Administered by Hale Sweeny (

This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 49 - Sunday 8/24/97
2. NEW: Saw questions
3. NEW: A New Use for Vinyl Protectant
4. RE: Polishing Amber
5. NEW: Craftsman 1401 Gem Maker
6. RE: Polishing and Dying Geodes and Agates
7. RE: Polishing and Dying Geodes and Agates
8. RE: Polishing and Dying Geodes and Agates


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 49 - Sunday 8/24/97

Well, back to the keyboard and reality. Had a great time
cooking Andamooka opal with sugar and acid, and I will tell
you about it later this week.

Found a lot of submissions, some of which I am saving to
post later this week. So if you don't see yours here, wait
a bit and it should appear.


Subject: NEW: Saw questions

Welcome back Hale, I trust your opal cutting course was
great fun, If I ever get my hands on any I'll ask the list
for help and expect the definitive answer from you ;-) If
you want to edit down myramblings into several articles
please feel free.

I have a stack of questions prompted by my recent purchase
of a used 10 inch saw, make not known but definitely British
made and 20 years old - one careful lady owner and it works
perfectly, apart from the power feed which I can easily fix.

The power feed prompts my first question since I want to
rig up an auto-stop: do you set the stop just before break
through to avoid the inevitable nib riding up the side of
the blade or is this not a worry.

Until I fix the power feed I don't know what its feed rate
is, any tips there ? As there is no clutch or other
mechanism to deal with a jam I would prefer to err on the
side of caution.

I have been dopping the sawn face of agates up to 4 inch
across onto 2x2 timber and sawing away merrily. Have I just
re-discovered an age old method all by myself or am I missing
some risk? ( I hate to think what would happen if the stone
came un-dopped !)

Andy Parker
-- non-commercial republish permission granted --

Subject: NEW: A New Use for Vinyl Protectant

I was cleaning up the inside of my car the other day with
STP Son of Gun vinyl cleaner and got a small amount on my
glasses. When I wiped it off I noticed the few scratches
were barely noticable. So I've tried it now on my
sacrificial pair I use when cabbing and my face shield also
and it really helps make the scratches less noticable.

Hmmm too bad it won't work on cabs ;)

Ken Wetz


Subject: RE: Polishing Amber

An easy way to polish Amber without damage and without
losing size and weight is with the simple tools most
Lapidaries have. What worked for me and Sapphire Gems of
Miami, was a soft leather such as chamois, and Cerium oxide.
The leather was dampened and the Cerium made into a light
slurry. Course, hand lapping (polishing is the order of
the day) takes a few more minutes than a cab machine, but
assures you of nice finish without destroying the various
contour of the amber.....Works for me.....Regards

(Ed. Note: This is Richard's first posting, so most of you
wouldn't know him. We have known each other for several
years; he taught my wife to facet at Wildacres. He has
taught countless others many different aspects of lapidary.
When he talks lapidary, I listen, for he knows whereof he
speaks (usually!! :-)). I am happy to introduce you to
Richard McAllister. hale)

Subject: NEW: Craftsman 1401 Gem Maker

Hi Group,

I recently picked up an estate sale and one of the pieces
was a Craftsman 1401 Gem Maker Model Number 672-14010.
This was put out years ago by Sears.

It came with the Operating Instructions and Parts List. I
can make copies for anyone that needs this document if they
have one of these beasts. Please email me privately if you
need a copy of this bugger.

See you in the pits.

Mark Case
Woodmen Summer Camp
Randleman, NC

Subject: RE: Polishing and Dying Geodes and Agates

For coloring stones there is a book out called Gemstone &
Chemicals by George W. Fischer, PHD. I think the author is
deceased now and the book might not be in print anymore.
But I've seen copies still for sale once in awhile at some
older rock shops out west. Maybe someone here can find a
copy for whoever wanted it. I have the book and it is quite
interesting. But the cost and dangers of many of the
chemicals keep me from trying any of the processes.

Ken Wetz
(Ed. Note: I got my copy from Vince King (,
who just wrote the message on how slabs were colored. Vince
produces a line of slabs with designed inclusions which he
calls FischerStones, in honor of Dr Fischer. Maybe we can
get him to tell us something about the methods used, and
where members might pick up a copy, if you are interested.
- hale)

Subject: RE: Polishing and Dying Geodes and Agates

> There are so many beautiful Naturally colored stones...
> why do this??? It is so obviously phoney, much the same
> as heat treating Tiger-eye to create the red variety.

The reason is $$$. If you make something different and
pretty it sells. It need not be natural. Gem treatment is
just a matter of degrees. If you wash the dirt off, you
are "doing" something. Cut it and you do more, polish it
still more. Heating and exposure to toxic gases, as nearly
all sapphires are, to improve color is accepted practice
in the gem world. Ugly grey or brown topaz is heated to
make it clear, then is exposed to fast neutrons just
outside a nuclear reactor, and then bombarded with high
energy electrons in an accelerator to make it London Blue.
I can't see that heating tigereye such a sin!

Nobody takes pretty agate and dyes them. They take agate
that you wouldn't glance at twice and they produce
a thing that people will pay for. Think of it as painting
a canvas. Only artists buy blank canvas, even if they
paint Elvis.

Subject: RE: Polishing and Dying Geodes and Agates

My name is Gary Entrot and I am the one to ask about
polishing and dyeing. I appreciate the helpful answers and
thank those gave them. I apologize to those like Jeff
Ursillo who answered my question on dyeing with "why". Let's
just say it is probably nothing I will ever do, but being a
beginner I was curious as to "how".
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