View Full Version : Abalone from shell

02-01-2003, 10:10 PM
Hi again!

Scroodge (me) is trying to put hands on a paua abalone :) . Even the mosaic abalone is quite expensive for the beginner, but polished whole shells are quite affordable on E-Bay.

Can be a shell be used for the handle embellishment?

How better to do that: straighten (how?) or just to try to saw the appropriate piece from the shell?

Is it very brittle to be used on the dagger handle?

Will the abalone or the mother of pearl be stained by the ebony or the blackwood?


Ray Rogers
02-02-2003, 09:47 AM
I know a man in Australia who made his living turning shells into pearl and abalone slabs. From talking about it with him, I understand that he made his own machines to cut the shells - it's a wet cutting process similar to lapidary work. The shell cannot be straightened, you just find the biggest flat areas you can and go for it. After that, the material is surface ground to make it flat. That's why you rarely see a truly large piece for sale and why the ones you do see are so thin....

Gary Mulkey
02-02-2003, 09:57 AM

The reason that the whole shells are so much cheaper is that it is hard to get a piece large enough to use out of them. Commercially made scales are usually laminated rather than cut out whole. I have a shell in the shop that I've been putting off using for that very reason. One of these days I need to try and see if I can make usable scales from it. I keep thinking that if I grind the outside shell down to the MOP and fill any remaining hollows on the inside of it that it may work. It may be that I will have to leave the outside of the scale slightly convex but that's not all bad. If you have any success cutting your own scales let me know how it turns out.


02-02-2003, 11:52 AM
Thanks for the info! I didn't bought the shell yet, just was thinking about it's use...

What about staining of the natural (not laminated) abalone or mother-of-pearl by an intensive colored exotic woods - any thoughts or experience?