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This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 134 - Monday 4/13/98
2. NOTE: How To Access the Archives
3. NEW: Notes on Cleaning with Oxalic Acid.
4. RE: How Do I Renew Silicon Carbide & Diamond Belts?
5. NEW: Who Makes Equipment for Cutting Diamonds?
6. RE: Do We Consider Flintknapping Part of Lapidary?


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 134 - Monday 4/13/98

The first item below is a write-up of 'how to access the
Archives'; I have corrected several erroneous command letters
recently, and thought that with all the new members, this is
especially appropriate now. If after reading this, you still
have questions, please send them to me and I will try to
answer them in a note in a coming issue.

Will be away for a couple of days, but you should not see it;
I (hopefully) have made arrangements for the list to go on for
one issue.

If you make spheres, please let me know that; send note with
name, address and e-mail address. Thanks.

Have a great week!!!


Subject: NOTE: How To Access the Archives

>From looking at the commands which have been sent in to
Archives recently, it seemed that some tutorial might be
needed on how to get files from the Archives. I hope this
will help.

First, note that everything in the Archives is in files, and
all the files have the extension ".txt", which must be added
to every filename in every command.

Next, note that all commands are put on the SUBJECT LINE of
the message, and the message with the command is sent to
<>. The important command for accessing
the Archives is the word 'GET'. Using this word, along with
the name of the file you want, will tell the LapDigest computer
to get that file and send it to you. It automatically finds
your address from your message.

Only one command may be sent with each message; only one file
may be retrieved with each message. (The new version of the
software I am using will allow multiple commands per message;
I will install that sometimes this month or next - AFTER I
become familiar with its operation.)

In searching the Archives, the first step should be to look
at a list of all available files. There are two ways of
doing this: First, you can send an e-mail with just the word
DIR on the subject line. The computer will return a Directory
of all files in the Archives.

-or- , and I suggest this way...

you may send two e-mail messages with the following commands
on the subject lines: GET index1.txt or GET index2.txt.

The index is also a listing of all available files. Either
way, when you look at these lists, you will see that the
Archives contain three types of files:

.. First, there is a file for each Digest published, with a
file name of "DigestXX.txt", where XX is the Number of the
Digest. To get Digest 95, for example, send a command message
with "GET Digest95.txt" on the subject line, (Omit the
quotation marks). Put one space between GET and Digest95.txt,
no other spaces or punctuation are in the command. In
particular, don't use RE: as part of the command.

.. Next, there are files which contain all messages from a
particular thread. An example is a file named:
"MySlabSawBinds.txt". Several months ago, there was a query
about causes of slab saws binding, and this generated a
number of messages in response. The first query and all
responses, the collection of which is called a thread, were
gathered into a single file, and this is called a thread file.
Ultimately, there will be a thread file for every thread with
significant content. You get these files the same way; to get
this one, put "GET MySlabSawBinds.txt" on the subject line
and send in (You don't need the quotes in this case).

.. Finally, there are files which are copies of articles
either especially written for the LapDigest or reprinted
with permission - as it was felt that they are important
enough that each lapidary (and you are one!) should have
access to them. A good example is Streak.txt; this contains
a paper on how to do streak testing to help identify rocks.
Get these the same way; send an e-mail with the command:
GET Streak.txt

To give me some direction, write me any questions you may
have about how to access the Archives. There is lots of
'goodies' in the Archives -- Use them and enjoy them.


Subject: NEW: Notes on Cleaning with Oxalic Acid.

Oxalic acid is quite poisonous. Additionally, it can be
slightly absorbed through the skin and may contribute to
kidney and bladder stones. Always use gloves and/or tongs so
you do not come into contact with the solution. Also be
careful of dried splashes which might be around the work area.
Always clean up carefully.

If you want to clean the surface of the material you are
working with, soak it in plain water for an hour or more. This
will fill up the cracks and pores with water so that when your
piece dries up, it will not have full-strength acid in the
interior to work on your piece though the years. The specimen
could also give off vapors for many years as well and the
acid vapors could destroy items keep near the object you
soaked in acid.

If you've ever had a very rusty piece you've wanted to clean
with oxalic acid, you may have ended up with a bright yellow
discoloration in the object you've wanted to clean. The yellow
stain is an iron oxalate and is particularly troublesome to
remove and I know of no remedy. Agates which have been stained
this way are better off being reground so that the stain is
gone. Don't expect any cleaning solution to do too much work.
The yellow stain comes about because the cleaner has removed
what it can and becomes too concentrated and new stains are
form by chemical reaction. If any cleaner gets to be
discolored because it's cleaned its maximum, throw out the
old cleaner and replace with new if more cleaning is to be

Rinse or soak for an hour in water or solvent between
cleaning solutions. A final all-night or longer rinse will
help prevent unwanted stains from forming from your cleaning
activity. If you don't have much time available to clean your
material, it would be best to wait until you are not rushed.

Van King

non-commercial republish permission granted

Subject: RE: How Do I Renew Silicon Carbide & Diamond Belts?


The mere fact that you got two years of hard use from a
silicon carbide or diamond belt is in itself some kind of
record. My recommendation is put the poor thing(s) to rest
and buy a new belt -- they've already done yeoman duty! To
the best of my knowledge, there is no practical (read that
effective) way of recharging used belts.

Why don't you buy one or more diamond-impregnated wheels and
do your "hard" grinding on them and use the belts for final
sanding/pre-polishing? That's what most lapidarys do. Also,
you might consider dropping in on your local lapidary club
and check with them -- they might have some ideas for you.

Paul H. Miller


Subject: NEW: Who Makes Equipment for Cutting Diamonds?

Does anyone know where I can get a catalog of the equipment
used for cutting diamonds? Perhaps an 800 number?


Hilton Freed
fax: 919-677-4444

Subject: RE: Do We Consider Flintknapping Part of Lapidary?

To respond to the question - "YES" .. thanks to everyone who

Also - I have found that the flintknapping find some gorgeous
"rocks" to share with the rest of us ..

I never knew that Ohio flint was the gemstone of Ohio .. the
variety and beauty of those stones in incredible..

It's fun to find rough for the knapper hobbyist friends of
mine - and ask for the scraps for my cabbing and enjoyment ..
Also, it works to use my saw to pre-form slabs for them - I
get to decide on the scraps that way .. Anyone ever played
with "Dover Flint? .. Extraordinarily "tough" for a knapper -
and some beautiful plays of grays, whites and browns ..

I have enjoyed the digest since Thom Lane pointed the way --
someday a "bio" ... from a hobbyist in a great many divergent
hobbies - who's full time job is getting in the way ..

Thanks for the Digest -- I appreciate the great amount of
work.. involved!!

Anyone interested in the PA Delaware Valley lapidary area and
not know of the classes held by the Tuscarora Lapidary
Society? Let me know and I will share ...

Jack Parker, Blue Bell, PA..

<< no commercial interest - share however you like !! >
To subscribe to the Lapidary Digest, send a message to, with the word SUBSCRIBE DIGEST as
the subject of the message. Other commands you may use are:
UNSUBSCRIBE DIGEST to quit, HELP to receive a page of help
instructions on the use of the list, and DIR to receive a
list of names of all files in the Archives.

The command <GET filename> may be used on the subject line
(without brackets, of course) to obtain a copy of the file
named "filename". Type filename exactly as it appears in the
directory, including the extension txt. Do not cut-and-paste
filenames into the subject line.

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 non-commercial purposes. Please use those four
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