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Old 06-28-2006, 09:40 AM   #1  
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Default What are CTMH stamps made of?

Okay I tried to call the CTMH hotline number that they have on their website and it's not working. I tried on my cell and my home phone and it does nothing. So then I called the SU! 800 number to make sure it wasn't my phone. SU! worked...so WEIRD! Anyone know if CTMH is having issues with their phone number?

I want to know what product the CTMH stamps are made of. Are they made of polymer like all the other clear stamps or a different product? I know they are called acrylic stamps, but I thought acrylic referred to the blocks.

Thanks!

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Old 06-28-2006, 10:14 AM   #2  
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Okay the number worked finally - the girl I got didn't really have a clue and asked someone - she tried to tell me the stamps were made of acrylic... - I said, but your blocks are acrylic, how can your stamps be made of acrylic if your stamps are too..she said "the blocks are clear" - I told her acrylic was a hard susbstance and asked her to check. She came back and said the blocks were made of acrylic and the stamps were made of acrylic polymer.

She said the product specialist wasn't there to ask...but does CTMH just call it acrylic polymer for the branding of My Acrylix?

I don't see any difference from the non-CTMH clear stamps that I buy than from the CTMH stamps. I buy Wordsworth and My Sentiments Exactly mostly...but I have other brands. I make sure the stamps are cut to shape so they are better quality.

Calling CTMH was like calling SU!...you can call and get a different answer or an answer that the person isn't really sure of each time.

Vicki
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Old 06-28-2006, 11:19 AM   #3  
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Maybe I can help. I'm a polymer chemist.

I promise this won't be painful.

"Polymer" is a general term for a macromolecule (which is just a fancy name for "big molecule"). Polymers are made from "monomers" which are smaller units that chemist react together in sufficient quantity to create a long chain- the "polymer macromolecule". Several chains make up the tangible polymer material- like a Rubbermaid garbage can or a leggo piece your child plays with or a plastic bag you put your trash in. All of these are "polymers" yet, they all have pretty different physical properties, right? The trash can is kinda "bouncy", right? (At least new they are) So that when the garbage man tosses it to the curb, it doesn't shatter into a million pieces like glass would (which, by the way, is not a solid but a super-slow moving liquid- but that's another story! LOL). The leggo piece is hard plastic, and the garbage bag is more flexible than the garbage can (and sometimes "too flexible" when it's over stuffed and it breaks as you are carrying it out to the curb!).

Polymers can be made of either one type of monomer, which makes it a "homopolymer" --homo meaning "same". Therefore the literal translation is "same polymer" or, a polymer made up of the same repeating unit of monomer.

Polymers can also be made of a combination of different types of monomers. There are a bunch of different types of monomers, "acrylates" and "acrylics" being one of them. You could have a "homo-acrylic" polymer OR the "acrylic" part could just be "part" of the polymer.

What comprises a polymer helps to define what "rheological" properties a polymer will exhibit. Rheology is the study of the deformation and flow of materials. Most polymer chemists are concerned with the "viscoelastic properties" of a polymer. "Viscoelastic properties" define how polymers act as both a fluid and a solid. (There's more to this, but that's another story for another day).

When you create a polymer, we monkey around with the chemical reaction, monomer compsition/stoichometry and initiators so that by using similar materials (like "acrylates") we can modify/change/or control the polymer composition such that we impact the rheological, or viscoelastic properties, of the polymer. With one reaction, a polmer may exhibit "solid" characteristics (like the clear solid "acrylic" block that we use for stamping) and yet with another reaction, a soft, pliable "acrylic" stamp that we use to make our cards is created.

Now, I don't know for sure the composition of CTMH stamps, but I have used them, and they definately seem like some "acrylate" based polymer to me. Whether it's a homopolymer or not I don't know... but it's definately possible for someone to say that both the "acrylic" block and the "acrylic" stamp are comprised of similar materials.

HIH.
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Old 06-28-2006, 11:36 AM   #4  
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WOW! I actually understood what you typed - for generality. Very good description! So that answers that question...do you notice a difference between the CTMH stamps and other clear stamps - my MIL says not to buy stamps made with TOO much polymer - she said they deteriorate quickly and become gooey.

Is this true? If you store it in the dark it should last longer right? I read to keep them out of the light. What will the light do? Dry it out or just discolor it?

When you buy clear stamps you really don't know what they are made of or know if it is made from too much polymer. How does one know?

Thanks for the professional explanation!

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Old 06-28-2006, 12:07 PM   #5  
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Quote:

Originally Posted by vfnelson2
do you notice a difference between the CTMH stamps and other clear stamps - my MIL says not to buy stamps made with TOO much polymer - she said they deteriorate quickly and become gooey.

Is this true? If you store it in the dark it should last longer right? I read to keep them out of the light. What will the light do? Dry it out or just discolor it?

