Re: [MedievalSawdust] The Woodworking Channel
- I can get it back to the early 19th Century - sharkskin sandpaper was
a minor industry in Colonial Australia, at least at Eden in NSW. The
shore whalers used to hunt sharks for their skin in between the
periodic whale migrations. The tool used looks like a 'Koran stand'
with a short chisel shaped blade hammered into one leaf - the blade
was used to start the cut under the skin, then the flap was gripped
between the jaws at the other end & ripped off in a sheet. It was
then scraped & dried before being sent off to market in Sydney.
The other major use of shark skin was 'shagreen' - originally donkey
skin, the name became attached to shark or ray skin used for wrapping
sword handles - which gets it back to the 1600's in places like
Poland where it seems to have been used on sabre handles.
As to where a Black Forest woodworker would get his supply, probably
from the same merchant who sold him a barrel of salt cod.
Brusi of Orkney
At 03:25 AM 2/04/2006, you wrote:
>... just saw a little Mythbusters episode on sharks... they tested
>the "sharkskin as sandpaper" thing... turns out dried shark skin
>(forgot the species)... has an abrasion quality somewhere between
>400 and 600 grit sandpaper. They also made a sharkskin pad for a
>random orbit sander... seemed rather impressed with the results.
>Now... the one question they DIDN'T answer is where a guy in the
>Black Forest might have laid his hands on a shark... ;-[) (... or,
>asked a bit more profoundly... "OK... they *could have*... but DID
>they and, if so, how common was it???")