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This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 35 Sat 7/26/97
2. Re: Saw Sludge (34-3)
3. RE: Automatic Cab Grinding Equipment (34-2)
4. AD: Dale Brown


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 35 Sat 7/26/97

It is always a pleasure when Mark Liccini shares his knowledge, especially
things about his early life in lapidary. We have another of these today,
in answer to a query about automatic cabbing machines. Thanks, Mark!!!

Have a great weekend, folks! And remember to send in those lapidary tips.


Date: Fri, 25 Jul 1997

Subject: Re: Saw Sludge (34-3)

Peter Rowe was correct with his brown paper grocery bags. You have to
wait for a very long time for the last bits to filter through. If you
have your filter set up inside of a five gallon plastic pail you can
install a valve near the bottom of the pail. This will allow you to
remove the filtered oil without disturbing the filter. I let the filter
sit until the next time it's time to clean the saw. This could be 6 months.

Some other things I use are a squeegy to get the oil off the bottom. Any
auto store or Wall Mart has window squeegys like you use at gas stations.
I have a drain in the bottom of my saw (20 in.). I just pull the sludge
to the drain. I also use bricks to take up volume on the far side of the
saw. I save about a third of the amount of oil.

I never thought about particles in the filtered oil. I always have to add
a lot of fresh oil to the saw after putting in the filtered oil. I have
used Almag from Texaco. Pella oil was not available in my area. The oil
does have a different odor after being used and filtered. Maybe we can
draw someone out that has some info on this.

Steve Ramsdell
(Ed. Note: The Internet is wonderful! Last night I called up Alta Vista
and started looking for technical specs on ALMAG and PELLA. Found them, and
their URLs are:
ALMAG: <<>>
PELLA: << >> and
Enjoy! hale)

Date: Sat, 26 Jul 1997

Subject: RE: Automatic Cab Grinding Equipment (34-2)

Jim Schnell asks:
<<Has anyone had experience (or own) some type of equipment for
automatically grinding cab pre-forms and/or domes?>>

I have owned factories with various types of automatic cutting equipment.

The first one I owned was called in those days a ROC machine. It did one
at a time. The company was sold, but I know their design is still around.
It worked very well. But was a lot slower than a man can cut. It did have
the advantage of allowing the operator to cut 100 stones or more per day
without fatique And all the stones came out uniform. Now I am talking more
than 20 years ago.

At that time I also did some work with ultrasonic drills to punch out
stones. In soft materials this was a lot faster than a man can cut and
you could make shapes not so easily adapted to a grinding wheel using a
core drill type of bit. We even did carved objects using the ultrasonic.
There is a problem with this in that the calibration will change as the
bit wears. In the case of a carving you might get only 1-2 passes that
has all the detail.

Then in later life, I had a factory in Annapolis Maryland with German
automatic cabbing and faceting equipment. The manufacturer was EDUS from
Idar-Oberstein, Germany. This equipment was awesome. One man could operate a
bank of them. Six machines with dop rack of 15 stones each. You can get them
up to 25-30 in a rack. The variance in calibration from one end of the rack
to the other was maximum 1/2mm. All the stones came out the same in terms of
height. The operator needed the skill of a mechanic only. And he performed
not only the loading and supervision of the machines, but was loading the
dop sticks into the rack with a pneumatic wrench also and still had time to
sit back and rest for a minute or so in between passes. Now you have to
consider that I needed another 10 men to saw and dop to keep up with the
equipment. But we did the work of hundreds of men. Men were paid about
$10/hour or more and our costs were $.01/ct. We made 20-30 kilos per week of
White Topaz preforms. This might not sound like much but we made down to 3mm.

We ran expensive Emerald (cabochon) on this equipment and suffered in
weight loss. The equipment suffers in yield to make the uniformity. The
Emerald we tumbled to polish. But my biggest success was Lapis cabs. which we
polished on the equipment too. My biggest problem with Lapis was we literally
killed the market price by putting too much quantity on the market. This is
a very serious problem You will put out so much production that it is a full
time job to source the material.

In Korea and Bangkok I had operations using copies of American and German
equipment made in Korea. The Koreans made the equipment quite rugged, but
seemed to miss some design principals. But they were a lot cheaper, and
especially good was a preformer that just girdled. This was particularly
fast in that there was no dopping. It grabbed the stoned in a tong grip.

