Ebonite Smell?

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firewhatfire

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Are there some brands of ebonite that stink less than others. I love the way the material finishes butdo not like my shop smelling like it.

Does the different colors make a difference also?

Inquiring minds want to know------

Phil
 
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Phil, They are all rubber and they all smell, I for one love the smell of ebonite, but I do understand each to our own..or maybe I am just a weirdo.
 

watch_art

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I think black is the strongest. I turned some denim ebonite from SEM and hardly noticed any smell at all. Cumberland is strong, but not as strong as black. They're all a little different.
 

Brooks803

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Some company's (locations) are stronger than others. They use more sulfer or something which is what you're smelling along with the rubber.

I personally love Japanese ebonite. It smells like any other, but turns and threads super easy!
 

LagniappeRob

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Turned my 1st piece of ebonite this past weekend. I think it's worse than antler... In the shop, I was smelling it even with a sinus infection.

I was having trouble with polishing it as I kept getting scratches. Brought it inside and polished it by hand while watch Dr Who's 50th anniversary show. Tam came in and wanted to know what happened. She had to light several candles. If it wasn't as cold as it was I think I would have been put out the night. She weren't happy.
 

edstreet

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Turned my 1st piece of ebonite this past weekend. I think it's worse than antler... In the shop, I was smelling it even with a sinus infection.

I was having trouble with polishing it as I kept getting scratches. Brought it inside and polished it by hand while watch Dr Who's 50th anniversary show. Tam came in and wanted to know what happened. She had to light several candles. If it wasn't as cold as it was I think I would have been put out the night. She weren't happy.


Hate to say it and sound blunt or abrasive but you are turning it wrong if that was the results, or get much smell at all for that matter.
 
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Rob, I did notice some smell when working with the ebonite but not too bad. I got the most smell when I was drilling and when I was sanding at too high a speed.

It took me a long time to get all of the scratches out when polishing it, the glossy black really amplified an scratch at all. I ran through all the MM grits and it wasn't even close to looking nice. I probably spent 45 minutes on the buffer with white diamond to get it where I was happy. But once there it looked really nice. I also did a Cumberland (Red/Black) and a Blue/Black. The Cumberland was easier it seemed to polish easier, the Blue/Black was just as hard as the black. The blue is very faint and dark so it showed the scratches just as much.
 

watch_art

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Sounds like too much work to sand.
I've never had that much problem.
320 if needed - then 600, 800, 1000, 1200 - all wet or dry auto papers from walmart or autozone. I spray a bit of water the whole time while sanding to keep things cool and clean. Only takes a minute.
 

edstreet

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I am not certain why micro mesh is being used on this product to begin with. That product is made for plastics and the goal with ebonite from my observation is to keep the temp drastically down as the melting point of the key ingredient is 240F and that is not the fume point either.

Since it's a rather soft material it's easy and rapid to polished out. When you take the above into consideration and make method changes based on the type of ebonite you are working with I find that the smell is practically non-existent.

As for grits goes from what little I have worked to date I found that very little was needed. Mostly the range goes chisel -> 400 (or 500) grit directly to 800 grit or the buffer.

Personally I advocate using the buffer as little as possible since it is *THE* most dangerous shop tool you could ever have. So spending any time on a compound to do the job means you are not using the right compound and need to go to something larger grit size and/or aggressive.
 
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The smell of burnt rubber is normal working with ebonite and the use of MM on ebonite is pretty standard too and recommended by many here on IAP: http://www.penturners.org/forum/f28/finishing-ebonite-73048/

MicroMesh is not just for plastic if you look at their website there are hundreds of uses and per their website:

MICRO-MESHTM was originally developed for the restoration of fine art. It was found to be very effective for removing layers of contamination, old varnish and paint without damaging the delicate original substrate or masterpiece beneath it.

Mike
 

edstreet

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The only mention of micro mesh on that link was where one person used micro mesh then used another product with a grit that was more coarse than the micro mesh finish point to complete the process.

The mention on this thread was using micromesh and then using a buffer for 45 minutes.

Perhaps I am dense and missing something but I thought the purpose of using a product was to reduce time needed and also to yield a superior finish. I am not following why there is products used after micro mesh for starters. The other thing that I am not clear on is why use a product after micro mesh and that product takes a very long time to perform (buffer in this case)? Was the results from micro mesh not up to par that another process had to be used?


I did get this info from one of the manufactures.

When mirror polished is achieved, Ebonite gets an incredible gloss, which varies by the finesse of the ebonite or hard rubber material used. When buffing, the following step should be taken into consideration:

In order to achieve this glossy look, all surfaces must be prepared to reduce any imperfections from the material caused by the pressing and vulcanization process. To do so, the surface shall be sanded down in steps starting from 240 grit sand paper and incrementing to 320 grit, 600 grit and 1000 grit.

Note: When complete smoothness is required, but critical factors such as normal heat caused by the buffing process could alter the part, then it may be possible to reach up to 5000 grit depending on the application without the use of the polishing wheel. Nonetheless; it may not have such glossy tone to it.

Better results can be achieved when using wet-sanding paper and water during the sanding process.

