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Author Topic: Blue on Abalone Shells  (Read 703 times)

Offline Creatura

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Blue on Abalone Shells
« on: February 25, 2019, 10:34:59 AM »
Hi all,

Found some empty ab shells yesterday with blue on the shell.

Any idea what caused this?  I would love to preserve this, I was thinking of doing a clear coat, or hot epoxy (think surfboard finish), any suggestions.


Offline MATT MATTISON

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Re: Blue on Abalone Shells
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2019, 12:07:14 PM »
  look like a black abalone shell
« Last Edit: February 25, 2019, 01:59:19 PM by MATT MATTISON »
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Offline Chaw III

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Re: Blue on Abalone Shells
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2019, 01:26:47 PM »
Those are black abalone. Very cool! The blue pigments become so deep in color that it turns to black when that layer of the shell becomes thicker.

Where along the coast did you find them? Just curious.

Look into using hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid) to help dissolve away the organics and dull layers of the outside of the shell. If you put a clear coat on them as is you won't be able to show their true colors by using the acid technique.

I used to pressure wash the shells if fresh, wire brush if dry, then hit the outside of the shell with a few splashes of diluted acid. I don't epoxy them after that, you can, some people like the look.

 

The muriatic acid is strong stuff so be safe. If you buy the full strength stuff you should dilute it before a pour.

If you can you should practice with a red abalone, just to get a sense of how the acid works. Those should be incredible looking shells, I have a cleaned and polished black and the color is incredible.
Good luck.

Offline TheKeeneroo

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Re: Blue on Abalone Shells
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2019, 02:22:56 PM »
Those are black abalone. Very cool! The blue pigments become so deep in color that it turns to black when that layer of the shell becomes thicker.

Where along the coast did you find them? Just curious.

Look into using hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid) to help dissolve away the organics and dull layers of the outside of the shell. If you put a clear coat on them as is you won't be able to show their true colors by using the acid technique.

I used to pressure wash the shells if fresh, wire brush if dry, then hit the outside of the shell with a few splashes of diluted acid. I don't epoxy them after that, you can, some people like the look.

 

The muriatic acid is strong stuff so be safe. If you buy the full strength stuff you should dilute it before a pour.

If you can you should practice with a red abalone, just to get a sense of how the acid works. Those should be incredible looking shells, I have a cleaned and polished black and the color is incredible.
Good luck.

Muratic acid is super strong and will dissolve the shell too if you don't dilute. Make sure to keep fresh water bucket nearby so that as the acid dissolves the organics, you can stop the dissolve by dipping into regular water. I've done this on all kinds of shells including making real puka necklaces in Hawaii.
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Offline Creatura

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Re: Blue on Abalone Shells
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2019, 02:32:08 PM »
Those are black abalone. Very cool! The blue pigments become so deep in color that it turns to black when that layer of the shell becomes thicker.

Where along the coast did you find them? Just curious.

Look into using hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid) to help dissolve away the organics and dull layers of the outside of the shell. If you put a clear coat on them as is you won't be able to show their true colors by using the acid technique.

I used to pressure wash the shells if fresh, wire brush if dry, then hit the outside of the shell with a few splashes of diluted acid. I don't epoxy them after that, you can, some people like the look.

 

The muriatic acid is strong stuff so be safe. If you buy the full strength stuff you should dilute it before a pour.

If you can you should practice with a red abalone, just to get a sense of how the acid works. Those should be incredible looking shells, I have a cleaned and polished black and the color is incredible.
Good luck.

Wow! Thanks for the input all!  Found these at Kaslar yesterday.  I've done the muratic acid a couple weeks back, still have another gallon.  Now I have something to screw around with since this storm is coming in!

Offline Rob102

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Re: Blue on Abalone Shells
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2019, 02:42:04 PM »
I get them wet and wire brush off all of the organic growth, boring clams and anything I don’t want on the final shell. Then I set the on a concrete slab mother of pearl side down.  Get a Gergen hose charged up and ready.  Next I take a gallon jug of full strength muratic acid and slowly pour it on the shell until the whole thing is covered in foam. Then I let it sit for a minute or two before I hose them off. If I’m happy with the color I rinse the inside and call it done. If I need to wire brush more I rinse it first the brush and repeat the acid process.

The acid is the same thing you pour in the swimming pool. It can burn your skin and eyes and the fumes are pretty harsh so it’s best done in a breeze. Personally I wear sunglasses or safety glasses and I pour slowly so it doesn’t splash. Contrary to popular opinion I wear shorts and flip flops (that’s usually what I’m wearing anyway). I don’t want to ruin my clothes or shoes or work boots with acid. I usually get some acid on my feet but I just hose myself off when I’m done pour acid on the shells. I’ve been getting that stuff all over myself since I was a kid pouring it in the pool. If you rinse it off before it starts to burn it won’t hurt you, just keep it out of your eyes.

Offline bythog

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Re: Blue on Abalone Shells
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2019, 06:08:41 PM »
Keep plenty of water nearby to flush skin with and baking soda to neutralize any acid splashes. Whenever possible (basically always) add acid to water, not water to acid.

Offline ryang85

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Re: Blue on Abalone Shells
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2019, 08:47:07 AM »
Keep plenty of water nearby to flush skin with and baking soda to neutralize any acid splashes. Whenever possible (basically always) add acid to water, not water to acid.
I use it all the time to polish steel, if your going to do a batch if shells just fill up a tub  with %60 to %90 water and the rest of acid.   The Abalone shell will crack if you get carried away so blast with garden hose and check often, try to take out as soon as its clean.  I  always keep a tub in my shop for steel so when i want to clean a shell i just toss it in.
The fumes are more dangerous than anything else, they smell terrible and unless you really feel like sniffing them youl be fine, wear some type of glasses incase you splash. I get it on my hands all the time when its diluted and just rinse it off. It will destroy your clothes or any nearby metal pretty quickly though.
I always give my metal a baking soda wash after  but abalone might not need it.

Works great for scallops too, and when your done it makes a great cement and concrete cleaner.

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rluiz

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Re: Blue on Abalone Shells
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2019, 02:16:39 PM »
Whatever happened to the good ole days of just a pressure washer and a scribe?  :P     

Ill get a shell toss it under a bush for a couple weeks, let the insects clean it. Toss it in a bucket of bleach and water for an hour, then pressure wash. Follow up with a scribe to remove any tube worms or unwanted growth and your done. Ive used polyurethane to give it that glossy look and bring out the coloring.

Attached is my first 10" I did with said method
« Last Edit: February 27, 2019, 02:18:32 PM by Sir Rob IV »

Offline Rob102

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Re: Blue on Abalone Shells
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2019, 06:28:49 PM »
Whatever happened to the good ole days of just a pressure washer and a scribe?  :P     

Ill get a shell toss it under a bush for a couple weeks, let the insects clean it. Toss it in a bucket of bleach and water for an hour, then pressure wash. Follow up with a scribe to remove any tube worms or unwanted growth and your done. Ive used polyurethane to give it that glossy look and bring out the coloring.

Attached is my first 10" I did with said method

Yeah, my wife did my first 10 that way, but she couldn’t clean them as fast as I got them, so I would do 12-15 at a time. The acid works quicker I think it leaves the red more vivid.

rluiz

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Re: Blue on Abalone Shells
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2019, 11:05:06 AM »

[/quote]
The acid works quicker I think it leaves the red more vivid.
[/quote]

Interesting on leaving more color, I did feel like it was a little faded. But when I put the polyurethane it came back,  maybe Ill give both a try and compare.

 

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