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Author Topic: Working with abalone shells/fragments  (Read 8257 times)

randyrhoads

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Working with abalone shells/fragments
« on: May 16, 2013, 05:13:10 PM »
Can anyone point me to some info on how to work with abalone? As in shaping and polishing them into pieces suited for jewelry or inlays? I spent all day yesterday experimenting on oceans critters and different ways of cleaning/preserving them. So far it looks like bleach is the best way for my urchin parts.
For my ab shell frags I cut pieces with a band saw, hit the pieces with a wire wheel/ grinder, then soaked overnight in muriatic acid. I'd really like to learn how to make an abalone inlay for one of my homemade knives.


Offline Brandon Turknett

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Re: Working with abalone shells/fragments
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2013, 06:24:08 PM »
What ever you do be very careful. The dust from ab shalls is very toxic!!! Cut them with a wet saw and soak it in muratic acid. The acid will clean it real good, so good it will eat it to pieces if left to long.
Divers go deeper, and stay down longer

Offline Rob102

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Re: Working with abalone shells/fragments
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2013, 09:05:28 PM »
It's a secret.   :bootyshake:

Offline Rob102

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Re: Working with abalone shells/fragments
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2013, 09:35:13 PM »
I don't know any more about it than Brandon mentioned.  I guess inlays would be easier because you only need to polish one side.  For the outside of the shell you have to etch (acid) or grind or wire wheel away the undesired part, then polish.  When I was a kid we had rock polishers.  It was essentially a tumbler with some type of media used pro polishing.  You could find this stuff at a lapidary shop or get a bullet tumbler.  If you use a tumbler, I think some of the media will catch the dust and the for ones that don't there is a "shower cap" that fits over the bowl to catch the silica.

http://inlandlapidary.com/

Offline todd

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Re: Working with abalone shells/fragments
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2013, 10:46:38 PM »
Check out my " abalone inlay art" post on the off topic forum

mike i think did a great write up on how to inlay a fish into his gun, very very cool
Todd Stagnaro

Offline IceColdChuck

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Re: Working with abalone shells/fragments
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2013, 10:50:07 AM »
You would probably get a better answer from a local forum for gem and mineral fanatics, those are the guys that work with ab shells and do jewelry making. I've seen some nice stuff made by the SF gem and mineral society on display at the county fair building.
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Offline Rick W

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Re: Working with abalone shells/fragments
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2013, 06:51:48 PM »
The shells are pretty soft. I remember an article years ago about stabilizing ivory with vaporized CA glue for knife handles. You put the material in a jar with and drew a vacuum. Then let the CA into the container and it vaporized and filled the pours to stabilize the material. I don't remember what the plumbing on the contraption looked like.

Good luck and post a picture of the knife. Do you make your own blades?
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Offline NorCal DiverDave

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Re: Working with abalone shells/fragments
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2013, 08:36:31 PM »
See Todds post. He did some nice stuff awhile back.

Offline Rob102

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Re: Working with abalone shells/fragments
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2013, 10:58:58 PM »
I don't know any more about it than Brandon mentioned.  I guess inlays would be easier because you only need to polish one side.  For the outside of the shell you have to etch (acid) or grind or wire wheel away the undesired part, then polish.  When I was a kid we had rock polishers.  It was essentially a tumbler with some type of media used pro polishing.  You could find this stuff at a lapidary shop or get a bullet tumbler.  If you use a tumbler, I think some of the media will catch the dust and the for ones that don't there is a "shower cap" that fits over the bowl to catch the silica.

http://inlandlapidary.com/

I've been thinking about trying a rock tumbler, so that should work?

I don't know about the removal of the exterior of the shell, but it will polish it for sure.

 

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