"Mud"

A place for members who build, repair or work on rods and reels. Please tell us about yourselves, your services and products and feel free to post links to your website or blogs.

Moderator: Titelines

User avatar
mhackney
Master Guide
Posts: 427
Joined: 08/06/07 18:00
Location: Groton, MA
Contact:

"Mud"

#1

Post by mhackney »

This is the new working thread to document some of our efforts to resurrect the formulation and process that might were used to fabricate the beautiful red and black mottled side plates on Philbrook & Payne reels from the 19th century. Holireels started several posts to document his fantastic work in this area. 
Figuring out the Philbrook Reel (marbled side plates)
Starting a rendition of the marbled Philbrook
Amazing work to say the least!
So, lets use this thread to post information, research, questions, etc on the making of "mud" and side plates!
Regards,Michael
Reelsmith, Author & Publisher
Image Image

User avatar
mhackney
Master Guide
Posts: 427
Joined: 08/06/07 18:00
Location: Groton, MA
Contact:

"Mud"

#2

Post by mhackney »

As per Jim Hardman's recommendation to locate a piece of a broken side plate to obtain the material's melting point, I posted here and on ORCA looking for a piece of a Philbrook & Paine reel side plate. I've already had a couple of leads to leads to track down.
Jim also recommended researching lower melting point resins that could be used in the formulation. These side plates were molded on a steam table. Jim has seen an actual mold. It was cast iron and had raised pillar standoffs. The reel frame was inserted into the mold and the material molded in place. The mold was ported for steam. Based on the porting, Jim felt that the steam was at atmospheric pressure (100°C/212°F) rather than pressurized, which would raise the temperature. Shellac typically has a melting point above 100°C, so a formulation with lower melting point (and less expensive) resins was most likely used. 

So, I started researching natural resins and their properties. There are a number of resins that were widely available in the 19th century that have lower softening points. In particular, I found Wood Finishing Enterprises and talked to the owner today. There is a lot of overlap between these early molding compounds and surface coatings like varnishes and paints. I am focusing on resins that melt between 170° to 212° F (77° to 100°C) and found these (which I have ordered):
  • Gum Benzoin - ~75°C softening - frequently mentioned in the early patents and varnish formulations so it was available
  • Gum Rosin / Colophony - ~55°C softening - very commonly used in the period and today
  • Singapore Damar - ~ 67-75°C softening - also very common at the time
Some of the patents and books I've read mention formulations that include wax, so I also ordered:
  • Carnauba Wax - 83-86°C  melting point
  • Candelilla Wax - mp not known but high
The goal will be to find a composition that has a softening point below 100°C that can be readily molded with minimal shrinkage.
Regards,Michael
Reelsmith, Author & Publisher
Image Image

User avatar
findwolfhard
Guide
Posts: 326
Joined: 01/22/05 19:00

"Mud"

#3

Post by findwolfhard »

Hello,-
Damar is most likely too soft, I tried,-
Best Wolfhard

User avatar
mhackney
Master Guide
Posts: 427
Joined: 08/06/07 18:00
Location: Groton, MA
Contact:

"Mud"

#4

Post by mhackney »

Wolfhard, on its own I would think so.My plan is to compound it with higher softening point materials as mentioned in some of the literature. Did you try compounding it with shellac and other higher softening point resins? If so, what was your experience?

regards,
Michael
Reelsmith, Author & Publisher
Image Image

User avatar
findwolfhard
Guide
Posts: 326
Joined: 01/22/05 19:00

"Mud"

#5

Post by findwolfhard »

Hi Michael, I have not yet. I would say that rosin is the way to go, there are several variants of rosin.
Unfortunately I do not have the time to experiment more systematically with the materials,- I will just try to check the "stirring".
Best Wolfhard

oldcaner
Master Guide
Posts: 550
Joined: 06/26/07 18:00

"Mud"

#6

Post by oldcaner »

Linoleum has been around for a long time and the "real" stuff is made from linseed oil (linoxyn), rosin and other goodies. Could linoxyn be one of the other possibilities?

