Administered by Hale Sweeny (

This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 105 - Thurs 1/15/98
2. NEW: Can You Recharge Worn Diamond Belts?
3. RE: Drilling Holes in Lapidary Items
4. RE: Drilling Holes in Lapidary Items
5. RE: Drilling Holes in Lapidary Items - Core Drilling
6. RE: Drilling Holes in Lapidary Items - Core Drilling
7. RE: Gemcutter Certification
8. NEW: How Can I Vibro-Polish Lapidary Carvings?
9. RE: Need Pump/Spitters to Retrofit to Old Genie
10. RE: Need Pump/Spitters to Retrofit to Old Genie
11. RE: Need Pump/Spitters to Retrofit to Old Genie
12. RE: Need Pump/Spitters to Retrofit to Old Genie
13. RE: Need Pump/Spitters to Retrofit to Old Genie
14. BIO: Roger Pabian
15. NOTE: Columbia Gem & Mineral Society


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 105 - Thurs 1/15/98

If you are experienced in lathe (or other) turning of
lapidary material into vases, etc., please let me know. The
members of the list have indicated that this is one thing
they would like to read about- so I am looking for
volunteers to tell them about it.

Another topic for which a volunteer is needed to present is
mud saws; if you know about this, I would appreciate
hearing from you.

Other topics we plan to cover in the future are:

.. how to do channel work (mineral inlay)
.. surface decorations, including
sandblasting through a mask
chemical etching of high silica materials
electrochemical deposition of metals
.. how to make beads

Do you have a topic you would like to read about? Write me
and tell me about it.

Our membership is now close to 800!

Be careful, and above all, ENJOY!


Subject: NEW: Can You Recharge Worn Diamond Belts?


Last year I ordered 3 diamond belts from Minnesota Lapidary
Supply during a sale. I had acquired some moss agate slabs
from a dealer I know in Michigan and cut them into small
pieces and cabs. After doing the pre-polish work, I wasn't
able to achieve a good polish on silicon carbide belts. But
with the diamond belts I've achieved the best polish to date
using ½, 3 and 15-m size belts. However, two of the belts
appear to be worn down.

How do I know if they're unusable other than feeling ultra
smooth? I tried polishing a couple agates with these belts
and had to give up ....

Do you recharge your diamond belts? Are diamond sprays safe
to use? Do you have any tips on polishing the moss agates
that undercut?

Becky Solon

Subject: RE: Drilling Holes in Lapidary Items

Dear Hale,
Thom Lane here again. Drilling has been a focal
problem for me for many years. I've had to figure out each
of these methods so a lot of time was spent understanding and
mastering these tools and techniques. I never did check out
ultrasonic drilling, but that requires a dribble of abrasive
as the drill wire vibrates it's way into a rock. I have an
aversion to silicon carbide, having cut with it for many
years until diamond belts became available. It may be great,
but I have three different methods that I use, depending on
the job in hand, all using steel drills with plated or
sintered diamond.

1) to drill small holes 1/4 inch deep, or less, the diamond
plated drills are ok, Crystalite makes one called the triple
ripple which cuts fast, lasts comparatively well, and in
large quantity with a dealer's discount, not too expensive.
The key for me has been to use a regular 12" bench model
drill press with an x/y vise and a finger pressure unit that
goes into the chuck and has a tiny chuck attached to it.
This allows you to position the drill with authority and then
use your fingers to press the drill tip into the rock. If
you use the spokes of the drill press you will destroy the
drill on the first attempt. I can cut 10-20 holes in agate
with one drill.

2) to drill holes in, say agate beads, where the hole has to
be from 1/4" up to say 3 or 4 inches deep, the above method
is useless. We don't live that long. I use a very expensive
drill with a solenoid actuated water feed that puts 160 psi
water pressure through core drills whose size ranges from 1.2
mm od up to 4 mm od. You cut in a fine cloud of spray because
the water pressure is intense, even in a deep hole the water
flows without interruption. When the drill is withdrawn from
the work, the high pressure has made sure that no core of
rock is left in the tiny, syringe like drill with diamonds
imbedded in its cutting face (like a tiny core drill). This
is wet work, the drill is expensive, each drill is about 50$,
so this ain't hobby, this is profession. But how else would
you precisely drill a 2" deep 1.4mm hole in agate? Begin
with a drill 1/2" long to start the hole. If you start the
hole with a longer drill you may bend it before it gets
seated in the cut.

