Administered by Hale Sweeny (

This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 114 - Sun 2/15/98
2. RE: Treating Bisbee Malachite-Azurite
3. RE: Saw Oil and PCBs
4. RE: Saw Oil and PCBs
5. RE: Saw Oil and PCBs
6. RE: Saw Oil and PCBs
7. FS: 30 Inch Rock Saw
8. BIO: Rick Otero
9. BIO: Gil Shea


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 114 - Sun 2/15/98

We will have a list of Lapidary books ready in the next few
weeks, and will publish it here. Then we will start reviewing
lapidary books and would appreciate volunteers to review a
book or two. This is a way any of you may make a real
contribution to the Digest. If you want to try your hand at
book reviewing, please write me and say so, and tell me the
name of any favorite book of yours which you want to review.

Back in Issue 110, we outlined some possible methods for the
decoration of lapidary surfaces. I will try to have articles
prepared for each of these methods; the first one will be on
electroplating precious metals onto non-conductive surfaces
such as stones. It has been written by George Butts for
publication here, and will be the first article in the next
issue. It is a how-to-do-it article, giving details of the
successful methods George has used and is teaching to members
of his Gem Club.

Stay safe. Have fun, and remember, just because Valentines
day is over is no reason to stop telling your close ones that
you love them!


Subject: RE: Treating Bisbee Malachite-Azurite

Yes, it should be stabilized before you try to do anything
with it, and Opticon is a surface treatment mostly for after
the cut and polish phase, as the man said.

There is a gentleman named Jonathan(?) Starr, somewhere in
Arizona, who can stabilize anything; he has done beautiful
work with fossils, has done a lot with turquoise, etc. He
uses resins and first vacuum then pressure to drive the
material into the porosities in the rock. I lost track of
him some years ago, but he should still be around, somewhere.

Ted Robles (
non-commercial republish permission granted

Subject: RE: Saw Oil and PCBs

Hale, here is a little info that may help. While I saw many
helpful tips on the use/nonuse of coolants,there is something
more to be addressed: blade heat and retrieval of oil.

RV coolant is what I use in saws up to 10" only. After that
you are asking to buy a new blade. Larger blades heat up
drastically with thin water based coolants! You will"dish"
your larger blades and not even know it till the irregular
slabs start showing up, or the binding of the blade begins.
Even the water based coolants especially made for large
blades have some limitations,and are expensive.

There are as many combinations as there are cutters it seems,
so I won't go into any great length. I use "off-road" diesel
on 24" saw blades and get good results. I still monitor my
cutting, and watch for mist, smoke, and signs of heat. If you
don't you better be rich!

If you decide to use an oil of your choice, here is a simple
way to keep most of it around so you don't have to buy it
every 2-4 weeks when you change oil in your saw. Two large
grocery bags(sacks) one inside the other, placed inside a 5
gallon plastic bucket, drain sludge into it from the saw. In
a couple of days the oil will find its way through the paper
and the "mud" will be left in the bag to be disposed of
safely. To get max results from this method, I take it a step
further. The two bags are placed in a plastic "feed" bag (25
lb feed bags) before they all go into the plastic bucket.
After the sludge has been sitting for a day, lift the bags
from the bucket with one hand (or have someone strong help
you) and invert a 1 gallon paint bucket or equivalent, in the
plastic bucket.Then gently lower the bags till they rest on
the paint can. Leave this for another day. When you check,
there should be a significant amount of oil in the bucket
that is clean and re-useable.


reprint rights granted

Subject: RE: Saw Oil and PCBs

Transformer Oil: NO, NO, a thousand times no!

A good friend of mine had been "Given" a barrel of transformer
oil that an electric company was 'Disposing of" because it was
"Out of date;" He'd been using it for some months. He looked
like death warmed over, had arthritis which had never bothered
him before, had lost a lot of weight, and he was disfigured by
the World's worst case of Acne.

I was, at the time, the chief chemist of the Air Force's
Western Regional Environmental Health Lab. I said to him,
"George - that transformer oil you've been using; does it
have a smell?" He said, "Yeah - smells like moth crystals,
only more so." I said, "George, get that crap out of your
saw and take it to a hazardous waste landfill; then take
yourself to your doctor and tell him you've been poisoned by
PCB's and can he do something about it?" He said, "PCB's?"
I said, "Yeah - polychlorinated biphenyls. They didn't do
you any favors giving you that stuff; it costs them a couple
of dollars a gallon to get rid of it, so natch they were
happy to 'give' it to you; just get rid of it; it's killing

So he did, and over the course of the next year came back to
being the old George; his physician couldn't do much for him
except have him eat a high fat diet, but it apparently did
the job. Moral; look out for someone who wants to "Give" you
something; it may be more costly than the material it
substitutes for.

I wouldn't use anti-freeze, either; propylene glycol may be
less hazardous than regular cutting oil, but I wouldn't
breathe it, regardless.

For those who cut with water, 12 drops per gallon of "Dawn"
or liquid "Ivory" makes the water sufficiently 'wetter' to be
a fine coolant, but don't try to cut anything much harder
than alabaster. And be sure to drain your reservoir and dry
it and your saw. Water plus oil makes mayonnaise. (A
friend of mine tried to use water to 'float' oil on so that
he could get by with half the oil. He had to use a trowel to
get the 'goo' out.)

