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Old 02-16-2013, 03:06 PM   #1
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Default Are all acrylic blocks created equal?

I only have two acrylic blocks for my unmounted wood SU stamps and need to buy some more. Are there big differences between companies that I need to consider?
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:43 PM   #2
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my advice would be to stick with the SU blocks. I have hated all others that I have tried. The SU blocks are thicker and easier to hold to get a good image. I threw away the other ones.
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:51 PM   #3
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I concur. But you will get lots of different opinions. The great thing about the SU! blocks is the shape - the depth of the block is curved & recurved, making them easy to grip & very comfy.
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:57 PM   #4
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I too have tried others and found that I prefer the SU blocks. I have carpal tunnel syndrome and I find it much easier to grip the thicker blocks with the grooved sides.
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Old 02-16-2013, 04:05 PM   #5
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I wondered about the grip. I made valentine cards for my twins' party and realized my hand was hurting. How many blocks do you guys typically have at hand while stamping? I decided I don't like taking the stamps off and on all the time
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Old 02-16-2013, 04:07 PM   #6
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I do really like the SU ones. I have the whole set. I am going to slowly collect the CTMH ones now (I am in a monthly club) because they are slightly different sizes.

I usually have about three blocks on my desk at any one time.
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Old 02-16-2013, 04:09 PM   #7
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I have no SU acrylic blocks but have used them at workshop. I have 2 different brands that I can't think of right now. One has a scalloped edge and the others have a groove to grip them. Both brands are thick and sturdy. One brand came with a grid attached.

I think, as long as you get thick ones with a way to get a good grip, you can't go wrong. I used coupons when buying my blocks. I like SU products but I am an equal opportunity shopper. JMHO
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Old 02-16-2013, 04:55 PM   #8
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I would say, probably NO, not all acrylic blocks are not created equal. I currently have a customer who is discovering SU stamps don't cling to her non-SU blocks. She thought they were defective. The same stamps cling fine with my SU blocks without a problem.
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:02 PM   #9
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There are many different shapes, sizes, thicknesses, with or without grid, etc. I probably have blocks from at at least 4 or 5 different companies including SU. I find i like different ones for different uses - love the grids for sentiments because it helps me get them straight. I have used SU stamps with them all, and really don't notice much of a difference in how they cling if I make sure both the stamp and the block are clean with no residue on them.
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:45 PM   #10
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I have only used SU blocks at my demo's house and they are very nice. My only complaint would be they don't have grid lines on them; but that is not a deal breaker.

However; I've already purchased 4 different sizes of acrylic blocks by Inkadinkado from my local Michael's using coupons. The Inkadinkado blocks are thick, with scalloped edges that provide places for your fingers to grip easily, and they have grids etched into one side. Even though I use the SU paper pad that has grid marks on it to protect my desk top, I do like having grid lines on the blocks to line up the sentiments.

If I have some problems with my cling mount SU stamps not wanting to cling to these blocks I either: 1) add just a tiny bit of double sided tape to the back of the stamp to help it cling or 2) don't put the clear label that comes with the stamps on the back in the first place. The gray foam alone will cling very nicely. But then you don't have the picture of the stamp to look at through your clear block but that is not something that bothers me.

The only other blocks that have tempted me are the ones Tim Holtz put on the market. They have grid marks but they are very thin. You can buy a whole set of 9 different sizes for around $20. Which is an amazing price. I've just only ever used thick blocks and don't think I could make the switch.
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Old 02-16-2013, 06:19 PM   #11
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I have a few different types that I love and use them for different reasons. I love my Fiskars stamp press for one. I have various Inkadinkado ones that work fine, and I have the set of Tim Holtz ones. I use those to carry with me to classes. Those took me a bit of a time to get used them as they are thin, but I love the grid on them.
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Old 02-16-2013, 06:56 PM   #12
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I have blocks from a ton of companies and REALLY don't like the SU ones. They are way too thick and I have a hard time seeing through them to see my stamp. I have very poor eyesight and found it's just too hard. I prefer the slightly thinner blocks.

