Web Site: http://www.lapidarydigest.com

This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 196 - Tues 1/19/99
2. NEW: Beginners: How to Find a Rock Shop
3. Re: Orienting Montana agate for cutting
4. RE: Surface Tension
5. RE: MK tile saw
6. RE: Flat Lapping Around a Cavity
7. Comment: A Beginner Says "Thank You"
8. RE: Which Oil to Use in a Slab Saw?
9. RE: Beginners: Information on Learning Lapidary
10. RE: Beginners: Information on Learning Lapidary
11. RE: Beginners: Information on Learning Lapidary
12. RE: Beginners: Information on Learning Lapidary
13. Re: Beginners: Information on Learning Lapidary
14. RE: How to Orient a Geode for Cutting
15. NEW: How to Orient a Geode for Cutting
16. NEW: How to Orient a Geode for Cutting
17. RE: Saleability of Opals with Imperfections
18. RE: Gems Inside Gems (Phantom Crystals)
19. SCHOOLS: Lapidary Classes in Western NC.
20. BIO: Don Reynolds


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 196 - Tues 1/19/99

Last weekend, we had to break the Digest in two parts, as
there were 33+ messages, and that is too many for one issue.
Today we had 22+ messages and again the issue would be
overly long. Many members - such as those on AOL - have to
download long messages. To avoid this, I have been trying
to keep the issues short.

In thinking about this, I have decided to more strictly
enforce the 'only lapidary topics' rule in long future
issues. Examples: Fred Sias sent a message giving new URLs
for SFMS and EFMLS websites. Ken Wetz sent a message about
the Demming Show in NM. Both of these are shortened and are
now being just mentioned in this News section.

I also ask that you only include one topic in a letter, and
that you copy the subject exactly as the original, and put
it on the subject line. And please use your spell checker -
- we've all got one!

Fred Sias, an old friend who helped me start this Digest,
wrote to say that the Southeast Fed. of Mineralogical
Societies has a new web site at:
<http://www.clemson.edu/geomuseum/sfms>. Also, the Eastern
Fed. of Min. and Lapidary Societies page has also been
moved to:<http://www.clemson.edu/geomuseum/sfms/efmls.htm>.

Ken Wetz, also an old friend who helped me start this
Digest, wrote that he s going to the Demming NM Rockshow,
and wants to know if anyone on the list will be there. If
so, write him at kwetz@home.com .

And finally to Giovanna, who says below that their temp. is
below, well, it is 78 deg here today!! Read 'em and weep!
Everyone else, stay cool and enjoy life!


Subject: NEW: Beginners: How to Find a Rock Shop

Finding a rock shop near your home might not be easy, but
how to find a rock shop is very easy!

Once a year, the Lapidary Journal publishes a BUYER'S GUIDE
in which every rock shop they know about is listed by city
and state. This is the MAY issue, and is valuable as they
also list every club they know about, and products and

You can find the name of the rock shops in a given town from
one index, and look up details of the rock shop by name in
another. Very handy.. very easy.

I suggest that everyone interested in lapidary buy and keep
a copy of this issue, at least every two or three years.

And if you have access to the Internet, they are also listed
there in several places. For example, dealers for Lortone
are listed by state and city in http://www.Lortone.com.

OsoSoft has perhaps the best on-line list of dealers, at
(http://www.osomin.com/SHOP1.HTM). It is organized into
6 sections, by State, and gives Name, Location, City, State,
zip, and telephone number for each rock shop. It is worth
a look!


Subject: Re: Orienting Montana agate for cutting

First off I would like to say I'm glad to join the Digest
list. I will be happy to contribute what I can to the list.

I have been collecting Montana agate for over 40 years and
have been fortunate in finding spectacular scenes in the
agate. I try to do what candling I can right in the field,
but when in doubt keep it for the strong hood light at home.

Most all the Montana agate can be looked into as it is
transparent. Then decide on the angle for sawing so as not
to destroy the scene you see in the agate. Don't saw too
close to the scene you're looking at, because you can either
make another cut or grind the agate away up to the scene.