User avatar
mhackney
Master Guide
Posts: 427
Joined: 08/06/07 18:00
Location: Groton, MA
Contact:

"Mud"

#7

Post by mhackney »

Interesting. I had planned to use linseed oil as a plasticizer - there are accounts in the literature in this regard.


A forum member hooked me up with a gentleman from the Plastics Historical Society in the UK. He is an archivist and we've exchanged several emails on this subject. Apparently, the term "mud" was not used in the UK or Europe. He told me that niether Harry Mernick, who is one of England's leading authorities on shellac and early plastics and Sylvia Katz who is England's leading authority on the history of plastics have heard the term "mud". In England, these materials would simply be called "shellac".


The English compression molded shellac compounds to create jewelry, ornate mirrors and other items including 78RPM records. A typical record formulation isL


(% by weight)

shellac 26

garnet lac 3

rosin 1

slate powder 63 (250/300 mesh)

carbon black 3

copal 4


Slate was used to prevent the needles from cutting through the disks.


Regards

Michael
Reelsmith, Author & Publisher
Image Image

hoagy b carmichael
Guide
Posts: 159
Joined: 04/13/07 18:00

"Mud"

#8

Post by hoagy b carmichael »

Sirs:
I have searched through my rather large box (an old A&F mahogany tackle box) full of P&P and Leonard bi-metal parts that came out of the Payne shop years ago. I have four unmarked side plates, and some of the dies that have been mentioned in this very interesting thread over the past week or so. I looked in vain for a small piece of marbleized material but I am afraid I only have the completed plates in their raised pillar housings.
I don't know what is entailed in testing for hardness, possibly melting the "mud" to see at what point it begins to soften, but I would be happy to offer a plate to the cause if a shard cannot be found. The work being done here is fascinating, and these plates sit in the box looking up at the darkness.  
Would this help? 
H. Carmichael   

User avatar
mhackney
Master Guide
Posts: 427
Joined: 08/06/07 18:00
Location: Groton, MA
Contact:

"Mud"

#9

Post by mhackney »

Hoagy, that sounds like a great piece of history you've captured! And short answer, "Yes!"
Would it be possible to borrow these parts for the purposes of photographing and measuring to capture this history? I would then either write an article for ORCA or perhaps add a chapter to my next book on reelsmithing. Dr. Todd will give me a reference! I am especially interested in seeing (and touching!) the dies and the bi-metal parts. You can contact me at mhackney @ eclecticangler.com and I've PM'd you my cell number.
As for testing for the melting temp, a small piece is necessary. However, there are micro melt point determinations that could be used. I could get access to a chemistry lab at MIT to use this equipment I believe. I would hate to sacrifice an intact part but here is a proposal:
If you would consider sending me one of these (perhaps along with the other items requested above Image ) I could take a very gentle scraping of the backside to collect a small amount of material for a micro melt point determination. As for hardness, as it turns out, I also collect rocks and minerals and have the (simple) equipment to do a hardness test. It involves scratching the surface of the test piece with a material of known hardness. I would similarly scratch an inconspicuous area of the backside to test for hardness, perhaps in the process of collecting the melt test material.
Thank you very much for jumping in and helping out with very valuable information. I am really looking forward to visiting Jim in several weeks.
Regards,Michael
Reelsmith, Author & Publisher
Image Image

User avatar
mhackney
Master Guide
Posts: 427
Joined: 08/06/07 18:00
Location: Groton, MA
Contact:

"Mud"

#10

Post by mhackney »

I received another fascinating email from Ian at the Plastics Historical Society yesterday. It seems he has taken a personal interest in what we are doing too. As I mentioned above, several experts he queried had not heard the term "mud" in the UK. However, he did find someone who understood "mud"! In the UK the corresponding word is "muckite" - fascinating! Historically, the term was used for any dark colored composition plastic material that the user blended himself and typically kept confidential.
He is going to ask his patent researcher to have a look at 19th century shellac and anything related to formulations and reels. It will probably be a few weeks. Very helpful and interesting information.
cheers,Michael
Reelsmith, Author & Publisher
Image Image

User avatar
Holireels
Guide
Posts: 244
Joined: 04/02/08 18:00

"Mud"

#11

Post by Holireels »

Michael,

Good job, your obtaining a lot of good information.  Hoagy's stuff will be very nice to have and to document. Hopefully you could post pics of the dies here if you get them?  They would be interesting to see.  Like today's thermoplastics, there seems to have been a bunch of different forumulas for mud.  Determining which formula to use, based on its characteristics for molding, could take some time. 