Please be sure to keep an evenly stroke while sanding the surface. This will allow having a better finish.

A buffing drum may be used to reach small areas when dealing with small parts such as pipe stems, saxophone mouthpieces and others.

The whole process has 4 clear steps:
1. Pumicing, dressing or pre-sanding
2. Buffing “Cutting”: This step is done right after the sanding process in order to cut the imperfections of the sand paper.
3. Buffing “polishing”: Done after cutting to achieve mirror glossy finish.
4. Cleaning: Mild soap is used with cold water. Never use Alcohol or any types of solvents as in time will remove the glossy finish of the surface.

Note: When buffing the surface normal heat is created. This of course should be avoided at all times since it will degrade the results. Therefore; the surface shall be prepared as mentioned above.

Lastly depending on the size of the part, various buffing machines are available. Generally speaking machines with 800 to 2000 rpm’s are common use for this applications. Various buffing compounds and wheels ranging from 100 mm, 400mm and 800 mm are often used by professionals when buffing hard rubber compound. Make sure you consult us and we will direct you to the right machine for your purpose.

They also go on to mention:
Janus polishing paste #523 BFF
Atol polishing wax #3
Unipol blue.


Note the 5,000 grit remark they make.
 

LagniappeRob

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Was the results from micro mesh not up to par that another process had to be used?

But they answered that before you posted (emphasis added is mine)...
I ran through all the MM grits and it wasn't even close to looking nice.

Also you last post, you seemed to indicate that you don't approve (can't think of a better word ATM) of using MM on it at all.

I am not certain why micro mesh is being used on this product to begin with. That product is made for plastics...

That seems to me that you don't agree with MM being used on it, since it's "made for plastics".



I used MM as well at first, and got scratches. I sat and examined the MM for dirt or flaking since it wasn't brand new. Neither seemed to be the case. I used MM sticks in the end @ 6000-12000 by hand to get the finish I wanted.

As for being blunt or abrasive (was that pun?), I'm not that thin skinned which is obvious if you'd ever see me. :biggrin: And I've been know to do things wrong before. It wouldn't be the first nor that last time.

I didn't smell it inside... Tammy did. Either I became accustomed to it, or it could be that her sense of smell is much better (which it is) than mine, and it wasn't a smell that she liked. Plus after reading other accounts of people smelling it long after it being finished, I don't think I'm the only one.
 
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PenMan1

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Aside from the black, which stinks without any heat, if you ebonite smells enough to cause a seriously bad smell, you may want to evaluate the tools and processes being use.

I DO cut ebonite to length with a coping saw because a power saw DOES cause a smell. if you are getting a smell like buring rubber, you need a sharper tool (I recommend a new carbide or diamond insert cutter), a different speed and a better turning lubricant. I like to use sun tanning oil (when I can find it). If you creating enough friction to smell the coconut oil in the suntan lotion, YOU ARE OVERHEATING the ebonite and it will never shine up, it'll always have a dull look because it's burned.
 

PenMan1

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As for polishing Ebonite, I agree 100 percent with Ed Street.

Micromesh is for plastic. Brasso on an old piece of tee shirt or other soft cotton will do an amazing shine job on ebonite. The tee shirt MAY BE the more important thing here. Brasso works marginally when applied with paper towel. I think the paper towel may be too abrasive.

When I do use Micromesh, it is ALWAYS used soaked in Brasso.
 
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edstreet

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So what brand of black is everyone using that is claimed to smell so much? So far I only use one type of black ebonite and you really have to do something horrible to get it to smell.

The more I work with ebonite the more I come to realize that my initial theory that not only sharp tools but method and work flow makes a huge difference in smell generation.
 

jyreene

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I've worked with the Indian, Japanese, and German Ebonite and in that order is the worst to best smelling. Even under instruction by some experts they have agreed that the afore mentioned order is correct.

Method I was taught is using renaissance wax or something similar. And yes your turning methods will greatly affect the smell and polish. Sharp tools. Effective even cuts. Sand with the wax through 800. 1000 if your feeling froggy. And take your time. With each grit. It took me some time to get my technique better and it's still not perfect.

I normally don't agree with some of the techniques Ed has, the buffing wheel is one, but he is spot on here (and as abrasive as it may seem he is always trying to help). So follow him.
 

chriselle

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I'm in Japan and have been getting Nikko ebonite for some time. Up until recently they have only offered black but now they are starting to make some of their colors available but are quite pricey. Especially, if you were to factor in the shipping from Japan. Not bad ebonite though.

The key to ebonite is sharp tools and the only way to keep tools sharp for any length of time with ebonite is to turn slow.
 

chriselle

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Chris, I was hoping you would have some valuable input on this subject. Any other advice on the polishing? Thanks.

Hey Chuck.. (How's things?)

Nah, nothing much to add to the methods already stated. Just keep it cool with lots of water when wet sanding and be liberal with the liquid polish of your choice at later stages while keeping the rpms down a bit. Once you get it too warm it won't polish worth a crap. Also, I use metal files to get the final shape before going through the wet sanding stages.
 
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