Administered by Hale Sweeny (

This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 172 - Sun 11/1/98
2. Comment: On The Rocks
3. NEW: Erasing Rust from Saw Blade
4. RE: Backing Stones
5. RE: Backing Stones
6. RE: Backing Fragile Stones
7. RE: Backing Fragile Stones
8. RE: Backing Fragile Stones
9. RE: Weighting Rocks for Flat Lapping
10. RE: Cushioning Stones
11. RE: Cushioning Stones
12. RE: Cushioning Stones
13. RE: Source of Gaspeite
14. RE: Wirewrapping
15. RE: Wirewrapping
16. WTB: Fossilized Ivory for Carving
17. Re: Good Used Fiber Optic Light Source
18. Trade: Sea Glass


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 172 - Sun 11/1/98

The new wording on the policy change is shown below. Please
send me any comments you may have as soon as possible.
When a submission is send to the Digest, you thereby agree
that permission is given to allow the use of that submission
outside the list for non-commercial uses. Anyone wanting to
use it for commercial purposes, you must get copyright
release from the author.

Thus, blanket permission is given to Gem and Mineral Clubs
and to Lapidary and Mineral Federations to reprint items
from the Digest and from the Archives in their Newsletters,
given that all authors and the Digest are cited as the

Others may request permission to republish by writing the
authors or the Administrator at

Hopefully, in this way, we can restrict commercial use of
the Digest content.

The good news is that I have finally put up the beginning
of our web site, and you can find it under

I just remembered that I have not yet connected the people
counter, but aside from that and a few other details, it is
ready. You will note that there are no "under construction"
signs; this is a continuously evolving site.

You will find a book list there which Lloyd Duncan built
from a mess of references I sent him, plus others he
collected himself. Thanks Lloyd for all your hard work on
this and other lists you have sent, but which I have not
yet added.

That's about all ... let me have your suggestions and
comments on the web site.

Hey, guys, this is lapidary ... Let's ALL have fun!!


Subject: Comment: On The Rocks

Hi Hale & gang,
There is a nice write-up about this Digest in Bob Jones'
"On The Rocks" column in the Dec. issue of Rock & Gem
magazine. Get ready for a new flood of subscribers, Hale.

(Yes, I forgot to mention it in the news section, but Bob
Jones did give us a nice write-up! Thank you Bob!! If you
haven't seen it, it is in the back of the issue! hale)

Subject: NEW: Erasing Rust from Saw Blade

To erase rust from a diamond saw blade used with water, no
matter what size, steel wool the loose rust from the blade
and wipe dry. Warm the blade, on a tomato can with a light
bulb inside, and coat blade with an autobody antirust
compound that has manganese dioxide in it. The blade will
turn blue-black and never rust again. The iron oxide rust
is chemically converted to manganese dioxide which will
withstand the abrasion of the cutting process.

Old science teachers never die, they just turn into
manganese dioxide.


Subject: RE: Backing Stones

On 10:08 AM 10/29/98 , Said:
<<Sally, the plastic steel I use (from Walmart)...(snip)...
Oh, if the steel epoxy you buy is white (sold for use on
boats), just knead some color into it. Anyone else do it
another way? hale>>

Heck yeah! With the Devcon, cut a cardboard ring that wraps
around the cab, tape it together around the cab with about
1/4" sticking up from the bottom, lay your cab on its face,
and pour the mixed Devcon into the ring, Let it set, then
take the cardboard off and finish on a dry sander or your
cabber. Simple.

Tim Fisher
Ore-Rock-On and Pacific Fishery Biologists WWW Sites
(Note: Good for you, Tim! Does the epoxy clog up the
diamond wheels? Does this occur? The second note down seems
to imply that carbide wheels will clog up! hale)

Subject: RE: Backing Stones

Hi Sally,

Make a well on the back of your turquoise by wrapping 2 or
3 layers of masking tape around the stone. Fill it with
epoxy to the depth you want. Once the epoxy has hardened,
just peel the masking tape off. You can smooth and thin the
backing with your regular lapidary equipment, or use files
and sandpaper.


Subject: RE: Backing Fragile Stones

The best stuff to back fragile or thin materials is the
gray plumbers epoxy you find in any hardware store. I think
it is called "Liquid Steel".

You can sand the back to make it smooth. The stones are
always going to sink in the unset materials. If the stone
is too crumbly to sand the bottom, first squeeze the goop
onto the rock and do one side at a time. Maybe you have to
pour one thin layer, let it set, then another layer, let it
set, until you have it thick enough to work with. Used
"trued" fine carbide wheels and an old scrap of a 220
carbide to keep dressing out the epoxy that will cake on
the wheel.

Mark Liccini

Subject: RE: Backing Fragile Stones

In a message dated 98-10-29 16:04:05 EST, you write:

<< have been trying to back stones to get the same quality
backing as is found on Turquoise cabs from IJS or Rio Grand
..(snip)... Does anyone know if there is a special (and
secret)trick to achieving the smooth backing on cabs?>>

Try using 3/4" masking tape and tape around the girdle
forming a reservoir that you then fill with epoxy. One thing
on the Plastic Steel, it does have steel in it and it will
rust. I use a epoxy called "PC*7" that I got at the local
hardware store. It is a dark gray, almost black color and
a quite thick paste.

If you require a darker black, mix a little lamp black in
and you will have it.

Don at Campbell Gemstones

Subject: RE: Backing Fragile Stones

I have a comment about the backing material use a putty
meant for plumbing leaks. It comes in a tube with a hardener
in the center that you squeeze together, sets up in a jiffy.

I have some inlay pieces that were given to me that have
sand in a clear epoxy type substance for a backing, anybody
know what it is?

Seems to work pretty good.


