Issue No. 181 - Tuesday August 5, 2003
Moderated by: Thurmond Moore III
Committed to carrying on the fine works of
Hale Sweeny and Jerry Dewbre
Hi all,

Good list today.
I am having to work a little but you can do better. LOL
Keep those post coming in.


Index to Today's Digest

01  NEW: Virgin Valley opals
02  RE: torch question
03  RE: torch question
04  RE: Cutting oils.
05  RE: silver source
06  RE: silver source
07  RE: Arizona Peridot
08  RE: torch question
09  NEW: Congratulations to list member Doug Turet
10  BIO: Clyde Gilbert
11  RE: silver source
12  RE: Ceramic Lap Pointers
13  RE: torch question
14  RE: silver source and torches
15  RE: Arizona Peridot


Subject: Virgin Valley opals
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 2003 12:30:52 -0700 (PDT)
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com
From: bulamatari@webtv.net (David Sellers)

Hi All,
I am thinking of going to Virgin Valley to dig for opals and am
wondering if anyone has been there recently, and if so what is the best
mine to go to.  I have never been but it's been on my list for a while.
Also if you were successful was the material easy to cut? Was it solid?
Did it craze?
I have been to Hart mountain and probably will stop there for some
porcelain Jasper.
Dave Sellers
Salem, Oregon


Subject: Re: Issue No. 180 - Monday August 4, 2003
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 2003 15:40:29 EDT
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com
From: Joeala96@aol.com

This info. is for Jake about torches, When I was working in the Office Mach.
repair in the Lubbock Tx area ( Thomas Bros Co) we used natural gas and
Joe Mangelsdorf
McAllen. Tx.


Subject: Re: Issue No. 180 - Monday August 4, 2003
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 2003 15:48:29 EDT
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com
From: PANACHEGEMS@cs.com

I changed from Oxy-Acy to Oxy-Pro many years ago. Yes, I have had problems
with Landlords about the Gases but I have always won out. I prefer the propane
mix because their is no smoke. The acet. has a black smoke and leaves a mess on
your ceiling. It will create all the heat you will need even for smelting
into crucibles you just have to use the right torch head. I learned with the
"Little Torch" and I still use it for Gold & what little Silver I do. I have a
shop in my Home that I got Licensed for just in case of any accidents and I had
to sign a waiver stating I would not use any Gases on the premises. You are
talking about the Hydrogen Torch System (water). I know several people that have
gone to these due to Insurance and testy Landlords. The unit is rather
expensive (new, but good deals on used ones) initially but in the long run I think
it's more economical than gas and a lot less dangerous. And yes it can do
anything gas can do and more, Gets very Hot and you have to learn how to solder all
over as the heat is direct and concentrated. This is controlled by the size
tip you use. Just for the record I could not get used to it but, I only gave it
one day. I melted everything I put in front of it.
I will stick with the Oxy-Pro & the Smith "Lil Torch," they come with five
interchangeable heads for different gases. You will also want to shut your lines
off at the Tanks when you are finished for the day and not just the torch.
The reason is the Lil Torch has cloth covered plastic/neoprene lines and they
can get brittle and crack thus allowing the gases to escape.
AC Hughes
Panache' Gems


Subject: cutting oil
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 2003 23:32:59 +0100
To: <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: "Daniel Hargreaves" <danny@blueyonder.co.uk>

Just to clarify my post. I was referring to hydraulic oil NOT hydraulic
fluid as is used in vehicle brake systems. Sorry if this caused any
confusion.   Danny


Subject: silver source
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 2003 18:33:29 -0400
To: <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: "Beth & Doug Dover" <ddover@carolina.rr.com>

Doug Smith asked about sources for silver. I have personally had good
luck ordering through Tripps, the famous makers of pre-cast mountings.
They also sell sheet and wire silver. Go to: http://www.tripps.com/
 I tried to put in an order with a friend for Indian Jewelers Supply,
but got tired of waiting for delivery and cancelled the order. I have
heard that they have improved delivery and customer service so if you
want to try go here:  http://www.ijsinc.com/ . The main advantage they
had was the lower price, but I value the customer service from Tripps. I
usually try to split an order with friends in the local clubs to go for
the quantity breaks. I haven't needed anything in over a year though.

Doug Dover
Belmont, NC


Subject: Re: Issue No. 180 - Monday August 4, 2003
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 2003 19:08:16 EDT
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com
From: Lapadary@aol.com

In a message dated 8/4/03 11:58:45 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
lapidary@caprock-spur.com writes:

> 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?