I also have some with grids on them and in theory you can line up your sentiment on the lines and make them straight, but that never works for me. I just stamp on scratch paper and adjust to get my sentiment on the block straight.
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Old 02-16-2013, 07:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobiker View Post
I wondered about the grip. I made valentine cards for my twins' party and realized my hand was hurting. How many blocks do you guys typically have at hand while stamping? I decided I don't like taking the stamps off and on all the time
Me neither... so, my most favorite/used sizes... I own two blocks in that size...
then I can clean stamps when I'm done with the project.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:07 AM   #14
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I have at least three different brands of block plus the MegaMount from Impression Obsession for backgrounders.
My favourite is the Making Memories - grid lines and curved edges. I quite like the SU one that I have. My least favourite, which I gave away, were quite thin and consequently very hard to grip.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:26 AM   #15
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I buy my blocks where ever I come across them, so I have several brands. I bought a CTMH one most recently and while I like the finger grip I don't prefer the extra thickness of it. I don't have thinner ones. Nearly all of mine are 3/8" thick and I like those the best. The ones with more of the egde smoothed off are the ones I reach for the most and the grid one is handy too.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:44 AM   #16
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I too have a lot of different brands, and really can't say I have ever noticed any difference between them. Some have grids, some don't, most brands seem to have a curved grip on the sides. I have a good assortment of sizes, including a couple that are about 1" x 1", for single small words. I tried those rocker-type blocks that came out, and didn't like them, but I know other people who love them, so it all comes down as usual to what you feel comfortable using yourself, I suppose.
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Old 02-17-2013, 05:30 AM   #17
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I'm another SU fan. I had others before but SU's are so nice with the grips and round edges. Very comfortable and visually pleasing too. They look like crystals, lol!
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Old 02-17-2013, 05:57 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minders View Post
I'm another SU fan. I had others before but SU's are so nice with the grips and round edges. Very comfortable and visually pleasing too. They look like crystals, lol!
Or really big sweeties!

I find that I am slowly getting rid of all my other brands' blocks, but I've been using them for things like my name stamp, so I can glue it on permanently (using Crystal Effects) then I don't need to search about for that one.
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:40 AM   #19
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I have blocks from at least 3 or 4 different companies - no SU!, but I've used them at a demo's house - and haven't noticed any difference in their ability to make the stamp stick to them. There can be a HUGE difference, though, in how they feel in your hand. The first set I bought were thinner and did not have the nicely rounded edges. Those babies were sharp and actually hurt my hand, but they stamped nicely. I finally took a nail file that was meant for acrylic nails (thank you, Sally Beauty) and smoothed off the edges myself.

I even have several from Michael's from a few years ago when they had some background-square type rubber stamps in their dollar bin that were mounted on clear blocks - and on clearance for a quarter. I unmounted the stamps and cleaned off the blocks and those blocks work every bit as well as some of the expensive ones I own.

The most important thing to me is to have lots of different sizes and multiples of sizes I use a lot. I have a hard time getting a good image if my block is too big for my stamp and I don't like taking stamps off the blocks while I'm still working.
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:46 AM   #20
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I like the SU! blocks fine, but when I need a block with a grid (always with a sentiment!!), I go to the Inkadinkado blocks (the ones with the scalloped edges, that I got at Michael's. I have two sets of blocks. One set as is, and a second set with tape on it, for bare rubber.
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:47 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shazsilverwolf View Post
I too have a lot of different brands, and really can't say I have ever noticed any difference between them. Some have grids, some don't, most brands seem to have a curved grip on the sides. I have a good assortment of sizes, including a couple that are about 1" x 1", for single small words. I tried those rocker-type blocks that came out, and didn't like them, but I know other people who love them, so it all comes down as usual to what you feel comfortable using yourself, I suppose.
I could have written this exact post! I have about 40 blocks in a box on my table from at least half a dozen companies, in sizes from 1x1 up to 6x6, and some nice long ones that are 2x8 or so, which are great for long borders and unmounted wheels. I love the grid blocks the best.
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Old 02-17-2013, 07:21 AM   #22
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I have lots of different blocks, picked up a different times from different places. I keep them in a basket on my desk and I have multiples of the most frequently used sizes.

I have never tried SU, but I do have A Muse blocks, which I like but in a perfect world, they would be a tid bit thinner and have a grid on them.

I have the Tim Holtz ones - love the grid, but on the whole find them too thin for my liking.

