Administered by Hale Sweeny (

This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 164 - Tues 9/8/98
2. NEW: Diamond Ring Saw or Band Saw?
3. NEW: Want Experience Info on 'Ugly Duckling' Blade
4. NEW: Star Famad Premium blades
5. NEW: Need Operating Manuals for Saw & Vibrating Lap
6. NEW: Which Tumbler is Best?
7. NEW: Slab and Geode Polishing by Hand
8. NEW: Shop Space
9. NEW: Thank you all very much for the help!
10. NEW: Need a Gem and Mineral Club!
11. NEW: Turquoise Rough Prices
12. BIO: Jill Rowlands
13. BIO: Travis Taylor
14. BIO: Brian Leith
15. BIO: Bill Kolbe
16. WTB: Looking for Used Slab Saw
17. AD: Posting Your Gem & Mineral Shows
18. WTB: Vise for 16" Highland Park
19. WTB: Used Rotary Tumbler, Double Barrel Preferred
20. BIO: Brian Leith

Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 165 - Tues 9/8/98

Well, finally we are back! (for good, I hope!!) You wouldn't
believe the troubles I have had with computers and software,
but that is in the past .. I hope. This down time has given
me time to think about the Digest and where we want to go.
Also given me time to arrange for better backups! Now have a
zip drive on the second machine.

It is good to be back! What a great disruption that was! We
do not have all issues in the archives so I will have to get
the missing ones from you, piecemeal. Most thread files are
back. This will be my highest priority, to get these back so
the Archives will be fully functional again. I also lost
about 100 members and I don't know if they have rejoined, but
will try to get the word out to them.

In putting this issue of the Digest together, I have
'editorialized' more than usual, as we are starting after a
long break and there are a large number of new members. I
want this and the next couple of issues to help bring them
up to speed, thus the generous comments.

Also, I could not use all letters in this issue, but those
not here will be in the next couple of issues.

I'm thinking about a small change of policy, and want your
reaction. In the past, I asked that you add the three words
"non-commercial reproduction allowed" to the end of each post.
They only appeared on about 1/3 of the posts. When I asked
the authors why, they almost uniformly said that they had
forgotten to add them, and asked me to add them for them.
Only one or two people refused to give permission over the
first 160 issues! So I gather from all this that it is not
a big deal, overall!

The proposed change is this: By sending in a post, you will
automatically be giving your permission for non-commercial
reproduction unless you add the words "reproduction not
allowed", or similar words. You still have full control of
what you want to keep and what you will allow to be copied.
Lets hear from you! Please send comments to me at But in the meantime, please keep using
those three important words.

I lost all communications with some members from Atlanta who
were helping with an issue on Honduran opals. Please write
me and remind me of your address!

And finally, as you read this, if you see places where I have
not updated some file - or have the wrong file, please let me

The next issue will be next Monday or Tuesday; I must go see
Clemson (my alma mater) play Virginia Tech (my alma mater) in
football, and thus will be away for a long weekend.

Have fun, and stay well, and remember, guys, always back up
your hard drive adequately and frequently!! (smile)

Subject: NEW: Diamond Ring Saw or Band Saw?

Does any one have any relative value opinions on diamond ring
saws or band saws.

J K Brennan
"non-commercial republish permission granted"
(Hale's Note: We have never discussed, except in a peripheral
way, either ring saws or band saws for lapidary work. This
is an area which needs a lot 'airing out'. Hopefully several
of our members will answer this and will add a lot of band or
ring saw info to their answers! I'd appreciate it.)

Subject: NEW: Want Experience Info on 'Ugly Duckling' Blade

My family and I have been collecting for about 2 yrs.
(Petrified wood, jasper, quartz, fossils) We've got a
tumbler, and a flat lap. A machinist friend and I have built
a 24" slab saw out of a precision grinder (about a 2 ton

All of our research turned up nothing about the oil mist
generated by the blade. Enclosing the machine would be a huge
job. We've changed from a Star Diamond "Moon Glow" blade to
a "Ugly Duck" stainless steel blade that is able to be cooled
by water. It will cut o.k. with water only, but not as good
(fast) as with oil.

Does anyone have any experience with this blade?

Does anyone have any experience with additives to cool and

In talking to Star Diamond the guy who answered the phone was
with M K Diamond and said they had bought Star Diamond and
would be using their plant to make M K blades and Star Diamond
blades would be no more.

Jim Donald
Subject: NEW: Star Famad Premium blades

I recently read a letter sent to a rocks and fossils mailing
list, in which a dealer in diamond saws made the remark that
he thought a blade called a "Star Famad Premium Blade" would
cut faster and last longer when used in a saw with water as a
lubricant. I know that we have had a long thread on water vs.
oil lubricants on this list before, but I was just wondering
if anyone had heard of this blade, and if they agree with this
assessment of the blade. The writer said that it was a more
expensive blade, but I wonder if it lives up to this glowing

Vance McCollum
Earth Relics Company

Subject: NEW: Need Operating Manuals for Saw & Vibrating Lap

Hello Hale:

One of my rockhound buddies is moving away, and doesn't want
to haul his 18" saw, and 24" Vibrating lap. They were both
manufactured by Highland Park, sometime in the mid 70's, I
would guess.

