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Making tools (Combs, rakes, etc)

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:40 am
by Griffin.benko
I've upgraded myself to a slightly larger tank recently and want to make some new combs of varying sizes. Anyone have any good tips?

My old ones were toothpicks and cardboard - it got the job done but wasn't the best. I'd like to use metal pins - ideally about 3 inches long so that I can glue them to wood and still have them reach into the bath. Anyone have any recommendations?

Re: Making tools (Combs, rakes, etc)

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:35 pm
by Milena
Tool are fun to make. For a large rake, try using a wooden yardstick cut to fit so it moves through your tray easily. Then add drapery hooks at various measurement intervals. These can be adjusted to change the spacing between "teeth" and thus, change the size of the pattern being created. Hooks remove easily to be washed (without soap, please) and can be returned to the exact spacing on the yardstick. If you can find an item called a T-pin, these make excellent metal teeth for combs and they are quite long (approx. 2.5 to 3 inches). I bought a bagfull at a shop that made custom draperies and have never seen them elsewhere. I made my comb by using two long, thin pieces of wood (width of tray and about an inch in depth) and sandwiched the pins in-between with glue, allowing the "T" head to project at the top. This is a permanent tool and can't be adjusted. However... another comb/rake can:
hunt for plastic hair roller pins at a beauty supply shop. Each is approx. 3" long. with a small round knob at the top. Then drill holes in a long piece of flat wood so that the plastic pins can be inserted easily using the knob as your stopper to rest on top of the wood. Depending on the amount of holes you drill, and the spacing between each, the comb/rake can be used through both length and width of tray by removing pins as needed to "jump" the wall of the tray. It's a sturdy tool and cleans well. For a delicate comb- use straight pins glued to wood and reinforced with another piece of wood, always keeping the head of the pin above the top of the piece of wood. For all of the above, I varnished each piece of wood with marine deck varnish twice, then made the tool. This makes the wood water- proof and lasts as long as you do. It's also a good idea to make a permanent comb that fits the width of your tray and one that fits the length for precise patterns. My favorite tool was a tiny comb, no longer than 2" with straight pins closely spaced. A twist here, a twist there over a traditional pattern... voila! A new pattern. Students gravitated to this tiny wonder (so I had to make many over the years). And one more tool- a stainless steel stylus from a hobby shop for free form marbling. Enjoy.

Re: Making tools (Combs, rakes, etc)

Posted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 9:04 am
by johnacsyen
Are either the drapery hooks or T-pins rust resistance. What material are they made of?

Re: Making tools (Combs, rakes, etc)

Posted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 4:14 pm
by Milena
None of the pins or hooks rusted in many years of use. They had a smooth finish like a common safety pin and I always cleaned each tool after daily use so that might have helped quite a bit in preventing possible rusting. Hooks inserted into perforated wallboard over a worktable held each tool in place and ready for use. I noticed the video of the Cockerell studio shows a similar setup (The Art of the Marbler).