Issue No. 213 - Thursday, September 25, 2003
Moderated by: Thurmond Moore III
Committed to carrying on the fine works of
Hale Sweeny and Jerry Dewbre
Hi All,

Well the Oval discussion has been a slow starter but today's
digest should make up for that with some great post from several
individuals. Thanks to everyone who has contributed.

Get those post in for tomorrows digest.

Topic for the week:


Perhaps the subject of Cutting Ovals could be made one of those weekly
forum subjects that we haven't had for some time. I'm sure it would be
of interest to lots of newbies and not-so-newbies.
Arch Morrison

There is a great article in the current USFG newsletter on
cutting ovals.

Sorry about the non-avability of the website and the late list today. Our internet
backbone provider in Dallas had some major issues. Hopefully they are
corrected now.


Index to Today's Digest

01  RE: Cutting Ovals !
02  RE: Cutting Ovals !
03  RE: Sphere cutting
04: RE: Cutting Ovals !
05  RE: Raytech Shaw Handpiece Conversion?
06  RE: Not Ovals but a Custom shape Trilliant
07  NEW: Looking for info on a Covington grinder
08  RE: Cutting Ovals !
09  WTB: Petoskey Stone


Subject: Cutting/polishing ovals
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 19:17:06 +0000
To: faceters@caprock-spur.com
From: denney.wilson@att.net

     I have cut many ovals for my business and for myself.  Most ovals are
designed, it seems, to be poor gemstones, at best, due to the need for most
to have angles smaller than the critical angle.  I have found a few designs
(including those from "Faceting the Easy Way") that keep all angles above the
critical angle and they perform very, very well.  However, as to cutting and
polishing, most cutters make a serious mistake that my teacher, years ago,
taught me to avoid.  Everyone seems to want to cut the facets on the crown or
pavillion first, then polish them.  What I was taught and what I always do is
cut all facets that have the same angle at the same time, if possible, or all
that are in a given tier, then to polish them immediately!  Thus, you make
sure that you have your final size and final polish for each tier as you go. 
This makes doing the meet-points easy and all but eliminates the nonsense of
using the cheater for polishing.  The only problem that occurs, sometimes, is
that you end up polishing a large facet or set of facets that are then
largely ground away by the next tier cutting operation.  However, this is a
small price to pay for near perfect meets and for ease of cutting and
polishing!  For ovals, this technique is almost essential to avoid going mad!
     Another trick that I use with all stones that is essential with ovals is
to spend a good deal of time making absolutely certain that the girdle facets
are cut first, not after the fact of making the pavillion facets.  Even if
you do not use girdle facets, you should do this.  In so doing, you can shape
the stone perfectly and give yourself a very good target for your meet
points.  I a few cases, I cut to a temporary center point, using the
shallowest angle in the design, to allow better centering later.  Only
with "exotic" cuts do I cut the pavillion facets first (such as for hearts or
certain trillions, etc.).  Even then, I find my center point using the
shallowest angles first, not the steepest.  This allows you to minimize the
loss of stone material and guarantees the very best centerpoint. 
     Finally, for ovals and, sometimes, for marquis cuts, try to avoid the
ugly pointed cullet designs that guarantee poor optical performance!  Find
designs that leave a bit of a keel.  I have looked at a very large number
of "normal" (pointed cullet) designs and it seems to me that all the designer
did was, in many cases, simply design a nice round and then stretch it into
an oval.  This eliminates the good design angles of the round and gives
garbage angles to the oval.

Denney L. Wilson
Wilson Lapidary


Subject: Ovals
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 14:16:26 -0700 (PDT)
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com
From: dolores peterson <efp70@yahoo.com>

I would like to see a pattern for an Oval that does
not't show a bow tie???