For those who haven't seen my home page you will probably
enjoy a look. It's www.infolink.morris.mn.us/~eperr


Subject: RE: Surface Tension

Hi all

I presume surface tension in this case means that by
it's removal one gets result like adding a wetting agent to
water, i.e., for the removal of surface tension.

Kodak makes a solution available in most photo shops at
a dollar or so for a small bottle that will last a long
time. Just add a few drops to a liter (oops, a little less
than a US quart) of water and voila, water will not draw up
and pool on a flat waterproof surface. Just ask for "Kodak
wetting agent".

Leo Doucet......Fredericton, NB......Canada......

Subject: RE: MK tile saw

In the latest edition of Trend-line's catalog, it lists the
MK 101 at $809.96, and the MK370 (7 inch) at $332.10. The
address is Trend-lines 135 American Legion Hwy, Revere,
Mass. 02151. Catalog # 530 A, you can call them at

Seems like quite a bit of price differences!


Subject: Flat Lapping Around a Cavity


For small cavities, I use a cake of Fels-Naptha soap and
rub it over the surface of the rock. When changing grits,
scrub thoroughly with a toothbrush and reapply.

For large cavities you can make a paste of powdered
detergent, like Tide and fill the cavity. You would have
to let it dry for a day or so and then reapply to make up
for the shrinkage as it dries. It seems to me that when I
used this method several years ago it was not necessary to
wash out the whole cavity but only replace the first quarter
of an inch or so with new paste (and dry it) when changing

Rose Mc Arthur

Subject: Comment: A Beginner Says "Thank You"

Hello all.

I've been eavesdropping for months and finally asked about
the tabletop all-in-one machines. That exchange was

I finally bought a 6" Crystalite Crystalmaster. I just made
it through my second small batch of stones, all of different
hardnesses and shapes, my mini crash course.

The first batch had flat spots, scratches, the softer stones
didn't polish up and I broke an Apatite trying to unstick it
from dop wax. The second batch I am SO proud of. I needed
to add a smoother sanding disk to get rid of the scratches,
and cerium oxide for the final polish (instead of 50,000

Oh, I used the trick of supergluing to small nails and
soaking in fingernail polish remover to loosen the finished
stones. It worked like a charm.

Thanks a bunch for all the information!

Dana Carlson

Subject: RE: Which Oil to Use in a Slab Saw?

In the #194 issue I was reading about using Anti-Freeze for
a lubricating for your saw. I'm the editor for the Tooele
Gem & Mineral and a few years past there was a big warning
going to the editors. Do not use Anti-Freeze because the
saw will kick up a fine mist which can be inhaled and
absorbed into the body. If you take the needed precautions
to keep this from happening, I guess you can use it, but not

I wish I could remember what kind of oil my dad used. I
remember going to a big factory where he would get the used
oils from some kind of motors or engines (I think it was
transmission oil), and we would get it free. That way the
company didn't have to dispose of it. Sorry I couldn't
remember more but I was just a kid at the time.

Dennis Chapman
Dennis: I think they were talking about anti-freeze for
RVs, which is nothing but non-toxic propylene glycol, with
non-corrosive additives, which is safe enough to use in the
drinking water system in an RV. hale

Subject: RE: Beginners: Information on Learning Lapidary

The best source of information for lapidary instruction is,
without a doubt, a local club. Unfortunately, not every
community has one.

Community colleges sometimes offer classes though possibly
not in all aspects of lapidary. The college in my community
offers excellent classes in silversmithing. The senior
citizens center here has an excellent lapidary shop and
several people there are well qualified and willing to help

If none of these sources are available, contacting others in
your community that are interested in lapidary would
probably be helpful.

Self-teaching is an option, but can be time consuming and
very discouraging.

Lapidary has been the most satisfying hobby that I've had,
so don't be discouraged.