When you buy clear stamps you really don't know what they are made of or know if it is made from too much polymer. How does one know?

Thanks for the professional explanation!

Vicki
HA HA HA! Sorry, I had to laugh at the "too much polymer" comment (in a nice, innocent chuckle way- not meant to be demeaning).... "too much polymer"?? Honey, it's allllll polymer! That's like saying "don't buy paper with too much paper in it". HA HA!!

What I think your MIL means to say is to buy high-quality acrylic stamps. Because different manufacturers may use different things in the polymerization process to reduce cost and thus, "cheapen" the cost of production to maximize profits. They could use different initiatiors, plasticizers, cheaper grade monomers- all of which may result with an inferior end-product, or one that "works ok" for a while, but begins to deteroiate with time.

How can you tell this? You can't, really. I've only been stamping since February, so my experience is limited. What I can say is that I have purchased stamps from CTMH and Impression Obsession. Both seem ok for now. When I went to an expo, there was a CTMH rep there and she had all sorts of stamps in stock for purchase. As I dug thru her inventory, some of the stamp sets were yellow. All of the stamps sets were new and unused, so I know it's not from ink. What does this mean? Is it bad? Probably not.

Polymers change over time when exposed to things like light and heat. Light (from the sun or your lamp) may cause some unreacted monomer to "react" in your polymers (this is pretty common and not a cause for alarm). Alternatively, some of the polymer may begin to slightly cross-link (form a 'network' of intertwined polymer chains). Also, too, the polymer may begin to deteoriate or break down in the size of the chains comprising the material upon exposure to light. The side effect could be a change of color, or the "yellowing" I observed. Some polymers become brittle and crumble (like plastic kid toys left out in the sun). This is just the natural progression of a polymer post-production.

Stamps can also melt when exposed to extreme temperature. (Heck, anything will melt when enough heat is applied). What is the temperature limit for CTMH stamps? I'd ask the rep. But common sense prevails. Given reasonable conditions, heat should not adversely affect your stamps.

Do I think my CTMH and IO stamps are going to be mush in 5 years? Probably not. Will they last forever? Probably not. How can you tell? Time. Give it time and see what happens. I seriously doubt that with proper care and storage (not cleaning my stamps with harsh chemicals or leaving them in my car in the middle of Arizona in July) I think I will have all the useful years of stamping I could want from all my acrylic stamp sets. I will probably be sick of the images before the stamps will no longer be useable. (Unless, of course there is a fatal run in with my oven or my cat).

So, I would stick to stamps from reputable companies and I think you'll get many years of service for your investment. Also, too- technology is dynamic. Who's to say they don't come out with a second or third generation acrylic "clear" stamp that is more robust than the first ones out on the market now- companies may be working toward resolving the "yellowing" issue over time merely for asthetic reasons. To me, yellow stamps are not a big deal (they've probably been stained by ink by then anyway) and should not affect the performance of the product.

HIH
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Old 06-28-2006, 12:22 PM   #6  
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Adrienne,
Thanks so much for the acrylic lesson! Absolutely fascinating.

As for the heat with the CTMH stamps, I do know they did some serious testing on ours before they were brought to the market. They were put through the dishwasher and also put in a frying pan, so, heat should not be a factor. Somewhere I read (maybe in a previous thread here) about a consultant who stores a lot of her products in her car through the summer heat and some have been in her car as long as 2 years and are still fine.
Unfortunately, the acrylics do turn yellow when stored in direct sunlight. I believe tho, that it's not good for the red rubber stamps to be stored in direct sun also, as they will dry out and crack.
I believe the key with the acrylics is to go with the quality ones. I purchased some of the Anna Griffin ones from QVC,and felt they were terrible! Very flimsy and hard to mount because of it. They reminded me of gummy worms. LOL!

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Old 06-28-2006, 12:31 PM   #7  
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I wanted to let you know this week is the CTMH convention so it's probably not the best time to call unfortunatly;maybe try next week.
I know our stamps are made from a high grade polymer and yes they will yellow over time but it doesn't seem to affect them at all. I've got old *rubber* stamps from PSX I bought when I first starting stamping about 10 years ago and they are hard and dried out, and I take VERY good care of my stamps. My point is anything can wear out over time.
HTH
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Old 06-28-2006, 12:33 PM   #8  
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Suzastampin
Adrienne,
Thanks so much for the acrylic lesson! Absolutely fascinating.

As for the heat with the CTMH stamps, I do know they did some serious testing on ours before they were brought to the market. Somewhere I read (maybe in a previous thread here) about a consultant who stores a lot of her products in her car through the summer heat and some have been in her car as long as 2 years and are still fine.
Unfortunately, the acrylics do turn yellow when stored in direct sunlight. I believe tho, that it's not good for the red rubber stamps to be stored in direct sun also, as they will dry out and crack.

