Materials We Don't Use (Yet)
In our last instalment, we discussed our heavy metal dice range and why we use the metals we do. As a follow up to that, we think it only fair to have a look at some of the other materials we get asked about all the time, and why we haven’t made them part of our regular range. (That said, there’s always the chance of a one off. You never know what we’ve got up our sleeves…)
Gold and Silver. Unsurprisingly, these are our two most commonly asked about materials in the metals. Everybody loves the idea of a set of solid gold dice to bring to the table, for that ultimate blinged up feeling. However the practicality of a set of gold or silver dice is unfortunately actually quite limited. Gold and silver are, naturally, quite soft metals. So soft, that they’d start to distort almost as soon as they’re used. While this distortion isn’t enough to prevent their use in most other applications (obviously everybody loves their gold and silver jewellery) something as carefully machined as our precision cut metal dice would lose that perfect weighting that we strive so hard to achieve almost immediately. Now, we have actually looked into doing composites of gold and silver with other materials to strengthen them up, so who knows whether we’ll eventually run a set or two in the future, just because we can…
The other heavy metals – Lead, osmium, uranium, to name a few. These all present their own challenges and issues. The most obvious one being, many of them are dangerous. There’s a reason lead was banned from being used in anything more than trace quantities in any sort of commercial use. Even minute amounts of it making contact with skin over extended periods of time can make someone really sick. Why anyone would want to make a gaming accessory out of it is beyond me, but we’ve been asked if we’d do it. To which the answer is technically we COULD, but that doesn’t mean we would. The same goes for uranium. As cool as it would be to own a set of uranium dice, manufacturing anything out of it raises serious health concerns (not to mention legal ones.) Even depleted uranium can still cause radiation sickness from prolonged exposure. Again, why would anyone WANT that?
Osmium interestingly is unique, in that we could theoretically make a set of dice out of it. There are no legal or moral issues with using it, the limitations are purely practical. Osmium is one of the rarest and heaviest stable metals on earth, making it one of the most difficult and expensive to acquire. While it does see some commercial use smaller applications that require extreme durability, getting our hands on enough to make a set of dice out of would be mind-bogglingly difficult. Not to mention, given that it’s even harder than tungsten, would be even more difficult to machine requiring even more time and care to manage. But hey, if anyone has a couple billets of osmium lying around that they’d like turned into dice, we’re happy to give it a go.
Meteorite metals. Now, this one is one we have actually done, and boy was it cool. However, the reason you don’t ever see us making them for regular sale is because technically, barring a few exceptions, any piece of meteorite that falls to earth is owned by the government owning the land the meteorite impacted on. Which means making ANYTHING out of them requires a whole lot of permits and government permissions. Since meteorites are obviously a finite resource, that’s quite a hard feat to pull off regularly. We were lucky in that set we made as it was already owned by the person who wanted it turned into dice. Maybe in the future if meteor storms become a more common thing we’ll start seeing more meteorite dice being made, wouldn’t that be awesome?
The Precious Gemstones. We have a whole range of semi-precious stone dice, many of which are truly unique and beautiful in their own right. But we’re always asked about the precious stones, diamond, emerald, sapphire, again to name a few. No doubt, owning a set of diamond dice would be the bees knees (we might have 'released' Emerald Dice for April Fools a few years ago...). But these again also present their own challenges in terms of acquisition and machining. They’re all difficult to source, given the general demand for them, especially in the quantities required to make not just each dice, but also as a whole set. We all know how expensive a diamond ring is. Now imagine that ring was the size of a D20. And perfectly balanced. Suddenly that price tag isn’t so appealing, is it? Not to mention that the gemstones are notoriously hard to cut, requiring extreme care and precision during the process as well as specialised tools and toolbits to avoid any scratches or cracks. Although again, if anybody happens to have a big chunk of diamond lying around, we’d be happy to see what we can do with it… And who knows, maybe one day we’ll do something special with them, just to prove we can.
Raw Bone. Another material we’ve actually done before, but maybe not how you imagine. Our ‘bone dice’ come from ethically sourced yak horn. We chose this material for both moral and practical reasons. We don’t believe any animals need to be harmed to make our products, so we’ve aimed to ensure our horn dice were made out of horns harvested from animals that have already died by other means. Yak horn in particular is one of the only pieces of solid bone readily available in large enough pieces to be used in our machining process, while also being solid enough that we can get it as close to perfectly weighted as possible, something that’s just not possible with regular pieces of bone, given bones usually porous center. We also intentionally avoid using the other common form of bone, compressed bonemeal (ground up bone) to make our bone dice, as we feel that doesn’t really have the same affect as holding a solid natural piece. When you’re rolling your bones, do you want to roll something that’s practically body flour, or something that’s a real solid chunk of bone?
There’s a whole lot of other materials we could cover here, obviously, but those ones are the ones we most frequently get asked about so a little explanation on each only feels fair. And we’re always looking to challenge ourselves. Maybe one day we’ll be able to cross some of these off the list and put them on the “Yes we definitely have that” list that’s constantly growing month after month. *Wink*Hope that was enlightening for our readers, and if there are any other materials you’d like us to look into making dice out of, let us know!