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Thread: Making Mandolin Picks

  1. #1
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    Default Making Mandolin Picks

    Apologies if this isn't the 100% right forum, I felt like it might be the best fit.

    As a hobby I'm wanting to shape my own picks from galalith (casein) as well as give some out to friends. I found a, relatively, inexpensive source from France; https://www.galalith.store/

    While I enjoy buying from Apollo Picks or this other guy in Turkey on Etsy, the price does add up and the control over the colors/etc... are limited.

    I had several thoughts on the equipment to use and I wanted to ping the collectively experience/knowledge of you all to perhaps make one fewer mistake as I start.

    My original thought on a work flow was to:
    1.) cut to 1.5x1.5" squares or 3x3 squares (the material is bowed so doing the entire sheet at once isn't an option).
    2.) Hand sand to desired thickness (i've also thought about a jig to hold the squares in place and a orbital sander)
    3.) Scroll saw to cut to shape
    4.) Two stage polishing/buff on a buffing wheel

    But instead of using a scroll saw to cut to shape, would a better bet be to cut to a rough shape and then use a grinding wheel to grind to shape?

    Any other thoughts or ideas? Appreciate it everyone.

  2. #2
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    May 2010
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    Southeast Arizona
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    Default Re: Making Mandolin Picks

    Verbian, When I made a few casein picks I used something similar to this. I have one handy as I do lapidary work. It only took several minutes per pick. I know this is way overkill for what you are talking about but maybe it will spark an idea. Or maybe another bad habit like doing lapidary work. https://cabking.com/collections/cabk...ucts/cabking-6

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Making Mandolin Picks

    That's a beauty! Definitely sparks some ideas and validates I was on the right path.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Making Mandolin Picks

    Just get a good (variable speed) belt grinder and an assortment of belts. That's all you really need, once you have squares of the material you want to grind. I don't make my own picks from scratch, but I do modify some of the ones I buy.

  5. #5
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    S.W. Wisconsin
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    Default Re: Making Mandolin Picks

    If you use a belt sander be careful of how long you sand, depending on material. For instance bone will get brittle if it gets too hot. I have made picks from Tagua nuts, fossilized Ivory, and bone to name a few, many years ago.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Making Mandolin Picks

    Squares: 1.5"x1.5" squares are a good starting point. They allow for enough material for most pick shapes.
    Bowed Material: You're right about not cutting the entire sheet at once. It's best to cut manageable pieces to avoid further warping.

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