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LAPIDARY ARTS and FACETERS DIGEST
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Issue No. 167 - Wednesday July 16, 2003
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Moderated by: Thurmond Moore III
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Committed to carrying on the fine works of
Hale Sweeny and Jerry Dewbre
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POST TO EITHER LINK BELOW:
lapidary@caprock-spur.com
faceters@caprock-spur.com
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Hi all,

Ultratec has taken a beating these last few issues.
I hope that they catch wind of these discussions
and modify their methods to improve their company
and customer support. Most of the discussion has involved
customer support issues not a direct slamming of their product.
It is ok to air issues such as this in an effort to get an improvement
from a company but we must be careful not to directly slander or
make any false statements about anyone. We have seen the
trouble in the past from such things. Hopefully manufacturers will
use a forum such as this to look and listen to their userbase's concerns
instead of yelling lost revenue and lawsuit. That would be a trajedy indeed.
Several Manufacturers do maintain a subscription to the list and I am sure
they are "learning" from the mistakes of their competition.

Thurmond

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Index to Today's Digest

01  RE: SERVICE
02  RE: Regard Terrie's Ultra Tec.
03  NEW:  theoretical question
04  RE: Corian Laps
05  RE: Manufacturers Responsibility
06  RE: Poor Manufacturing Response
07  NEW: Stabilizing OPALS!!!!!!
08  RE: Yesterday's funny

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Message:01

Subject: Since you asked.
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 21:14:37 -0400
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com (LapidaryArtsDigest)
From: "Jonathan L. Rolfe" <webmaster@gearloose.com>

>for a machine it better be a good one, both in quality and in SUPPORT.
>Faceting machines
>are not worth what we pay for them as hobbiest. I think they are valued by
>what they
>will produce not by actual cost plus a decent markup for the company.
>
>How about it Gearloose? What does it cost to make a machine. How much markup
>are the manufacturers of the machines actually making?

First, in response to much of the post, the Law we should go by is that, as
far as This Side of the Abyss is concerned, the _Customer Is a
god_.  Customer has Life Or Death authority over a company.  Customer Pays
said company. Company is an _employee_ of the Great God Customer.
Now there ARE customers that are kooks, cranks, and general pains, who
sadistically torture companies but they are rare, and everyone knows about
them, and they are a part of any business.

That said, there are reasonable limits to which one can expect a company to
do.  You asked about machine costs and markups, and since I do not really
"Manufacture" them, I can give an outsider's (informed) opinion.
Recently I have had a LOT of e-mails from people who wanted a Revision
XS2.  Now, at this juncture in my Master Plan for Life, I am not ready to
manufacture them, but I did have to go through all the excercises.  This
involved materials costs, tooling, overhead, G&A, dealer commissions,
expected profit margin, elasticity of demand, CNC machining costs,
advertising, and the cost of capital. (I only SAY I hate accounting..)
I have to say from what I have seen is that it is highly unlikely anyone is
exactly getting fat making any of these, from the "Chevy" Graves, to the
"Ferrari" Facette.  I understand today that Raytech-Shaw is no more.   Yet,
this is a popular and affordable machine.  It would not surprise me one bit
if their bean counters said "You could make TOASTERS and make triple the
profit!!! WHY are you MAKING THESE????"
As to support, my experience making the BATT laps has been a real
education.  I pride myself on support, a good no-BS warranty, and a much
less than 1% return rate.  But I have to say that if I get ONE lap back, it
wipes out the profit on the next two, at least, and if I dared think of the
shipping (Don't get me started on rapists like UPS and Fedex...) I'd
probably take up golf, fishing, or strong drink and walk away from it all.
If a company were to start a policy of warrantying every machine made from
Day One, we could get a lot of neat machine kits at the auction.  They
would not survive, or they would have to pass on the costs and price
themselves out of the marketplace.  My personal feeling is that Terri's
machine was sold in violation of Warranty of Merchantability Statutes in
some states, but again, that's a lay opinion.  The fact is that from the
time of the Code of Hammurabi to the present it has been an absolute
principle that no man is accountable for the actions of another.  Likewise,
a person who runs a company cannot be responsible for the actions of
someone who sold a broken, obsolete, maladjusted, unworkable,
long-since-warranty-expired machine..That is only fair.  I have never met
or talked to or even heard of this fellow at the manufacturer's,
myself.  But I would not be surprised if, after all this public discussion,
his losses will far exceed any suffered by an individual.  It's a different
world now, with the Web and the Net.  Nothing is done in the dark or behind
closed doors, and it's a very small town.
In this business we trust rough sellers.  Our customers trust us when they
buy our stones.  Trust and reputation are everything, and there is no
business future without it.
So even if one is in the right, barking at a customer is  a _bad_ idea.

