Administered by Hale Sweeny (

This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 71 - Sat 10/10/97
2. NEW: Polishing Jade
3. NEW: Vertical Flat Lap Problems
4. RE: Indemnity form
5. RE: Soapstone Carving Rough and Supplies (62-2)
6. RE: Leaking Lortone Lids
7. WTB: Book (The Internal World of Gemstones)
8. WTS: Slab Saws for Sale....
9. BIO: Barbara

Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 71 - Sat 10/10/97

This issue contains a discussion of release forms, with
legal advice from Nathan Schachtman, who many will know
from Rocks-and-Fossils mail list.

There have been several requests for information on how
to make doublets and triplets, and I have asked several
people to write about them. But it will be a while til
these are ready. In the meantime, Arthur Mott
<> writes that "The October 97 issue of
Rock and Gem has an excellent article on doublets by
Tony Dabdoub who is one of the better opal cutters
around." Hopefully this article will provide the needed
information until the papers are ready.

Hope all of you have a great weekend; the weather is
beautiful here in NC. Stay safe. Have lots of fun.
Give and get lots of hugs.


Subject: NEW: Polishing Jade

G'day: I just read the messages headed "Types of Diamond
Wheels" in Issue 70, and note that the subject of jade
polishing came up very briefly - and negatively - several
times. I have written similarly before, to say that my
experience with jade is that you can get a brilliant
mirror finish by using wet/dry papers at about 600 to
800rpm with a softish rubber backing on a hard wooden disc.
When you begin to get the very beginnings of a polish,
don't use water any more, but continue with 400# dry.

Finally when all the scratches have gone (use a good lens)
the final polish is done on the face of a wooden disc
coated with good leather, nap side out. Paint a slurry of
tin oxide and water on the leather all over, then press
your jade hard against the spinning leather, even to the
extent of getting it warm - but don't melt the dop!
There'll come a point when the work begins to drag; that is
where the mirror polish arrives. The surface of the jade
seems to flow at that point, and the micro-cavities to fill.

But you MUST have really good jade to start with, which has
a minimum of the black melanitic spots, for they are very
soft and pull out of the surface. Another variety of jade
difficult to work is the laminar type which flakes and even
gives white 'burn spots' during the polishing phase unless
one is very careful Cheers,

John Burgess


Subject: NEW: Vertical Flat Lap Problems

-- Greetings all! I am trying to figure out how to make a
flat lap for sanding and polishing Agate slabs....or any
slabs for that matter :>

I have an OLD homemade grinding setup, which has an 8"
lap wheel threaded on to one end of the arbor(sp?). The
thin pad of foam is no longer on the lap wheel so I was
thinking.....If I took an 8" round piece of plywood and
fastened it to the wheel, I could change to the different
grits of paper needed to sand & polish slabs.

My questions are these:

1. Would this setup work?

2. Would a spray bottle( Windex Glass Cleaner Bottle )
give me enough water supply to the sanding discs? Or
should I hook up a direct waterfeed system to it? Remember
now: it's a vertical lap wheel on the end of a bench
mounted unit.

3. At what rpm should this be turning?

Any help with this would be greatly appreciated folks. I
kinda know what I'm doin....I've just never tried to do
slabs before.

Thank you and take care...............Dave

Dave Daigle, Edmonton, Alberta

The Edmonton Tumblewood Lapidary Club

Subject: RE: Indemnity form

Ed. Note: It seemed obvious that the answer to this query
required legal expertise, and so I asked Nathan Schachtman,
a lawyer/rockhound to comment on the query. Some may remember
that Nathan also contributed to the thread on Dangers of
Rock Dust.