Based on a limited amount of free time that I have, I limited my composition to just shellac and milled glass fiber.  I have tried numerous iterations of blend ratios have have come up with an acceptable hardness / molding blend that should work well.  However, the molding process/equipment is challenging me right now.  The good hardness I have developed has now gone through one coffee blender.  I've purchased a "heavier" duty one, but we'll see how long it lasts.  I might have to make a thicker / hardened grinder blade for it.   I'll be making a batch of material today and will take some pics of the process / materials and post here as well.    

John   

User avatar
mhackney
Master Guide
Posts: 427
Joined: 08/06/07 18:00
Location: Groton, MA
Contact:

"Mud"

#12

Post by mhackney »

John, I just got off the phone with Hoagy, he's a great guy and wealth of information. He is going to send me the items he has and I will certainly photo, measure, scrutinize and post that information.


Are you using the electric type of coffee grinder with the horizontal spinning blades or a cranked type? The grain grinder I use seems to have no problems, it is hand cranked. I'll take photos this weekend. Also, glass fiber can be tough stuff! We used to use glass fiber in injection molding compounds to make ceramic turbine rotors (for auto turbine engines) and it would chew up the grinder and molds!


cheers,

Michael
Reelsmith, Author & Publisher
Image Image

oldcaner
Master Guide
Posts: 550
Joined: 06/26/07 18:00

"Mud"

#13

Post by oldcaner »

There's a company in Camarillo, CA that I once had some dealings with. they are the "last buggy whip" maker of thick vinyl recording records. They make them the old fashion way - pressing them on compression molding machines. They remaster many old recordings for the audiophile market. I wonder if they could provide any clues?  Company is Record Technology, Inc. and they have a web site. 
Or maybe contact the Society of Plastic Engineers for help. I used to be a member some dozens of years ago. 

User avatar
Holireels
Guide
Posts: 244
Joined: 04/02/08 18:00

"Mud"

#14

Post by Holireels »

Michael,

Yeah, I'm using an electric grinder, but do think I will look for a manual one as well.  So far, my upgrade is working well, but we'll see. Your right about the glass fiber, but it is strong and light weight.  Here is how I developed my mud below.

1.  Materials:  Orange Shellac, Garnite Shellac, TAP milled short glass fiber, Mixol #1 and #18 coloring agent
Image
Step 1:  Take raw flaked shellac and grind in the coffee grinder,  Keep colors seperated.
ImageImage
Step 2:  Take ground shellac and mix with Milled glass fiber.  The density of the fiber and shellac are the same so mix by volume or weight (50/50). Mix very well first in bowl then put back into the grinder and mix thoroughly again.
ImageImage

Step 3:  Using an adjustable temp heating element and a small "teflon" coated pan, heat the mixture until melting.  Important to use high temp silicon spatula because the stuff is very sticky.  Heat until shellac melts, add a small amount of coloring agent, and thoroughly mix the mud until it looks like pudding.  Its very important to mix thoroughly, as I have found out by mistake, so mix well.  Make sure to not overheat (smoke).  Pull away from heat source and keep consistency to a thick gooey (very non-scientific) mud.
ImageImage
Step 4:  Once thoroughly mixed.  Remove from heat source and allow to cool to room or garage temp.
Image
Step 5:  Once cooled, flip pans over onto a clean towel and use a hammer to loosen the mud from the pans.
Image
Step 6:  Now that the mud is free from the pans, the hard mud needs to be pulverized to be reground.  This requires putting the mud into two plastic bags and smashing it up with a hammer.
Image
Step 7:  Once pulverized, the mud needs to be re-ground into a molding configuration.  The pulverized mud is sifted to control size and then re-ground in the coffee grinder until all of the larger particles are ground to size (flour sifter).
ImageImageImage
Step 8:  Once ground and sifted (multiple times), you end up with the final molding compound ready to go.  A 1/4 cup of  orange and black mud was used to produce the amount shown
below.