Subject: RE: Weighting Rocks for Flat Lapping

Recently, I believe, Bill Cordura inquired about
methods for providing weight for rocks that are too light
for flat lapping. At least, that's what my failing memory
tells me.

A method I have used for slabs which I want to flat
lap is to cut a piece of 1/4 inch plywood slightly larger
than the slab in all directions to provide a bumper. This
is attached by a hot melt glue gun. It provides a nice
bumper as well as a base for the weight. For the weight I
use lead which I got from a tire store. I melted down the
lead (outdoors--the fumes from this can be nasty) using a
propane camp stove. The melted lead (with or without the
steel clips from the tire weights depending on how fastidious
you are) gets poured into a small can such as tuna or cat
food. Fill some up all the way, some part way to provide
differing amounts of weight. These get attached to the
plywood the same way the plywood gets attached to the rocks,
hot melt glue.

(Permission for non-commercial reproduction granted.)

(Permission for non-commercial reproduction granted.)
(Note: Some time ago, I phoned the tire store where
we buy tires, and they said to come around and they would
give me several pounds of old tire weights. Good to their
word, they gave me about 12 pounds! They sell it to a lead
reclaimer at a very low price. hale)

Subject: RE: Cushioning Stones

Vermiculite is an expanded mineral product available at
lumber yards. It works very well as backing. Place a layer
in, put the cab on top, push the cab to crush the high
spots, and then close the bezel. One sack lasts a lifetime.


Re: links the current AFMS link is
There are a bunch of good links there, too.
Be sure to include Kuban's links for fossils and for minerals.

Subject: RE: Cushioning Stones

Years ago I read about using silicone sealant as a cushion
for opals. I've found that it works very well, doesn't
deteriorate and protects the stone from a certain amount of

This year I repaired a ring with a round moonstone cab. I
was surprised to find the stone was seated on a tiny
silicon rubber O-ring. The O ring was a perfect fit inside
the bezel and seemed like an elegant solution to cushioning
a stone.


Subject: RE: Cushioning Stones

In a message dated 98-10-29 16:04:05 EST, you write:

<< A Goldsmith I met in New Mexico told me he uses aluminum
foil to cushion the stones in his settings.>>

I have seen some of this during repair work. The aluminum
tends to break down with the moisture and body acids working
their way into the setting. An electrolosis sets up and eats
the aluminum. As for the sawdust breaking down, it seems to
petrify. Some metalsmiths use leather, cork, or cardboard.
One trick I saw was to set crystal opal on a bed of black
RTV sealant. No painting the back required and talk about

Sometimes when setting an opal that I can get to the back of,
I'll bring the prongs or bezel down to the stone but not too
tight and then using a tooth pick, apply a very thin bead of
epoxy around the girdle. This weeps under the stone and
provides a firm seat and some cushion.

Don at Campbell Gemstones


Subject: RE: Source of Gaspeite

Some time ago, there were a series of questions about
gaspeite and possible sources. Last weekend I went to the
Gem & Lapidary Wholesale show in Kissimmee, FL. One dealer
there had a good supply of gaspeite at $90/pound, $7/ounce
wholesale. Contact information for this dealer is:

Pueblo Trading, P.O. Box 1115, Zuni, NM 87328
(505) 782-5555 (505) 782-2296 Fax (505) 782-5554

Standard disclaimer - Other than buying a small piece of
gaspeite from them, I have no association with this dealer.

William McKinney
Melbourne, FL

Subject: RE: Wirewrapping

Merle Stadel, my address is, I have
about 20 pieces done and enjoy doing it but can use all
the help I can get.
Sally, I certainly will check out the videos,

Tom Staley

Subject: RE: Wirewrapping

Hi Hale - Please pass on this message to Mr. Staley, who
was looking for information on wirewrapping. Since you
didn't include Mr. Staley's email addresses in your digest,
I couldn't contact him directly. I'll be happy to offer
whatever information I can.


Dianne Karg, B.A.A.I.D.
WRAPTURE wire jewellery
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
(Aside: wirewrapping is not in our scope, but these notes
are included only to help our member, Tom Stanley. hale)

Subject: WTB: Fossilized Ivory for Carving

<<Could someone tell me a source for reasonably priced
fossilized ivory? I need pieces suitable for carvings
2 to 3 inches in width, in a color close to the shade
of regular ivory.>>

Can't remember the info, but can tell you how to find
these kinds of companies. Go to an antique store or show
in your area. They'll have trade newspapers and in the
ads you will find firms selling legal ivory.

Also, there is a newsgroup devoted only to carving. It is
in the alt.crafts section. Sorry, I stopped reading
newsgroups because all the search robots get you for mass
spam if you post. You can ask in In
fact if you look into the crafts industry you will find a
lot of sources for ivory. A good magazine with ads and
listing shows is "Sunshine Artists", I think Ft.
Lauderdale, Fla.

I'd like to add also a great source I bought from as a kid.
He is still alive and doing the club shows. I saw him in
Franklin this past July. He is Professor Ronnie Martin. He
will have Ivory nuts, whales teeth, fossil ivory, but you
need to know your subject to buy from Ronnie. Super prices,
but he is famous for mixing in fakes. An extremely
entertaining fellow, a real showman.

Mark Liccini

Subject: Re: Good Used Fiber Optic Light Source

I have the GIA fiberoptic light system complete with
condensing lens , monochromatic filter and 5 light wands.
This is a double unit, and I would be interested in selling
it but don't know at what price. Haven't had time to think
about it yet. Contact me if interested.


Subject: Trade: Sea Glass

I have lots of beach glass which I am will to trade. Anyone
who wants any can contact me off list.


Dianne Karg, B.A.A.I.D.
WRAPTURE wire jewellery
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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