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Minimizing Scratching of Anodized Alum. Scales

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The Project: knit-scale dice bags

 

The Process: knitting 2 halves of a bag or knitting the entire front & back face, followed by stiching them together or closed. This is the process being used to knit the scales into place ( simple knit-scale stitch, starts at 00:01:50 ). I'm using 3.25mm aluminum needles, common store knitting thread and the scales were purchased through TRL.

 

The Challenge: My anodized aluminum scales are getting all kinds of "battle worn" from just the process of knitting the scales together, let alone from normal wear and tear:

 

32c7012b-7211-469e-a18e-ad2562e3878e.jpg

 

 

Now, I have another bag ( completed ) that I purchased about a month ago that is not exhibiting near the dmg. I have not been gentle to this bag; tossing it into a backpack ammassed with stuff, idly rolling the scales / knit, testing the tensile strength, etc:

 

 

5d5f4472-6407-4115-b8dd-a3bf56fb6cc1.jpg

 

As you can see, there's a considerable difference in the wear between the two bags. Hardly any at all on the second. I took my needles to an underlying scale and they do appear to be anodized with no additional treatment, given how easily they scuffed...


So Far:  I've attempted to utilize an enamel on a few scales ( 2 lights coats; 3 distorted color ), but that scratches even worse! Supposedly the stuff they used on anodized engine / car parts, I must be missing a step...

 

I'm also thinking now to try out maybe some wooden knitting needles, as the majority of the dmg is coming from there, although they are still rubbing against each other every time I add a new stitch.

 

Another possibility is to mayhaps cover the scales in painters blue tape individually as I work, but there's no mild guarantee that the tape will stick through the whole process or won't pull of the paint after the bag is completed. I'll end up trying this process out next..

 

---

 

I read on another post that a gentleman was not having the same issue as I am. His are two bracelets made for his young daughters ( under 10, both ) and I can only imagine the kind of mischief children put things through. His were hardly worn at all, except around points of contact ( which is arguably where I'm having the most issue, but the forum seems to be pretty issue-free about the weardown of anodized scales ).

 

I'd highly apprecaite any insight into the matter or help problem-solving. I'm pretty new to this and would like to do a full cosplay with blue anodized scale maile for next years convention(s). While it can look a little rough around the edges, it would be nice for it to at least make a photo shoot without already looking a year+ used.

 

 

Thank you!

 

 

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Two things come to mind. The one batch of scales was made slightly off, or was not tumbled or polished before anodizing. So there is a sharp edge/burr on the bottom side that is rubbing on the scales and causing that wear pattern. And the other is that different anodizing setting were used and the color layer is not nearly as tough.

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Yeah, doesn't look normal to me. Those things are usually pretty tough. Test the underside of one of your bought bag scales that aren't scratching, with one of the ones that are scratching, with a number of materials with different hardnesses, compare the results. Also, do the scales that are scratching have burrs on the bottom edges like ahmanud said?

 

I took a look at the video, and it seems like that should be pretty gentle on the scales, metal needles or not.

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PAmbrust: It's likely. The woman who made the bag I bought said that she bought them en masse as parts of a fishing lure. The process the industry utilizes is likely more durable than that for scale maile given its' application. That being said, I couldn't find even similar pieces in bulk, so I skipped over that and headed straight on over here, to TRL.

 

Ahmanud, good call! Upon closer inspection of the scales, a lot of them do have slight burrs along the edges. The knitting needles were also scuffing the scales.
 

I ended up messing around with them for a while with a friend who is also working with anodized scales and we ended up trying something that she's had to do. Which is effectively buff the scales. Using an eye glasses cloth and water, she's had to go back after putting the bag together and clean up her work. Turns out the burrs are scuffing, not deeply scratching. Here, check it out...

 

Before:

 

photo1-1.jpg

 

 

After:

 

cc28e681-4475-4e5c-a094-da1383bad4bd.jpg

 

 

There's still a few noticeable scratches here and there, so I'm going to try the wooden knitting needles to see if I can eliminate the damage entirely.

 

 

Thanks everyone for your comments and help! I'll post before and after pics of the bag restitched with wooden needles and buffed just so that the diffence of the problem and the outcome of the problem-solving is evident.

 

Thanks again!!!

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PAmbrust: It's likely. The woman who made the bag I bought said that she bought them en masse as parts of a fishing lure. The process the industry utilizes is likely more durable than that for scale maile given its' application. That being said, I couldn't find even similar pieces in bulk, so I skipped over that and headed straight on over here, to TRL.

Those scales aren't from the Ring Lord?? They look like it to me, I've never seen fishing lures that look like that, not in anodised aluminium, nor matte. And TRL originally adapted those scales from fishing lures (which are usually very very shiny to attract fish, and done in plated brass/iron, and larger than those small scales). (So she could be technically and covertly referring to TRL scales to protect her sources.) Are they the same size and shape as your bought TRL ones, two sided colour, with raw (silver) edges, punched out of sheet?

 

Also, TRL's scales are very durable as far as anodised aluminium goes. You won't find anything tougher in that material. Some people use it for armour. TRL has improved their suppliers' anodising over the decade and these scales haven't for a very long time had any issues with their anodising that I've heard or seen (I could be wrong in your case!). Anodised aluminium will scratch when something sharp or hard abrades it; this is unavoidable. TRL has had issues with some scales being punched with burrs, especially recently. I wear a lot of anodised stuff, and it holds up really well to everyday abuse, but I still coat my steel pliers with plastidip when making stuff with them.

 

I'm assuming the bag you bought is made with anodised aluminium scales, it sure looks like it, and the colours and finish TRL sells it in, too.

 

Also, if you can't get wooden needles, you can of course, get plastic ones. CraftyMutt appears to use metal ones, but she's very experienced.

 

(This thread is really making me want to knit with scales. So pretty, so fast to come together. I don't need another project. Aaaargh!)

Edited by calyx

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I will preface my note here by saying I have not read the thread above - sorry busy day. If I misinterpret the situation let me know. 

 

The pic of the green scales looks like it is with mild steel....?

If so you are mixing a hard material with a softer material - any time you do this the hard one can scratch the soft. 

 

 

My second question is anytime I've seen rub off onto a scale below it was not scratching it was rub off. The edges of these AA scales are not anodized so they can rub off. Its not common but perhaps its the way they are being manipulated during the knitting?

In this case you just wipe the finished scale maille with a cloth ad the AL rub off wipes away.  

 

 

Last comment I assume what I'm seeing is not wool thread that has become dusty bits sitting on the scales...? I would expect a bit of that depending on the wool. No experience with wool though.

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ok really last comment - unless I misread. What I'm seeing could also be rub off od mild steel on the AA scale. This is not scratching but metal depositing for lack of a better work. Try wiping it off - you can use a light oil for mild steel.... but then you have wool...

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