ImageImage


Last edited by Holireels on 11/20/10 13:22, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
mhackney
Master Guide
Posts: 427
Joined: 08/06/07 18:00
Location: Groton, MA
Contact:

"Mud"

#15

Post by mhackney »

Very cool! The colors are awesome - made me hungry looking at them!
OldCanrRods, thanks for the leads. I'll check them out.

cheers,Michael
Reelsmith, Author & Publisher
Image Image

User avatar
findwolfhard
Guide
Posts: 326
Joined: 01/22/05 19:00

"Mud"

#16

Post by findwolfhard »

Good luck to get the pattern!
Best Wolf

User avatar
Holireels
Guide
Posts: 244
Joined: 04/02/08 18:00

"Mud"

#17

Post by Holireels »

Made a few test samples using the mud mixture I made today.  Finding that 260 degrees is optimum.  One sample, as can be seen, used a little more black than the other one did.


ImageImageImage

I'm pretty sure the process for the getting the look is not very easy to replicate.  Seems most all of the reels I've seen are different as well.  There are a lot of variables going on at the same time.  I'm going to mess with the size of the particles next to see what that brings for a look.  Note the difference in look in the four Philbrooks below:

 
ImageImage
ImageImage
Last edited by Holireels on 11/20/10 21:31, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
mhackney
Master Guide
Posts: 427
Joined: 08/06/07 18:00
Location: Groton, MA
Contact:

"Mud"

#18

Post by mhackney »

Excellent work John! I suspect that the particle size has a lot to do with the look along with the other parameters that you mentioned (heat, pressure, mechanical manipulation in the mold).
There is also the question that these sideplates are not all "mud". Dean (reelsmith here on the forum) has a great post on the marbelized side plate reel he (very tastefully) cleaned. Apparently this material gave off the telltale rubber smell when rubbed. Ian (my contact at the Plastics Historical Society in England) remarked that he immediately thought these plates were Vulcanite (hard rubber) based on their time of manufacture and appearance. He went on to say that Ebonite tends always to be black and Vulcanite is either red or black. Vulcanite was patented by Hancock in England. I asked if he could forward photos of other items made with black/red Vulcanite and will post here if permitted.
It is very possible both materials were used. One thing I've learned in my studies of early reel makers (which is pathetically little!) is that they were very early adopters of the latest and greatest materials. Always experimenting. Here is a quote I used at the start of my Introduction in The Reelsmith's Primer:
“Reel-making is not by any means a monotonous employment; so many varieties are turned out, and novelties are so numerous, that I was not surprised to find the workmen engaged in winch and reel-making thoroughly intelligent and quick-witted.”The Gentleman’s Magazine, Volume 279, October, 1895I think that says it all! Reel makers were early adopters of hard rubber, Bakelite, and aluminum amongst other materials.
Reelsmith, Author & Publisher
Image Image

User avatar
Holireels
Guide
Posts: 244
Joined: 04/02/08 18:00

"Mud"

#19

Post by Holireels »

Michael,

First thanks.  Second, after reviewing the salmon sized Philbrook side plate that Hoagy provided, I tend to agree that the reel was probably made both ways.  The salmon reel side plate, like the one Dean cleaned up, does have a different look than the early trout reels.  Additionally, the side plate was mostly all black on the back side of the plate and you could see where the part had been machined, removing the marlbed red from the black. This leaves me to believe that the red was sprinkled into the heated compression mold, then the black charge was applied to the mold, then it was molded/vulcanized.  A couple of pics below showing two that I suspect might be made by the process you suggest:  The marbled look of these reels is grainy compared to some of the others.  I also agree with your statement about keeping up with times....no different than today:  Titanium, Carbon Fiber, etc......the masses generally want the latest/greatest in technology.

Image
Image

User avatar
Holireels
Guide
Posts: 244
Joined: 04/02/08 18:00

"Mud"

#20

Post by Holireels »

Used finer ground mud particles and made these samples.  Like this look better:

Image

Image

Post Reply

Return to “Rod and Reel Makers Forum”