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This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 175 - Tues 11/10/98
2. NEW: Quick Cleaning a Vibratory Flat Lap
3. NEW: How to Polish Moonstone
4. RE: Dry Vibrating Flat Lap
5. RE: What Equipment Do I Need to Get Started
6. RE: Slabbing the End Pieces of Rough
7. BIO: Doug Frey
8. SHOW: Low Country G & M Show and SFGMS Annual Mtg
9. FS: Graves Mark IV Faceter


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 175 - Tues 11/10/98

Hey, guys, I need help...

What I'm looking for is someone who will send me a note
after you get each monthly issue of LapJour and Rock&Gem,
briefly describing what those issues have which would be
of interest to members of our list ... and do this each
month. It is no big job, but I surely don't have time to do
it. Two people can do it, each one writing about only one
magazine. Anyone volunteer to do one magazine?

As soon as I get back from a trip to the mountains, I will
put up the first web page of member's work ... So check the
web site periodically. It's

Y'all have fun!


Subject: NEW: Quick Cleaning a Vibratory Flat Lap

Just came up with something neat that I thought I would
share. Maybe this is the way everyone else in the world
already cleans a flat lap, but hey, I just fell off the
turnip truck so here goes.

I noticed that my 16" vibrating lap gets "sludgy" quicker
than I would like. I have also noticed that the performance
falls off (slower grinding rate, starts minor undercutting,
etc...) as the sludge increases. Since it is such a project
to clean the lap, I came up with the following idea.

Took an old plastic mayonnaise jar (about 1 gallon size)
and put 2 holes in the lid 3/4" in diameter each, near
opposite edges of the lid. Got a 6' section of hose large
enough to push a 3/4" pipe nipple into. Cut the hose into
a 2' and 4' section, and shoved a 3/4" nipple in one end of
each section. Inserted the nipples through the holes in
the jar lid. Duct taped the end of the 2' hose to the shop
vac hose and turned on the shop vac.

There was a little suction loss around the holes in the jar
lid, but nothing significant. Using the free end of the 4'
section, I vacuumed out the lap. Added a little water,
turned it on, and kept on vacuuming while it was running.
As the jar fills (I can see the level through the side) I
simply turn off the vac before it gets to a level where it
might get sucked into the actual shop vac hose.

After everything has been rinsed and sucked off the surface
of the lap, I open the jar lid, pour off the sludge, add
some fresh water, swirl and repeat the "sludge pour".
When the remaining grit in the bottom of the jar looks
pretty clean, I add enough water to get the grit in
solution and slosh it back onto the lap surface. Very
little grit is lost in this process and the efficiency is
greatly improved.

It may sound complicated, but is actually very simple if
you try it once. Once I finished building the cleaning
contraption, I found that the entire cleaning cycle only
takes about 7-8 minutes. I periodically check the vac hose
to ensure that no grit is getting that far and it continues
to look great. Would not be too neat to get grit anywhere
near the vac motor. I would love to hear about any better
ideas out there, or ways I might improve on this one. Also,
if anyone has any other tips or tricks concerning vibrating
laps, lets hear them!


Subject: NEW: How to Polish Moonstone

I only have a foredom and a medium sized tumbler/polisher.
I am into metal but want to cut and polish my own rough at
some point when $$$ allows.. I would like info on polishing
moonstone.. all the small pamphlets do not address such a
soft, possibly crazed, cracked stone.

Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Subject: RE: Dry Vibrating Flat Lap

I don't know too much about flat lapping, but could the
problem of running dry be noxious dust that may come up
rather than damage to the stone. We've talked on the forum
before about the hazards of working stones dry. Maybe there
would be enough dust kicked up to cause problems. Believe
me, once you've had a whiff of turquiose or malachite you
never want to make that mistake again...


Subject: RE: What Equipment Do I Need to Get Started

It's hard to tell you what your preferences will be in five
years, since lapidary equipment ends up being a lot like
cars. There are a lot of makes and models to choose from.
If you live in an area with a gem club, see if anyone there
would like to show you what kind of equipment they like,
and maybe let you try it out. I saved a bundle by buying my
first equipment used. I got the hang of things, figured out
the kind of improvements I'd make and then found a new
machine that covered those areas.

Auctions are good places to pick up equipment, also rummage
sale and rock shops. I've seen people post used equipment on
the net, too (Eclectic Lapidary and Bob's Rock Shop for
starters). As for fancy spindle thingys, unless they're
diamond drill bits, I haven't really needed any over the
years, although since I'm planning to try my hand at
gemstone carving this winter, I'll probably make some
hardwood spindles for myself.

