Jump to content

Gold Lip Pearl


guarnera
 Share

Recommended Posts

I am making a liner lock folder. I just ordered a set of gold lid mother of pearl scales. I know about the health issues. Always wear a resperator. I've heard that one needs to use sharp drills and cutting tools. What I would like to know is, what is the best way to cut it to shape, and also any info on sanding and polishing it. These scales are a little wider then I needed, and probably just slightly thicker than I need. And of course the knife isn't rectangular, so I will have to shape them and make them a few thousands thinner, and then polish them up. As you can tell, I've never worked with pearl before, so any help will really be appreciated. Also the bolsters are not flat, they have a slight crown to them. Is it O.K. to crown the pearl, or will this show layers? Thank you all.

 

Tony G

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tony,

 

I have worked with other kinds of shell, not gold lip. You have to bear in mind that these things are made up of layer after thin layer. What I am trying to say is that when you cut, drill, or sand you have to be careful. This stuff is going to check like crazy if you try to force it. Use good, sharp, tools - especially drill bits. For cutting and drilling a layer of tape on both sides works wonders.

 

Even with the tape, I would not drill without having a piece of scrap wood underneath for support. Each time you drill a new hole, move the shell to a fresh, undrilled, part of your wood scrap. Use light pressure and let the bit do the work. Keep the drill bit and workpiece cool, use lots of water. Some kinds of shell are so sensitive to heat that it's a good idea to drill them while submerged in a container of water but, I do not think it is necessary with the gold lip. A lapidary drill (diamond or carbide coated) will work better than an ordinary twist drill bit, easier to grind a hole than to drill through this stuff. Look in the Dremel accessories at the hardware store, you are sure to find something. The carbide spade bits intended for drilling hard materials like tile and glass would probably work quite well although I've never tried them on shell.

 

When you sand the faces of the scales try to do so evenly. Should you happen to sand through a layer in the shell it provides an area, like a stress riser in steel, that can allow the whole layer or parts of it to spall off. This is mostly the face of the scales. The backsides should be glued down well enough that they will be sealed off and firmly affixed to the tang. Sanding the edges of the piece should not give any problems.

 

Cutting can be done with any fine toothed hacksaw or jewelers saw. You could probably use a cut off wheel on the Dremel if you are confident that you will not bounce it around and mar the surface of the piece. Should you choose to do so it is important not to overheat the piece. I hope this helps. Good luck with your project.

 

Bruce

“All work is empty save when there is love, for work is love made visible.” Kahlil Gibran

"It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them." - Alfred Adler

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always drilled holes with a nalgene bottle of water and a tiny stream running the whole time. Use sharp tools as already mentioned, and do not get t hot. The sharp tools coment goes for belts as well. And slower speeds on the belt if you have the option. Polish with wet/dry paper (SiC) wet, and then buff very lightly after you have polished it to your desired finish. No heat, and no forcing.

 

I do not like the lapdidary diamond bits, myself. New, sharp, HSS or solid carbide. The HSS bits don't drill very many holes before they dull, but they work fine.

 

I suspect that you will get many different views. :) It's what keeps it interesting though, eh ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

.Bruce, and Howard,

Thank you both for your input. I will be very careful and try to work under water as much as possible. I've heard about drill bits dulling so I'll make sure I have a couple of new bit, and I'll turn down the speed on my grinder. Thanks again.

 

Tony

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tony,

 

I was curious if I could find a better description of the material than I gave you and ran across the definition of nacre in Wikipedia: Nacre

“All work is empty save when there is love, for work is love made visible.” Kahlil Gibran

"It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them." - Alfred Adler

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...