3) to drill holes from 4mm up to 50mm I put a water swivel in
my 12" drill. This allows water under pressure to enter the
collet of the drill. The outside of the swivel has a water
hose attached and the inside shaft spins the drill. You need
a 60$ drill for every size hole you want to make so this is
also professional expensive.

Anyone seriously interested in the details can contact me at I charge a fee for detailed information on
suppliers and techniques. I can give hands on instruction in
my shop if you come to Tucson, AZ.

Thom Lane

non-commercial republish permission granted

Subject: RE: Drilling Holes in Lapidary Items

I don't know if anyone makes them commercially, but I saw an
ultrasonic device that would vibrate (magnetostrictive driver)
even very complex shaped metal cutting tools in a slurry of
SiC, and cut through slabs in a few minutes. This was at the
Cal. State Mineralogical Society show in Ventura, must have
been 1987(?). The home built unit fit in a small tackle box,
and the driver was chucked in a (stopped) small drill press.

Bob Woolery

Subject: RE: Drilling Holes in Lapidary Items - Core Drilling

<<I have been looking for a cutting tool that will cut a
core so I can inlay a small circle in a cabochon.>>

Crystalite makes core drills from 3 1/2 mm. up to 4-inches
O.D. The 3 1/2 mm. has a 1/8" shank, and the sizes 1/4",
5/16" and 3/8" have 5/32 shanks. The next series, up to 5/8"
O.D. have 3/16" shanks, and from that point the shanks get
larger, up to 3/8".

If I remember correctly, Dremel supplies collets only up to
3/32". So to use the larger sizes a different drilling
arrangement will be necessary. Crystalite also has diamond
drills up to 2.5 mm. and Triple Ripple Drills from 3/4 mm. to
2.1 mm.

Lots of other companies specializing in diamond plated and
sintered cutting tools advertise in the lapidary magazines.

Rick Martin


Subject: RE: Drilling Holes in Lapidary Items - Core Drilling

Crystalite in Calif manufactures Diamond core drills, and any
good Jeweler's Supply will have other mfgrs. drills.

Mark Liccini
LICCINI 107C.Columbus Dr.#1A Jersey City,N.J.07302

Subject: RE: Gemcutter Certification

><<I have earned my supreme master gemcutter certification
>from the American Society of Gemcutters in 1995. >>
>How does one go about obtaining this certification??

Contact Rick Ford at mAgi. He's publisher of "The Anglic
Gemcutter," the successor publication to Gerald Wykoff's
"American Gemcutter" which suspended publication due to
medical problems facing Wykoff. While the American Society
of Gemcutters is basically defunct (it was founded and
operated by Wykoff), there has been talk that the
certification program may be continued under Rick Ford's
aegis. He refuses to go on-line until the "Millenium
Problem" is solved, so until then he can be reached at (503)

Rick Martin


Subject: How Can I Vibro-Polish Lapidary Carvings?

<<It is certainly tedious to sand and polish these little
carvings with five successive grits of diamond paste by hand
- I've got quite a backlog of roughed-out carvings waiting
for me to figure this one out...>>

There is no easy way. I am not sure your material, but if it
does not break in a tumbler, it will get rounded. If your
designs are bead like, and not too deep crevice it might also
work. If they are all individual you might try to contract
just the polishing in China. If you are mass producing one
design look into ultrasonic drills. You can cut and polish one
sided items like cameos for sure with an Ultrasonic drill.

You might also consider a brushed, or semi-polished finish
with a sand blaster.I would expect you could polish some
materials using this.

Myself, I am an old carver, Diamond dust, wooden dowels,
lots of toothpicks.

Mark Liccini
LICCINI 107C.Columbus Dr.#1A Jersey City,N.J.07302

Subject: RE: Need Pump/Spitters to Retrofit to Old Genie

<<Does anyone out there have a solution that avoids plumbing
the machine into the house and setting up a drainage system,
etc.? Is there an after-market spitter that does the job?
Some way to jazz up my pump to get some real water

Hi, Rick and List,

I built my own 6 wheel cabber and needed "spitters"! Graves
has a pump and single spitter that works just fine for me!