Subject: Arizona Peridot Rough
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 2003 19:46:25 -0400
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com (LapidaryArtsDigest)
From: sinico@nbnet.nb.ca (H.Durstling)

Hi Bill,

For your Arizona peridot rough, contact Charles Vargas of Apache Gems &
Jewelry, P.O. Box 68, San Carlos Arizona 85550; tel 928475 2579, email

One of my most totally pleasant and memorable days in recent years was when
I was researching a possible "Gemstones of North America" episode in the
Canadian Discovery Channel series and spent a half day with Charles being
guided around the San Carlos reservation peridot digs and meeting some of
the people.

Anyway Charles is the guy who is right at the source.

Hans Durstling
Moncton, Canada.


Subject: Re:Torch Question
Date: Mon, 04 Aug 2003 17:03:38 -0700
To: LapidaryArtsDigest <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: Dave Arens <gemstonesetc@gci-net.com>

Hi Jake,

I'll take a stab at an answer.

I solder (braze really) sterling, gold & platinum. I usually weld (fuse) fine silver,
22 & 24kt gold & platinum.

I've got & use the following types of torches: an industrial size oxy/acet Victor for
steel & heavy duty welding, a jeweler's size oxy/propane Smith Little Torch, an
acet/air Prestolite, a Bernzomatic pencil torch with a 4 ft hose that attaches to
disposable propane tanks & finally a hand held butane fueled Proxxon torch with a
built in igniter. 

The job at hand determines which torch I use.

If I'm just going to solder (using hard silver solder) a few small items, I'll
probably use the Proxxon butane torch for it's ease of use. If I'm going to be
soldering a large number (several hundred) of small items (links in a chain), I'll
probably use the Bernz pencil torch. If I'm going to be working on a large silver
item (belt buckle), I'll opt for the Prestolite torch. It has changeable tips so the
flame size can be matched to the job at hand. For working with gold & Platinum I'll
opt for the Little Torch.

For most small silver work the butane or propane/air torches put out enough heat.
Since silver really eats up the heat, larger silver pieces require a torch that can
put out enough btu's to get the piece up to soldering temp. The best torch for this
that I've found is the Prestolite acet/air torch.

Working with gold & platinum can require some fine flame control & high temps.
Oxy/propane or Oxy/acet provide the necessary temps & the torches that are used for
jewelry sized pieces provide the correct flame size. Propane is the fuel of choice
when working with platinum. Platinum can get brittle if it picks up carbon from an
improperly adjusted acet flame.

The other option is the water torch. This is a torch that uses electrolysis to break
distilled water down into oxy & hydrogen. The gas is then passed through a liquid
(usually acetone that has a flux dissolved in it). The gas is then burned in the
attached torch. The big problem with water torches is their initial cost. They
usually run $900 & up.


Subject: Re: Issue No. 180 - Monday August 4, 2003
Date: Mon, 04 Aug 2003 20:08:27 -0700
To: LapidaryArtsDigest <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: TA Masters <tam2819@cox.net>

I have  just made a wonderful  35 hour 1000 mile drive to attend the
wedding of Meegan to Doug Turet. It was a wonderful ceremony full of
meaningful traditions, enjoyed by all the attendees.

Meegan was radiant and Doug had the biggest grin I have ever seen. He
could not take his eyes of his beautiful bride. I wish both of them
health, happiness and a long life together.

Speaking of long life, I was seated at a table with two couples both of
whom were lovely. Both wives were exquisitely dressed, elegant women,
the husbands easily complemented them. I watched them lovingly dance
with wonderful footwork. They were very friendly and made me feel most
welcome among them. The elder of the two couples were introduced by
Meegan's mother as her parents who were performing an old Yemini
ceremonial dance for the newly weds. It was wonderful. I then found out
Meegan's grandfather Sam will celebrate his 90th birthday in a couple of
weeks. That was unbelievable! such a spirited spry gent 90?!!! Amazing,
a very large party is planned. I also saw Meegan's paternal grandmother
there, she is 93! Doug had better take good care of himself, eat well,
exercise, etc. Meegan has lots of years ahead of her, many anniversaries
for Doug to cut a stone a year.

Congratulations to both of them,
For those inclined to send a Happy Wedding card,
Doug and Meegan Turet
P. O. Box 162
Arlington, MA 02476, U.S.A.