Anyone have operation manuals for these two machines. I would
pay for photocopying and send you a SASE. Any help would be

Missed the list, looking forward to its return. Thank you.


Republish permission granted
(Hale's note: Try contacting Diamond Pacific. They own the
remnants of Highland Park (via Contempo Lapidary), and may
have these in their files. If they have them, please let me

Subject: NEW: Which Tumbler is Best?


What is the best type of tumbler to use for general polishing
from the rough stage to the finished stage, vibrating type or
Thank you

Linda Rasmussen

Subject: NEW: Slab and Geode Polishing by Hand

I don't recall if this was discussed on the digest or not,
but can anyone tell me how to polish slabs and cut geodes by


(Hale's note: Ron, in the Archives there is a thread file
named "Lapidary Hand Methods.txt" which discusses methods for
hand lapping and polishing slabs and cut geodes. Enjoy!)

Subject: NEW: Shop Space

Digest list members:

I'd like to start a new thread regarding a subject that
is increasingly becoming a concern for me: Shop Space.

When I started this hobby 8 years ago, I had a cabbing
machine, a tumbler and an 8" trim saw. My in-laws had an old
truck camper they wanted to get rid of and I thought
"cool... a shop!" Since then, I've added two tumblers, two
saws (18 and 4"), a sphere machine (soon to add more of these),
a facetting machine, multitudinous hand tools and on and on....
(you get the idea).

Last spring, I added a small (9'x10') storage shed that I
insulated for additional space. I am rapidly coming to the
conclusion that I still don't have enough room.

I would much rather spend what little money I have on
rough (and of course, new tools - heh) than building a
real-live shop in my back yard.

I would love to hear from all of you, how you handle shop
space problems. Any creative (cheap) solutions out there? Or
(NO!) would you suggest I curb my tool mania for a while and
concentrate on building projects? Any space-saving ideas?

I looked through the archives and found no prior entries
regarding this problem - maybe I'm the only one that has
problems like these? (Somehow, I doubt it!)

Mark Williams
Mark Williams <>

Subject: NEW: Thank you all very much for the help!

You were all great. Thank VERY MUCH! Our saw is up and
running and we have been slabbing and slaving away. It turned
out to be the bearing that holds tension on the belts, and the
pulley on my motor had slid way in on the shaft. (Out of
alignment). Also the wrong oil was in it. Or the oil had
gotten so bad that it needed replaced anyway.

We have cut almost non-stop since we got it running.
Each of my three children and sometimes my wife take turns
picking out rocks to cut into just to see what they look
like inside! We are having tons of fun and learning a lot but
already made a Huge mistake. We cut into a totally innocent
looking and very ugly rock and found what a local science
teacher believes to be a nest of petrified eggs of some sort.
You sure (Or better yet I sure) couldn't tell just from
looking at it that it was that important. Worse yet I have no
idea where we picked it up.

Any way I digress. Thank you all again for the tremendous
help. It was nice of you to take the time to help a total

Now we're saving money for a trim saw!
Thanks again, and God Bless you all.

Dennis and Deirdre Brown and Family.
5400 Gunpowder
Gillette WY 82718
(Hale's Note: Someone asked me the other day what I got out
of the Digest .. I think they were thinking about money...
Well, it is letters like this that are the big payoff! )

Subject: NEW: Need a Gem and Mineral Club!

I am a new comer to this type of thing and would like to get
into a club, where I could expand my knowledge. I am from
Oxford Ohio and the closest city to me is Hamilton, then
Cincinnati. Is there anyway that I can see if there are any
in this area? I would be grateful for the information.

Thank you

Julia Duncan
(Hale's note: Julia, Bob's Rockshop, on the Internet at
<> carries Al Zabinski's list of 900 Gem and
Mineral Clubs in the USA. Scroll to the bottom of the page and
'click' on 'Table of Contents'. Scroll down to 'US Club List',
and go there. Then click on 'Ohio'.You should be able to find a
club from that database. I just did it and found one club in
1818 Gephert (45013)
Meetings: 1st Tuesday, 7:30 pm
Firehouse Community Room
and two in Cincinnati:
3980 Kenkal Ave. (45211)
Meetings: 2nd Friday, 8:00 pm (Sept.-May)
Cincinnati Museum of Natural History
Geier Beseech Center
1351 Linden Circle Dr., Milford, OH 45011
Meetings: 2nd Monday, 7:00 pm
First Baptist Church of Loveland, OH
Good Luck!)

Subject: NEW: Turquoise Rough Prices

Can anyone give me the current prices and availability of
turquoise rough please.

