Administered by Hale Sweeny (

This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 98 -
2. RE: Equipment Query
3. RE: Equipment Query
4. RE: Equipment Query
5. RE: A Lapidary Book- "Gem Cutting Shop Helps"
6. Re: Book List
7. FS: Things for the NEW YEAR !!!!!
8. FS: Lapis Lazuli


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 98 -

A member, Dale Brown, reported that Contempo Lapidary has
been bought out by Diamond Pacific Pacific Tool Corp.,2620 W.
Main St., Barstow, CA 92311. Their new phone number is
1-800-253-2954. Thanks, Dale.

Partners Bill Ritter and Ernie Wilson bought three old
lapidary companies: Frantom, Highland Park and Beacon Star
about 12 years ago, and combined them to form Contempo. Thus,
if you want info about old gear from Frantom, Highland Park
or Beacon Star, you should contact Diamond Pacific! By the
way, Bill Ritter wrote the paper "My Saw Doesn't Cut!" which
was first printed in Eclectic Lapidary and then reproduced
here several months ago.

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 such non-commercial purposes as club
bulletins. Please use those four words at the end of each
item you submit.

The last LapDigest issued was #97, and it was send on Sat.,
the 27th. One member reported not getting it; if any others
didnt get it, please let me know.

Have a good week and be safe, but above all, have fun.


Subject: RE: Equipment Query

On Sat, 27 Dec 1997 16:52:47 -0500 (EST), you wrote:

<<One of the systems I've seen that looks interesting is the
Graves Cabmate Workcenter, which seems to be fairly
versatile. Is it any good? Are there better? Is diamond a
must, or simply an exciting option? >>

I've had a cabmate for the last 15 years. If the currently
sold unit is similar then I can say it's a decent unit, well
made and decently designed. As with any small single arbor
unit, you'll spend an annoying amount of time swapping wheels
and stuff back and forth, though there are workarounds,
notably using the rather quickly changed spin on disks for
most of your sanding and polishing steps, using diamond

The water feed could be somewhat better, but it works, for
most wheels. Lubricating an end disk is a problem. You'll
end up doing better with just a spray bottle than trying to
use the drip tank, but most vertically spinning arbors have a
similar problem unless they use an actual pump to spray water
on a wheel.

If you use the end disk format mostly with diamond compound,
though, then the lubrication problem disappears. Again in
common with most such small multipurpose single arbor units,
it's not as good at sawing operations as it is at the
grinding and polishing steps. But you can use it well enough
once you get used to it.

If you've never used a "real" trim or slab saw, you'll
probably not have trouble getting used to the slightly
different way this sort of setup works.

The cabmate by itself is a pretty useful tool. Add in all
the various attachements, splash shields, and stuff that can
be added, and it becomes a quite versatile unit. I've long
since moved most of my cabbing operations to a Diamond
Pacific Genie unit, but the Cabmate is still sitting there,
ready to do the unusual tasks or take the unusual wheels I
might need now and then. Perhaps its most common current use
in my shop is as a wet brass scratch brush for silver
finishing, with the brush running on a standard tapered
spindle out to the side of the machine, yet fitted with the
appropriate splash guard extensions.

Occasionally, it gets used as a carving arbor, fitted with a
jacobs chuck for small grinding/polishing points. (just to
illustrate it's versatility...)

I would, though recommend that you go with diamond wheels.
Silicon Carbide grinding wheels are much too much of a pain
to use by comparison, and for sanding and polishing, the
time and effort you'll save with diamond belts and disks
again far outweighs the added cost over SiC abrasive belts,
in my opinion (though others may disagree). You may still
want, though, to keep a felt and/or Muslin wheel around for
polishing with cerium oxide or other traditional polishes.
For some materials, They are as fast or faster than diamond
compound, and in a few, work better too. The downside to
them, of course, is that they make a mess of everything. :-)

If I had any improvments to suggest for the machine it would
be a pumped water supply system rather than a simple drip
tank, and I've done exactly that by converting an old garage
sale Water Pic to that use. And, at least for that scratch
brush use, I'd have preferred an even slower speed than the
slow speed offered by the dual speed motor. But that's
stretching things a bit for a lapidary machine, as for it's
intended use, the speeds are just fine.