__________________________________________________________
Message:02

Subject: Regard Terrie's Ultra Tec.
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 20:29:57 -0700
To: faceters@caprock-spur.com
From: Galand and Tom Nuchols <nucholsg@1Starnet.com>

This unit has a badly worn elevation screw on the post, which I believe
the whole post unit would have to be replaced as it has had a piece of
alunium plate added to each  side of the traveling block apparently to
stabilize the travel of the block.  The total lenght of the post is
shorter than the later Units.  I am positive that at Ultra Tecs
replacement prices that it would be  very expensive to replace the post
unit. 
I am sending Terrie  a used chuck Key  along with the old spindle and
two tapered chucks that she might be able to figure if one of them will
help her machine.
Tom Nuchols 

__________________________________________________________
Message:03

Subject: theoretical question
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 22:05:00 -0700
To: <faceters@caprock-spur.com>
From: "John Almasi" <jalmasi@cfl.rr.com>

Hello all,

I'd like to pose a theoretical question to everyone out there in faceting
land.  Here goes.  What if, all of a sudden, you, as a faceter, had a year's
output of Tanzanite rough or approximately 13,000 kgs of mine run material?
What if you had the option to cut it however YOU thought it should be done,
and in fact that was what you were supposed to do?  Would you use the same
old cuts that are slapped on the stones in cutting shops from Jaipur to
Nairobi to Joburg to Bangkok, or would you come up with some different
offerings and what would they be and why?

Actually 13,000 kgs was the legally reported export of rough Tanzanite last
year.  Since the end of June of this year, the export of Tanzanite rough
from Tanzania has been strictly forbidden along with a somewhat lesser known
list of other materials.  I just thought it would be fun to daydream a
little about what I'd do with that if it fell into my lap (or onto my lap,
as the case may be) - maybe some other folks would like to visit the same
daydream......

John

__________________________________________________________
Message:04

Subject: Re corian laps
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 22:04:57 EDT
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com
From: Cutugem@aol.com

i cut a piece of cherry opal and got out my corian lap to use with cerium and
lo and behold it is speckled. Its tan with black and other sundry specs. I
purchased it through someone on a faceters list and it is just fine. Flat as can
be and no wobble. So far no spots show to be of different hardness. I can see
from the back that whoever made the lap did spend the time to true it on a
lathe. I can tell that by the witness marks. So imho the "speckled" corian works
just fine.   Dennis on the North Coast

__________________________________________________________
Message:05

Subject: Manufacturers Responsibility
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 23:50:01 -0400
To: <faceters@caprock-spur.com>
From: "Closet Gems / Richard A. Rardin" <rardin@alltel.net>

Hi all,

Question:  What exactly is the manufacturers responsibility in the real
world?  I have heard many different views on price, service etc.  
Faceting is a specialty area and regular mark-ups of cost to produce
probably wouldn't be fair to the manufacturer.   I agree with Thurmond
in asking Gearlose how much it would cost in time, training, tooling,
employee wage and benefits, advertising etc. not to mention the parts,
to produce a faceting machine and make a profit.  The next point I would
like some clarification on would be to what degree is a manufacturer
required to provide service for their product?  In some areas, it is not
uncommon for a manufacturer to only have to maintain parts and service
for two to four years.  A number of faceting machine manufacturers
appear to have lifetime warranties to the original purchaser.  Where,
realistically, should the responsibility end?  Again, I mean in the REAL
world, not some idealized version of it.