Graves... 800-327-9103
Graves Item No.14-015 $17.50
Extra spitter head 19-030 $10.50

Since you already have the spitters, you can go to WalMart
and buy a fish tank pump for $10.00 or so and connect it to
the valve on your Genie that goes to your spitters. It will
actually work better than new!!!

Hope this helps...If you need more info you can email me off

Thanks Hale and all,

Wm. Augustus Mason
Mystical Grits
Metaphysical Art Jewelry, Lapidary

Subject: RE: Need Pump/Spitters to Retrofit to Old Genie

Good morning Hale:

For the fellow in the last newsletter with the Genie water
pump problem...I have the same. A company in Ohio, I think
Lapcraft, sells a small aquarium type air pump w/squirter
and all you have to do is plug it in. Way back it was about
$20. Why not use the squirter that is with the Genie and go to
the aquarium store and get a small aerator pump and a length
of small tubing to connect to the squirter ?

Cheers! Ike.

Ira Abernethy, Jr.

Subject: RE: Need Pump/Spitters to Retrofit to Old Genie

Graves sells the spitters. They cost about $18 plus $10.50
for the extra head. Ask for item number 14-015 (spray pump)
item No. 19-030 (extra spray head)

Their toll free number is: 1-800-327-9103

C Weinberger

Subject: RE: Need Pump/Spitters to Retrofit to Old Genie

I went to a Salvation Army store (or maybe it was Goodwill.
Don't recall). Spent 6 bucks on an old water pic. With a
little jury rigging and fiddling around, that sucker now
handles my water feed on my older genie, which also was
pretty dismal About 4 times the water I used to get, plus
it's able to feed water nicely to side mounted disks, which
was a even less efficient then the regular spitters. Plus,
since now the water is coming from outside the pan, with
waste water in the pan being simply drained out, the pan
stays a lot cleaner. Sediment ends up in the waste bucket,
not under the wheels.

Hope this helps.

Peter Rowe

Non-commercial republish rights granted.

Subject: RE: Need Pump/Spitters to Retrofit to Old Genie

Rick Martin: You could put a small submersible "fountain
pump", such as is well made by Little Giant pump Co. of
Tulsa OK, in a bucket on the floor,and feed your spitters
from that. If you block the pump off the bottom, and drain
the machine into the bucket, you can have a large mud
capacity, and even use demineralized water and dish soap if
you want.

Bob Woolery

Subject: BIO: Roger Pabian

Hello, Hale, and all Digest Subscribers.

I'm Roger Pabian of Lincoln, Nebraska, and have been involved
with lapidary for about 35 years. My primary interest is the
quartz family gems, but I've enjoyed working numerous other
materials and have worked some other materials too,
especially to help me pass on my findings to students who
bring in all kinds of materials. I teach a class in Gemology
at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and also teach a class
in Lapidary through Lincoln's Park and Recreation Department.
It was the latter that got me involved in lapidary in 1962.
I've been a member of Lincoln Gem and Mineral Club for almost
the same length of time.

Although I have faceted a few stones, I still prefer the
nonfaceting aspect of the art as I think it offers every bit
as many challenges and offers a whole new aspect of technical
problems. I especially enjoy developing a new tool to perform
some function that is not frequently encountered. I've
learned a lot of my technique from Bill White (who's BIO
appeared in issue #104) of Independence, Missouri. More
recently, I've gotten into silver smithing so that I can turn
some of the lapidary creations into functional jewelry and
decorative items.

I've authored "Minerals and Gemstones of Nebraska" and
"Banded Agates, Origins and Inclusions" and am currently
developing a lexicon and bibliography of agates on a web

I read the Lapidary Digest for enlightenment and enjoyment
and find that it covers just about every proficiency level
there is, and for this reason I keep hard copies for both me
and my students.

Best wishes,

Roger K. Pabian

Subject: NOTE: Columbia Gem & Mineral Society

The Columbia (S.C.) Gem & Mineral Society will meet Monday
Jan 19 at 7:15 in the McKissick Museum on the University of
South Carolina campus.

Fred Sias, a retired professor from Clemson University, will
speak on "What is a Gem?" This is a hands-on presentation.
Fred is the SC State Director for Southeast Federation, and
teaches lost wax casting at William Holland and Wild Acres
Lapidary Schools.

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