Administered by Hale Sweeny (

This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 156 - Tues 7/14/98
2. NEW: Is It Legal to Sell Dino Bone or Fossil Cabs?
3. NEW: How Much Dust Does Lapidary Equipment Make?
4. NEW: Need Advice on Selecting a Tumbler
5. NEW: Wanted- A Good Rock Identification Book
6. RE: Supplying Coolant to Lapidary Grinding Wheels
7. RE: Supplying Coolant to Lapidary Grinding Wheels
8. RE: Supplying Coolant to Lapidary Grinding Wheels
9. RE: How to Access the Archives, Part 2
10. RE: Reconstituted Black Onyx
11. RE: How to Use Sonic Tumblers (#151)
12. RE: Using Water with Dremel or Drill
13. BIO: Jim Hoyle


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 156 - Tues 7/14/98

If you cut spheres, please write and tell me so, and tell me
what type of machine you use. Do this, even if we have talked
before about your sphere making!

I am planning a whole issue on the problems of polishing, and
would appreciate any queries you may have on this topic.

Also, I note that we have only had brief mentions of bandsaws
for lapidary work. If you have a bandsaw, please write and
tell me what model you have and also give me any comments you
may have about the usefulness and limitations of your

Finally, please do not forget to add the four words:
"-- non-commercial republish permission granted --"
to the end of every note you send to the Digest.

Bob Keller writes that he has a new contest on-line at his
for the best gemstone design. The current competition
category is for "Best Beginner's Cut", suitable for faceting
within a novice's first six stones. He has fabulous prizes -
if you are a beginning faceter, check it out!

Be safe, but have fun!!


Subject: NEW: Is It Legal to Sell Dino Bone or Fossil Cabs?

Hi everyone,

I have recently discovered the beauty of petrified or agatized
dinosaur bone cabs I've been cutting. I see that many rock
shops sell dino bone rough. I was wondering if it is illegal
for me to sell finished dinosaur bone cabs? Is it ok to sell
fossils as long as they were not collected on government land?

Fellow Lapidary,

Kelly Johnson

Subject: NEW: How Much Dust Does Lapidary Equipment Make?

My wife and I gave each other a Genie for Christmas, and it
has been suggested that I set the Genie, a 5" water cooled
trim saw, an 8" flat lap, and a faceting machine in one half
of my wife's sewing room.

If this is such a good idea, why do I wake up in the middle
of the night wondering if we are going to end up with a film
of rock dust coating the paneling, the acoustical ceiling,
the windows, the floor - not to mention her sewing!

If this happens, it will be a real mess. HELP!!!! Come on,
some of you experienced cutters, and chime in with the

E.T. {Mickey} Broadway Jr.
2334 Nation Ave.
Durham, NC. 27707-2027

Subject: NEW: Need Advice on Selecting a Tumbler


I am a beginner in lapidary, I've always been fascinated with
rocks and have been collecting them over many years. I
actually wrote an article in the local newspaper once upon a

I am currently interested in purchasing a rock tumbler. Wow!
So many to choose from!! Could someone explain to me the
differences between a vibration tumbler and a regular belt
driven? Speed it takes to polish, etc?


Since I'm such a beginner, would I "fit" well with the other
members? (discussion depth level?)

Tammy Fenley

Subject: NEW: Wanted: A Good Rock Identification Book

Hi everyone,

Are there any books written with color photographs that would
show finished cabs, or slabs, to help aid identify Lapidary
materials? It would be nice to have an extensive book showing
color pictures of cabochons of, for example, Biggs Picture
Jasper from Oregon, or Crazy Lace Agate from Mexico.
Inquiring Mind,

Kelly Johnson

Subject: RE: Supplying Coolant to Lapidary Grinding Wheels

In a message dated 98-07-08 16:09:24 EDT, you write:

<<What keeps a bubbler type water unit from contaminating the
water? When you go from a 100 grit wheel to a 360 grit for
example, what keeps the 100 grit size chips in the water pan
from sucking back up through the system and flowing between
your stone and your wheel? What happens if your changing from
a hard stone to a soft stone? Do you have to scrub down the
pan and the tubing system between grits? >>

I have been using a Genie which uses a bubbler type spray.
The bottom of my pans gets cleaned about every couple months
or so and I cut a lot of stones in my store. I cut a lot of
opal and have never had a problem with contamination. I think
the big reason is that the abrasive is diamond. The stone
dust is just about that, dust. Most of is settles to the
bottom of the pan and the water sprayed to the wheel is
fairly clean. If you look at the inside of the shields on a
flow thru, you will see a lot of stone dirt packed to shield
where the wheel threw it. The same is true for the bubbler.
Some folks recommend cleaning the stone between wheels but I
only do this if I am using loose diamond (paste) on a wheel,
I.e., on a flex disk with canvas pads.

Don at Campbell Gemstones

Non-commercial republish allowed

Subject: RE: Supplying Coolant to Lapidary Grinding Wheels

On Wed, 8 Jul 1998 13:02:41 -0700 , you wrote:

<The contamination occurs when silicon carbide wheels are used
as the SiC abrasive grains really slough off those wheels and
would be carried by the coolant back to the work. But it does
not happen with diamond wheels, for some reason. Perhaps some
member can explain why. hale >

Not sure, but here's a guess:

With diamond grinding wheels and polishing wheels, the
abrasive particles are more firmly held, and simply don't
erode out of the wheels all that fast. The concentration of
those that do is quite low, and with larger, more potentially
damaging particles, they'd sink quickly and tend to stay
there. Pretty dense stuff, remember. So the overall effect
of contamination on these soft polishing wheels would be
minimal, and almost instantly corrected by continuing action
from the wheel.

As to the problem with the grindings themselves, larger
abrasive particles (the diamonds) are only grinding a deeper
furrow in the stone than smaller ones. They are not
necessarily removing the material in much larger particles.
Even coarse grit might still be producing relatively fine
"flour". And secondly, it may simply be that since the
grindings (flour, or whatever) is the same hardness as the
stone being ground, it may simply have no damaging effect.
Rubbing wood with sawdust, for example, does little to the
wood. Polishing/grinding diamonds with diamond dust only
works because one grinds in softer directions on the diamond,
while random abrasive particles will often be presenting a
harder direction, and are thus able, though slowly, to grind
and polish the stone. Few lapidary materials show this
degree of hardness differential with direction of the

Hope this guessing game sounds logical.

Peter Rowe

Subject: RE: Supplying Coolant to Lapidary Grinding Wheels

Hello. I have a cheap and simple method for supplying water
coolant to grinding wheels.

I bought an old 3 wheel Covington 8" grinder, and converted it
to a 4 wheel unit. The Covington has a small manifold made
from 1/4" copper pipe, 3 "T" connectors and 2 elbows, and 4
petcocks/valves which open into the top of the unit just above
the wheels. As I use this in my basement, I connected up a
piece of PVC tubing from the hardware store to a garden hose
quick connector, which hooks up to the laundry sink faucet.
Another length of PVC tube runs from the back of the grinder
to the floor drain. I can adjust the pressure at both the
faucet and at each petcock, and can even run hot water in the
winter, and have continual clean water, no pumps involved.

John Heinz
Non-commercial reprint permission granted.

Subject: RE: How to Access the Archives, Part 2

Hello all,

I'm new to the Lapidary Digest. I'm responsible for a lot of
the hits to the archive files Hale mentioned (I don't THINK I
did any of the boo-boos!).

Just another helpful hint: Use cut-and-paste (or copy and
paste) for the filenames - helps make sure you get the
spelling correct. As Hale mentioned, don't forget the space
between get and the filename.