Subject: RE: Beginners: Information on Learning Lapidary


I would recommend joining your local gem and mineral club,
preferably one that is associated with the American
Federation of Mineralogical Societies. Some clubs offer
classes, but even if they cannot, you still have access to
years of knowledge and experience within the club. It will
take a little communication on your part to find out which
folks are the most open to sharing their expertise with you
(and perhaps their workshop sometimes). Bear in mind that
you will find a great variety of interest in different
facets of rockhounding. A gold panner may not give two
hoots for cutting rocks, a lapidary may not be up on
mineral associations. There may be several "right" ways to
do something so get a variety of opinions.

Hope this helps.


Rose Alene McArthur

Subject: RE: Beginners: Information on Learning Lapidary

Many cities have rock/gem/mineral clubs. Most of them will
post flyers in local rock shops, or you can find them listed
in the Lapidary Journal or Rock and Gem Magazine. Often
members will have used equipment for sale or available for
loan. Our local club emphasizes field trips, but we do a
number of other things, including smaller, special interest
groups (wire wrapping, lapidary) that meet separately from
the main club. New members are always welcomed and usually
have no problem in getting questions answered or finding out
where they can learn different things (lapidary, faceting,
jewelry making, etc.).

If you can't find a club in your area, try the local
technical college. Many of them offer lapidary classes.
Many rock shops also have basic classes. The important
thing is to not be shy and ask around about where you might
find people who have similar interests.

Good Luck!


Subject: RE: Beginners: Information on Learning Lapidary

Hi Paula and Everyone,

This is the first time I've tried to respond to an entry. I
hope I'm getting it right.

About Lapidary classes -

Here in Monterey, Ca. one of the local colleges is very
active in the jewelry arts and one of the classes taught is
called Intro to Lapidary. It's held every spring at MPC
(Monterey Peninsula College) and this next class begins on
4 Feb 99 at 6:30pm. The instructor is Mike Green, a local
Jewelry store owner of more than 25years and Master stone
cutter. I began training with Mike 6 years ago in this class
and with the help of the local CVGMS (Carmel Valley Gem and
Mineral Society) have maintained the lab equipment since.
There are 4 saws, 4 dual grinding arbors, 4 dual Sanding
arbors and a polishing station. Mike is great about brief
lectures, demonstrations and lots of walk-around-patience.
If you are in the area and would like more information about
this class you can email me direct skyler@jps.net .

For getting newcomers starting in the art I don't think
there is a better way than a local class where you can see
the mechanics demonstrated and practiced every week. CVGMS
has gained several new members from the class and Monterey
has several new artists that practice cutting their own


Subject: Re: Beginners: Information on Learning Lapidary

New people do have a hard time finding where to get started.
The first place to look is in the April Issue of the
Lapidary Journal. Here they list classes and clubs. Many
areas do not have classes offered. In these areas clubs and
willing members fill the void. In other places there are
community colleges or park districts that offer on going
classes in stone cutting and or metal work. These may take
a little effort to find.

Also in the lapidary magazines (most of them) are rock show
dates and locations. People are there that can direct you to
local contacts. In a few instances I have heard of people
learning from jewelers while working with them. The jeweler
usually can't afford to take on someone that can't work
independently and without instruction.

If you find a teacher and or a class and things don't go the
way you thought, try another class. Teachers can not reach
every student, and if you feel you need more, or something
different, go for it. Remember the goal is to learn.
Having fun while your doing it is a real plus.

One hint for new people: You are your own worst critic,
don't judge a project till it is done. Many times things
don't look good until the final polish. Don't judge till
you get there.

Steve Ramsdell

Subject: RE: How to Orient a Geode for Cutting

Here is a link to an extensive source for info on
thundereggs and geodes, The Geode kid is even writing his
book on this site.


