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Where to get abalone?

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  • amk


  • Ron Z


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  • SoulSamurai


Buy it from a Luthier.  You may have to work it a bit, but that's a good source.  Just make sure that you do not breath in any of the dust.

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My brother-in-law gave us some abalone shells that he had caught (however that works) and polished up himself. Real pretty things. He also gave me a couple of unpolished shells that I said I might try to use in pen-turning some day. That was a few years back, when I was thinking about getting into pen turning. Sadly it hasn't happened yet, maybe someday. Of course I have since then read that abalone dust is more harmful than most and requires extra precautions to work with, so I'm not in a hurry to use the shells.

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Thanks Ron. I know quite a few luthiers as I studied musical instrument making so I will see if I can get a small supply laid in.


Yes, that stuff is evil. I recently repaired the inlays in a little Chinese lacquer box, and you can be sure I put a mask on when I was working it and had the extractor working!

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As I did some research into this about a year back, take a look at places that sell supplies for custom fishing poles.  Believe it or not, the really thin sheet is used a lot as decorative wrap on poles.  Check out therodroom.com and there are a few others that sell the veneer sheets.

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