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Adam Simmonds




Location: Henley-on-Thames
Joined: 10 Jun 2006

Posts: 137

PostPosted: Sun 21 Jan, 2007 3:25 pm    Post subject: preserving shark skin grip...         Reply with quote

Hi guys,

i have recently, for the second time now, re-gripped a sword using the skin of a small shark (spotted dogfish). While it looks very cool (shiny grey with white spots) and is a very durable and tough alternative to regular leather, I find that after some use, it begins to wear down. That is, the tiny bumps on the skin (denticles) which give it that sandpaper feel begin to rub off thru use. The skin remains tough and overall ok, but loses some of its grippyness and distinctive colouration. Does anyone know of any treatments given shark skin to prevent it from such wear?

cheers, Adam S.
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John Cooksey




Location: NW Ark
Joined: 15 Nov 2003

Posts: 291

PostPosted: Sun 21 Jan, 2007 5:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I dunno, a lacquer perhaps?
I know that most rayskin-gripped swords periodically just have their rayskin replaced as it wears . . . .

I didn't surrender, but they took my horse and made him surrender.
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Adam Simmonds




Location: Henley-on-Thames
Joined: 10 Jun 2006

Posts: 137

PostPosted: Sun 21 Jan, 2007 10:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, I was thinking some sort of lacquer could be possible. Oil gives some protection against drying and flaking but it also stains it. Maybe, as you say, it is just used and then replaced. It's easy enough to do as long as you have the material.

Cheers, Adam S.
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E.B. Erickson
Industry Professional



Location: Thailand
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 434

PostPosted: Mon 22 Jan, 2007 4:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Adam,
As the grip becomes smoother and not as "grippy", is it because the denticles are being lost, or because the denticles are losing their points?
If you're losing denticles, the skin may have experienced some decomposition. You may have to dry the raw skins more quickly to avoid this.

--ElJay
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Adam Simmonds




Location: Henley-on-Thames
Joined: 10 Jun 2006

Posts: 137

PostPosted: Mon 22 Jan, 2007 10:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Eljay,

Perhaps that is what is happening - the denticles are losing their points. For the skin remains strong and still grippy underneath , just less rough , like worn sandpaper rather then fresh. The colour also changes, from a shiny grey to a darker, matt grey. Is this process of the denticles points coming off a normal one then? Is this to be expected when using shark skin grip? Is oiling it at all advisable?

Also, how long can the skin stay wet before it is likely to begin decomposing? It is summer now, and so things dry pretty quick, but I did keep the skin damp for perhaps an hour at least while I worked with it.

thanks, Adam S.
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