Richard Rardin

__________________________________________________________
Message:06

Subject: Poor Manufacturing Response
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003 07:52:54 -0500
To: <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: <rackedp@garbersoft.net>

Hi Thurmond,

I would like to respond to your caution for manufactures and add gem stone
dealers into the list. I am adding the text of a message I sent to an internet
gem dealer along with their response. I don't know about you or other cutters
but I find it increasing hard to find reputable rough dealers with good
material. When I first deal with someone I like to have a good feel for the
quality of material for the money. I am especially leery about giving someone
I've never dealt with before, who has a no return policy, several thousand
dollars for material only shown as a small picture on a web site. Here is my
message to them, I don't feel it is asking too much or out of line. You be
the judge and tell me what you think.

Message sent:

Hi,

Would you be kind enough to email me the addresses from your comment page.
Before I spend several thousand dollars on material I would like to actually
communicate with others that have purchased your products, especially since
you have a no return policy. If you will not send me the email addresses, I
understand some people do not like them given out, would you be kind enough
to forward this message to those on your list so that hopefully they will
respond with the information I am seeking.

Thank you

Daniel Racke

_______
Hi Daniel, I edited your post to remove the company name. I feel safer
that way. I do agree with you totaly. It is easy to get into a mess when
dealing with those you don't know and the transaction amount is sizeable.
It is bad enough getting burned on a small amount but a several thousand
dollar burn is hard to recover from. Unfortunately many sellers will yell
liable if they are mentioned in a forum such as this in a negative light.

Thurmond

__________________________________________________________
Message:07

Subject: Stabilizing OPALS!!!!!!
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003 09:41:26 -0500
To: "LapidaryArtsDigest" <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: "MR" <rugroden@attbi.com>

My apologies to any and all who may have gotten excited about the
possibility of Virgin Valley EMERALDS.  I got it 1/2 right when I posted
this to USFG.  Here's the corrected post.

Martin

Since the subject of stabilizing Virgin Valley opals has come up
recently, I talked to one of the pioneers in the field, Dr. David
Lippman.  I don't recall which publication he was in a few years ago but
that's when I became interested in the process.  I have Virgin Valley
opals that he stabilized in my safe, cut, and stable.

If you are interested in having him work on your opals, here is his
email address:    j.lippmann@mail.utexas.edu

__________________________________________________________
Message:08

Subject: Todays funny
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 17:57:43 -0700
To: <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: Webb Long <webblong@mindspring.com>

Thurmond, Today is my 85th birthday and you made my day with todays funny,
thanks,   Webb  Long

_______

Hi Webb,  Happy 85th. I can only take credit for posting it as it was
submitted by Tom Nuchols .

Thurmond
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TODAY'S FUNNY ~

I heard about a man who was drafted into the army.  While in the
army he developed a very strange habit.  As he walked along each day he
kept picking up pieces of paper, saying to himself aloud, "That's not
it!"  He would pick up one piece of paper after another and say, "That's
not it. That's not it!"

     This went on for about six months.  His bizarre behavior was
finally brought to the attention of his superiors.  They ordered him to
report to the base psychiatrist.  The psychiatrist asked, "What is wrong
with you? What is the problem?"

     The man had a baffled expression on his face as he said, "What
problem?  I don't have a problem."

     The psychiatrist said, "Well, there's got to be something wrong
with you. It has been reported to me that you keep going all over this
base picking up pieces of paper and saying, 'That's not it, that's not
it!"  So, tell me, just what is it you are looking for?"

     The man said, "I don't know.  I just don't seem to be able to find
it." The psychiatrist consulted some of his colleagues, then told the
man, "I think your problem is serious, and I'm going to give you a
medical discharge from the Army."

     When the psychiatrist handed him the discharge papers, the man
jumped up and shouted excitedly, "This is it!  This is it!  This is what
I've been looking for!"



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REFLECTIONS AND TIDBITS:

"The true measure of a man is how he treats someone
who can do him absolutely no good."

---Samuel Johnson---

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