Initially I sent him the following request:
<<As you might know, I run a mail list solely devoted to
lapidary, which comes out only in digest form. It is called
"Lapidary Digest", oddly enough!!(smile)

The other day I got a query and published it, and today got
a response; these are shown below. I personally have strong
beliefs about the usefulness of release forms, but what do
I know? I want to ask whether you might write a "guest
response" to the query and help my members understand the
problems of release forms. I would greatly appreciate it.>>

(The second query was then quoted for his information:)

<<Gilbert F. Douglas,<> wrote, in Issue 68:
<I am trying to find the best wording for an indemnity form
to be signed by each person using the workshop and

I thought I read a request for release forms. I am very
very interested in this. I haven't taught anyone in a few
years because of the fear of law suits. This is a very
important part of letting someone work on your property
with your tools. I don't know of many people that can
afford the kind of problems that can result from suit.
You don't get rich teaching, but it is rewarding for both.>>
...and Nathan graciously responded:
<<I have drafted a release to give a landowner for
permission to collect on his or her property, but I don't
circulate it generally because it was drafted with
reference to the laws of my home state, NJ, and the
circulation in other states might be considered the
unauthorized practice of law in those states.

General principles: you can indemnify, or hold harmless,
someone for your actions, but the law takes a dim view of
waivers of rights of action to sue for your own negligence.
In drafting a release for rockcollecting, you want to
promise to hold the landowner harmless for injuries to
yourself or your property in return for permission to
collect and remove specimens.

In the context of having people come into your house for
lessons, which is a commercial enterprise, you are not
likely to have a release hold up.

The negligence anticipated is best dealt with by insurance.
Usually home owners' policies will allow for some on
property commercial activities, but you should consult
your particular carrier, describe what's contemplated, and
get quotes. Besides, asking students to give a release for
injuries that may result from using your equipment is not
a great way to advertise or promote your teaching ability.

Upon reading his response, I realized that I had not given
him the full initial query, so I wrote asking for a little
more information. I wrote:
<<Many thanks. In most of our exchanges, the topic is such
that there are many members who have experience in the topic,
and you can develop a good information-exchanging dialog.
But not here. Not one on our members answered the original
query, except to say that they had the same problem. That is
why I originally appealed to you, as the only one who might
understand the question and have the knowledge to answer the

I am ashamed to say that I committed an error in sending you
the query. It is what I call a Type III error: Asking the
wrong question. The original query was: "As Chairman of the
Workshop committee, I am trying to find the best wording for
an indemnity form to be signed by each person using the
workshop and equipment." The workshop and equipment are all
club property. How does this change your answer?>>
...and Nathan responded:
<< I don't think it changes thing too much. Again, I am
not familiar with the ins and outs of NC law, but in most
states releases are construed narrowly against the drafter,
and in favor of keeping the right to a remedy alive. If
it's club property, and there is no chance that there could
be a right of action against an individual, and the club
had limited assets, then MAYBE you could just do it on the
theory that the worse that could happen is that the club
would be put into bankruptcy. Caution, however, because the
plaintiffs' lawyer will go beyond the club and look to
officers, the teachers, the owner of the equipment, the
manufacturer of the equipment. Once you let a plaintiffs'
lawyer loose, there's no telling what he'll do! (From an
old defense lawyer; eh?)

Still, the best bet is have insurance. The club
insurance policies I have seen are really limited. Read
them carefully! If I were going to give lessons with
potentially dangerous equipment in my home, whether or not
under club aegis, I'd check with my home owner insurer.

Nathan A. Schachtman
<> >>
(Ed. Note: All of this confirms my prior knowledge,
which came from conferences with lawyers when we wrestled
with release forms for guild weekend workshops. Nathan's
statement on releases seems straightforward: He said:
"In the context of having people come into your house for
lessons, which is a commercial enterprise, you are not
likely to have a release hold up."

The message I get from all of this is that insurance is a
much better protector than a release form. hale)

Subject: RE: Soapstone Carving Rough and Supplies (62-2)

I haven't found any one mine that has just soapstone. It
is usually a by-product of some other mining operation.
The reason is that it's too expensive to mine soapstone
commercially, or so I was told, in the eastern US. I've
heard that in Montana and Wyoming there are some commercial
mines. It's uses are from fillers in medicines to
cosmetics. There used to be some companies in Lapidary
Journal or Rock & Gem that advertised soapstone.

I've been working with it for about 10 years and talking
to rockhounds in the areas we visit, I usually get a piece
or two. It seems that North Carolina has some fairly good
deposits, but you have to contend with mica or garnet (bad
quality garnets) inclusions. I found a abandoned mine
about 15 years ago north of Asheville, NC, and have been
back to look for it and it took the "Lost Dutchman" route.
I can't find it. When I have time I'm going back because
it has smooth textured soapstone that was orange and black
mix. There were some snow white pieces also but mostly
orange and black.