I've regretted not buying a flat lap when I saw a good deal,
but if you have a place where the noise won't bother anyone,
go for it. There are things that you can accomplish with a
flat lap that are just too hard to do any other way. I wish
I had one when I had to repair a chip on an 18" obsidian

Take your time, keep an eye out for good deals and remember,
you can always upgrade!


Subject: RE: Slabbing the End Pieces of Rough


Here's another technique that works well when slabbing a
piece of rough to the very end. This technique has the
advantage of allowing the rough to be removed from the saw
any time before the last slab is cut & later putting it back
in the saw so that the next slab cut is a uniform thickness
from start to finish.

1. Obtain some short (aprox 3-10 in) pieces of 2 x 2, 2 x 4,
etc.; one end should be cut square.

2. Obtain a tube of silicone caulk (use 100% silicone).

3. Clean any dirt & dust from the area of the area where
the caulk will be applied.

4. Apply enough caulk to the square cut end of a suitable
sized piece of wood (dop stick) & press it onto the rough.
The rough should be clean & free of water or oil in the
area where it contacts the caulk.

5. Set the rough, with dop stick applied aside to allow the
caulk to cure. The dop stick should remain perpendicular to
the rough while the caulk cures. If the rough is an
irregular shape, setting it in a bed of sand or kitty litter
will allow the rough to be positioned so the dop stick
remains perpendicular to the rough.

6. After the caulk has cured (usually over night), clamp the
dop stick in the saw's vice so the rough is oriented for

7. Discard the dop stick after the rough has been completely

I've used this method to slab rough weighing from about
1 lb to over 50 lbs. The only caution is to use the least
amount of caulk that will insure a full contact between the
rough & the dop. If the rough doesn't have a flat area for
dopping, a dop stick can be cut to roughly fit the shape.

noncommercial republish permission granted


Subject: BIO: Doug Frey

Lapidary Digest members,

Looking forward to being involved in the digest. I am living
in Saskatoon, Sask., Canada. I have been a goldsmith doing
mostly one of a kind and limited product handmade jewellry
pieces in gold and silver for 20 years. Although I have been
cutting off and on for 15years, in the last 5 years I have
started cutting my own stones in a big way, mostly cabachons
for inclusion in my work and to sell on a limited basis to
other jewellry makers. My equipment is simple. I use a thin
4 inch diamond trim saw for slicing some of the larger
pieces of rough. I have a 8 inch Lortone arbor using a 180
silicon carbide wheel for shaping and changeable sanding
belts on an expandable drum for finishing. I polish on a
leather end plate using tin oxide or cerium oxide.

For materials I am cutting all colors of tourmaline,
including Catseyes, garnet, Beryls including Aquamarine,
golden Beryls and Catseye beryls, andsome Brazilian Fire
Opal. I try to cut high quality gem cabs with minimal or no
apparent flaws.

I am looking to move to cutting with diamond and having had
no experience cabbing with diamond wheels would appreciate
any help with what grit wheel to use for shaping and what
grit bands I need to use for sanding the stones.

Doug Frey

Douglas Frey

Subject: SHOW: Low Country G & M Show and SFGMS Annual Mtg

Everyone is Invited to Attend the Sixth Annual Lowcountry
Gem, Jewelry, Mineral and Fossil Show...November 14 and 15,
1998, at Charles Towne Landing, Charleston, SC

Hours are Saturday 10AM to 6PM and Sunday 10AM to 5PM

This year our club is also host to the Annual Meeting of
the Southeastern Federation of Gem and Mineral Societies.

Then Annual Meeting will be held at the Northwoods Atrium
Inn. Saturday November 15th from 9 to 12 A.M.

Editor's Breakfast is at the Atrium Inn prior to the
meeting. There will be a banquet at 6 P.M. Saturday at the
Atrium Inn.

The Gem Show will include Lapidary Demonstrations and
Jewelry and Mineral Exhibits including Juried Exhibits
from members of the SFGMS. There will be grab bags and a
fossil dig for the kids. You can also choose and cut
your own geode.

Free Admission to Show and Park with Show Flyers.

If you are coming to Charleston and need a flyer email me
and I will see that one is left at Charles Town Landing
Gate with your name on it. Attendees at the Federation
Meeting will receive flyers at the registration table.

Everybody come on's a great show.

Beth Echols

Subject: FS: Graves Mark IV Faceter

One of my regular customers just bought himself a brand new
Facetron and wants to sell his Graves Mark IV faceter. It
has all the laps and dops. He wants $800 for the set up.
Shipping is extra.

If you are interested, please contact me off list. If this
is your first set up, I will include some citrine, amethyst
and garnet for starting material for you.

Mark Case
Randleman, NC

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