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This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 178 - Sun 11/22/98
2. REVIEW: Rock & Gem for Jan 1999
3. NEW: Accelerant for Epoxy
4. NEW: How to Make Weights for Vibrating Flat Lap
5. Re: Polishing Geodes on a Vibratory Lap.
6. Re: Dry Vibrating Flat Lap
7. Re: How Do You Polishing Copal?
8. Re: How Do You Polishing Copal?
9. BIO: Kenneth Svensson
10. FS: 20" Slab Saw


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 178 - Sun 11/22/98

I am pleased to present the first of the monthly magazine
reviews: Steve Henegar reviews the Jan 1999 issue of Rock
& Gem. Thanks, Steve, for taking this on! I'm sure we will
all enjoy checking your reviews each month!

These reviews of Lapidary Journal and Rock & Gem will be a
regular feature from now on. It was suggested by a member
that it would be nice if members who saw other lapidary
articles or special lapidary exhibits would write up reviews
and send them in. Please do.

In the next day or so I will have the first page of the
Member's Gallery (which will feature the lapidary work of
our members) up on the website. This first one will feature
the work of Roger Pabian, and you will really enjoy seeing
his original work!

Take care, make lots of pretty stuff, and above all, have
fun doing it!!


Subject: REVIEW: Rock & Gem for Jan 1999

This month's issues is the annual gold issue, so there are
several articles covering that subject. The lead story is
about a beautiful crystallized golden Dragon from the
Colorado Quartz Mine in Mariposa County, California.

There is an article by Gerald Wykoff on preforming
gemstones, "To Preform or Not to Preform. While this is
mainly geared to facetors, about half of the article is of
interest to lapidaries. The article presents methods of
orienting Opal, tactics for preforming non-standard cabs,
marking rough for cabs, and problems with commercial

Another article titled "Looking for Pictures" by Max Hatch
discusses natures art found in various material. The
author presents many picture surprises he has found in
various cabochons. He encourages the reader to check slabs
of all kinds of materials for pictures.

In Shop Talk, Wm Kappele discusses several ways to use
pyrite for lapidary purposes: first, pyrite in solid white
quartz makes beautiful cabs, next, soft or fractured pieces
may be used to make doublets or triplets (he gives
instructions); third, you may electroplating to make
pendants, fourth, for use in wirewrapping and finally, they
may be embedded in plastic.

Steve Henegar
Middle Tennessee Gem & Mineral Society

Subject: NEW: Accelerant for Epoxy

Have been told that there is a spray available to
accelerate the setting of epoxy glue, has anyone heard of
this, and what is the name of it? (The person who told us
about this, said that they got it through a friend who had
an auto painting shop.)

If you know, please post the answer on the digest, or
direct to me at:

Subject: NEW: How to Make Weights for Vibrating Flat Lap

Several articles have appeared in the journal as to
weighting stones for the flat lap. This article will
describe my technique for making the weights.

I purchased a bag of #8 shot for reloading shotgun
shells. You can buy this at any local sporting goods
hunting and fishing store. I chose #8 only because I reload
for trap shooting and use #8 shot. The larger the number
the smaller the shot size. You may choose any size but
consider this, larger shot is easier to deal with when you
accidentally drop a couple of pounds of it on the floor,
however the larger shot will take longer to melt.

I have used various methods of melting the lead
including a propane torch, a Coleman camp stove, and an
electric stove in my kitchen.

CAUTION! DO NOT USE your kitchen stove without a power
vent just above the burner. Lead fumes from the molten
lead are hazardous. The best method would be to use the
camp stove or propane torch OUTSIDE or in a VERY WELL
Ventilated AREA. I use a cast iron pan to melt the lead.

Almost anything can be used for a mold. Lead melts
at about 375 degrees F. Some things I have used for molds
are; copper pipe; black or copper pipe fittings such as end
caps, couplings, and nipples; tuna cans; soda cans and other
such items. Aluminum works well also as it has a higher
melting point than lead. I purchased a 1" copper pipe about
3' long from the hardware store and cut it into lengths of
1" to 2". Stand the pipe up on any flat massive surface
such as a brick, cinder block, or hefty price of scrap iron.
Scoop rather than pour the molten lead (I use an old table
spoon). The lead will solidify quickly and there will be
very little if any leakage around the bottom, so a liquid
tight seal is not necessary.

One process for irregular surfaces that I have
thought out but have not actually tried yet is this. Form
some aluminum foil over the surface of the stone and fold
up the edges of the foil so that it makes a well. Spoon in
the liquid lead and let set. Do not pour the lead into the
foil well, The weight of the lead may collapse the walls of
the well and spill molten lead. Spooning the lead allows
each spoonful to partially solidify thus forming self
supporting walls. After the stone is polished, the lead
cap should just lift off with minimum effort, if needed the
lead can be melted again to remove it form the stone. If
anyone tries this please let me know the results.


