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This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 54 - Monday 9/1/97
2. NEW: Fire Agate
3. NEW: My Slab Saw Binds.
4. NEW: Lapidary and Gem cutting Publications
5. NEW: Polishing Speed
6. RE: Fixing Nevada Opal
7. RE: Fixing Nevada Opal
8. RE: Dopping Suggestions
9. Re: Polishing Amber
10. BIO: Lloyd Duncan
11. Bio: Dick & Mary-Ruth Rathjen
12. Bio: Sarah E. Aalderink


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 54 - Monday 9/1/97

I would like to start gathering information on the LAPIDARY
BAND SAWS which have become available in the past several
years, and present this information to the list.

If you have access to such a saw and have used it for
lapidary work, please send the name or brand of saw you
have used, type of materials cut with it, and any special
problems you had with that saw or with lapidary band
saws in general, to me at I will
contact you later with several other questions. An
accumulation of the answers will be written up for the list.



Subject: NEW: Fire Agate

I have always had a fascination with FIRE AGATE. My
questions are --
What is a good procedure/process to use in cutting it?
How do you know whether a piece of fire agate has fire in it?
How do you avoid cutting thru the fire?
Where is a good source for it at reasonable cost?
Are there any fee digging areas where you can dig your own?

bill collins

-- Non-commercial republish permission granted. ---

Subject: NEW: My Slab Saw Binds.

I have a large (20in) home built slab saw. There is a problem
with it. It binds up about 1.5 to 2 inches into the rock. As
you are looking at the blade, the right edge of the diamond
appears to be wearing. It appears to run true; I purchased a
larger washer to brace the blade but nothing worked. IDEAS???

bill collins

-- Non-commercial republish permission granted. ---

Subject: NEW: Lapidary and Gem cutting Publications

I am looking for information on lapidary and
Gem cutting type publications that are available throughout
the world, publications that are available in each country.

We all know in the United States we have Lapidary
Journal, Its sister publication Colored Stone. Also we have
Rock and Gem. We use to have the American Gem cutter but as
I understand it, it has now closed due to Medical problems.
So what else is here in the US?

What is available in England? Germany? Italy? Japan?
Australia? Etc... If you know of any such publications
anywhere in the world, please send in the name and address
and whatever other information is available. I will then
compile them and post a complete list when everyone is done.
Thanks in advance

Best wishes

Gemstone Brockerage Associates Ltd.
(Ed. note: Great idea, cj! We will all appreciate seeing
and having such a list. I would ask, especially, the 47+
members of LapDigest who live outside the U.S. to send in any
information on lapidary and gem cutting magazines you have
read or seen, even if the information is sketchy, and
regardless of the language used for their publication. Send
them to cj, or send them to me or to LapDigest and I will
forward them to cj. ... hale)

Subject: NEW: Polishing Speed

According to a snippet in the AFMS Newsletter, "POLISHING
SPEED can be changed by choosing the proper particle size

Fastest would be 1.0 micron such as Linde C. Intermediate
would be 0.5 micron such as Linde B. Slowest would be 0.3
micron such as Linde A. Of course, the "shineyness" of the
polish goes the opposite of speed. So you might wish to
speedily polish with 1. or 0.5 and then finish off with 0.3
to get that extra shine."

Anyone care to comment? And while we are at it, anyone
care to comment on the new polishing powders available from
Reynolds Metals? They apparently have controlled particle


Subject: RE: Fixing Nevada Opal

Peter asked:
<< Anyone know anything about fixing cracky Nevada opal?>>

It sounds like you have a piece of the specimen opal that
should have remained in the display bottle. Quite a bit of
the opal from Nevada while incredibly beautiful is also very
unstable. I read somewhere that is because it came out of
the ground several million years early and therefore was not
finished. The water content is too high is what happens, and
when you expose it to air it starts to dry, the spheres
start to rearrange and cracking and flaking result. I've
heard of secret processes that supposedly can stabilize the
stuff but funny thing is you read these but never see any
results. I do remember years back a way to stabilize the
stuff was to wrap it in wet paper and put it in a tightly
closed plastic bag and let it dry out slowly over a course
of a few years. Which is what I have done with a couple of
the pieces I dug up a couple of years back in Virgin Valley.
Someday I will get brave and try cutting one. The best piece
of course is in a bottle of water as I did not want to loose
my prize to cracking.
-- non-commercial republish permission granted --
Ken Wetz

Subject: RE: Fixing Nevada Opal

hi peter, my name is mike.

i live in nevada and i have found some nevada opal in the
virgin valley mines but i don't think there is anyway to
fix them once they are cracked. most people use them for
specimens and store them in water, or let them dry for a
year and if they don't crack then they cut them.


