After years of extensive research on all kinds of different materials, we have finally found a stainless alloy that checks all our boxes: sustain, clarity, ceramic sound, workability, stability, rust protection and more. We have been extensively testing, and solely creating instruments from this material over the last few months. The possibilities for building and playing feel endless. We would like to present to you Ember Steel handpan shells:
- Sustain: Much like Stainless 430, though more controlled and often mentioned by players as “round” and less "wild".
- Ceramic-like sound: The material feels more ceramic than AISI 430, shoulder tones of the notes are less present and more controlled. When having a correct shape of the center tonefield, crystal clear shoulder tones with sustain can be achieved.
- Rust protection: Our first instruments dating back 6 months show no signs of any rust. The shallow single time layer of rust that often happens on AISI430 is thus also not present on Ember Steel.
- Stability: When the border tension is balanced all the way around the note, the Ember Steel provides very stable notes. Easier to stabilize than AISI 430.
- Patina: The steel scratches rather more quickly than other materials before annealing. However, through annealing, a strong patina can be achieved which in turn scratches less easily than annealed AISI 430. Various temperatures give different colors, from bight golden, to ember/red to dark purple and even blue.
These are our results after shaping and annealing
This is a demonstration of an Ayasa D Kurd made with deepdrawn 1 mm Ember Steel that we offer. Sound recorded with condenser mics and lightly edited to reflect the actual sound.
The Different Batches
After testing multiple batches from each of these three factories, we notice a consistent difference between the factories and a consistent similarity between the batches from the same factory. However each with small differences between them. The different batches can, for example, require the use of different annealing temperatures to give the desired color and to reach the preferred level of hardness. Each batch will also have a slightly different timbre and sustain. After careful consideration we choose to work with factories "A" (from batch#1) and "B" from batch#2.
- Ember Steel #1 (A) bottoms only
- Ember Steel #2 (B) bottoms only
- Ember Steel #3 bottoms only
- Ember Steel #4 (B) tops and bottoms
- Ember Steel #5 (A) tops and bottoms
Please note that batch#1, #2 and #3 have a 15mm flange and for the new batches #4 and #5 the flange is 13mm. For the future the flange will be 13mm.
We have found that Ember Steel works best when annealed between 500 and 650 degrees celcius. Each batch responds a bit differenty to a specific temperature. Best is to try and if the material feels too soft/loose it usually means the temperature is too low. If the material feels too stiff/hard lower the annealing temperature. We suggest makers try out both materials, at multiple temperatures each, to experience which you personally prefer more. Please see the the makers forum for more information on working with Ember Steel.
These are our results after shaping and annealing
All the prices are quoted excluding VAT. If you are located in the EU and have a valid VAT number, or if you are located outside of the EU, we do not have to charge VAT (21%). Only when you are inside the EU and do not have a valid VAT number then you would have to pay 21% on top of the prices listed here below:Prices of orders under a 100 shells:
- Top shell € 62
- Bottom shell € 81
- Top shell € 56
- Bottom shell € 75
- Tuning ring diameter: 530mm
- Total shell diameter: 560mm (including flanges)
- Height: 130mm
- Flange width: 15mm
- Min Shell thickness: 0.9mm
- Max Shell thickness: 1.0mm
- Port Diameter: 82mm
- Port height: 19mm
The material is quite sensitive to scratches, that is why most shells have been polished to remove the scratches that were inflicted during the making of the steel and deepdrawing of the shell.
We are shipping in boxes that can fit a maximum of 11 shells. If you wish to purchase 30 shells or more, we can ship a pallet to you and you will save on both the shipping and packing costs. Any order of a 100 shells or more will be credited a €6 discount on each shell in the order. Pick up from our workshop in Almere, The Netherlands, is also possible.
It is not possible to freely mix top and bottom shells in one package and guarantee the shells to stay in the best condition during transport. That is why we ship in two types of boxes:
- Top shell box: Order any amount of top shells (raw, nitrided, stainless, ember, mixed) up to a maximum of 11 pcs. In this box it is possible to add one single bottom shell.
- Bottom shell box: Order any amount of bottom shells (raw, nitrided, stainless, ember, mixed) up to a maximum of 11 pcs. In this box it is not possible to add any top shells.
The shipping costs range from € 50 – € 250, depending on your location and weight of the package (i.e. the amount of shells). After receiving your order, we can quote you the precise shipping costs.
Please fill in the form to make an order or ask any questions.