Suz
All true. I'm sure CTMH or any other reputable company would test the heck out of their product before taking it to market. Other companies just don't care- they produce an inferior product, charge $2 less, (but may charge more!?) and it's mush in a year. I read that, too- about the consultant with her stamps in the car and that they are fine. I'm not surprised.

Rubber is a "natural" polymer, so it makes sense that it, too, would be adversely affected by sunlight. Radiation (sunlight) breaks down/changes polymers (as stated before). The degree of change depends upon the amount of exposure. A little sun/lamp light and the stamps will be fine. Again, common sense prevails. Too- if you buy cheapo-rubber stamps they will deteoriate faster than a quality stamp like those from SU! and other companies, because the quality of the rubber in the cheap-o stamp is inferior to begin with.

Happy day!
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Old 06-28-2006, 12:34 PM   #9  
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btw Luckygirl, thanks for the science lesson, I'm always interested in this kind of stuff!
(yeah, I'm a geek)
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Old 06-28-2006, 12:34 PM   #10  
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[QUOTE=
(yeah, I'm a geek)[/QUOTE]

me too!
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Old 06-28-2006, 12:34 PM   #11  
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Adrienne, you rock! I'm callin' you SCI-GIRL, from now on!!!

Thank you for sharing this extensive knowlege and info!!!! I love stuff like that!!!

And, as for red rubber stored in sunlight--yes, that will definitely cause your stamps to deteriorate and should be avoided. Always avoid sunlight and oils when it comes to rubbah, is what all the info I've found indicates.
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Old 06-28-2006, 12:36 PM   #12  
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Quote:

Originally Posted by JulieHRR
Adrienne, you rock! I'm callin' you SCI-GIRL, from now on!!!
Cool! See, Heather, we're not "geeks" but rather "cool" after all!!
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Old 06-28-2006, 01:52 PM   #13  
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What a great explanation. Who would of thunk I would get this type of answer with my question. I'm sure most of the employees at the clear rubber stamping companies couldn't answer it like you did, or would know.

I tend to think that the stamps that are probably quality worthy are those that are cut to the image. Anna Griffin clear stamps are not, and they do look cheap because of that. I guess I'm surprised at that. I would think Anna Griffin would put out a quality product with all the cool scrapbooking stuff she has and her rubber stamps I think are decent.

I have bought these brands and they are all pretty much the same good quality. FYI

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CTMH - of course

If anyone else has clear stamps that you use from companies that you think are good quality, please list them here. I'm always looking for fun clear stamps that I don't know about.

Vicki
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Old 06-28-2006, 04:19 PM   #14  
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In addition to the ones you listed I like Impression Obsessions clear stamps too.
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Old 06-28-2006, 04:56 PM   #15  
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Clear stamps manufactured by Stewart Superior are of very high quality--the best I've ever tried.

They have a list of brands names they manufacture for at their site, including Magenta, Wordsworth, A Muse, My Sentiments Exactly, etc. There are probably even more that they manufacture for than they actually have listed.

At any rate, Stewart Superior is considered the industry leader in clear stamp manufacturing, and based on the comparisons I've made with the different ones I've tried, I'd tend to agree with that.

HTH,
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Old 06-29-2006, 07:04 AM   #16  
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Thanks Julie - great info at that site. Everyone read it so you can identify better quality clear stamps easier.

Now to check out the stamps from each company. Of course I want a lot from our catty...where to spend the money, so many choices!

Vicki
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Old 06-29-2006, 08:17 AM   #17  
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Wow!! Thank all of you gals for contributing to this very informative thread!!

Adrienne, if you ever tire of your current work, I believe you could try science writing to non-scientists. I am quite surprised that I understood your posts so well. You have a talent for explaining things by using analogies with which I can relate. Bravo!
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Old 06-30-2006, 04:54 AM   #18  
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Quote:

Originally Posted by ckrup0945
Wow!! Thank all of you gals for contributing to this very informative thread!!

Adrienne, if you ever tire of your current work, I believe you could try science writing to non-scientists. I am quite surprised that I understood your posts so well. You have a talent for explaining things by using analogies with which I can relate. Bravo!
CKrup0945,

Thank you very much. That was sweet of you to say. Now, if only the HS kids I taught (briefly before deciding to persue a career in industry) thought the same! HA HA!! I blame that failing on my age (22) in relation to my students at the time. They all wanted me to be the "cool friend".

Thanks for your sweet words, they brightened my day!
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Old 06-30-2006, 05:43 AM   #19  
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wow- I feel so smart after reading this thread!
I just wanted to throw in there that clear stamps from STampington are the same polymer as CTMH and STampendous. They all have that same sweet sorta fruity scent to them.
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