Issue No. 180 - Monday August 4, 2003
Moderated by: Thurmond Moore III
Committed to carrying on the fine works of
Hale Sweeny and Jerry Dewbre
Hi all,

Good list today.
Keep those post coming in. I need more work. LOL


Index to Today's Digest

01  NEW: slab saw instructions
02  NEW: Sterling Silver Suppliers?
03  WTB: Arizona Peridot facet grade
04  RE: Cutting oils.
05  RE: Cutting Larimar
06  RE: Larimar & Other Bothersome Stones
07  RE: worst cutting experience
08  NEW: Ceramic Lap...(tips needed)
09  RE: I like to polish brass!
10  RE:  Larimar
11  NEW: torch question


Subject: slab saw instructions
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2003 16:28:14 -0400
To: <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: "Becca Duff" <bayroo@atlantic.net>

        Recently I purchased a used 'MAGNUM HYDRO 20" slab saw
manufactured by Magnum Engineering of Minneapolis MN.
        The unit did not come with an instruction manual and I was
wondering if anyone out there would happen to have an instruction manual
for this particular saw. The company is no longer in business so it is
impossible to get a manual from the manufacturer.   Any help anyone can
give me would be greatly appreciated. I would hate to destroy this saw
the first time out.
    Thank you kindly,
    Becca Duff


Subject: NEW: Sterling Silver Suppliers?
Date: Fri, 01 Aug 2003 15:39:35 -0500
To: LapidaryArtsDigest <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: gembin <gembin@spiff.net>

Hi All,

I wonder if any of you can tell me of a supplier of small amounts (and
that offers help in selection of materials for pendants) sterling silver
sheet, rods, bezel, tubes, wire, and stuff as well as the necessary
tools, solders, fluxes, pickling, soldering blocks and stuff for
silversmithing? Upon reading books and searching the internet there are
such multitudes of products, I have no idea of what brands of products
to purchase that would be best to start with. I have purchased the
proper propane / oxygen torch set. I also have a full lapidary shop of
equipment for grinding, buffing and polishing, etc. I have done a huge
amount of silver soldering through the years having been in the
refrigeration business over 50 years. However, it has been with mostly
with copper tubing and pipe ranging from 1/16" up to 4" in diameter as
well as copper sheet. I'm afraid I might be like a bull in a china shop
when I start in on tiny stuff! :-)

Any help or pointers you might recommend would be greatly appreciated.

Thanking you in advance,
Doug "Rhodolite" Smith
Alton, Illinois, USA      http://www.spiff.net/~gembin/


Subject: Arizona Peridot facet grade
Date: Sat, 2 Aug 2003 09:00:12 +1200
To: <faceters@caprock-spur.com>
From: "Brian Clifford" <pesty@paradise.net.nz>

Can anyone advise me as to who sells this stuff direct from the Arizona
Indian Reservation, so that I can buy some.
Is anyone interested in any New Zealand Peridot (tentative enquiries
only) as I am about to track down a couple of mines that are supposed to
have it
Brian Clifford
New Zealand


Subject: Cutting oils.
Date: Fri, 01 Aug 2003 17:03:13 -0400
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com (LapidaryArtsDigest)
From: "Jonathan L. Rolfe" <webmaster@gearloose.com>

At 01:44 PM 8/1/2003 -0500, you wrote:
>On cost and ease of use grounds
>we now use hydraulic oil.

In some UK Lockheed hydraulic applications, hydraulic oil IS mineral
Oil.  Green-dyed mineral oil is the famed "Green Blood" seen where (Other
people's) Jaguars are parked. (Hydraulic Service Mineral Oil, or "HSMO",
used in the Lockheed brakes and self-levelling suspension).
Since the PCB scare, so are most transformer oils, with the exception of
Dow-Corning DC-200, a silicone of which few people would pay the price.
So no matter what people are calling it, everyone is probably buying Light
Mineral Oil, NF.


Subject: Cutting Larimar
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2003 21:35:38 -0400
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com (LapidaryArtsDigest)
From: sinico@nbnet.nb.ca (H.Durstling)

Hi folks,

I've never had much problem cutting turquoise but that is simply because
I've never cut much of it. I've never cut much larimar either - but I HAVE
had ample problems even with that. Ruined about one out of every three
pieces in fact.

