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This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 108 - Friday 1/23/98
2. NEW: Orienting Spectrolite and Labradorite
3. RE: Transferring a Cutting-Image from Copy to Slab
4. RE: Converting a Metal Bandsaw to a Mudsaw
5. BIO: Bob & Susan Thompson
6. BIO: Bob Drummond
7. AD: Visit our WebSite
8. SHOW: Castro Valley (CA) Gem and Mineral Show


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 108 - Friday 1/23/98

One of my favorite topics is the surface decoration of
lapidary materials. This includes engraving or etching a
design into the surface, metal deposition by electroplate,
metallic deposition by sparking (as in aqua-aura),
photo-transfer, gold leafing, and other methods. We will have
an invited paper on electrodeposition soon, and I want to
invite everyone to send in notes on your favorite ways of
decorating a lapidary surface and how YOU do it.

The number of members now exceeds 800 ! I can't believe it!

About accessing the Archives -- full but abbreviated
instructions are given at the end of every issue. Check it

Stay safe, bundle up with someone you love, and above all,
have fun every day!


Subject: NEW: Orienting Spectrolite and Labradorite

Are there any .txt files on orienting spectrolite and

Sometimes I have a problem with an orientation shift (always
a clockwise shift when viewed with stone in my hand) after
the stone is cut. I don't have a problem with the top to
bottom orientation leaning to far back or forward, just the
clockwise orientation even when I haven't cut deeply into the
stone. I prefer to flat polish this kind of material so I can
get the most color,and cut thinner slabs to conserve
material. I could cut round stones all the time to
compensate for the shift, but that would be boring!

Craig Moore

Non commercial republish permission granted.
Ed.Note: The orientation of Spectrolite was answered by
Goeff Haughton in Issue 61, 2nd item. It was also discussed
in Issue 66, 5th item. You may obtain copies of Issue 61
by sending a message to the LapDigest computer, with

GET digest61.txt

placed on the subject line of the header. (Use digest66 for
Issue 66). You can get the index by using:

GET index1.txt

These are defined at the bottom of every issue.

Part of what Goeff said was this:

The material is crystalline and the color is in one
particular plane of the crystal. Examine the piece
carefully and in a good light. Look for areas with fine,
parallel striations. These will be on relatively flat
surfaces. Even though they are not continuous, they will be
parallel throughout the crystal. The striations will run
along the side of a properly oriented slab and will be
parallel to the surface. Thus, the striations define the
edge of the optimal color plane. Grab the chunk between
finger and thumb lined up with the striations and, with a
light source overhead or slightly in front of you, rock the
stone back and forth using finger and thumb as a pivot. The
optimal plane is defined by the position where you see the
brightest color.
1. The color plane is just a few degrees off perpendicular
to the flat surfaces that carry the striations.
2. It gets easier with practice.
3. Let the stone be wet.
4. Grind or saw a small surface first, to see if you got it
5. Watch out for crystal twinning; it's quite common and the
two twins have different color planes.

Subject: RE: Transferring a Cutting-Image from Copy to Slab

You wrote:
<<This is a description of a different way to transfer a
design from a paper copy to a slab, for use as a cutting
outline. ... SNIP... that scheme wouldn't be nearly so
elegant or fun!>>

I have been using laser printed designs for some of my
templates using white contact paper. I came across this
method after going thru the problems George describe with
pressure sensitive copier/printer paper. I had been cutting
shapes of states and told Frances Villemagne of Richmond
about the difficulties. She suggested using the contact paper
which she said they have been using for years; it does not
tear and sticks to the rock well. Contact paper is like a
sheet of plastic, with adhesive on the back.

First I cut sheets of 8-1/2 x 11 inches from the roll. When
ready to print images I use the single sheet feed on my
printer and have it use the most direct route thru the
printer. The sheets will have a tendency to curl, so I keep
them stored in a folder placed between books. For my images
I use line drawings and set the thickness of the lines to
about 3 times the blade thickness. ( I use Corel Draw ) Then
when cutting the image I cut to the center of the line
leaving a edge which helps me overview my work. I cut the
temples with about 0.25" or more boarder, not being particular
about the waste, fastest route around the image. The saw cuts
thru the paper very well, with very minor fraying.