Subject: Re: Polishing Geodes on a Vibratory Lap.

I'm responding to the inquiries about lapping geodes. The
Houston Gem & Mineral Club uses wax to fill the geodes to
protect the insides when polishing. This would also add
weight. Just heat in water to remove the wax. You can also
boil in water or use the microwave to remove the butt ends
of glued slabs.

Robin Pascal

Subject: Re: Dry Vibrating Flat Lap

Vibrating flat laps should never be allowed to run dry as
they will ruin the bed and bring it to an early demise as
well as ruin the subjects being lapped.

To prevent this from happening use a household electric
timer, and depending on whether you add water manually, or
have a drip system, you set the timer to shut off before
the water is used up. It takes a while to figure the time
at first but you will have to watch it and time it. If it
is of any consolation I think just about every rockhound
has inadvertently let the lap run dry one time or another.


Subject: Re: How Do You Polishing Copal?

<<I recently purchased several pieces of Copal rough. I
have never polished it before and was wondering if anyone
had a good method to share with me.>>

First of all, don't try to polish this with a machine.
Copal is similar to amber in its make up, but has a lower
melting point. You could end up with a plastic like
substance embedded in your wheels.

Note: The following is based on my amber polishing
experience. I've only worked with one piece of copal and
it was rather frustrating, because of its lower melting

Your best bet is to polish these babies by hand with
sandpaper. Just as with a cabbing machine, go from a larger
grit down to the smallest grit possible, then use something
like toothpaste for the final gloss.

Even when working by hand, be very gentle and watch the
paper for little white dots forming amid the dust. They
mean that the copal has melted into the paper. Rinse the
copal off in cold water frequently, this will help get rid
of the dust *and* cool the resin down so it doesn't melt
as easily.

It's possible to use a Dremel tool or the like on copal,
but you have to be careful or - again - you'll end up with
melted material and it can ruin the stone. Your best bet,
however, is to start with hand sanding until you have an
idea of how the copal reacts.

Hope this helps. Anyone have some other thoughts?

Deborah Brown

non-commercial republish permission granted

Subject: Re: How Do You Polishing Copal?

Polishing copal is pretty much the same as amber. Once I've
done all the shaping and sanding through 600 grit, I polish
it lightly on leather or denim. You can use a little damp
cerium, but I've shown off by just giving amber a quick
polish by rubbing it vigorously on my jeans (make sure
they're clean and don't have any grit on them).


Subject: BIO: Kenneth Svensson

My name is Kenneth Svensson. And I am 53 years old, married
since 1974 and I have one daughter.

I got into the cabbing and cutting because of opals from
Australia; they have always been my favorite stone.

In the eighties there was a lot of interest in the travel
and many people from Sweden took a flight to Australia and
came back with a story and opals. I saw my first in 1980.
They are still mine and they there pretty expensive. The
company who sold it where from Goteborg and they went from
that city to England as many do how have gone in the but.

Anyhow soon I got some more from Coober Pedy and now I
know most of the Swedes who have been or are digging in
Australia. Even Kel Markham how lives here in Sweden.
He is from Australia and he made triplets here. All in
all I know a little about them now but they are very
rare gems in high quality.

So if you want to get my little book about the International
Nomenclature for Precious Opal. Send me an e-mail or we can
trade back issues of ROCK & GEM and Lapidary Journal for my
little book with 12 pages and a very interesting front: a
dolphin fossil in blue opal, but I have to print it in black
and white.

The author and Chairman was a gemolog known in Australia
and around the World. His name was Henno J.Nairis and he
and I used to talk a lot about opals and gems at the
Kopparberg mineral show, which is every year in June just
the week before midsummer.

I travel to different shows and sell my cabochons and some
rough stones from New Zealand, which have also been traded
here in Sweden. Most of my stones are agates from different
parts of the World.

I am also casting silver rings in American sizes. And I
have done some of my own model as well.

Now I am looking for 12 mm thick plates and with a hole 1"
in the middle so it can be cut to ring stones for my silver
rings who are domed in the stone setting.

I do only cabbing in the summer outside in a cabin near by.
Just now I am out of electricity so we are planing to buy
some photoelectric cells in 12 v Dc.

Yous sincerely
*This is in Swedish and the homepage is under construction.

Subject: FS: 20" Slab Saw

In the San Antonio area, built-up frame, ideal tank, steel
with galvanized cover that has a Plexiglas window and a
heavy duty motor and a like-new diamond saw blade. Buyer
has to haul. for more info e-mail:

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