Larimar is a copper stained pectolite aggregated into fibrous masses of
micro-needle crystals. There lies the problem. The fibres are not felted,
as they are in jade, but rather run in distinctly aligned bunches. In jade
the interlocked fibres promote toughness. But the aligned fibres of larimar
do the opposite: the stone is notably prone to splintering along the fibre
grain - just like wood, in fact. Coarse and bumpy wheels can be fatal.
Fine, smooth running wheels and a gentle touch help keep it intact.

Hans Durstling
Moncton, Canada


Subject: Larimar & Other Bothersome Stones
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2003 18:43:51 -0700
To: <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: "Galarneau's" <gggemswcr@cox.net>

  Several stones come to mind that give problems in cab cutting. 
Botryoidal malachite, rhodochrosite, calcite, and larimar all are in the
same group.  Here is how I go about cutting these materials.  For sawing
 I use a .012 sintered blade spinning at 3,000 rpm's on a flat saw table
with lots of clean water.  To make sure the saw table is flat I clean
the table and install a ceramic floor tile as the table.  Now I saw out
the preforms from  the slabs getting as close to the shape as possible. 
Dopping is done on nails with the pionts ground off and the heads ground
flat using super glue.  I grind at 1725 rpm's on a brand new 600 silicon
carbide belt followed by a used 600 silicon carbide belt.  Use lots of
water.  Next I go to a rubber backed pad with 600 diamond using mineral
oil for a lubricant.  I follow this with 3,000, 14,000, nd 50,000
diamond rubber backed pads.  All the finished cabs and dops go into a
jar with acetone over night.  Acetone has not had any bad affects on any
of the above stones.
  I have found that the best preventative steps for stones that are
somewhat fragile is to not start the destruction process.  Rough sawing
and grinding contribute to loosening of the bonds withing the stone. 
Treat the stone nice and easy and you will have more successes than
failures.  Even when being nice you will come across some stones that
still just break apart.  Set them to one side and move on.

  Gerry Galarneau


Subject: worst cutting experience
Date: Sat, 02 Aug 2003 02:48:32 -0400
To: faceters@caprock-spur.com
From: "Douglas Turet" <anotherbrightidea@hotmail.com>

Hi All,

     In the few moments I have left to read and type before heading off to
the altar, I thought I'd offer two of my worst cutting experiences, since
those seem to be the order of the day, lately...

