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This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 99 - Tues 12/30/97
2. NEW: Need Equipment Information
3. RE: Selecting a Cab Machine (was Equipment Query)
4. RE: Selecting a Cab Machine (was Equipment Query)
5. RE: Selecting a Cab Machine (was Equipment Query)
6. RE: A Lapidary Book ("Gem Cutting Shop Helps")
7. NEW: New Book?
8. BIO: Maryann Hamer


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 99 - Tues 12/30/97

I am putting together a list of lapidary books and wondered
if anyone on the list would like to help organize these data.
If so, please write and let me know.

Back in World War II, I was in the Navy and in the Pacific on
a destroyer escort. I would get weekly letters from my
mother. They were always upbeat, long and chatty. She
wrote everything about all our neighbors and about all our
relatives, and I knew everything that had happened back home.
When I say they were long, I mean 8 or 9 pages long! (And she
did the same to my two brothers!) She always closed with some
statement such as: "Well, no news!"

So I will close this 99th issue almost the same way. And this
is important so listen up!: Hug the ones you love, and tell
them you love them. That is the one thing you can't overdo!

Otherwise, no news!

And have fun!!


Subject: NEW: Need Equipment Information

Greetings from Sri Lanka and I wish all fellow members a
Successful 1998.

I need some help with regard to:

1. Name & Address of any manufacturer/supplier of an
Ultrasonic Drill Hole machine. Information on any other
Machine, using different techniques, capable of drilling
holes in beads would also be appreciated.

2. Any machine capable of carving gooves, repeatedly and
uniformly, on the pavilion on Ovals and Baguettes. If no
such machine is available any ideas on how this can be
accomplished will also help.

Please send reply to my private e-mail address:
<> If any one feels the information is of
general interest please send reply to Lapidary Digest.

Any input/information will be greatly appreciated.

Yath M Iqbal

non-commercial republish permission granted
(Ed. Note: I assume you are looking for production equipment,
and not hobby equipment. We had two queries some time ago on
Ultrasonic Drilling machines; their responses are in the
Archives. As I remember it, nothing definitive was reported.
The second query pertains to faceted gems, which is outside
the scope of our topics. If anyone can help him, please do. I
would suggest you refer this second question to Facetor's
Digest, c/o <>. Good luck. Hale)

Subject: RE: Selecting a Cab Machine (was Equipment Query)

Deborah Brown has asked for opinions about cabbing machines
and has said:

"<<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 think it's a wonderful machine. I've tried others, but not
found any as convenient or versatile. It's very well built
and durable; a veritable workhorse. I bought my first
Cabmate in 1979 and a second one in 1987 when I got tired of
carrying it back and forth to our mountain cabin, where we
spend many weekends in the summer. Both are still running
fine and get pretty heavy use. Both of the lamps quit
working after about 5 years and I can't get at the wiring to
fix them. It would be nice if Graves would fix this problem,
but not to worry; I just shove them aside and use a small
quartz/halogen desk lamp.

"Are there any better?" Well, perhaps. However, for my
purposes I consider the Cabmate to be analogous to a
strawberry. You know, "Doubtless God could have made a better
berry but doubtless, He never did." The machine does
everything I want of it. I use it in all aspects of cabochon
production except for slabbing materials that are more than
about one and a half inches thick; for that you must have a
slabbing saw. I've cut a wide range of materials from
corundum, jade and chrysoprase to turquoise and
rhodochrosite, in sizes from 90 x 70 mm. to 2 mm hemispheres
(for mouse eyes).

"Is diamond obligatory or optional?" The introduction of
diamond abrasive wheels, disks and belts in place of silicon
carbide, saved so much time and solved so many problems,
particularly that of contamination with coarse abrasive
particles, as to make them virtually obligatory. I've used
both and would never go back.

Peter Rowe has mentioned the most commonly cited drawbacks of
the Cabmate, namely difficulties with the gravity feed
coolant system, the time wasted in changing from one wheel to
another and the fact that 6" wheels are only 1" or 1.5" wide
so that you can slip off the edge and gouge a nasty blemish
into your stone. I solve the coolant problem by sliding a
bit of solid core, plastic coated electrical wire inside the
tubing that leads from the water tank. This has two benefits.
Even if you tighten the tube in the clamp that holds the
wick, you can't flatten it, so water continues to flow.
Secondly, with the tube hanging free you can bend it and it
stays where you put it. When using a disk, you can then feed
water on to the chamfered edge of the central washer that
holds the disk in place and centripetal force will spread the
water over the whole surface.

I deal with the other two problems by using a 6" diameter by
2.5" wide expanding rubber drum (obtained from Graves) and
Crystallite 6 x 2.5" grinding and sanding diamond belts. I've
used many other types of wheel, but now do almost all my
grinding and sanding on the expanding drum. You have to
extend the splashguard in order to do this. A Plexiglas
extender is available for this purpose, but I get by with a
flexible bit of clear plastic cut to size and held in place
with a paper clip. You also have to cut new coolant wicks
from 4 thicknesses of toweling or the like, in the shape of
an inverted "Y" to spread the water over the full width of
the drum.