Subject: Hello All!
Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2003 00:46:10 -0400
To: <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: "Clyde" <clyde@emeraldrose.com>

I've just joined the list, a part of returning to the craft after 12
years away. Before I took my break from faceting (back in the 20th
century), I worked with the traditional cuts and the finest material I
could afford. I've just got my faceter set up again and am looking
forward to cutting my first batch of stones in over a decade. I was
taught using a Raytech faceter, and have a 1971 model. I'm a
professional musician, and when I'm not on the road or in the studio
I'll be puttering about in the shop.


Clyde Gilbert


Subject: re - Sterling Silver Suppliers
Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2003 00:35:33 -0500
To: "LapidaryArtsDigest" <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: "Robert Powell" <texeclectic@earthlink.net>

Mr. Smith,
Here is what might be of some help.
I have sent a link for the Society of American Silversmiths.

I will also recommend Indian Jeweler's Supply. and Rio Grande.
But I will most of all recommend Ganoksin - The Orchid Newsgroup.

" 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? "

I will begin by saying that I have been trained as a goldsmith and my
of working with silver is more limited and self-taught.

I , like you have worked silver soldering copper and some stainless.
I was a Millwright before I retired and went back to school.
All my books are in boxes as I have been moving to set up a studio
in a old house I own back in the boondocks. So most of my answers
are off the top of my head.

Do you have an air acetylene torch aka a plumbers torch ?
Most silver workers seem to like this.
A very good torch for oxy propane or oxy acetylene, or oxy natural gas
is the Meco Midget You can do air frame welding to jewelry work
with it. Very well made.
Silver has a different soldering technique needed due to its much
greater thermal conductivity. You preheat the entire piece and then
put the final soldering heat on the solder joint itself.

Save your silver scrap. you can melt it down, cast into ingots and
roll sheet and roll and pull wire . This is a good way to keep down
inventory .

The best Flux I know of is made yourself. It is called Pripps Flux.
It has Borax, Boric Acid and Trisodium Phosphate in water.
There is a recipe on Ganoksins archive .

Get a crock pot. you will need to use it to pickle your silver.
Swimming pool chemical - pH Down - can be used and its cheep.
It is like a dilute acid, but a safer. Sodium Hydrogen Sulfate.
( Na H SO 4 )

Ganoksin , The Orchid Digest has a fully searchable index.
Simply the best available for jewelry matters

There are several books which I will recommend One is Tim McCreight's
Metalsmithing book.
There are some more whose titles do not come to mind.
I will recommend that You first get a good chair which is adjustable.
Good light, a 2 tube 18" fluorescent lamp is great. An additional
incandescent swing arm lamp is good too.

A 1/8 hp Foredoom flexshaft with a # 30 handpiece is pretty important.
Do not cut corners on this one. You can buy the SR 1/8 hp. which is
reversible and would be good for gemstone carving as well.
The Burs, drills , sanding and polishing items can be purchased as
you find what you need.

Starting with American single and double cut files 8 " Flat , half
triangular and round. Grind a safe edge on the edge of the flat file.
You can also do it to one side of the triangular files.

Later you can buy  6" Barret files, a narrow half round ring file, and
Rat tail file.  Get these in a # 3 or 4 cut ( medium fine )

For sanding sticks, cut some soft wood strips 3/16 thick 3/4 wide and
11 " long. Do it on a table saw and make them smooth on the flat sides.

Go to an Automotive body shop and purchase 2 sheets each of the
abrasive papers from 220 grit to the finest available.
You can staple the wrapped abrasive paper to the sticks. You should get
2 sanding sticks per sheet . save the other sheet for other tasks.
I like the 3M abrasive products. either Silica carbide or aluminia oxide
Cut 1/2 of a sheet and glue it to either side of double thickness window
glass or even better plate glass. This you will use to sand your work to a
very flat surface. A spray on adhesive is good for this.

For Your bench, find or make a bench to fit you to about the top of pockets
on your shirt.  Get or make a bench pin. Buy a good 3 " jewelers saw with
# 0 and # 3 blades. You will need 4 dozen each. Get a piece of bee's wax.
This is a good lubricant.
A scribe , good scale in and mm. A small compass or pair of dividers 3".
hardened ring mandrel graduated. a magic marker in blue or black makes
a good layout  ink. and if I remember right will signal by burning off
when the silver is near its soldering.