     The first one was the first professional faceting repair job I'd ever
undertaken, back in 1985, right after I'd expanded my cutting services to
include faceting (from cabbing and carving). A longtime customer sent me an
oval, 11-carat, GIA-certified Kashmir Sapphire, whose owner had slipped in
an icy parking lot and chipped off the star facets on one end of the crown.
I dopped the stone, mounted it in my new Facetron and had just begun
recutting the crown when my (now "ex-") wife called out to me from the other
end of the house. As I turned to yell back, "Yeah, honey, what is it?", I
heard a click, a bang, a woody knock, a metallic "ding!", a thump, and a
muffled, echoing thud in rapid succession, and when I returned my gaze to
the quill, I noticed that the only thing the dop still had attached to it
was a bit of dop wax!
     After two days of frantic and truly terrified searching with
flashlights, crawling around on all fours, and desperately deducing all
possibilities when the stone could not be found anywhere, I finally *did*
find the stone... Apparently, when I'd looked away to answer my wife's call,
it had been swept onto the center label, where it separated from the dop
(click) ricocheted off the nearby window (bang), and flew off towards and
behind our upright piano, where it again ricocheted off the panelling
(knock), hit a part of the metal soundboard ('ding') and bounced once on the
floor (thump), before finally falling to its resting place in the ductwork
beneath the house's floor-mounted, forced-air heating duct! So help me G-d,
this actually happened! (And what's more, once I was finally able to
retreive it, I spent the entire night cutting it, then delivered it to the
customer without *daring* to stop for sleep, in between!) Talk about a way
to reinforce the need to stay focused? Wow!
     The second (and by far, the worst) of my cutting experiences had to do
with the 10th anniversary of my business' startup. When I decided to open my
lapidary shop, I lacked any credit history, so my father was kind enough to
co-sign the startup loan paperwork for me. A decade later, I thought I'd do
something special for him, and offered him the chance to invest in one of
those large Tanzanite roughs that we all hear about, every now and then; in
this case, a $6,500, 74.55-carater. My "thank you" to him was to be the
cutting, heat treatment and sale of the piece for him, with 100% of the
proceeds going to he and my mother. (Well, at least my head and heart were
in the right place...) The orientation was simple, and dopping went without
a hitch: I was certain that I would wind up with either a flawless 18x13mm
dark blue Barion Pearshape or a more traditionally-proportioned 25x20mm fat
pearshape wit a small needlt or two near the girdle. Just to be on the
safest side, I invested in 600 and 1200 mesh Dyna Discs, to assure the
smoothest, most trouble-free faceting job imaginable.
     Unfortunately, the stone had other ideas. In hindsight, all I can
imagine is that the stone had been blasted out of it's original home in the
graphite matrix, and had become so internally stressed that it needed some
annealing... Whatever the case, it exploded the second it touched down on
the spinning lap, it *exploded* all over the place! Instead of the expected
14-16 ct gem, I wound up with a 5.15 ct Barion Octagon and 22 cts of
baguettes, and one very uncomfortable phone call to make. (The main stone
has yet to sell, and the baguettes only brought in about 1/5th of the
rough's cost.)
     Oh well, sometimes ya wins, and den sometimes, ya doesn't!

Happy faceting, all {:o),

Douglas Turet, GJ
Turet Design
P. O. Box 162
Arlington, MA 02476, U.S.A.
Tel. (617) 325-5328
Fax: (928) 222-0815
Email: anotherbrightidea@hotmail.com


Subject: New: Ceramic Lap...
Date: Sat, 2 Aug 2003 11:42:55 -0500
To: <faceters@caprock-spur.com>
From: "Rich" <richtherm@bluemarble.net>

Hey All,

I need some pointers on Ceramic Laps...  I am in the middle of a
repolish on another Ruby.  But I started running into a problem with my
Ceramic lap.....  It is leaving those dad-gum horse hair lines on the
facets in dark field illumination.  I have never had a problem on
anything greater than 8 hardness on this lap, but nothing has worked to
get these scratches to stop....  Used all the pointers, Lava, scrubbing,
olive oil, wd40,  everything I could think of.  I went to the Batt,
which helped, but not 100%.  I finally went to Zinc with Alumina, which
took care of the scratches and polished up nicely, it's just slower than
Indiana pond water in January, so since I am trying to make meets and
remove small meet point chips the ceramic is my lap of choice.

Am I just COL (Crap Outa Luck) or is this stone just not going to let
itself be worked on ceramic?  If I can I would like to stay away from a
ceramic pre-polish then kissing with alumina, twice the time, a whole
lotta facets.

Any help, tips or prayers would be great.

Rich Ashcraft
Lyons, IN

32 facets done, 48 to go...........


Subject: Re: I like to polish brass!
Date: Sun, 3 Aug 2003 14:32:05 -0700
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com (LapidaryArtsDigest)
From: Tony <lightbender@thegemdoctor.com>

Hello Jon,

An early facetor I owned was built in Mission B.C. about an hour
or so from Vancouver by the late Bill Stephenson, a machinist
lapidary Rock Shop owner with a production line machine. I was
impressed with the second-hand used one I had acquired and took
it to him for a general overhaul and alignment check. This
machine was mostly brass so of course I had polished it to a
high shine. Bill had never seen one of his machines in this
condition before, even new they didn't have a jewellery polish,
haha. I bought some rough and a few laps whilst I was there and
Bill suggested we leave him to it for a couple of hours and he
would play with my machine.

When I returned Bill presented me with my freshly tuned machine
that was sporting some new parts and said that there was NO
CHARGE and it should work fine for another 5 - 10 years before
he needs to see it again. He knew that I wasn't the original
owner but I was treated rather better than I thought a real,
full whack retail customer would be entitled to.