I called Graves when I first wanted to use the 2.5" expanding
drum and they thought that the weight might prove too much
for the bearing. Well, I've been using it now for over 5
years and not had the slightest problem. I love it. When
you want to switch to another grit, you simply stop the
machine and slip one belt off and another on. I use 70, 100
and 220 grit sintered grinding belts and 220, 600, 1800 and
3500 grit plastic embedded sanding belts and by now I have
fresh and well worn samples of each. I run the grinding
belts at high speed and the sanding belts at low speed. All
of them get used, depending on the nature of the material
I'm working and what I'm trying to do to it, although I may
use as few as three on any particular stone. I wouldn't have
this flexibility on a larger machine, where you are limited
to 6, or perhaps 8 wheels at most.

For polishing, I use either cerium oxide on wet leather for
quartz and feldspar group stones and 14,000 or 100,000 grit
diamond on a polypad for other stones, each backed with a
foam rubber faced disk.

For sawing with the Cabmate, I like to use the 150-mm
Euroblades (from Graves). They are not as durable as fancier
blades, but they are thin, sharp as razors when new and so
cheap that you can afford to throw them away when they get
dull or dished.

One major advantage of the Cabmate is that it only takes up
11" of counter space, whereas the bigger machines need about
a yard. Mine sits on the breakfast counter in the kitchen
and is tolerated by my wife in exchange for first pick of
anything I make.

Goeff Haughton
"Non-commercial republish permission granted".

Subject: RE: Selecting a Cab Machine (was 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.>>

One place the the older wheels do have a place in is carving
or making fancies because you can shape the wheels to do what
you need. I have a large collection now of wheels I've
collected and reshaped to do specific things. For fine
grinding and polishing I've made myself maple wheels (that I
charge with diamond) that match the reshaped carborundum
wheels. So an old Beaver or Lortone arbor can be a worthwhile
investment along with a nice Genie or whatever you fancy.

Ken Wetz

Subject: RE: Selecting a Cab Machine (was Equipment Query)

I would like to add a few comments in reply to the person who
wanted to know if diamond is the way to go when starting out
in lapidary. I agree with the other list members who
responded that diamond is definitely the way to go. Diamond
wheels are easy to use, produce a beautiful finish, and are
very versatile.

I noticed a couple of people mentioned the Diamond Pacific
Titan and Genie machines. These two machines are pretty much
the cream of the crop, and they are sold with a standard set
of hard diamond and softer (nova) wheels. I would like the
novice to be aware that when you look in some companies'
catalogs, they do not list *all* the wheels that are

Depending on what the beginner is planning to use the diamond
for, the standard set of wheels may not be ideal for that
purpose. For example, the standard hard diamond wheel is
either an 80 or 100 grit (I forget which). If you are planning
to work with very hard agates and jaspers and will need to
grind and shape the preforms, an aggresive wheel like the 60
grit wheel made by Crystalite may be better. There are
several of the softer Nova wheels available, and the sequences
of grits that can be used can vary somewhat. The point I am
trying to make is that if it is at all possible, try to talk
to other people who use diamond wheels and see if they work
on the same type material you plan to use. This can help
considerably when you are starting out. The wheels are fairly
expensive, and if you can zero in on what you really need
when you make your initial purchase, you can save some money
and time in the long run. Although the Titan and Genie
machines are superb, remember that there are other arbor
machines, like Lortone's beaver arbor, that can handle the
wheels, and maybe with a little less money involved to start.

I have ordered Diamond Pacific's wheels through Richardson's
in the past, and they do have good prices, but I would do a
comparison by checking out Bombay Bazaar or Kingsley North as

I hope my few comments are of some use to you.
Vance McCollum

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

If you have the chance to lay your hands on a copy of "Gem
Cutting Shop Helps", the 1967 paper back book edited by
Leiper and Kraus, GET IT, GRAB IT AND TREASURE IT!!! It is a
gem (sorry) of a book, filled with all sorts of tips, from
the mundane to the eclectic. The abstracts from LJ are from
the "Good old days" when it really was a journal about
lapidary. Incidentally, old copies of LJ, prior to about 1988
are also well worth reading.

When I started cutting stnes, in 1979, I bought this book and
John Sinkankas "Gem Cutting" (among others). The others
gather dust, but these two have been constantly useful. Go
get it and count yourself lucky to have found a copy.

Goeff Haughton

Non-commercial republish permission granted.

Subject: NEW: New Book?

Several years ago Si Frazier published a query in the
Lapidary Journal to try to define a myriad of different terms
for jasper, especially local names. He and his wife were
working on a new book, to be very thorough, on all the quartz
lapidary materials. I have heard no more about it. Does
anyone know if the book has been published?

Rose McArthur
Non commercial republishing granted

Subject: BIO: Maryann Hamer

Hi Folks!

I'm from near St. Louis, MO. I'm very interested in lapidary
work but I'm a rank amateur. My husband Gene shares my
interest and we recently found 3 pieces of equipment
(tumbler, saw and polisher and cabber) nearly unused for a
fantastic price at an estate sale. We're tumbling Apache
tears right now, and Gene has been experimenting with the
saw. I want to learn to cab stones and do wire-wrapping. I
look forward to tye tips and advice that I feel sure will
come from this list.

Gene is a retired auto mechanic. We like to travel in our
motor home. I'm a freelance writer (a few stories in Lapidary
Journal) newspaper articles and other magazines and often
combine research for writing trips with rock-hunting. And I'm
a musician (pianist). My favorite occupation, however, is
being Grandma to 5 terrific kids.

Maryann Hamer
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