I have some from the bargain bin at Mikes - they work just fine but I don't care for the sharp edges so thanks to the previous poster for the acrylic nail file tip.

I have the very first blocks i ever bought in a set a JA - they have grids on them and are a pretty nice thickness for me. I reach for them a lot.

I think you have to try a few to find what suits you best - which is probably exactly what you were trying to avoid
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Old 02-17-2013, 08:10 AM   #23
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Another thumbs up for the SU blocks. I have used others and I think that the SU ones have a nice shape and weight to them. And I don't know if something has changed with the lables for their clng stamps or if it is just that I have more time using them under my belt, but I swear, they seem to stick better with this last bunch of stamps I have ordered. I was afraid to put the backs on "Teeny Tiny Wishes" but felt like I had to because they are so small and there are so many. Well, they cling just fine on my blocks, no "huffing", no tape, no zig...just stick 'em on and they stay.
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Old 02-17-2013, 08:18 AM   #24
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I have lots of different blocks, but no SU blocks or any with grids. When I started with bare rubber, SU didn't make blocks and cling stamps hadn't risen in popularity. I was buying bare rubber to save money. I also saved money on blocks whenever possible. By the time SU came out with blocks, I already had a good collection. I do have one A Muse Studio block because their large bg stamps were a little bit larger than my largest block.

Some of mine have grips, some have straight sides. The only ones I don't care for are the two thinner ones I have. I'm really good at getting my fingers in the ink if the block is too thin.

I don't know that I'd really care about a grid, because I use a stamp-a-ma-jig when the positioning has to be precise.

I am fairly dexterous so grips aren't really necessary for me.
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:13 AM   #25
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I, too, have a variety of blocks - CTMH, SU, Fiskars and gridded/scalloped edge ones. I prefer the thickness of these blocks for good grip, like wood mounted stamps.

When I have bought bare rubber, I have also bought a thinner block specifically for that stamp (I have a whopping 2 in my entire collection), and I have mounted the stamp right onto that block. It stays on the block all the time, but is not permanently adhered. They work for me, considering that I don't use them all that much.

I would say to try using different blocks (workshops, friends, LSS, etc.) and see what works best for you. I like that someone brought up the idea of not being able to see well through the thicker blocks. Not a problem for me, but something to consider.
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:28 AM   #26
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I have blocks from different companies and they all work. I like to have a variety of sizes because size does matter. The stamp should be just right on the block (the stamp shouldn't hang over the block and the block shouldn't be way too much larger than the stamp), otherwise I find it difficult to get a good clean image. I like the grids because I like things to line up (personal problem that you may not share), especially with a long thin image it can bend a little. The blocks can get pricey, so using coupons can help you to accumulate a large inventory of various sizes. I do like the SU (and the nice case to hold them all) & CTMH (which tells you the block sizes to use in the catalog), but I own only one from either company. I use them at the demos and like them, but I like to have many so I use my coupons to collect them. And the scalloped edges feel best in my hands.
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:02 PM   #27
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I use the same 2 Inkadinkado blocks (one is large, the other larger) for everything...I'm so used to them that even tiny stamps work fine for me. My friend has the SU set in the case and couldn't do without them. I do like thicker blocks.
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:33 PM   #28
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I have several kinds, but I like my SU ones the best. I love the way they feel and the shape for gripping. If you want grid lines they sell the pack that you can apply your own. As to SU stamps not sticking to other brand of blocks, that has never been a problem, but I don't use the stickers so maybe that has something to do with it. I also just got a fiskars press for stamping and that thing is awesome! Not sure if that is the right name for it, but it is a thin plastic with the grid and has four orange foam legs on it. Works great!
Oh and if you really like the feel of wood mount, try Unity stamps blocks. They are nice too!
Edited to add: I also have two of all of the SU blocks and three or four of some of the more used ones. I like to be able to leave the stamp on the block until I know I am done with it. This way I can. It has been worth the investment.