The Canadian Facetor is a bit of a monster, the mast at 32mm
thick doesn't sway in the wind and it's tall enough to cut full
boule briolettes. I certainly had the confidence in Bill's
service and support to commission my current machine.
It is somewhat custom built as I had Bill make it with a few
variations from his design to accomodate my needs. He also built
several faceting machines for the cutting shop we had and our
diamond cutting machine. Sevice sells.



Subject: Re: Larimar
Date: Sun, 3 Aug 2003 14:55:39 -0700
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com (LapidaryArtsDigest)
From: Tony <lightbender@thegemdoctor.com>

Hello Glenn,

> I have a question concerning, what
> I have found to be a very frustrating stone, larimar.  Is
> there some secret in cutting this material?  Everytime I get a
> good cab started a chunk pops out of the face. 

Larimar, a rare blue pectolite from the Dominican Republic.
Unfortunately this stuff isn't rare enough, if ever there was a
need for government ruling against export of rough stone this is
one I endorse. Any success with this miserable material is

I use diamond wheels for cutting which makes for minimum impact
to the rough stone but it still seems to separate with no
obvious reason or visible clues. Slab saws and trim saws fare no
better and a clean sawing with no breakout is rare. Cut and
polish what you can because calibrated stones are a heart

I try to smooth over whatever breaks out and usually end up with
a free form cab. Polishing this stuff is not much of a pleasure
either, I have only achieved an acceptable polish using a
progression of diamond pads. I can't get an oxide polish to
work. Yes I have had breakouts during the final few seconds of
polishing so give up when it is good as excellent may be more
than your cab can take.

You have my sympathies,


Subject: torch question
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 2003 07:06:03 -0600
To: <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: "jake" <efjke@msn.com>

Dear Sir,

I know this must have came up at one time or the other. What I would like to
know about is propane air torches. The reason is this may be the only choice
are many. Some of the reasons are, insurance companies can have a problem
with any gas in your shop, especially acetylene, needles to say so can
landlords, who however much they may trust you have an insurance company to
worry about. Larger tanks of propane are illegal to have in your home shop
in most states. Often there may be a local ordinance further restricting
this. Building codes and housing or residential codes, these are many and
varied often frown on this. In all due difference for my purposes this can
not be a plumbers torch, as I cut rock and like large pieces. I have made
things that this would fail at.

I did look into the Shark torch by finding someone who uses it. This is a
little torch that almost can, which a berznomatic cant, and I have not
heard anything good about it (the bernz) from anyone who has used one to try
and make jewelry, apparently you are better off with the plumbers torch. The
cheap one available for $9.99 or so, at Ace or True Value hardware stores. I
will give you a quote from one of their past customers "Hi Eric, Honesty, no
problem! The Bernzomatic is a poor unit, wouldnt use it to burn down my
house, let alone jewelry!" I hope Im not sued over this but I didnt say
it. The problem with Bernzomatic is that there is a gap in understanding,
while talking to a technician I tried in vain to point out that working with
silver is not the same as standard soldering. They kept saying that they
knew how to solder and I kept saying that it was not the same. If they did
have a model that was suitable you could not ask them which one it may be,
they wouldnt know. But I have heard from Christensen Welding that they had
complaints about Bernzomatic (they dont sell it). It is more limited than
people know and will not do what many think it will.

The Bernzomatic pencilmatic or what ever they call it is basically for small
items, such as jump rings. Other outfits are not suitable either. (Someone
wrote into the Orchid list about using a Jth-7, you can use this one to
braze a steel bicycle frame together. I asked about this and was told with
alarm "you dont want to do that." Apparently many people did and not being
able to find the other party called up Bernzomatic and scorched the phone
lines. Out of Curiosity I visited the Dun and Bradstreet site and ran the
name through, no such thing showed up, so they have no tax number as needed
for a real business in California, otherwise they would be listed, although
that may be all. I might be better off not knowing the results, other than
they were unsatisfactory.)