" permission granted for non commercial reprint"

Subject: RE: Dopping Suggestions

I have found that regular ole Elmers white glue works great
for gluing up rock to be slabbed. First get a smooth cut on
a rough rock, then get a piece of 2x2 , 2x3, or 2x4 wood,
about 3 to 5 inches long. Remove any oil remaining on smooth
surface of the rock. Put a liberal amount of Elmers on the
wood edge then place the rock onto it. Let dry until it is
too strong for you to break the bond by hand. The glue bond
lasts for about a year then seems to get weak. So make sure
to test old glued up pieces.

bill collins

-- Non-commercial republish permission granted. ---

Subject: Re: Polishing Amber

Rick Martin wrote:
<<...I was excited recently when a small piece of amber I
polished this way turned out to have a bug inside. I
whipped out my 10X loupe and was disappointed to discover
. . . a flea. As the poet Ogden Nash (I think) said:
"Fleas: Adam had 'em.">>

Don't be disappointed, Rick. Fleas are very rare in amber.
Usually you will find bark-dwelling organisms like termites,
and some flies and beetles, but fleas hardly ever. Who knows,
it may have bitten a dinosaur, and you might be able to
start your own Jurassic Park! And thanks for the tip on
Sodium Silicate dopping- I'll give it a try.

-Andrew Werby

Andrew Werby - United Artworks
Sculpture, Jewelry, and Other Art Stuff

Subject: BIO: Lloyd Duncan

I was fortunate enough to have a rockhound Grandmother, a
great-uncle with a slab saw, and a mother that didn't mind
boxes of "rocks". So two careers later, I am finally getting
to the lapidary part. As a helicopter pilot, I traveled a
lot, and stopped in unusual places sometimes---never could
resist picking up a rock or two---so I have a lot of material
to get started with.

I helped form a prospecting group in northern Utah a few
years ago and am their newsletter editor. I belong to one
of our local rockhound groups that emphasizes the lapidary
arts and serve as their programs chairman.

I recently purchased a Genie and a trim saw. I picked up
a "fixer-upper" Lortone flat lapper and am working on
getting it going. I am looking for a 16" to 18" slab saw in
very good condition. Would like to hear directly from folks
about Lortone flat lappers (It came with no paperwork). In
fact, wouldn't it be great if one of you out there had an
owners manual and would make a photocopy for me?

I am also interested in gemstone carving and have gathered
a few tools over the years, including a flex-shaft unit. My
interests are varied enough, I can learn from almost anyone!

I learned about this newsletter and started reading it at
#41. Great work Hale! I look forward to learning something
from each issue.

Lloyd Duncan
-non-commercial republish permission granted-

Subject: Bio: Dick & Mary-Ruth Rathjen

We are Dick and Mary-Ruth Rathjen from the Clear Lake area
of Houston, Texas.

We have been interested in the lapidary hobby for about 28
years, ever since a kind lapidary shop owner took the time
to teach Mary-Ruth how to cut and polish a cabochon and
tumble rocks.

We use a ten inch saw for cutting rock slabs and a Genie
for cutting and polishing cabochons. We have a home made
tumbler for two twelve pound, rubber, Loritone barrels
which is running constantly. We use much of the tumbled
rock for our clubs gem mine at our annual show which is in
the end of February each year. Mary-Ruth also facets and
we both collect minerals. We have a garden full of rocks
that serve as memories from our many rockhounding vacations.
Most are too large for us to cut and polish.

Mary Ruth is a charter member of the Clear Lake Gem &
Mineral Society which was started in 1974. She is Editor
of the club newsletter, Stoney Statements and Dick does the
publishing of that newsletter. Our club newsletter is on our
club website maintained by another member (Al Pennington).
It can be found at

We have been receiving Lapidary Digest since Digest #51 and
find it very informative and a fine tool for communicating
various questions and answers. May it continue to grow and
spread interest in the lapidary field.

Dick & Mary-Ruth Rathjen

Subject: Bio: Sarah E. Aalderink

Hello! What a *great digest!

My name is Sarah but my friends and family call me Sally.
I'm interested in the spiritual aspects of all gems and
minerals and will soon be opening an internet business
dealing with stones as health, balancing, and professional
image aids. But that's not what I'm here to talk about...

I've been a rockhound all my life. I even still have the
first Petosky stone I found on a Michigan beach when I was
4! Jewelry has always been a fascination with me and was my
"minor" in college (Graphic Design being my major).

As a part of my business (Sardonyx Pen and Quarry) I will
need to work stones. Everything from cutting slabs to
shaping cabs to carving pendants. I currently have next to
no equipment and am looking for some good used equipment for
purchase. My initial purchases will be a tumbler, a polisher,
a rouge wheel, a slab saw, and some appropriate bits for
bead drilling (I have a hand-held Dremel). I would very
much appreciate any other equipment ideas or suggestions,
opinions on specific equipment, and information on handling
hard rough such as jaspers, jades, and agates.

I look forward to sharing with all of you!

Lady Sally the Wiccan
Sardonyx Pen and Quarry
Beautiful Stones for Healthy Minds
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