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Cleaning Paua Shells

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    Posted: 30 Nov 2008 at 8:00pm
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After my first go at cleaning paua shells, I got mixed results.  Using H2SO4, I dunked the shells for a few minutes, then used a wire brush to clean off the outer shell.  Most have a pretty bland outside, but decent colors inside.  One turned out fantastic on the outside, but sun damage basically ruined the inside.  Does anyone know of a way to restore the color or is it too late?





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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote long john Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Nov 2008 at 8:28pm
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try using sulphuric acid next time
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Hairy Little Dwarf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Nov 2008 at 8:31pm
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I've had good results with Oil of Vitriol

...And I think the sun damage is a one-way process unfortunately.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote kolt45 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Nov 2008 at 8:39pm
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Originally posted by long john long john wrote:

try using sulphuric acid next time


sulfuric acid = H2SO4 Wink

HLD, I've read about mineral oil being the ticket to keeping the shine, will have to get some.  Bummer about the sun damage.  Looks like I've just got to go get some more Tongue.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Mullins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Nov 2008 at 9:15pm
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I think he meant Hydrogen Sulfate, does a much better job
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote kuuni Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Nov 2008 at 9:17pm
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Get one with a nice inside and then just stick the outside on a buffer wheel/grinder for a bit

BTW, I think LJ gotcha kolt :P
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Paul G Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Nov 2008 at 9:30pm
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Don't breathe that dust Kuuni
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Minksta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Dec 2008 at 6:35am
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Yeah what kuuni said kolt, then a bit of really fine wet and dry sandpaper to get a nice finish!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote kolt45 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Dec 2008 at 7:29am
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Originally posted by kuuni kuuni wrote:

Get one with a nice inside and then just stick the outside on a buffer wheel/grinder for a bit

BTW, I think LJ gotcha kolt :P


Is that how they do the ones in the airport shops?

and yes, I think you're right - the Dwarf's "oil of vitriol" too.  Maybe I should try spirits of salts next time? Dead

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Nick W Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Dec 2008 at 10:42am
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Angle grinder. Dont breath in the dust tho. can show you some on wednesday at the meeting if you want.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote kolt45 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Dec 2008 at 11:39am
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Yeah, definitely bring some in.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote long john Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Dec 2008 at 8:58pm
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Originally posted by kuuni kuuni wrote:


BTW, I think LJ gotcha kolt :P
I try....Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote kolt45 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Dec 2008 at 9:06pm
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Let's all pick on the American guy LOL.  Don't let all those H+ ions get to your head - they tend to dissolve rocks! Tongue

I guess I'm going to stick with my oil of the philosopher's stone and leave the lung-tissue-damaging, dust breathing up to all you other fellers.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote long john Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Dec 2008 at 10:44am
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If you gring them wet you'll avoid the dread silicosis. Alas, you don't get that structured surface look that yours have.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote kolt45 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Dec 2008 at 11:27am
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Maybe an acid bath, followed by a wire wheel spin is a good way to go.  Thoughts?
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote ethan18724 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2015 at 12:25pm
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Just get the shell, and put it in a ice cream container with milk, and leave it for 2 weeks. the curdling process of the milk reacts with the outer calcium which breaks it down. after the shell is taken out. just wipe the inside of it with a sponge an ajax. this worked well for me. Smile
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Shocked milk!? really?
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Originally posted by ethan18724 ethan18724 wrote:

Just get the shell, and put it in a ice cream container with milk, and leave it for 2 weeks. the curdling process of the milk reacts with the outer calcium which breaks it down. after the shell is taken out. just wipe the inside of it with a sponge an ajax. this worked well for me. Smile

I have to try this!!!!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote S.H.A.G Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Feb 2015 at 9:19am
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Originally posted by ethan18724 ethan18724 wrote:

Just get the shell, and put it in a ice cream container with milk, and leave it for 2 weeks. the curdling process of the milk reacts with the outer calcium which breaks it down. after the shell is taken out. just wipe the inside of it with a sponge an ajax. this worked well for me. Smile
Trying this tonight!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Troy Tempest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Mar 2015 at 3:54pm
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So, I gave the old milky paua trick a go and got some mixed results. Two weeks on and here is the best of them. The outsides have little change, but the inside has come up nice.

·.¸¸.·´¯'·.¸¸·´¯'·.¸¸.·´¯'·.¸ ><((((º>
.¸¸·´¯'·.¸¸.·´¯'·.¸ ><((((º>

Just quietly getting on with it...
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