As said, the Shark can almost do. "Unfortunately, belt buckles and large
bracelets are tough with most torches, and honestly, I end up using two of
them when I do stuff that big. I can easily do bolos, and large pendants,
but I think the heavy weight of belt buckles might be prohibitive." This is
actually not a bad torch and is what the Bernzomatic is not, although it has
some limitations the price is attractive (if you shop) and works well within
that range and I understand it is a gas miser. Usually it goes at bid for
about $49 on the Ebay site. Barrie switched to propane from acetylene for
the class she teaches, I think in part for the reasons mentioned elsewhere.
She did point out that on larger pieces it was important to use firebrick to
bounce some of the heat back, sort of surround it. She was also kind enough
to give me the information I needed, for I asked about what limitations this
might have.

As you may have noticed there is not an awful lot of information on air
propane, although I understand that it is common in Mexico for silver work.
Apparently there it is the most common for silver work or so I was told. As
you know several makers have a model that runs off propane. Smith has one,
NE941 Propane Air Kit, which has a regulator for disposable propane
canisters, ($125 from J&R welding, free shipping on Smith products over $25)
as dose Gentec ($79 from Harbor Freight); Uniweld, Goss, and others have
models. The low price tags on some of these are deceptive, as you will need
other tips. I have not heard anything about the air propane versions of
these torches. I was wondering if perhaps you have had experience with this.
Any information would be more than I now know. The only torch I have ever
used is acetylene. I do know that these are not toys. The Sievert (propane
torch) is the preferred torch for working model steam engine work, it is
also used by some jewelers, to see what this can do take a look at

I know very little about this torch, but I will have some paperwork coming
to me soon.

I did run across something very interesting this is a water torch and it
sounds to me that they are willing to let me test drive this, and if that is
so, I think I will. Although this is made in India, I am not sure that all
of that deserves the bad rap it has. I not sure if any want to see pictures
although interesting; I still need to learn a few things, like cost. But
back to the torch, they wrote:

Dear Mr. Jake,

I do understand how at times it is more than just important to see what you
are looking for. Consequently I had the pictures sent immediately.

I also realize that you are looking for more details and the same has been
dispatched via courier. However, my courier just called and said he is
facing some problems with his service and the courier may get delayed by a
couple of weeks or more.

As a result, I am attaching scanned images of the catalogue (pages 1 and 2).
I believe this should have details you are looking for. Let me also mention
here that just so you are entirely satisfied, we can send in one torch for
the sake of approval. Please do mention what model for the sake of
convenience. Feel free to contact us for any further clarifications or
details as may be necessary.

With warm regards,

For ATE Engineering Enterprises

A Sinha

Pune, India

I had no intention of getting this involved in this. Many of you would not
believe the number of letters I have written. You would be surprised at the
number of places that say, for a price quote, email, fax or phone, and then
you do, but never hear from them, like we all are going to jump in the car
and drive to Toronto Canada to find out. There is a problem in that a number
of us can not use acetylene at home. The solution is not to just hook up

I did learn one thing though, that is, no offence, but in general the worst
place to buy a torch is from jewelers supply, I have seen the Shark go as
high as $160 (Canadian) while on Ebay the buy it now price is $70, Kents
Tool is $69.50. Likewise I have seen a spread of more than $60 on the Smith
silversmith propane canister model (in one case I saw this, same model for
over $200 US, needless to say I did not bookmark the site). It pays to shop
around. I think that some jewelry suppliers get a torch as an after thought
and therefore not enough of them to get a deal themselves on it.

I had no intention of selling torches but now I am not so certain although I
will have to see what comes up. After seeing how all this is often
structured I think it often goes though to many hands and this adds price.