George Burkhardt
(Hale's note: George, good sources of this information would
be ads in magazines - particularly Rock and Gem and Lapidary
Journal - and dealer ads on the Net. A simple search with
AltaVista, say, should turn up a dozen or more ads. By
placing it here, I hope the dealers on the list will all
write about their availability of turquoise rough, with
prices. Suggest you dealers also write directly to George at
the address shown above.)

Subject: BIO: Jill Rowlands

I have been polishing cabs for about three years and have
started carving. So far I have carved a magnolia flower in
cream and green jadite with a faceted garnet seed pod, and an
amethyst rose bud and mounted it on a silver stem. I am
accumulating various tools and bits to make my next carvings
much easier. I will eventually get into intarsia.

My main interest is in faceting but am broadening my skills
and have a lot of ideas for carving designs for jewelry. I
used to be an equipment operator and now I am developing my
gem cutting and repair business slowly because of fatigue
levels. I enjoy picking the brains of more skilled people
so as to avoid as many problems as possible that one
encounters in learning new skills.

Jill Rowlands From Houston Texas

Subject: BIO: Travis Taylor

I retired three years ago from UPS. Since then, I recently
became interested again in lapidary and minerals. I live in
Warrior, AL and recently joined the AL Mineral and Lapidary
Society which meets monthly and publishes a publication called
the Rockhound Roundup. I am really enjoying all the subject
material printed in the e-mails. Keep up the good work and
am looking forward to more tips from all rockhounds around
the country.

"non-commercial republication permitted"

Subject: BIO: Brian Leith

I am 52 years old and live in Glasgow Scotland. I am an avid
collector of agates,particularly Scottish agates, and jaspers,
and trade materials whenever possible. I have been a collector
for 19 years.

I sometimes visit Idar Oberstein in Germany. What a place! A
real rockhounds dream.

Brian Leith

Subject: BIO: Bill Kolbe

My name is Bill Kolbe and reside in Omaha, Nebraska. I've been
cutting and polishing stones off and on since about 1968. I
have no special interest in any rocks or gem stones, I love
them all. I've cut and polished all kinds: jades, opals,
turquoise, agates, jaspers, geodes, soft ones, hard ones,
they are all fun and intriguing to work with. After 30 years
you would think not, but I am still learning.

I have the following equipment:
20 # Gemstone vibrator tumbler
8" Beacon Star lapidary grinder/polisher
10" Beacon Star slab say
Rock Racal trim saw
16" Flat lap unit

Bill Kolbe

Subject: WTB: Looking for Used Slab Saw

I'm interested in obtaining a used slab saw with a blade
around 24". Preferably in the southern half of California.
If anyone knows of any possibilities or comes across one,
I'd really appreciate hearing about it.

Art Berggreen
Santa Barbara Mineral and Gem Society

Subject: AD: Posting Your Gem & Mineral Shows

Attention Club and Commercial Show Promoters:

You may post your 1998 & 99 show dates and information free
of charge to the Gem, Mineral and Jewelry Show Calendar at

Please follow instructions and complete all information
requested and in the Comments area you may also submit your
show's web page URL.

I will be at the Denver shows in September so no shows will
be posted to the system from September 8 to September 26.

Thank you,
Lance Kanaby

GemData, Mine Design & The Spectrum Network at Colored Gemstones, Diamonds & Cutting
Rough Databases and Information. SoLux Daylight Lighting

Subject: WTB: Vise for 16" Highland Park

Hello -

My name is Mark Condron. I`m looking for the (screw end) of a
16" Highland Park saw vise. Does anyone know where I could
obtain one or who would machine such a piece. I`m also looking
for 16", 18", & 24" Highland Park saws.

Thank You in advance.
mark condron <>
(Mark: Highland Park was bought by Contempo, who in turn were
bought by Diamond Pacific. I suggest contacting Diamond
Pacific. hale)
Subject: WTB: Used Rotary Tumbler, Double Barrel Preferred

I need a good used rotary tumbler in good condition, double
barrel unit preferred. I would prefer a heavier-duty unit
with wing nut seals and steel welded frame. Rubber molded
barrels running on a smaller size unit is also acceptable but
screw-on seals are an absolute "must have".

My current tumbler has a good motor but the barrels tend to
wander off the rollers and now have to be duct-taped together.
The seals have started to leak due to the "rubber band" style
closure and the fact that these barrels stretch out with wear
and the aging process.

I am primarily looking for a unit with good seals, good motor
and rubber-lined barrels for sound reduction. I like to be
able to run two processes simultaneously, which is the reason
I prefer a double unit.

Please send responses to: Rebecca Solon, e-mail

Hope to hear from anyone interested in selling a tumbler,
Rebecca Solon

"Non-commercial republish permission granted"

Subject: BIO: Brian Leith

I am 52 years old and live in Glasgow Scotland. I am an avid
collector of agates,particularly Scottish agates, and jaspers,
and trade materials whenever possible. I have been a collector
for 19 years.

I sometimes visit Idar Oberstein in Germany. What a place! A
real rockhounds dream.

Brian Leith

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