Hope this helps.
Peter Rowe

Non commercial republish rights freely granted.

Subject: RE: Equipment Query

My 2 cents' worth: Do yourself a favor and get a machine that
will last a long time, and therefore is NOT cheap, and has
ALL diamond.

I started off with a Lortone Carborundum which is the
predecessor to the Beaver, and although I _could_ make cabs
on it with silicon carbide wheels and rubber drum sanding
belts, and polish them with the pad attachment I bought
seperate, I was NOT enjoying myself. It was tedious, hard to
control, prone to flying off balance, I had to dress the
wheel every 30 minutes, the sanding belts were hard to use, I
had to set up a watering system for it, etc. The worst part
was it seemed to take _forever_ to make a cab with the thing.

Then I used a friend's Star Diamond Genie. What a difference!
I could rough a cab on the 2 hard diamond wheels in about 10
minutes, and run it through the rest of the soft wheels in
another 10 or so. The only problem I had was the small 6"
wheels on the thing were so narrow I kept runnning off the
edge. So I bought a Titan with the 8" wheels for about twice
the price. I love it, making cabs is fast and enjoyable, and
I'll never go back to silicon carbide or cheap arbors again.
It comes with a pad and diamond compound so you don't even
need a separate polishing wheel, even though I use my wheel
cause it's already set up. You'll pay about $1800 for a new
machine. It's worth every penny.

Mail order it from Richardson's; they have the best prices.
800 433-2680

Tim Fisher, 1995 President, Pacific Fishery Biologists
Ore-ROCK-On Rockhounding Web Site - PFB Information
WWW naked fish and rocks!

Non-commercial republish permission granted
(Ed. Note: My main advice is- whatever you get - get diamond
and not Silicon Carbide wheels. They are worth it!! hale)

Subject: RE: Equipment Query

Hale is right. It would be helpful to know what you are
going to do. The best way to start (unless you have lots of
cash), is to look for used equiptment. Try any rock and
mineral clubs. If you find something you like, ask them to
demonstrate or give you the basics. Put the equiptment
through its' paces.

If you go with new equiptment you can spend anywhere from 500
to 2000, depending on how sophisticated and how many
accessories you want. Let us know what you are going to do.
Then we can probably start arguments about which brand does
what (grin).

Have a great New Year..
Steve Ramsdell

Subject: RE: A Lapidary Book:"Gem Cutting Shop Helps"

Happy holidays Hale and fellow rockhounds.

The book mentioned in LapDigest#97, "Gem Cutting Shop Help",
is an excellent reference. I first saw it in the local public
library several years ago (in the early 70's). I read it and
was bitten by the lapidary bug. There are some things that
may no longer be around but it gives a lot of tips in all
phases and shows how to make inexpensive shop equipment to
make the hobby affordable. This is my biggest lament for
beginners (affordable equipment). Your list is great and
actually made me blow the dust off my old equipment and
start cutting after a 15 year hiatus.

Keep up the great work.

David Krout
noncommercial republication permission granted

Subject: Re: Book List

In a message dated 97-12-27 17:28:43 EST, you write:

<< Would you like to see a list of published lapidary
books? If so write and tell me so. hale.) >>

Hi hale
Would definately like to see a list of the most recent or
best of list to help novice types


I'd like to see such a list!

-Matt Dunkle

Subject: FS: Things for the NEW YEAR !!!!!

Now that the holidays are coming to a close, it's time for
those in the lapidary field to start getting ready for their
1998 adventures. We would very much like to assist you in
accomplishing your goals. We invite you to take a look at our
web site to see what you might like. Remember that we carry
much more than what you see, so E-MAIL us for any accessories
that you may need. Depending on what you may need depends on
what discounts we can offer. Our URL is:

Thanks BETTY and RUSS

Subject: FS: Lapis Lazuli

Large quantity of Lapis Lazuli rough and slab for sale. This
is great quality Lapis with minimum calcite. If you make
Lapis jewelry this is a great chance to get a consistent
supply that could last you well into the future.

The price for the stone is well under wholesale at $55/pound
for rough and $.45/gram for slabs.

Please write for details.

Jimmy Crabtree
Earth Spirit Traders
590 Platte Drive,
Lake Havasu City,
Arizona, 86404

non-commercial republish permission granted
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