The fact is that many of us because of lease or insurance (sometimes zoning
ordinances) need a torch that can operate off of a disposable canister (but
we also need a real one, and one to do serious work, including large
pieces). This, the canister ran one, keeps the other parties happy; propane
is available everywhere and believe it or not, sometimes even when renting
shop space this problem comes up. This type torch will not violate a lease,
insurance etc. They do sell several oxy-propane kits, however from what I
have heard the oxygen lasts maybe 15 minutes and at about $10 a pop this is
not practical. This leaves air propane/mapp. There are a number of torches
out there but are hard to find or get information on, and there is a need
for them. The Smith has an advantage here, but if you need extra tips this
can run the price up. Getting that information has turned into a job. This
may in part explain why acetylene is used so much in this country as it is
easy to get, remember from what I have been told propane is the first choice
in Mexico for silver. If you can use acetylene life is easier, or at least
to set up. But consider if you are violating your lease and/or insurance
policy (and sometimes, local zoning ordinances) and if anything went wrong
you could have a real problem, and even if it was not your fault you could
be stuck with the bill as the insurance was voided.

I wonder if there are members who have used air propane and can comment on
it, it would be especially helpful if they have used a common model such as
a Goss or Smith and how it may compare to the air acetylene version. It
would of course be even better if they have used the version that runs off
of the disposable canister, as this may be the best way out for many, or
depending on some circumstances an only choice. The Sievert can be had in
this model and this is no toy, nor do I think the Smith, Turbotorch, or Goss
would be either.

As to which one may be the best choice, I can not say, but obviously both
price and performance need consideration, unfortunately real information is
not easy to come by in most cases. You would be surprised at how, often, you
need to call the company, so they can tell you a wholesaler to call, to
learn who the distributor is, then you need to call the distributor and/or
retailer (usually yet another call). Then find out that you can not get that
model through their chain of command at their end. All the while you still
have no idea of the suggested retail price. Or what they may sell it to you
for, and sometimes even where to get it, at least the model you want, or if
(depending on price) you want that model. What is equally frustrating is the
number of sites with no prices on anything, or catalogs with no price, this
of course sends you in a new circle. (Without 800 numbers this would be
insane, it is bad enough as it is, for those who do not know the Toll Free
Watts Information Directory is 1-800-555-1212.)

There are a number of kits out there that will work, however this seems to
be a mostly ignored item except by Bernzomatic (unfortunately), a sort of
afterthought. Often from my experience the distributor is unaware that such
a thing exists. Moreover sometimes has problems getting it once asked.

Before closing I should mention Pacific Welding, if someone did want a
propane torch, but was not limited as to tank, they have a Smith Handi-heat
No NE937 for $135, this comes with regulator and three tips, and right now
is the best deal out there. I am not sure which tank the regulator is for;
easy enough to find out in this case by visiting the Smith web site and look
for NE937. I wish this came with the other type of regulator, in which case
it would be the perfect candidate for this discussion. (The cheapest price
on extra tips I found is $24.) Their acetylene Handi-heat kit (again 3 tips
and regulator) is $111.50; this is probably the best price you will see. I
was hoping to find something like a Gemtec air propane type kit with extra
tips as needed for under $100, this dose not seem likely although it should
be, I will keep looking into it. By the way although you can get that Gentec
kit from Harbor Freight for $79 they dont have tips so you need to go
elsewhere for those. All names mentioned have web sites except ATE

E. Jakeman

Ogden, Utah









PERSONALS: (General Lapidary and Faceting)






Lurking is fine, but participation is better for learning !
Post something from your experiences in gemcutting today!



     The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from one
generation to the next, says that when you discover you are riding a
dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

     However, in modern business, because of the heavy investment
factors to be taken into consideration, often other strategies have to
be tried with dead horses, including the following:

1.   Buying a stronger whip.

2.   Changing riders.

3.   Threatening the horse with termination.

4.   Appointing a committee to study the horse.

5.   Arranging to visit other sites to see how they ride dead horses.

6.   Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.

7.   Reclassifying the dead horse as living-impaired.

8.   Change the form so that it reads: "This horse is not dead."

9.   Hire outside contractors to ride the dead horse.

10.  Harness several dead horses together for increased speed.

11.  Donate the dead horse to a recognized charity, thereby deducting its
      full original cost.

12.  Providing additional funding to increase the horse's performance.

13.  Do a time management study to see if the lighter riders would improve

14.  Declare that a dead horse has lower overhead and therefore performs

15.  Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position.

                                 (author unknown)



"Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens."

---Jimi Hendrix---


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