Don Reynolds
Thanks, Don. I was impressed by this site; he has described
orienting with drawings. But don't jump to the orienting
page without looking at the first page; he has a lot of good
info on thundereggs and such. You have to overlook his use
of 'big words'; it comes off as a bit pompous, but that's
easily overlooked by the quality of information given. hale

Subject: NEW: How to Orient a Geode for Cutting


I have cut literally hundreds off geodes from Mexico as
this is the primary fund raiser we have at our club (Indian
Wells Gem and Mineral Society) show every November and to
be quite honest I personally have never found one method
that is any better than another. If the geode is round then
it is a real guessing game. If it is more oval or egg
shaped, then you should cut it the long way in order to
show more crystals.

I have found everything in a geode from white to clear to
blue to Smokey quartz. My favorite and the ones I collect
are the amethyst variety, they are absolutely gorgeous.

Good luck and
good cutting.


Subject: NEW: How to Orient a Geode for Cutting

First of all, find a chiropractor with a sense of humor and
an x-ray machine... Really, there are some chiropractors who
will x-ray something like that for the cost of the film
(about $3 a sheet). Another option is to go to your local
university's geology dept. where they usually will have
access to an x-ray. That way you can check out the inside
before you cut it or crack it.



Subject: RE. Saleability of Opals with Imperfections

One respondent on this subject mentioned backing opals with
material of a similar coefficient of expansion. ?????
Enlighten us, please. I have a box of Spencer opals sitting
here ready to work on and a box of thin slices for backing;
obsidian, Basenite, black jade, etc. Offhand I would assume
that silicon dioxide materials would be preferable. But
where on earth would we find information on coefficients of
expansion for gem materials?

Rose Alene McArthur
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999 18:11:34 -0600 (CST)
To: Lapidary Digest Hale Sweeney <Lapidary@mindspring.com>
From: kfletcher@citilink.com
Subject: Phantom Crystals


58 degrees! Last week the weather men were doing a
little tap dance because we got up to 5. It's practically
t-shirt weather now that it's above 30. :-)

For Phantom Crystals check out Wegner's Quartz Crystal Mines
P.O. Box 205, Mt. Ida, AR 71957 (501) 867-2039. Richard
Wegner is the owner and a fair guy. Our club went out there
a couple years ago and collected some perfect black phantoms
in clear quartz. I have a single point that is 3" wide at the
base and is about 6" long with a perfect black phantom that
fills the lower third of the crystal. I have some beautiful
clusters from there, too. Wegner's does wholesaling and
mail order, too. And if you're out that way, there is a
campground with full facilities and there's nothing like the
thrill of digging something like that on your own.



Subject: SCHOOLS: Lapidary Classes in Western NC.

There are lapidary classes being offered at Haywood
Community College in western NC. The class information maybe
obtained by contacting them at: HAYWOOD COMMUNITY COLLEGE,
185 FREEDLANDER DRIVE, CLYDE, NC 28721, attention: Marinda
Green. Or call them at -- 828-627-4667, FAX 828-452-3353


Subject: BIO: Don Reynolds

First a big thanks to you Hale for the effort you put into
this digest for all of us to enjoy.

Hi, my name is Don Reynolds.

My wife and I have been rockhounding for over 30 years
throughout the western states. Now that I am retired I am
starting to do something with the rocks piled in the yard.
I have been selling at 3 shows the past 3 years. I have saws
from 8" up to a homemade 24" on a Comet radial arm saw. I
have devised a holding device for geodes up to 8" diameter
which I have been selling for $65; if I can get the time I
will draw up the plans and make them available as I really
don't make any money on it. Anyone wishing to trade material
or any info on the holding device, write me at the address

Don Reynolds
To unsubscribe from the Lapidary Digest, send a message to
Lapidary@mindspring.com, with the word UNSUBSCRIBE DIGEST as
the subject of the message. Other commands you may use are:
SUBSCRIBE DIGEST to join, HELP to receive a page of help
instructions on the use of the list, and DIR to receive a
list of names of all files in the Archives.

The command <GET filename> may be used on the subject line
(without brackets, of course) to obtain a copy of the file
named "filename". Type filename exactly as it appears in the
directory, including the extension txt. Do not cut-and-paste
filenames into the subject line.