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Sourcing Shark / Ray Skin 'sandpaper'

Posted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:23 pm
by Paul D
Can someone please tell me where I can get hold of some shark or ray skin (shagreen) that I can use as "Tudor sandpaper", without having to take out a second mortgage?

Thanks in anticipation.

Re: WANTED ;Shark / Ray Skin

Posted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:05 pm
by Mark Griffin
Unfortunately you are going to spend some money. Try Traditional materials through tod http://www.todsstuff.co.uk/index.htm, they have a stock of the weird and wonderful. Or nip down to somewhere next the sea with a decent fishing community and ask about. Dog skin is fine for sandpaper. Shagreen is a different thing entirely, for scabbards etc. Needs to be a bit tougher.

Re: WANTED ;Shark / Ray Skin

Posted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:53 pm
by PoD
what size peice you after? They do a 7"x4" peice of ray skin on ebay for £4.50 with shipping

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Piece-Stingray-Hi ... 2560ea740c

Re: WANTED ;Shark / Ray Skin

Posted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:46 pm
by Paul D
Mark Griffin wrote:Unfortunately you are going to spend some money. Try Traditional materials through tod http://www.todsstuff.co.uk/index.htm, they have a stock of the weird and wonderful. Or nip down to somewhere next the sea with a decent fishing community and ask about. Dog skin is fine for sandpaper. Shagreen is a different thing entirely, for scabbards etc. Needs to be a bit tougher.



Thanks Mark. I had checked out Tod already. I live quite near Southend so maybe I need to chat up local fishermen. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Re: WANTED ;Shark / Ray Skin

Posted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:47 pm
by Paul D
PoD wrote:what size peice you after? They do a 7"x4" peice of ray skin on ebay for £4.50 with shipping

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Piece-Stingray-Hi ... 2560ea740c



Great pod - logged on - saw it - bought it. You're a star (and it wno't break the bank). Cheers!

Re: WANTED ;Shark / Ray Skin

Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:19 am
by lucy the tudor
Lightweight!Get a dogfish too, meduck, they're worth the effort. I found a sharp flexible serrated grapefruit knife the most effective thing for skinning mine.All the smooth blades didn't work well at all, and I had some razor sharp ones. Even tried razors.
He tasted awful though, kind of squishy, no matter what we did to cook him. Which was a shame, as he was 4 foot six long.
Salted down nicely and sands things if you are trying to look good and thenty, but don't forget most things were smoothed to finish by scraping with a very sharp blade, not many sanded- so I'm told. ( wish I could remember by whom though).

Re: WANTED ;Shark / Ray Skin

Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:03 am
by Mark Griffin
but don't forget most things were smoothed to finish by scraping with a very sharp blade, not many sanded- so I'm told. ( wish I could remember by whom though).


Thats right, I've been told that by sage old carpenters too.

Fish skin turns up in the wills of extremely fine workmen like Sheraton and Gibbons in later periods, fine joinery and marquetry finishing/. So unless you are doing very fine carving I'd say a sharp knife or plane blade. Or leave it a bit rougher and paint it, as much stuff was.

Re: WANTED ;Shark / Ray Skin

Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:51 am
by Paul D
lucy the tudor wrote:Lightweight!Get a dogfish too, meduck, they're worth the effort. I found a sharp flexible serrated grapefruit knife the most effective thing for skinning mine.All the smooth blades didn't work well at all, and I had some razor sharp ones. Even tried razors.
He tasted awful though, kind of squishy, no matter what we did to cook him. Which was a shame, as he was 4 foot six long.
Salted down nicely and sands things if you are trying to look good and thenty, but don't forget most things were smoothed to finish by scraping with a very sharp blade, not many sanded- so I'm told. ( wish I could remember by whom though).



Points taken. I have been trying to get hold of a dog fish, or shark, but despite my best efforts (on line local fish mechants etc) have had no joy. Thinking of an early morning trip to Southend (maybe Hastings) to accost the fishermen. (Lightweight indeed - none taken lol). X

Re: WANTED ;Shark / Ray Skin

Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:57 am
by Mark Griffin
When I resided in gos own country hastings sea front was a good place to catch a good catch. But you might also like to try the merchants in newhaven, very useful chaps. Cant remember their name but they have a unit down in the dock area.

Re: WANTED ;Shark / Ray Skin

Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:00 am
by lucy the tudor
I had to " book" my dogfish, from a local fishmonger for whom my mother is a regular customer- he had to ask his suppliers, and I had to be prepared to accept whatever size came, and whenever it came, it took about six weeks from asking to getting the call. It also took six hours to get the best method to skin him, by which time I stank to high heaven, and had shark bits through my hair- I didn't know that, until the other mothers at the school gate stepped three paces back and looked horrified. We hadn't long moved here, and the previous week I'd had to collect the kids whilst still in costume after a half day school an hour or two away.
Not surprising it has taken me a while to be accepted by the locals.
Good luck with the fishermen, xx

Re: WANTED ;Shark / Ray Skin

Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:07 pm
by Tod
I would think some one in the company I work (VSM Abrasives) for has done some research on the history of sandpaper.