Elmer F. Peterson


Subject: Re: Issue No. 212 - Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 21:57:29 -0400
To: LapidaryArtsDigest <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: Kreigh Tomaszewski <Kreigh@Tomaszewski.net>
Cc: Paul Wheaton <paul.wheaton@virgin.net>

LapidaryArtsDigest wrote:
> __________________________________________________________
> Message:03
> Subject: Sphere cutting
> Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2003 20:23:42 +0100
> To: <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
> From: "Paul Wheaton" <paul.wheaton@virgin.net>
> I took my elder daughter with me to the last Rock and Gem show, she
> bought several small spheres and expressed a wish to make some herself.
> When we got home I looked through the catalogs and on the net for sphere
> cutters but didn't fancy paying for a machine that she may use only
> once, then I saw sphere cups in the Graves catalog that would fit on my
> Graves MKIV faceting machine so I ordered them.
> They arrived today with the other bits and pieces, but no instructions.
> I have no idea how they work can anyone help?
> __________________________________________________________

I have some brief instructions on cutting spheres on my website at


Let summarize...

You start with a cube of rock. Mark the midpoints of each edge, connect
the midpoints around each corner, and cut off all the corners. On a
wheel, rough grind all the edges and points until you begin to approach
a (lumpy) sphere.

Move to the sphere cutter and rough grind until round. You may have some
flat spots from the original cube face that need some help back on the
wheel, but return to the sphere cutter.

Once round from rough grinding on the sphere cutter clean up and move to
the next finer grit grade. Grind until the previous grit grade scratches
are gone.

Repeat with finer grits until ready to polish. You can then polish by
hand on a wheel, with polishing heads on a sphere cutter, or in a



Subject: oval patterns
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2003 12:18:30 -0400
To: <faceters@caprock-spur.com>
From: "Bill Zoppi" <wjzoppi@bmts.com>

Hi All,
       Time to get back to the posts again, it's been a long and
unproductive summer, other than a "new to me" boat and some good fishing
and golfing. Now my thoughts are back to faceting and a little cabbing -
if the fall hunt doesn't slow me down to much. (Retirement is tough!)
       With regard to faceting ovals, being relatively new to the game,
I have only done six finished ovals and a few fish pond examples. The
only pattern I have is by Long and Steele. "The Lazy Oval." Their
directions are very explicit and end up very nice stones. The only
problem being old eyes which have trouble with seeing 0.1 degree cuts.
       Angles are the next problem. I have ordered a saphire color
change of 2.2 grams and, I must admit, I got tempted and am hoping it
lives up to the description. It was way over budget but I decided that I
want to cut one unique stone whle I am able. If it is most suitable for
an qval or pear I will need help. If it ends up a poor quality stone I
guess I'll just have to live with it and do the best I can. Needless to
say it is from a non return zone so order at your own peril.
       When It's received I'll post a picture of it and hopefully get a
few ideas. Lets just say.....To be continued.

Bill,  from Kincardine where the fish are still biting but the winds
blowing to hard to get out on the lake.


Subject: Raytech Shaw Handpeice modification
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2003 12:44:22 -0400
To: <faceters@caprock-spur.com>
From: "Bill Zoppi" <wjzoppi@bmts.com>

Hi John, with reference to the Raytech handpiece mod, the sight below is
where it was buy is not on line at this time. You might try the campell
Gem home sight and Email them for the info.


I looked at the one below but had no success.


Regards, Bill from Kincardine


Subject: Not Ovals but a Custom shape Trilliant
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2003 12:51:36 -0400
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com, lake989@att.net
From: "Douglas Turet" <anotherbrightidea@hotmail.com>

Everett in Lexington asked:
"Does anybody know of an offset shape Trill design like this and you have a
drawing? It has been really frustrating to figure it out. Last resort, start
cutting it freeform and see what happens. But this will take some time and
cutting to get it right.

If anyone can help I would trade up to 500 carts of malaya garnet rough to
the holder of a drawing for this design. Remember, this is only a Trilliant
shape by name. It is custom by somebody and can't find it in L&S books,
Vargas, or Gram."

Hi Everett,

     If you can provide me with either a digital photo in .jpg format or a
faxed diagram, along with  length, width, approximate pavilion depth and
crown height desired, and width at midpoint of stone's length), I should be
able to help out with a design that'll be both fitting and beautiful. If
you'd like, you can try me at the number below, tonight, between 6-10pm.