Ted Robles (
non-commercial republish permission granted

Subject: RE: Saw Oil and PCBs

To those concerned with the cost of Pella or Almag saw oil:
Used saw oil can be recycled and reused! Here is how I do it:

You'll need two 5-gallon plastic buckets. Drill some holes
in the bottom of one of the buckets. Make some metal brackets
to fit onto the upper edge of the other bucket, so the bucket
with the holes in it can be set into it a few inches.

Take two large paper grocery bags, one inside the other, and
set into the bucket that has the holes. Pour the used oil
into the paper bags. It will slowly filter through the bags
and drip into the lower bucket, leaving the rock sludge in
the bag, which can then easily be disposed of. The filtered
oil will be almost like new, just a little discolored. This
process will take a couple of weeks, but very little of the
oil will be lost.

Non-commercial republish permission granted.

Deloris Morrical

Subject: RE: Saw Oil and PCBs

My father has been using this for some time so when he
helped me set up my first shop in December he suggested the
same for me. I find it less messy and smelly than the oil
used by the local lapidary club in their saws. There is no
problem with toxicity and it is easy to find and relatively

James V. Ballou


Subject: FS: 30 Inch Rock Saw

I have a friend who is a dealer for the past 40 some years.
As with time and tide, he finds he must reduce his equipment.
As he has no access to the Internet I offered to post this.
He is currently reviewing his current equipment, deciding
what to sell. He has so far, a 30 inch rock saw, and a rock
crusher ( to make tumbled stones). I am not the middle man,
and if you are interested call him (610)789-4022).  His shop
is open Tuesdays  through Saturday. He might have some other

Charlie is a real good guy.

Mack Lingenfelter

Subject: BIO: Rick Otero

Greetings all..
My name is Rick Otero.. I am a cutter/collector of lapidary
material .. I can remember having a rock collection as a kid
. back in the (when did the beatles come to america?) I
spent 20 years in Seattle.. and well some time in San Diego
.where I now dwell...

I especially love the plume agates and pictures jaspers..
Also have a fondness for opal.. Have been to Virgin Valley a
half dozen times .. as well as Spencer Idaho.....

These days I am a Montana Fiend.. but have recently gotten on
a Priday Plume Kick.. Anybody out there have a proven Priday
egg for sale? email me.. (Or unproved eggs, or slabs, or ..)

I'd rather swap for material, but I will pay. Have opal,
good fire agate(faced), diamonds, my spouses car.... O.K.
maybe not her car....

I know I'm not suppose to talk about faceting...but I do use
my Ultra Tech to square my good cab pieces before polish them
. Oh..Oh.. I also use the saw attachment to saw off my prize
materials .. when I want to be sure and end up with 2 pieces..
On the oval performer to shape my costlier opal rough before
I finish it..

Have however finished one faceted stone with it...Not bad for
5 years.... Amethyst.. 2 carat..

Sorry folks.. Getting a little silly here
take care

Subject: BIO: Gil Shea

My name is Gil Shea, I've recently subscribed to the Digest.

I've been involved in Rocks, Minerals and Lapidary, of one
type or another for most all of my life, having grown up
around the Petoskey Bay area, I started with fossils,
graduated to Jade when I moved to California where I lived
with a group for a while who used it for barter purposes,
then to I got hooked on Xls when I moved to Arizona, about 19
or 20 years ago. This happened when I was at the Flea Market
and found a Gentleman selling an Estate collection for a
friends wife.

I have a shop which consists of an 18" Slab saw , a 10" bench
saw Grinder and polishing lap combo, a Dual 12" Grinder, Dual
arbor 8" sander, 6" trim saw, a Glass Sander unit,( 64 1/2"
???), and a Bench Sander (31 1/4" ???) MDR Faceting unit, New
Hermies Engravograph, a Carving station, and Electroplating,
and Electroforming units, as well as casting equipment, and
Soldering Equip, in other words everything I need to go from
a rock to a finished piece of jewelry, or what ever.

I particularly like working with Optical effects materials ,
Opal, Moon Stone, Labradorite, etc.

I moved to the Anchorage area about 10 years ago, which is
where I am now. Unfortunately the cutable materials around
here are sorely lacking unless I go a considerable distance,
or am willing to climb a mountain to get it (That presents a
problem with the amount of material you can transport) There
are a couple of shops around but in my opinion they usually
charge too much for the materials they do have, so I rely on
the materials I have stock piled over the years.

Unfortunately I've been involved in legal issues over the
last 8 or 9 years which has prevented me with the ability to
spend much time in my shop, and I found the Digest and so
forth to be a great help in this area. I hope I can be of
use to the digest, as much as the Digest can be of use to me.

I like the Digest setting over an open list such as
rockhounds, there's less flaming, less arguing, and it
doesn't download 25 or more pieces of mail per day which I
found to be overwhelming at times, especially when they have
a problem and start repeating each message over and over.

Gil Shea
(non commercial republish granted)
(Ed. Note: Thanks, Gil. There is no flaming - it just gets in
the way of communicating. We have never had a 'flame' letter
since we started. hale.)
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