If you're looking for some in the New England states, I
can't help you. I had heard of places in South Carolina
and Georgia having small deposits but haven't tracked them
down yet. I don't get to work with it as much as I want,
due to other projects.

If there's any way I can help, send an e-mail.

David Tuttle

non-commercial use permitted

Subject: RE: Leaking Lortone Lids

<<If you have to force, or lean on, or stand on it to get
it on, then something is terribly wrong!!>>

It easy to get the lids on, its difficult to get them on

I started back in the late fifties with my tumbling. Over
the years I have seen several styles come into play. For
the last 20 years I have had a battery of 7 to 11 tumbler
barrels in operation at the same time!

The most Lortones with the push on lid in operation at
one time has been 7. These tumblers run day in and day out
365 days a year; all are the 12# capacity type. If a lid
comes loose, its not just the water you loose. The grit
will contaminate the bearings of the tumbler. Let this
happen to you a time or two and you will seek ways to
prevent it. It's not the easist thing to change bearings
on tumblers. Also grit tends to wear out the steel rods at
the bearings, requiring you to replace the rods, and their
pads. By relieving the pressure in the tumblers before
starting, and by firmly seating the cover with a rubber
mallet, I have stopped the leakage problem.

It might be of interest to know that I have worn out
and replaced lids, inserts and rubber liners, on these
tumblers, I have also worn off the steel flanges on the
other type tumblers.I have worn out and replaced the
rubber on the steel roller rods. A large gang of tumblers
can be quite noisy, I have solved the noise and the wear
on the rubber covering on the steel rods, by placing each
tumbler in a piece of plastic pipe and fitting the void
with foam. To solve the worn out gaskets I found that
truck or airplane tire inner tubes make much better
gaskets than the kind you buy, from lapidary dealors,
besides the truck tire repair people are glad to give you
the used inner tubes.Further if you have mason jars or
other jars to store small amounts of chemicals, inner
tubes make excellent gaskets for them also.

I hope this is of some help.

Non commercial, use as desired

Subject: WTB: Book (The Internal World of Gemstones)

I'm looking for a copy of Eduard Gubelin's book "The
Internal World of Gemstones". (1973) Please send info to



Subject: WTS: Slab Saws for Sale....

A good friend of mine wants to sell this machinery - quick.
This is a favor, so I am posting for him...

Lortone 14" Slab saw
Highland Park Slab saw 24"
Highland Park Slab saw16"
Auto Cabber, Crystolite

He desires to sell all as a package but will entertain
sales of a specific machine. Price reduced to $2500.00
for the group for an immediate sale. Good blades and
extras with these items. Anyone interested can email me
for the seller's email address and telephone number.
Remember he wants to sell this machinery yesterday.
Available F.O.B. New Hampshire.

Thanks and best wishes


Subject: BIO: Barbara

Hi! My name is Barbara and I have only just recently begun
the exciting journey into the lapidary arts. The fact is
that I'm so new to this that I have not yet acquired any
tools or instruments. I have decided that a good start
would be to turn to those with greater experience and
knowledge on the topic, which is why I'm here. My interest
began as an "infatuation" with rocks of various colours and
sizes as a child. This led me, inevitably it would seem,
to work in the jewellery department at the Hudson Bay Co.
But I feel the need to take it one step further and create
something rather than just look at it. So I'm here to learn
all I can to reach this goal.

Thanks to all who will help me! :)


To subscribe to the Digest, send a message to, with the word SUBSCRIBE DIGEST as
the subject of the message. Other commands you may use are:
UNSUBSCRIBE DIGEST to quit, HELP to receive a page of help
instructions on the use of the list, and DIR to receive a
list of names of all files in the Archives.

The command <GET filename> may be used on the subject line
(without brackets, of course) to obtain a copy of the file
named "filename". Type filename exactly as it appears in
the directory, including the extension. Do not cut-and-paste
filenames into the subject line.

Each author is requested to write the words
"-- non-commercial republish permission granted --" at the
end of every item submitted. This gives permission for
others to use your item for non-commercial purposes.
Please use those four words at the end of each item you