Re: WANTED ;Shark / Ray Skin

Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:13 pm
by Mark Griffin
I've given talks and demos at the V&A on the history of wallpaper, that count?

Re: WANTED ;Shark / Ray Skin

Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:18 pm
by Joolz
If you are carving in relief or 'in the round' you would have invariably finished your carving with sharp chisels, the finer the finish needed, the more chiselwork involved and thus more time and expense (which is why sandpapering is a relatively 'modern' way of finishing - even our Victorian and Edwardian ancestors saw sandpapering as a sign of poor technique!). For flat surfaces or smooth curves, a plane or a cabinet scraper would have been used.

Sandpapering tears wood fibres, which will raise them once you oil the surface, giving a smooth but 'furry' surface which need to be cut back further with finer paper or wire wool.

A blade leaves a much sharper and cleaner finish, but few people are willing to pay nowadays for the extra time involved in achieving that fine cut surface on woodcarvings.

Joolz
(long time woodcarver - and sandpaperer)

Re: WANTED ;Shark / Ray Skin

Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:20 pm
by Langley
Anyone got a chippy near them which still sells "Rock Salmon"? Don't kow if their supplies arrives with it's skin on or as fillets but maybe worth a try?

Re: WANTED ;Shark / Ray Skin

Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:27 pm
by Paul D
PoD wrote:what size peice you after? They do a 7"x4" peice of ray skin on ebay for £4.50 with shipping

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Piece-Stingray-Hi ... 2560ea740c



Hi pod. It turns out that £4.50 piece is not suitable, BUT the seller also sells untanned ray skin which IS suitable for £9.99 (inc postage). Still a lot cheaper than I have seen elsewhere. So my thanks to you stand. I loved Lucys saga of the dogfish, so will try that also, and will also explore the chippy, rock salmon route.

Thanks to all for their responses

Re: WANTED ;Shark / Ray Skin

Posted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:53 pm
by Paul D
Paul D wrote:
PoD wrote:what size peice you after? They do a 7"x4" peice of ray skin on ebay for £4.50 with shipping

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Piece-Stingray-Hi ... 2560ea740c



Hi pod. It turns out that £4.50 piece is not suitable, BUT the seller also sells untanned ray skin which IS suitable for £9.99 (inc postage). Still a lot cheaper than I have seen elsewhere. So my thanks to you stand. I loved Lucys saga of the dogfish, so will try that also, and will also explore the chippy, rock salmon route.

Thanks to all for their responses


Have now received my ray skin, which I got online from Robs Bits. It is ideal for my needs and large enough to cut into 8 useful sizes. I would recommend Robs Bits to anyone seeking "Tudor sandpaper".

Re: WANTED ;Shark / Ray Skin

Posted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 9:48 pm
by Jack the dodgy builder
Some how I missed this one.

There are references to the use of fish skins (of the shark family) as a smoothing medium over a long peroid of time. Indeed the Royal Navy only only stopped using it for rust removal about 10 years ago (it came in 9 inch squares) . If I can find my research I will put some dates in
But as lucy's and others say sharp edge and scraping are the main techniques . Remeber also that most of the surfaces not seen ie inside behind, underneath are most often barely touched at most scrub planed until 1800 ish even on quite high status objects.

I dont know what Lucy was up to I havnt had that trouble . The last lot I got was from the fish mongers on the dockside who gave me a big bag (which I promptly gave away!!!) for nothing. I pinned them onto board , fleshside up and scraped them with a cabinet scaper whilst running in water then left to dry . no salt and no smell.

Jack

Re: WANTED ;Shark / Ray Skin

Posted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:15 pm
by Paul D
Thanks Jack.

Re: WANTED ;Shark / Ray Skin

Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:10 am
by lucy the tudor
Jack the dodgy builder wrote:Some how I missed this one.



I dont know what Lucy was up to I havnt had that trouble . The last lot I got was from the fish mongers on the dockside who gave me a big bag (which I promptly gave away!!!) for nothing. I pinned them onto board , fleshside up and scraped them with a cabinet scaper whilst running in water then left to dry . no salt and no smell.

Jack


If I ever need some more, I will try it that way. I was working on a table, dry, trying to take the skin off the flesh- obviously wet and flesh off skin with a decent scraper would be far superior- not fitted wiv a brain, I wasn't :$

Re: Sourcing Shark / Ray Skin 'sandpaper'

Posted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 4:05 pm
by bishap53
Hi I have started to treat my skins and will happily keep doing it and selling them if there is a demand. Here is my ebay page I am testing 4 skins to find what price they should go for as information is at zero my end.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/173234465796 ... 1558.l2649


Also here is my email if you want to directly contact me. bishap53@me.com

Cheers Tom