I'm just curious, Hale - do you have any time to actually cut
rocks? I'm sure that running this Digest is very
time-consuming. Just want you to know, I appreciate it (Round
of applause).

Mark Williams
Stone Broke Custom Lapidary
Mark: Yes, I do still cut a few rocks - too darn few, lately,
it seems. And thanks for the round of applause... a round of
beer would have been also appreciated!!(smile) hale

Subject: RE: Reconstituted Black Onyx

There are two different types of reconstituted blocks on the
market that I am aware of (there may be more that I haven't
seen). One is apparently of European origin and is a harder
material, more expensive, and harder to find. The rest comes
from several US manufacturers and is roughly equivalent in
construction (the pattern quality varies a lot though).

The US material for all practical purposes is plastic. The
color supposedly comes from the material being reconstituted
(I don't know of any way to verify it though). The pattern is
a function of the manufacturing technique.

As to its suitability for any use, it cuts, polishes, and
wears like plastic. I don't know of any reason not to use it
as a backing material. While I prefer basanite as a black
backing, I have used the reconstituted lapis as a backing for
rutilated quartz with no problems.

Dick Friesen

Subject: RE: How to Use Sonic Tumblers (#151)

What a deal, my sending a set of instructions, and you
getting an inquiry for the same topic, all in the same day!.

Two added comments. The final polish I use is Raytech TL
polish. And in the final wash after final polish (all clean
rocks) I put a teaspoon of Bon-Ami polishing cleanser and
run for 6-8 hrs.

You did a great job of retyping those instructions. This is
the best interactive lapidary connection around, Hale.

Good work
Bill Carrothers
(Bill, you keep talkin' like that and you can have almost
anything I own! (smile) hale)

Subject: RE: Using Water with Dremel or Drill

Thanks for all the replies about using water with a Dremel,
especially to the person who kept pestering the Dremel company.
Looks like a good idea to use the little plastic guard.

I found it interesting that the first and only piece I carved
(a flat piece about 1 1/4" x 3/4") I always had plenty of
water by occasionally dipping it and it never really flew off
much, certainly not up the shaft.

I'm sure a larger carving would require a different procedure.
Read in a Lapidary journal article of one designer who uses
old sewing machine motors with a flex shaft. Called up my
local sewing machine repair man -- he says he will sell me
new motor, foot pedal and special extension cord (no flex
shaft) for 54$.


Subject: BIO: Jim Hoyle

I'm a newcomer to Lap Digest but an old-time rockhound. I'm
going on 75 and have collected and polished rocks for over 30
years. My favorite rocks are agates and picture jaspers. My
lovely wife, Doris likes rocks to. I really fell in love with
Montana moss agate a few years ago and since then have kind
of specialized in it. I have well over a ton of fair to
choice uncut Montana agate and several hundred slabs. Some my
wife and I collected and some I bought from old-timers like

I retired some years ago and at first I resisted turning my
hobby into a business, but about three years ago Doris and I
looked at our ever increasing collection of rocks and jewelry
and decided it would be nice if we could share it with people
other than our friends and family and at the same time make
a few bucks to supplement our retirement income. My daughter
from Phoenix was visiting us at the time and made the remark,
"Aren't you afraid you're going to get buried in rocks?"

That decided us, and since then we have been selling our
rocks, slabs and jewelry at rock shows in and around So. Cal..
Quartzite is our favorite show and we plan to have our booth
there at the "Pow Wow" again this year.

My oldest son is a electronics engineer in San Jose and he
showed me how easy it was to navigate the web and become an
instant expert on any subject. So, of course, I started
looking for info on rocks and rockhounds and found the Lap
Digest newsgroup. Also a friend of mine helped me get a
website started. It's at: <>. Please
check it out and e-mail your comments and criticisms to

At 75 I guess I'm a little old to be trying to become a
"Netizen" but I've really been getting a kick out of "lurking"
on the Lap Digest website and believe I'll enjoy becoming an
active participant even more.

Jim Hoyle
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