Best Regards,

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: Re: Issue No. 212 - Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2003 13:31:33 EDT
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com
From: Send2mail@aol.com

Hello everyone

I'm looking for any and all information regarding a Covington grinder
polishing machine.

Model # 594 .. It is a 4 wheel expando drum unit......Also info on model #
400 it is a 2 wheel heavy duty grinder..

Anyone have experience with either of these machines  ? Any and all advice
etc would be greatly appreciated and if you want to sell one please let me know.

Thank you



Subject: cutting OMNI and Breakpoint Ovals
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2003 12:13:35 -0400
To: Lapidary arts and faceters digest <faceters@caprock-spur.com>
From: Dan Clayton <dclayton@speakeasy.net>

There are a number of methods to preform and cut an oval. I will
cover two in this post, the OMNI and Breakpoint methods. These
methods are closely related and work well for ovals producing
a barion oval or an oval very similar to a barion but lacking the
extra culet facets. If your machine is well aligned you should be
able to cut one of these in a good design without "cheating" or
fudging angles. Note that you can often cut an oval with either
method but you can not cut a Breakpoint design in the OMNI
if you can not draw a line from the girdle to the culet along the
pavilion breaks facet junctions. This is pretty obvious if you
compare  p2 and p3 tiers in Annie's Cushion


to Bobcat Oval


1) Cut the pavilion mains per design

2) Set the stone length by cutting two or four end girdle facets.
That is usually about 24 and 72 index on a 96 gear.


3) chain cut girdle facets at given indices which will be different
than the indices of the pavilion mains already cut. Girdle will not
be level until the halfmoon break facetes are cut.

4) chain cut "halfmoon" break facets at same indices as the
girdle facets


3) chain cut "halfmoon" break facets at given indices which
will be different than pavilion mains already cut.

4) chain cut girdle facets at the same indices as the halfmoon

OMNI and Breakpoint

5) cut additional culet facets if you have a barion type design.

6) cut and polish crown

The key elements in cutting a good stone with these methods
are to cut to a precise centerpoint, then cut to good meetpoints
as you chain cut the girdle and pavilion breaks. It is not
difficult if you use a good design and cut each step properly.
If you miss a meetpoint the error is likely to accumulate and
you will have more problems than you can handle.

I have a number of oval designs on my website at:

Fred Van Sant was a great designer and he still has a good
suite of designs called the K12 ovals on Bob's Rockshop.


If you happen to have Fred's Star cuts I am sure you can find
many good oval designs.

Jerry Capps, Bob Long and Robert Strickland have done
good oval designs but I don't know offhand where to find
their designs online. Of course Bob Long has a volume
of older designs still in print but I don't know how to find
his more recent work. I did see a CAM oval of Bob's a
couple years ago in Facets that looked good and cut quite
easily. Their few oval designs on Bob's Rockshop all had
broken links.

There are lots of poor oval designs around, don't waste your
time or material on them. A good oval design is pretty easy
to cut if you watch each step. No oval designs are as easy
as a round. Maybe someone else wants to cover some other
methods of making ovals, there are several. Again watch
each step and don't over or undercut. Errors will show up
in each following tier, just do it right the first time.


Subject: WTB: Petoskey Stone
From: plhunkele@comcast.net
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2003 8:53 PM

Hi Hale,
We stumbled across the Lapidary Web Site looking for a source for
Petoskey stone and I'm supposing it would hurt to ask you directly, ; )) 
Could you steer us towards a source for Petoskey stone?  Ideally we
would find someone selling a pound or few of smallish (nickel to quarter
sized) stones.
Thanks so much for any help you could provide.

Paul & Linda Hunkele


Hi everyone,  The above message was forwarded to me by Hale Sweeny.
Please reply to the e-mail address at the top of the message if you can help
Paul and Linda with their needs. They are not list members at this time.










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