You can get full stand up versions of the German automatic equipment in
Idar-Oberstein, Germany. There you will even see some in the local hardware
stores. The main manufacturers are EDUS,WINTER&LUX. But there are dozens of
firms there that have designed and manufacture auto equipment. You can even
have the machines designed to your specs.

My set up as I remember was about 14-15 machines and with extra parts, dops
and racks cost over $350,000.The basic units were $10-15,000 each. You could
get hand crank units for around $3,000. And I think they had tabletops for
less too. You need to go to Idar and look around. The best time is in
September when they hold an annual show. The manufacturers will have
operating displays there.

The German equipment is hands down the best made. And I was totally shocked
at what you could do with them. I even saw a bead maker with a setup that
took blocks from a gang saw to small squares, to rounded to polished and

I hope this info helps, you can E-mail me questions if you need. I have
here somewhere catalogs on the German tools, and the contact info. I would
give you this advice: don't try to make a 10-20 man factory. All of mine
failed. Not because of the equipment. The problem was people, and sourcing
the rough, and selling it when you are making more than the market can eat.
But an operation with a small unit and 3-4 friends would work well. Only the
sawyer will need advanced Lapidary skills. The others can be just basic
machine skills.

I have never used it, but I understand in Israel they have developed a
computerized faceting machine that even analyses the rough. Supposedly they
just put in a piece of rough. Hard to believe but many articles say they
successfully cut even Emerald and Tanzanite. They are also the leaders there
in filling Diamonds and Emeralds.

*OH,I have photo's of all the above and more equipment I saw in Germany and

*This and anything I write, I will freely grant permission, but I request to
be contacted prior*

Mark Liccini

Gemstone Rough Dealers since 1970 U.S.MAIL
E-Mail: 107 C.Columbus Dr.#1A Jersey City,N.J.07302
Voice Mail/Fax: 201-333-6332

Date: Fri, 25 Jul 1997

Subject: AD: Dale Brown

Hi, I'm Dale Brown. My business name is Rockhounds Esq. and I have been an
active rockhound for the last thirty years and a dealer in rare forms of
slabbed agates and other sought-after lapidary materials geared to serve
the hobbyist and professional for the last twenty-five of these years.

Over the last 20 years, I have been a dealer in approximately 200 shows
from San Diego to San Francisco, including eight federation shows.

My specialty is top quality (high color, tight pattern, no fractures)
material derived from 1920 to 1980 collections of rough rock which I slab
into 1/4 inch slices for my cabochon-cutting customers at Gem and Mineral
shows around the state.

Featured are dendritic agates from Montana and India; lace agates from
Mexico and Africa; moss agates from India, Mexico, Oregon and California;
plume agates from Idaho, Oregon and California; sagenite agates from
California, Mexico, Oregon and Brazil; fortification agate from the United
States, Brazil, India and Africa.

Also featured are jaspers from California, Mexico, Oregon, Idaho and
Australia; brecciated and conglomerate jasper from California; and picture
jasper from California, Oregon, Nevada, Utah and Idaho.

Silverlace and other patterned onyx; high colored rhyolite, blue Brazilian
sodalite; green-yellow prehnite from Australia; massive amethyst from
Mexico; Italian jewelry glass from Venice; doubleflow, peacock and
snowflake obsidian are likewise represented.

Other features are: labradorite from Canada and Death Valley picture
stone; petrified wood from multiple locations; jade from California,
Wyoming, Alaska and Canada; the copper gem stones from Arizona, New
Mexico, and Mexico such as malachite, chrysacolla, azurite, and parrotwing;
dinosaur bone from Colorado, Utah and Wyoming; pink rhodonite/black trees
from California.

In short, outstanding fracture-free material possessing high color, coupled
with a good, tight pattern is represented in my 48 tray layout or on my
cutting schedule, and at reasonable prices.

My display has been expanded with my wife's partnership in the business and
includes striking examples of Indian brass, carved camel-bone and paua or
mother-of-pearl shell costume jewelry accompanied by metal bangles and
earrings of copper, brass, and differing materials. In addition, our
layout encompasses a wide variety of necklaces in agate, hematite, black
onyx, jasper beads and earrings at reasonable prices.

I possess a California retail license.
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