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  1. #1
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    Default Making Scales out of... coral?

    While wandering the murky halls of ebay, I found scale material "cut out of fossil coral found in oceans around the world" and wondered... would this be a viable option? How would one go about using a material like this to make a scales?

    FOSSIL CORAL KNIFE SCALES 3 x 1 x 1/8 | eBay

  2. #2
    Senior Member jeffegg2's Avatar
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    Not long enough to make scales. You could always try for some kind of inlay?

  3. #3
    Senior Member BenjamanBarker's Avatar
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    As for the material I don't know but at 3"x1" they would be WAY to small to form scales. They look kinda cool however.

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    Is coral not a protected item?

  5. #5
    Senior Member str8fencer's Avatar
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    We have at least one member here that does impressive work in similarly rigid material, specifically mother-of-pearl.
    Do a search for "dirtychrome" and you are bound to find pictures of some of his scales.
    I do believe he uses a flexible backing and attaches the rigid parts to that, to allow for some flex, but shoot him a PM perhaps?

    Here is one example of his work
    Last edited by str8fencer; 02-18-2012 at 10:38 PM. Reason: Added link

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    Senior Member dirtychrome's Avatar
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    Using coral is on my list of materials I want to try. As str8fencer noted, I would approach similar to the example he linked.

    I would want to use three panels, 2"x1" on each side. I think it looks better, and also the two extra seams provide better flex points.

    Get some thin g10 in whatever color you like, cut out 6"x1" slabs. Little larger is fine. Rough sand one side. Get some graph paper, rubber cement the liners, inboard side down, onto the paper.

    To the side lay out the three panels. Pay attention that you like the flow of grain, from panel to panel and seams are tight. Put tape over show side to secure and line up panels.

    Mix epoxy resin. I use system3 mirrorcoat. Maybe ad colored pigment to provide a more finished look. Pour the epoxy resin over the liners. Place the taped panels on the now wet liners. Use the graph paper as a guide that center panels are lined up centered to each scale you are making.

    After a few days, will be dry to shape as you would any other material.

    I don't know how brittle the coral is. After drilling your holes for pins, suspect you will want to then drill just the coral a little large, and epoxy on a brass sleeve to take most of you pinning force.

    Coral is porous enough, that I would not worry about a top clear coat, and should bound to the g10 fine

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  9. #7
    Senior Member str8fencer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtychrome View Post
    Using coral is on my list of materials I want to try. .... ( snip)
    Thank you for that very helpful tutorial, you make it sound so easy

    Are there any tricks to shaping the scales? I'd be worried about cracks or chips, do you use hand tools only? Does it saw or file well?
    Last edited by str8fencer; 02-19-2012 at 01:00 AM.

  10. #8
    Senior Member dirtychrome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by str8fencer View Post
    ...Are there any tricks to shaping the scales? I'd be worried about cracks or chips, do you use hand tools only? Does it saw or file well?
    I sort of look at it as if I am making my slabs. After made, I work it similar to any other material like g10 or horn. Although i do not cut. After making my 6"x1" slabs, I shape on belt sander, starting at 80grit. Of course working up from there. It sands fine. Guess I'd really compare to the shell LVS acrylic. You eat the liner edges flat, the clear top layer edges can be rounded. I have not had any worries of chipping. I would not call it difficult to work with. Just time consuming to manufacture. I have broken shell during final pinning. That has alway been disapointing.

    On media when I do a top coat in clear, I will apply desired coats to slabs prior to snapping. Since I like to make my edges very contoured, and thin as possible, sometimes I accidentally sand through the clear, to the sandwitched shell/media. When that happens, I'll need to apply another clear over the shapped scales. Otherwise, no more coats required other than when first made the slabs.

    One of the hardest parts is the pace. Your in the mindset to work, but once you apply epoxy resin, no more work on those scales for two days.

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  12. #9
    Senior Member Johnus's Avatar
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    The fossilized coral that I have is very much like Rock. Ok not like Rock, is Rock. Not sure you could do anything with it.

  13. #10
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    i know the pieces i linked are way too small, i was just curious if there was a way of working with this kind of material

    thanks for the info gents

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