flyangler

SME build - Blingish vanity project, skills learning experience or both?

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Change of plans for that ramp, going to use a bit of abalone there instead of thread work. The idea comes from some small abalone inlays I saw on some rods made by Pete Barrett. 


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With apologies to Terri Mae, when using abalone and trimming in metallic, gold and the more orange gold shades really set off the colors of the shells. I have seen them in silver too but they just don’t have the pop that the gold shown above presents. The gold that Terri objected to above is a more yellow gold hit it was all I could find in size D but I am going to go with a Hitena gold that is more like that shown above, with a more orange hue. 

 

For what it's worth, using Billy Vivona's suggestion about color wheels and complementary colors, orange and orange-gold are opposite (complementing) side of the wheel from the purples, greens and blues in the Andromeda paint and in the abalone sheets I have. 
 

So abalone sheets are interesting as they are an amalgam of 1/2” wide strips that are bound into a sheet by the adhesive backing and the clear layer in front. I mentioned earlier that i was going with the two greener sheets shown many pages back but the purple had enough of the same colors in some of its strips. 

 

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As you can see above, some of the transitions between the strips are quite noticeable, others more subtle. 
 

An abalone wrap over that epoxy ramp will be about 3/4” wide = 1 1/2 strip widths. So the question becomes what section? 
 

If you know how abalone inlay are done, you know you create a masking tape template of the exact profile you need on the desired section of rod. You transfer that unrolled template to the abalone sheet, cut with scissors and you have the exact piece that will wrap around and hopefully provide the smallest or no seam on the down side of the blank. Easy enough. 
 

But what if you use that tape template to “preview” how sections of the abalone will look? I have not seen any of trhe abalone instructional videos do this but they are mostly showing how to apply and entire sheet, all 5.75" width of it. Greatm when you are using an entire sheet for a long wrap but what about if you are only doing accents or smaller sections. There is a better way (for the obsessive types) 
 

Why care? Well, look at the three rods in the Barrett photo above, I don’t like that top one, thinking the abalone shown there is meh. So if you can choose, why not?

 

Below is my masking tape template applied to some scrap cardboard which was then cut out with an Exacto. The piece on the right now offers a window through which you can preview how different sections might look. I marked a center-line as that would be the point directly on top of the rod which will show when the rod is held in fishing position (reel and guides downward). 

 

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I am looking for the section that is not totally purple, offers blues and greens as well as interesting patterns. That piece of gold thread is there because I am also looking for some hint of gold in the shells. 

 

Several alternatives in this sheet. iPhone photos don’t capture all the colors but you get the idea. And being in direct sunlight offers a much different look compared to indoor lighting. 
 

Given the width needed is 1.5 strips wide, I am likely to center a strip-dividing line but that is not required. 
 

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^^^ Bad reflections on that one but one of the more interesting offering some nice gold tones in that area on the right that looks like New Jersey. 

 

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1595

Edited by flyangler

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From left to right:

Fuji gold

Hitena gold

Hitena dark orange gold

Fuji silver

 

The one I prefer is the second from the left, the Hitena gold. I included the silver just to show that it does not complement those colors to my eye. 

 

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Note the silver trims below, they just don’t work as well IMO. 

 

CAFE6832-D1D4-44D7-AB9D-77CABA1B083D.jpeg.50db822e35b3f549b271675843644c24.jpeg

Edited by flyangler

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Did I mention earlier that one should not try something for the first time on a production blank? Did I also suggest using a scrap blank to try out new materials to learn by one’s mistakes? 
 

Yeah, well, I am not smart enough to take my own advice, even after prior ****ups. 
 

Lessons learned this afternoon: 
 

  • Abalone is real shell that is microns thin (I knew this but under appreciated what that means) 
  • Abalone flex sheets have a very tenacious adhesive on the back side (again, knew this but I mean TENACIOUS) 
  • If the adhesive sticks to your finger, do not pull it away as you would with any tape
  • Abalone is even more difficult to apply on curved profile surfaces 
  • Abalone veneers is a bitch to remove due to the tendency to chip into fragments and the tenacity of the adhesive side, 

 

In the spirit that a photo is worth a thousand words, here’s several thousand “words”


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1683

Edited by flyangler

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Putting aside my inexperience with abalone veneers and my being stupid, I don’t think the contour of that ramp will allow a clean application of abalone. I am going to move on the the grips around the reel seat and come back to this later on. 
 

Feel free to give me chit for this monumental failure. :banghd:

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Would a true conical section with a straight taper be visually unappealing? It could allow for a better application of the abalone, but i can't imagine the stress in getting the two ends to align perfectly when only one single point of contact is the starting point.

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57 mins ago, cityevader said:

Would a true conical section with a straight taper be visually unappealing? It could allow for a better application of the abalone, but i can't imagine the stress in getting the two ends to align perfectly when only one single point of contact is the starting point.

Yeah, not easy. Think of tape as an analogy.
 

Electrical tape, very elastic, very stretchy, very accommodating to odd contours, etc. 

 

Masking tape, nearly inelastic, no stretch but will accommodate contours with some deviation. This was proven when making the ramp template, it wrinkled. 
 

Duct tape, inelastic, no stretch and does not like contours. 

The veneer is so stiff internally and so fragile that it will not bend laterally as it would need to, even with a pure straight cone taper. 

 

Even if I did not expect the veneer to accommodate the slope at front, neither the main part of the ramp nor the front of the grip are pure cylinders without a small conical profile. 
 