Find an old flat sad iron like was used to iron clothes back when Sand
the top good and smooth to make a good anvil, or make one if you can.

An Optivisor with a # 5 ( not 5 power ) lens has worked well for me. You
might want to buy an additional auxiliary magnifier to fit on one side.
 Several soft firebrick to solder on are very good. You can stack them
together so as to make a open face oven which you can heat things in to bring it
close to soldering temperature. An old Chinese wok with some peralite or silica
carbide works well as a means to anneal as well as solder. The wok spins on its
round bottom like a lazy Susan.

Please remember to use the best ventilation which you have available.

I intend to do work at my studio in silver , mixed metal, and art metal.
First I have to clean out the stone and lapidary equipment stored there.

I liked your website and as you have some computer expertise, try
this. Get Dover clip art books and scan the pages into memory or
better, burn to CD . then get a older copy of Corel 9 or 10 and use
the program to enlarge, shrink, reverse and modify the line drawings.
Now glue these to your silver sheet as a template to cut out.
Just like coloring in color books, just stay inside the lines...

" 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

As a navy man , especially in a DD , you have had learned to make do .
This ain't rocket science.

As an old Navy Brat, I feel some kind of affinity . I was on Guam 1947
to 1949 as was my younger sister .

It is my pleasure to help, and I hope to share what was shared with me.

If it will be helpful, you can contact me off list at

Respectfully Yours ,
Robert L.Powell    -    aka    ROBB     -    Retired Old Baby Boomer.
Because of VIRUS & SPAM problems,
I delete questionable Email messages.
Please use a unique identifier in the subject line .
This should be a specific word or short phrase.


Subject: Re: Issue No. 180 - pointers on Ceramic Laps
Date: Mon, 04 Aug 2003 23:25:26 -0700
To: LapidaryArtsDigest <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: Noel Rowe <noel@roughtocut.com>

>  It is leaving those dad-gum horse hair lines on the
> facets in dark field illumination. 

Hi Rich,

You didn't mention whether the ruby was a synthetic or natural stone.
I've noticed that some synthetics tend to scratch pretty easily. Might
have something to do with the annealing process.

Is sounds like you have experience on ceramic laps already so you might
be doing this already, but in case you aren't..
In my experience with ceramic laps the biggest scratch problems have
always been caused by too much diamond on the lap. Ceramic doesn't
charge like metal laps, so you can't use as much diamond or it will just
roll around & cause problems. The method that works best for me is to
(with the lap spinning a low rpm) wipe a couple of drops of olive oil or
extender fluid on the lap, give two or three sprays of 50 or 100k
diamond & gently wipe the lap off once with a paper towel. Also pay
attention to the sounds. For some reason some spots on the lap run
quieter than others (it seems to change with each stone for some
reason). Stay in the areas the sound the quietest. I usually polish at
200-300 rpm. Running too fast on a ceramic also can start the scratches
going. If you have a particularly scratch prone stone you might also try
reversing the lap direction.

Hope this helps.

good luck,

Noel Rowe
Rough To Cut


Subject: Re-torch question
Date: Mon, 04 Aug 2003 23:44:47 -0700
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com (LapidaryArtsDigest)
From: Don Rogers <Don@Campbell-gemstones.com>

At 01:47 PM 8/4/03 -0500, you wrote:
>I know this must have came up at one time or the other. What I would like to
>know about is propane air torches

Jake, an interesting post with a lot of possible answers.

In my view, ox and propane, or ox and natural gas are the two best
solutions for a shop, either home or business.  The torches that use these
fuels are mixed,  Some jewelers prefer a Hoke(spelling?) Others like the
Smith Mini torch.  Both have their places.

The cheep solution may turn out to be the most expensive.  Also, the answer
for soldering a 3mm gold head onto a ring is a lot different from soldering
a silver bezel on a 10oz silver belt buckle.  You are talking two entirely
different requirements.  Kind of like hooking up a plow to a new Mercedes
and trying to till a field with it.  The Mercedes does great on the road,
but a John Deere is a lot better in the field.  Each has it's one
place.  Same for torches on the bench.