I have also printed some templates on laser transparencies
and cut them out to the outline edge. I use these to help
position my contact template over a design in the stone,
drawing an outline in pencil once I get the best picture. I
then place the contact template over the penciled outline. I
remove the contact paper right after saw as it seems hard to
remove when dry. I have reused some templates 3 and 4 times
but for the most part I trash them after one use.

good luck!
David Lipscomb
Nelson County, Virginia

Subject: RE: Converting a Metal Bandsaw to a Mudsaw

George Langford wrote, in Issue 107:

<<...I was recently given a large metal-cutting bandsaw (ca.
7" X 12") and the first use I thought of was for slabbing
rocks. Not gems, just rocks. I am familiar with... mud saws
.. However, there is no room in my bandsaw for dipping the
blade in the abrasive slurry, even with an auxiliary wheel.
Therefore, I will have to drip the slurry over the blade just
before it enters the cut. I worry about abrading the guides
and backup wheels.>>

I can't say I've ever tried this (although I have done lots
of other silly things), but it sounds like you would be
trading a perfectly good metal bandsaw for a perfectly awful
rock saw. Since it would still be unable to cut really big
rocks, I fail to see any advantage over a standard circular
slab saw. Now if you had one of those stationary reciprocating
power hacksaws, that might be different. Your concern over
abrading away the working parts of the saw seems well-placed.
And even if it worked for a while, it would be extremely slow.

Don't you have any metal to cut? How about wood? If you
really want to convert this to something else, it is possible
to prop these saws up in a vertical position and put on a
home-made table, so it functions like a standard upright
bandsaw, if a little small. I have done this, and it works

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

Subject: BIO: Bob & Susan Thompson

Hi! We are Bob & Susan Thompson, owners of one of the opal
mines in Spencer, Idaho. Our business name is: Idaho Opal
Mines, Inc. We'd like you to visit our web site at


and come see us in Tucson at the Pueblo Inn. We have owned
our mine for about 7 years now and do all our own cutting...
mostly triplets. Neither of the mines are open to the
public, but if you're in Interstate 15 in Idaho, stop by
one of our stores (Summer only) either in Spencer (Exit
180) or Dubois (Exit 167) and we can swap stories. We enjoy
reading the digest and if anyone needs to know about opal
(especially cutting triplets), feel free to email us.

Bob & Susan Thompson

Subject: BIO: Bob Drummond

Hello fellow lapidarists

My name is Bob Drummond and I am new to this list. A few
quick lines to let you know who I am. Grew up in Michigan
and Ohio, attended Mich. State Univ. (B.S.) and Penn State
for a Ph.D. in biochemistry. Worked in biomedical research
(interferon, interleukins, etc.) for over 25 years before I
decided it was time for a second fun career. Ever since I
was a kid I've been collecting rocks and fossils on family
camping trips throughout the western US. My dad taught me to
facet about 15 years ago and I've concentrated on that ever

I now live in Richmond, CA, (about 15 miles NE of San
Francisco); a great place to live as long as you don't have
to drive anywhere (the place is getting a bit crowded)! Last
year I started an internet business selling faceted gemstones
from documented mine sources. The business is called
Mountain Lily Gems and is named after an old gold mine in the
Sierra foothills. I love to collect the gem material that I
cut, so I spend a lot of time out in the field getting
covered with dirt. My business partner and collecting buddy,
Alice Drummond (aka Mom) is a great help. Take a look at our
web site and you will see lots of info and photos on the
gemfields we have visited.

I joined this list because I admire the work of Glenn Lehrer
and Uli Pauly and I wish to learn more about putting curved
surfaces on gem material, rather than facets. Also, I've
accumulated a lot of gem material that is better suited for
carving than faceting. It's time to put some of that
material to good use. I look forward to exchanging
information, making new internet friends, swapping material,
techniques, etc.

Bob Drummond
Mountain Lily Gems

Subject: AD: Visit our WebSite

You are invited to visit our web site:

Thanks BETTY and RUSS

Subject: SHOW: Castro Valley (CA) Gem and Mineral Show

The Mineral and Gem Society of Castro Valley
Presents its 52nd Annual Gem and Mineral Show
In Centennial Hall, 22292 Foothill Blvd., Hayward, CA
MARCH 6,7,& 8, 1998 10am - 6pm (Sunday 10am - 5pm)

Gems, Minerals, Fossils, Rocks, Jewelry, Lapidary Equipment,
Jewelry Making Supplies, Live Auction, Door Prizes, Cafeteria,
Demonstrations, Exhibitor Cases, Free Parking,
Wheelchair accessible

Donation $4.00 (Children under 13 free if accompanied by Adult)
For more information call: 510-233-8821 or 510-276-3057

Richard Drummond
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