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Old 02-17-2013, 01:15 PM   #29
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I have several blocks from different manufacturers and the only ones I definitely don't like are the ones that are straight edged (they don't have a curve or slope at the edge) they hurt my fingers. I did have a problem with my SU stamps not sticking to the blocks (don't own any from SU) so I just put a little Aleene's Tack-It over and over glue on the sticker side.Now they stick no problem!
ps-my favorite one is about 1/2 inch thick with indented or curved in sides-makes it nice for gripping firmly.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:22 PM   #30
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Really, you can use a CD cover to pop a cling stamp on. I can never tell any difference in the quality of the stamped image from an expensive block to a bit of plastic.
It's all in the feel of the block.
I have the SU blocks and they are great. I have them all nice and stored away in their case. If I am just needing one stamp done I usually grab an old cheap block that lives on my desk but if I'm doing a full on project that needs a few images done then I pull out the SU ones. They do "feel" better but if you're only doing one stamp then it really doesn't matter.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:40 PM   #31
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I have about 30 blocks as I've been using unmounted stamps for years. To be honest for me it's all about how it feels in my hand, they all stamp the same except for the really thin blocks and the ones with the finger grooves. I just can't get a good grip on either..

I had some blocks with a grid painted on them and after repeated cleaning, the grids wore off.

If you go full unmounted, you'll need a good selection of sizes so if you are using multiple stamps when you are stamping the same image over and over, it's easier not to have to switch blocks.

Also, since you seem to be new to using the blocks, be careful what you use to clean the blocks. Do not use harsh chemicals - the blocks will get spider cracks and eventually break. Some people prefer to keep their blocks really clean, but mine are better when gunky because the stamps stick better. The only thing that makes me clean my blocks right away is if I get ink on them as the ink seems to prevent the stamp from sticking. Also, I had a heck of time getting double stick tape off my blocks. ATG and glue come off easy, but I had to scrape off the tape.
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Old 02-17-2013, 02:04 PM   #32
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I had SU blocks and liked them, but then tried the CTMH blocks and liked them even better! I think it is because of the line on the CTMH block! That really helps when lining up alpha stamps! This is just my opinion!
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:00 PM   #33
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I guess we all helped you! Ask a question like this and you will get a different answer and reason why they like one brand over another.

Sorry, you will just have to try different ones to find the one that feels comfortable to you. Maybe, you can try some at a stamp store, at a workshop or ones your stamping friends have.

Good luck!
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:15 PM   #34
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Once I discovered SU blocks I tossed all but one of my other ones. The one I kept is a large Recollections block with scallop edges and a grid on it since I haven't bought SU's largest block yet. SU's are so much more comfortable for me and I can grip them much better. At first they seemed to distort the stamps looking down through them, but I've gotten used to it-I have crummy vision too by the way.
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:13 AM   #35
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I have a very large block that I got at a convention and I LOVE that it has beveled edges on the one side. I am less likely to transfer inked edges from the block onto my page with this block. Nothing like getting a stray corner image onto what you are making by mistake.
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:13 AM   #36
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I had to come back and mention the Unity blocks that have wood on the edges. They are made so that the thin wood mounts can slide in. At the time I thought it was a good idea, but I hate them. Unity has great images, but the blocks are hard to hold and the wood is filthy.
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:41 AM   #37
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A decade or so ago I was a CTMH consultant and bought the entire set of blocks (and the case they go in). Some of them are a bit crazed now, but it doesn't bother me or affect my stamping in any way (I probably cleaned them with something I shouldn't have). I got rid of the case and transferred the blocks to a spice rack that is designed to either sit on a shelf or hang on a wall. It sits on my bookcase until I'm stamping, then it gets moved to the table where I'm working. The smallest sizes (1" x 1", 1" x 1 1/2", and 1" x 3") are in a teacup - I just put the blocks themselves on the table and leave the teacup where it is. The 2" x 12" block is in a repurposed Pringles can with my rulers - I only take it out as needed. I used to have multiples of the sizes I used most, but gave them to my daughter when she decided to start stamping. I use these ALL THE TIME.

I bought a Fiskars stamp press to try it out, but I really only use it if I'm making multiples of something. I can line up the whatever-it-is-I'm-making the same way on my work surface every time, and line up the grid lines on the press the same way every time, and they all come out identical.

I haven't really tried any other brands, so I can't really comment on them...

I do agree that it's nice to have a variety of sizes so you can match the size of the block to the size of the image - less likelihood of stray ink and more likelihood of a nice image...
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