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Sea Urchin Shells for Xmas Ornaments

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Dennis J Gooding, Jul 29, 2020.

  1. Dennis J Gooding

    Dennis J Gooding

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    I know, it's a bit early, but I have been tasked by a friend to make some in assorted sizes. My question is: should the shells themselves be sealed (overcoated)? If so with what? I am using gloss spray lacquer for the finials.
     
  2. GRJensen

    GRJensen

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    At the minimum I spray them with a clear matte finish. For larger sea urchins (e.g. Sputniks) I use a small acid brush to coat the inside with PVA glue.
     
  3. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    The urchin shells will vary in strength. Many are quite fragile. A spray finish will strengthen them.

    Below are the first pages of two articles in the journal you may find useful
    Bob Rosand
    6337BBCC-464D-46F8-B4E0-C25CD0BC195C.jpeg
    David Lutrick - he fills the ornaments with foam to strengthen them.
    30FF6591-2C19-42AE-9ACE-28EA304B792A.png
     
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  4. Dennis J Gooding

    Dennis J Gooding

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    Thanks Al, very useful.
     
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  5. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

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    Spray foam inside will strengthen them immensely. But use the low expansion foam or it will break them open as foam expands an cures.
     
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  6. Larry Parker

    Larry Parker

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    I coat inside with Hodge Podge, recommended by Cindy Drozda, PVA is probably about the same. I then spray with lacquer when assembled.
     
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  7. Walter Mooney

    Walter Mooney

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    Dennis,

    Before you foam with the low-expansion foam (absolutely the right product), cover the shell with painters' tape or similar, turning a small lip of it into the shell, because if any foam gets on the outside of the shell, you'll never get it off. Once the foam is cured, peel and cut away the painters' tape. Your finial will hide the edge of the hole if there are tape remnants left.
     
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  8. Curt Fuller

    Curt Fuller

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    I've never tried the foam for stabilizing the shell. Might have to try that. But I've made dozens using Modge Podge on the inside of the shell. Just brush it on, 2 coats, with a small brush being careful not to get it on the outside of the shell. I think I learned this from Cindy Drozda's youtube demo. Even the more sturdy "sputknik" shells are too fragile to hold up without making a post through the center of the ornament connecting the cap and icicle. I've found it's best to not glue the shell to the wood parts. I finish the wood parts (spray lacquer) before gluing them all together and then give it one last coat when it's all glued up and hanging from the hook.
     
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  9. Dennis J Gooding

    Dennis J Gooding

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    Thanks all for your advice on this. The results are shown below. I had available only a 3/4" thick cocobolo board, so the finials are a combination of side-grain and end-grain wood. This entailed a lot of time boring, tenoning and waiting for glue to dry before I could actually turn the finials. I opted to use the Moge Podge reinforcement method rather than the foam method as it seemed safer for a first-time. The outside of the shells are coated with the recommended Krylon matteproduct and the finials are sprayed with gloss lacquer.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Kevin Weir

    Kevin Weir

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    Hi Dennis. Nice job. What is your source for the sea urchin shells?
     
  11. Dennis J Gooding

    Dennis J Gooding

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    Thanks, Kevin. A friend supplied the shells and asked for the ornaments. I will try to remember to ask her where she bought them.
     
  12. Curt Fuller

    Curt Fuller

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  13. Kevin Weir

    Kevin Weir

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    Thanks Curtis. Yes, I just checked, there’s lots on Amazon and Etsy.
     
  14. Dennis J Gooding

    Dennis J Gooding

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    Kevin, I checked with my friend. She bought a package of four from Amazon for $10.00. They measure 2.8, 2.4, 2.0 and 2.0 in diameter.
     
  15. Kevin Weir

    Kevin Weir

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    Thanks Dennis. I see some on Amazon that are green and a pinkish red. Thinking these would be perfect for Christmas decorations.
     
  16. Tim Connell

    Tim Connell

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  17. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

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    The shell shops at the beaches tend to be quite high. I think most urchin shells come from over seas although I have collected some while snorkeling in Delaware. Pain to clean them out.
     

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