Either I use a much narrower width of abalone or go with a thread creation. 

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2 hours ago, Mangomania said:

That pretty much mirrors my last (meaning both most recent and won't do again) experience with Abalone. :banghd:

I am not defeated yet. 
 

Several thoughts for one more attempt, even though I wasted the best looking section of that sheet. 
 

First, use a slightly narrower band. 
 

Second, move it a bit further back toward the butt, away from the curved edge. 
 

Third, do not apply the t as one “long” strip with seam face-down. Instead, make it two segments, a millimeter or two longer than needed and apply so that there are two seams on each side of blank. 
 

Last, don’t apply from one end and work along the full length. That’s what ****ed me earlier as I tried to make a correction when I realized the back end was going to be 1/10” misaligned with the leading edge. I tried to lift it to make a correction and that’s where all the “lessons” were learned. 
 

My thinking to mitigate that last point is to start heating and burnishing in the middle of the segment being applied. Work in one direction and then reverse and work in the other. In my head, that should cut the potential for misalignment in half, no? 
 

But I hear you. If I do the above, it will partly be because you dropped a gauntlet in front of me.... 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Probably a bad idea, but what about multiple thin strips? How visible are the seams when butted together?

Would have been drop dead gorgeous had that first try worked.

Edited by cityevader

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11 hours ago, cityevader said:

Probably a bad idea, but what about multiple thin strips? How visible are the seams when butted together?

This stuff is delicate and while there would be no trouble cutting it into strips, having to handle and wrap around several strips just increases the odds of human error with an errant finger, etc. Also, not certain that would solve the cracking issue. 

 

Quote

Would have been drop dead gorgeous had that first try worked.

I did try it again last night after coming home from dinner last night. I intended to do it as mentioned above except I did not heat it with the head gun, I just laid it on. Got two cracks but overall it was better than the first attempt since I avoided that big slope. Not sure the cracks were related to the lack of heat or not. 

 

I put some gold trims on it and then wrapped black thread from the blank up the slope of the ramp. I was burnishing that thread when I pushed too hard down the slope and the wrap came undone faster than a farm girl's pants in the back of the barn. It was like a coiled spring and all the thread tension released and I had to pull that thread off. lesson learned on burnishing on a slope, don't push wider diameter threads "downhill" over smaller diameter threads. In reality, the thread had one lump in it and probably did not need to be burnished at all....

 

Anyway, I looked at it this morning with fresh eyes and in muted sunlight. While I like the look, I am not satisfied with that color abalone which is just too dark to stand out. Not bad for a full sheet but such a small width (0.5") you don't get a sense of what it is. Unlike the photos I provided above, this strip was more purple rather than blue or green. You can see it when focused on it but it did not pop. So I think I am going to pull it off and try a strip from one of the other, brighter, sheets. I will post a photo later.  

 

One question for anyone reading this: Have you ever used black electrical tape as an under-wrap or otherwise epoxied over black tape?

 

Putting on the gold trim was a chore as the ends of the abalone were not clean edges with some bumps, a crack and a very small misalignment of two ends. I was thinking of using a small strip of black tape, maybe 0.10" wide, and wrapping that so that it overlaps the edge of the abalone and onto the ramp or shrink. Without too much pulled tension on the tape, that could give me a smoother surface over which to do the gold trim wraps. In fact, I might even leave a bit of the tape showing as a black "trim" against the abalone so that the gold sits entirely atop the tape and does not have to transition either edge. Then I will run size D black thread up to the edge of the tape which should provide a pretty even transition to the size A gold thread. 

 

I am thinking the tape will not deteriorate if fully encased in epoxy. My only "concern" is how it will age in sunlight, even with the Gen4 epoxy being loaded with UV inhibiters. 

 

Alternatively, if there is an issue with black vinyl electrical tape, I also have black masking tape that could provide the same effect. 

 

Comments welcomed. 

 

 

1812

 

Edited by flyangler

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11 hours ago, cityevader said:

Probably a bad idea, but what about multiple thin strips? How visible are the seams when butted together?

Would have been drop dead gorgeous had that first try worked.

One other thing that I thought about is "why are you eyeballing the wrap hoping the ends will meet?"

 

The misalignment when the two edges join is a major frustration and part of why i screwed up the first attempt. It just occurred to me that a wrap of masking tape on one end of the application area can provide a guide for the line that the strip needs to follow to remain aligned. In this case, a wrap around the butt end which I will try on the next attempt. 

 

Also, because the strip is so thin at a half inch, I may forgo using the heat gun and instead use the boiled water method. In both cases the goal is to soften up the adhesive back side to make it all more flexible (the heat does not actually soften the shell fragments). If using a strip, the water immersion might be easier than trying to warm the strip without melting anything with the nozzle focused on such a small area. 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

3 hours ago, flyangler said:

One question for anyone reading this: Have you ever used black electrical tape as an under-wrap or otherwise epoxied over black tape?

That would be me.

I  have used it to secure the edges of Winn Wrap and then epoxied over it.

Works well.

Use at least two coats of CP over the PVC tape or the epoxy can creep under the trailing edge of the tape and lift it.

Screenshot_2021-04-22 Brandon McQueen ( mcqueen8929) • Instagram photos and videos.png

Screenshot_2021-04-22 Brandon McQueen ( mcqueen8929) • Instagram photos and videos(1).png

Edited by ZAFisher

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