The fuel is not a big problem.  A small bottle of propane will last for
many hours of use with a jewelers torch.  A bottle of Oxygen is another
story.   If I were setting up a shop again, I would use an Oxygen
concentrator (no tanks required), and Natural Gas.  You end up with great
heat and clean burning.  You can pick up a used Oxygen concentrator for
around $100, about the price of three or four tanks of OX from the welding
supply.  Just get one that has a good flow, around 6 liters per minute or
better.  Couple that with natural gas, or a hardware propane bottle, and
you have a very inexpensive, clean gas supply.  The Issue now is to couple
it with the torches to suit your needs.



Subject: Re: Issue No. 180 - Monday August 4, 2003
Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2003 06:07:28 EDT
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com
From: MyCatWilAtackYou@aol.com

Reply to Doug "Rhodolite" Smith
This company Rio Grande has 3 catalogs I have they're "Gems and Findings"
catalog it has 550 pages of stuff for casting, soldering, gold and silver tubes,
bars, plates, tons of gold and silver settings of every kind you could
possibly imagine. Charms, pendants, beads, chain. I suggest you get yourself a copy
they are very reasonable and I'm sure there is not one thing that you cant find
in it.   The catalog is full color and its free. The phone number
800-545-6566 and they're  website is at  www.riogrande.com .
Ramona Gem and Mineral

Reply to  A Sinha  ATE Engineering Enterprises
In your post I noticed you refered to "water torch". Well I recently within
the last 3 months have built my own water torch unit. Also known as a hydrogen
torch. My unit was build based on a design in the book "Brown's Gas Book 1"
and modified by me after some testing. It very simple to build . Mine consists
of only the following parts and you can even make one with fewer parts.
Cell container
1) 4" x 20" clear acrylic 1/2 wall thinkness tubing with an endcap on each
 1 stainless steel fitting 1/4" diameter
2 stainless steel bolts
on the inside of my container are 8 stainless steel plates 3 " x 16"
connected in the same way capacitor plates are connected in a plate capacitor. The
plate assembly is held in place by the stainless bolts that run through the
sidewall of the tube to the outside. The entire container is filled with
electrolyte made from de-ionized distilled water and sodium hydrozide (red devil lye)
with 1" of air space above the fluid level.
I power mine with either ac wall voltage through a rectifier and a capacitor,
or aa 6 or 12 volt battery charger at about 5 or 10 amps.  The "Cell"
produces pure perfectly mixed hydrogen/oxygen on demand. The gas flows out of the
cell into a 5 gallon stainless steel storage bottle (for temporary gas storage)
which is 30" tall 8" diameter and has 6" of normal tap water in the bottom. The
gas runs into the storage container under the water level and thus bubbles up
into it. From the container the gas flows into another "bubbler" this second
bubbler is 3" x 12" ABS platic pipe with end caps. Filled with 8" water the
gas is fed into it below the water level as previous. From this bubbler (also
called Flashback container) the gas goes to a valve and then into 1/4" rubber
tubing capable of pressures of at least 50PSI. after 4 feet of tubing there is
another valve I actually made this from a regular propane torch tip. After this
valve is 5 more feet of tubing and finally at the end a small stainless tube
with an inside diameter of not more than 1mm. The book suggested using a
syringe needle.

So I plug my unit in and it rapidly builds up pressure I have run mine at
50PSI, my friend has had his over 65PSI. When the pressure is sufficient I open
the first valve then the second and then light the tip. This flame has very
amazing properties like the sublimation of tungsten which takes place I think
somewhere over a temperature of 13,000 F. I use it to melt aluminum, brass,
steel, iron, I have melted feldspar, pocket clay, and lots of other rocks with it
and it does not explode stuff into your face as a regular torch would do (like
with concrete). The flame can bore a hole right through firebrick and melt
ceramics and can even be used to weld, braze and solder any combination of pretty
much any materials together. Last but not least is it requires no expensive
to fill bottles of compressed gasses. It still requires saftey precautions as
other explosive gasses require. It can also be powered by solar panels making
the unit totally free to run. The flame is precission less than 1/8" diameter
and 2" long depending on tip size and pressure can be bigger. I am using mine
for all kinds of things as I have always wanted a torch and this torch can do
it all.

Ramona Gem and Mineral


Subject: Re: Arizona Peridot
Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2003 06:34:04 +0200
To: "LapidaryArtsDigest" <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: "shakgemstones" <shakagemstones@global.co.za>

hello, the indians on whose reservation the material is ,have their own
website they also sell demantoid garnet from the same source I am sure that
google will track it down quicklyregards Dave









PERSONALS: (General Lapidary and Faceting)






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



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ten people."



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