with our persnickety ways in tow. Everything worth doing is worth doing right and to us, right means bright, even, shiny color and as much consistency within each batch (and from batch to batch) as possible. While we take the time to quality control every batch of rings before we package and sell them to customers, we certainly don’t want the process to be too time-consuming to be cost effective or to produce too much waste. Basically, consistency is key.
We are now making 100% of our own anodized aluminum rings and still looking for ways to improve them. The fact is however, that color variation (to some extent) will just be a fact of life.
There will always be some level of variation within each batch and variation is even more likely from batch to batch (and from size to size) as they are all dyed separately. To make these variations play nicely in our world of perfection, we quality control our anodized aluminum rings – ditching broken or malformed rings altogether, and demoting off-colored rings to our sale packs. In the few cases where there is still a great deal of variation (which happens most often in rings with a small surface area such as our D20 and F20 rings), we toss in an extra 10-20% to give you more rings to choose from if super-consistency is important to your project. We are also happy to answer questions about the color of our current batches before you purchase them. In the rare event that we have a color that is very different from our normal stock, we indicate that on our website with a note and/or by changing the name of the color altogether. We do what we would want someone to do for us – give us the best product they can and communicate when it’s vastly different from what we’ve gotten used to.
Throughout this journey, we have learned a number of things not least of which is that anodizing is a fickle process. (A fickle process associated with chainmaille? Never. *wink*) Fickle process or not, however, we are committed to producing the most consistent product we can (what can we say – we like a challenge!) To read more about this quest for consistency and to learn more about the anodizing process, check out the next article in this series coming tomorrow – Visit to an aluminum anodizing factory.