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This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News - Issue No. 19 July 7, 1997
2. NEW: Victoria Stone
3. RE: Bulk Slabbing of Nodules
4. RE: Are There Hand Methods for Lapidary Work?
5. RE: Are There Hand Methods for Lapidary Work?
6. RE: Are There Hand Methods for Lapidary Work?
7. RE: Are There Hand Methods for Lapidary Work?

Date: Mon, 7 Jul 1997 02:06:24 -0400
Subject: LapDigest News - Issue No. 19 July 7, 1997

>From my experience in college as an engineering magazine editor and later as a bulletin editor, I know there will be times when the Digest will be short of items to fill a decent Digest. If we had a collection of short 'Lapidary Tips', they could be used to fill out the Digests in those times, and then the published ones could be placed in a file in the Archives.

If you have a tip, please send the tip(s) to me at the address below (not to the lapidary address), and I will start accumulating them for fillers. Make the subject: LAPIDARY TIP and it will go into a folder directly, and I won't acknowledge unless I need more information for publication. Please mention the source if you got it from a bulletin or such!

Thanks, and thanks for helping make this list a success!

Administrator, Lapidary Digest Mail List
Durham, NC


Subject: NEW: Victoria Stone

Geri Arms <> and I are collecting slabs of Victoria Stone, and have quite a collection. Soon hopefully, we will have slabs of every color they made. Next comes making a sample cab of each color for exhibition.

Along with the exhibit, we want to write a paper on Victoria Stones and on their developer, Dr Iimori.

If any of you come across any references to either Victoria stones or to Dr. Iimori, please send the references off-line to either Geri or to me at the address above.

We have the references from Lap Journal, but that is about all.



Date: Sun, 06 Jul 1997 02:21:14 -0700

Subject: RE: Bulk Slabbing of Nodules

Being a novice and faced with the same problem, I tried setting the
nodules in a piece of clay, let it harden a bit, then let the clay hold the
stones as I cut. It was a matter of "doing the best I could with what I had" but it worked OK.

Date: Mon, 7 Jul 1997 02:11:10 -0400
From: <>

Subject: RE: Are There Hand Methods for Lapidary Work?

For explicit descriptions of how ancient Persians worked gemstones with
primitive tools, see
I think you will enjoy it.
Life is uncertain, eat dessert first!

(Ed.Note): I highly recommend this to all of you for a historical
perspective to what we do every day. Understand that this was recently written but written as if written maybe 500 years ago. I believe he did his research for this one! Very lyrical.

Date: Sun, 06 Jul 1997 02:42:55 -0700

Subject: RE: Are There Hand Methods for Lapidary Work?

I purchased silicon carbide wet/dry paper at my local automotive/paint shop
and glued it [next time would try lapidary disc cement] onto a glass tray
which had come from an old microwave oven. I bought 3 of the smooth, heavy
trays at the thrift store for about $2.50 apiece. These all have raised
edges and I added water to cover the surface. I was sanding 1/2 of a
septarian nodule that was to big for my equipment.


Date: Mon, 07 Jul 1997 10:13:58 -0500

Subject: RE: Are There Hand Methods for Lapidary Work?

In LapDigest #18, Mark Case wrote and Hale replied:

<< Mark:When I was in grad school, we had to polish our fossil pieces by hand. We >took 1/2 thick plate glass in a 1 x 1 foot section and put our grit and water on the glass. Then in a Figure 8 motion, we polished the flat sections with 100, 220, 400, 600 grit and then went to a piece of rayon felt impregnated with cerium oxide. This meant 5 plates of glass. We polished many flat sections out of the slab saw this way.

Hale: I have seen this a long time ago, but never done it. How much water? How much grit? What holds the grit on the glass? Can you use something more
viscous in place of water to get a better hold on the grit? Are there any
special things or problems I should know about before I try this? Finally,
why aren't you grinding the glass, too? Hardness of glass is about 5.5,
hardness of silicon carbide is 9.25-9.5 (according to Sinkankas).>>

In my previous job, I polished samples by hand using this same method.
Unfortunately, I never measured the amounts of grit and water; like my
grandmother in the kitchen, I knew when it 'looked right'. Basically, you
don't want to get so much water that you hydroplane, but you don't want so
little water that the grit agglomerates and you end up with much 'courser
grit'. The finest grits used the least amount of water. E.g., I used 1 and
.3 micron grits at the consistency of hand lotion, 600 mesh grit was fairly
runny, and I could see individual grain of 120 mesh grit. With some
practice, you'll get the feel for the relative amounts of water and grit.
Remember, as the mixture is on the plate, it is drying. I kept a
squeeze-type wash bottle of water handy. A side note, some people swear by
distilled water for this, that tap water could cause some minerals to form
in the grit/water mixture. I don't know how important that is, but since
distilled water was easy to obtain, I used it.

The grit stays on the glass simply because of gravity and inertia. I bought
dining trays and had the glass cut to fit into these trays. (If Tupperware
only knew!!) The trays contained any grit and water that is pushed off the
glass. The faster that you do your figure 8's, the more likely you push and
splash the grit off the glass. The faster you do your figure 8's, the
sooner you have a polished sample. Pressure also determines polishing
speed. Once again, practice and you'll find your spot.

When using diamond paste, an oil is the suspension media. Water is cheaper
and ecologically sound.

I had a separate tray and plate for 600 mesh, 5, 1 micron grit, and one
anything courser than 600. Using a very course grit, I would frost the
glass. Occasionally, I would use the course grit to dress the glass when it
started to polish. My theory is that the rough surface holds the grit so
that when the sample is run over the grit, the grit stays in place to grind
instead of rolling with the sample. For the 1 and .3 micron grit and
diamond paste, I also had a non-frosted plate with a self-adhesive pad on
it. You can get pads made of many different materials from Beuhler. My
favorites are TexMet, Microcloth, silk, and nylon. I had a cabinet built
that would hold each of these trays, finest on top.

I always tried to keep one hand free of grit so that I didn't get the wash
bottle covered in grit. Since you start with courser grit, if you get grit
on the bottle and use that bottle to keep a finer grit wet, you can transfer
that courser grit to the finer grit currently in use and contaminate it. I
also air-dried the plates so that lint from the paper towels didn't get on
the plates.

You are polishing the glass at the same time whether you use aluminum oxide,
silicon carbide, or diamond. To keep the glass plate as even as possible,
use the whole surface in equal amounts when polishing.

I hope this wasn't too long. I tried to cover the subject well and as
briefly as possible.


Date: Mon, 7 Jul 1997 11:27:39 -0500 (CDT)

Subject: RE: Are There Hand Methods for Lapidary Work?

(Ed Note: In Lapidary Digest #17, Rusty Etzwiler asked whether there were lapidary hand working methods (methods which did not require electricity), and that set off a bunch of responses. They continue below. This describes how to do 'cabbing' without machinery.)

For hand work you may want to consider a tile nibler (that you can get
at most hardware store). After you have your oval shape you can try
diamond files to smooth the sides and round the top. After filing you
can use wet sand paper. If you mount tha paper on a stick that is shaped
like a file and has a little padding (we used a rubber pad) the sanding
will go easier. For buffing you can mount either leather or hard felt
onto the same type of stick and use whichever polish you prefer.

This method is not fast or easy. Many people used to do hand sanding to
get that "extra polish". The nibling and filing are the parts people
don't want to do. It's best if you can get different grades of diamond files
(like coarse and fine). Good luck...

Steve Ramsdell

Ed. Note: You may wish to attach the roughed out oval shape to a dop stick and grip it in a bench vice for the filing and sanding.
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