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This list digest contains the following message subjects:
1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 201 - Tues 2/16/99
2. Review: February 1999 Issue of Lapidary Journal
3. NEW: Refurbishing Used Diamond Sanding Belts
4. NEW: Honduran Opal Cutting
5. NEW: Carving Rocks
6. RE: Colouring Agates with Silver Nitrate
7. Re: Coloring Agates with Silver Nitrate
8. Re: Tumble Start.
9. RE: Surface Tension
10. BIO: George O. Mabe
11. BIO: Jerry Loegering
12. BIO: Sally Richards
13. BIO: Doug Knape
14. WTB: Spiderweb Turquoise
15. FS: Montana Agate
16. AD: Spheres and Sphere Machines
17. AD: Liquidation Sale
18. SHOW: Lincoln Gem & Mineral Club Geology Day
19. Show and Dig: Graves Mountain
20. FS: Cabbing Services
Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 201 - Tues 2/16/99
You probably have noticed that this issue is late, and I
feel a need to explain. As many of you know, my wife has
Alzheimer's and I am caring for her at home. She does go
to a daycare during the week, giving me time to shop, wash
clothes, wash dishes, clean house, write checks and do all
the little things which ordinary living demands.
Formerly, I was able to do LapDigest work in the evenings
while she was watching TV, or on the weekends. But with the
progress of her disease, she now needs my attention almost
full time while she is home. Previously, she never wandered,
but the other night, I awoke about 3:30 and found her out of
bed. I searched and found her in the living room -- but she
could just as well have wandered out the back door and down
the street. We (me and the children who are active in her
care) have concluded that she needs a better environment in
which she would be safer, and have found an assisted living
facility for memory disorder patients, about 10 minutes from
our home. It will open in the middle of March and we intend
to move her there about April 1. As you can imagine, I am
pretty torn up about this - after having loved with her
(sic) for more than 50 years.
I just had not found time to put out the latest issue, or
to put up the newest lapidary show, and so on -- but I will
plug along and keep things moving as well as possible. If
I am late doing something, you will know why! After all, guys,
she IS #1 and yall are - unfortunately - #2!
You may have gotten mail about a new bill in Congress which
will severely limit your ability to chose ISPs. The bill
would require telephone or cable companies to pick one ISP,
and you would be forced to use that ISP. I will send each
of you a letter about this proposed bill in the next week
or so. If you are as concerned as I am about this, I
suggest you contact your representatives and senators and
let them know how you feel.
Take care of yourselves, guys, and remember to play a lot
with those you love, tell 'em you love 'em, and try to keep
Subject: Review: February 1999 Issue of Lapidary Journal
January follow up teaser:
Oh the horror of finding a wolf in sheeps clothing in your
lapidary shop. :-) Confused? Check out the January review or
page 16 of the January LJ.
Capturing the Sky. Page 20.
Ettagale Blauer talks about the use of turquoise as a great
rough material. It shows several pieces of fine jewelry
creations that feature turquoise cabochons and free forms.
It comes in a wide range of colors from pure robins-egg blue
to sea-green with spider-web ground. A major source of
turquoise is New Mexico and the Millennium mine is no
exception. If you are in the area stop buy to pick up some
great cabbing rough.
The Chrysocolla-Chalcedony Connection. Page 34.
Si & Ann Frazier have a very interesting article on a
gorgeous blue stone but "the only real hitch with this
lovely stone is what to call it. The material is chalcedony,
a translucent type of mineral quartz, in which a tiny amount
of the mineral chrysocolla is finely disseminated." This is
more then a mouth full when it comes time to ask your local
rock shop if they have some. There is a set of 11 questions
and answers to go with them. Question is about how it is
among the top three contenders and the most expensive of the
gem quartz varieties. Question reveals that most of the good
stuff comes form Arizona. Question six talks about how to
It notes that old pieces of rough seem to undergo an
oxidation and the surface turns greenish. That brings us to
question 11, what is this stuff going to be called. The name
is still up in the air but for now the editors like gem
chrysocolla chalcedony. It makes some great looking cabs and
What is Polishing. Page 51.
John Sinkankas talks about the three theories in polishing.
The wear theory, the flow theory, and the chemical theory
are described in great detail. Anyone wanting to understand
what takes place in the polishing step will find this
article very interesting.
Missouris Gem Jackpot. Page 57.
Pamela Selbert has a nice article on mozarkite, the Missouri
state rock. It has also been referred to as Missouri agate.
The article talks about the hardness of this stone. It comes
in at about 7 ¾ so it is a bit on the hard side. The stone
has a multi colored pattern to it. Those interested in
finding their own rough can do so each year on the third
weekend in September. See the article for details
Maori-Style Carved Pendants. Page 76.
Grand Hodder has a detailed intermediate-to-advanced carving
project. The primary rough of this project is a Tibia bone
(beef rear leg bone). Anyone wanting to try their hand at
carving may enjoy this project as the bone is rather soft.
(Note by Hale: We will shortly have an exhibit of carvings
of N.Z. Jade (greenstone or pounamu) in the Maori fashion,
by John Burgess. In Johns' note below, you will see his logo,
which is an adaptation of the design of a Maori fishhook. If
you are interested in bone carving, please let me know.)
A Hand-Made Cabochon. Page 85.
June Culp Zeitner has the beginners Project all of us self
taught cabbers could have used when we were just getting
started and didnt have the equipment to even get started.
The rough for this project is a piece of Variscite or
turquoise about ¾ x 1 ¼ .
J & J Jewelry
Subject: NEW: Refurbishing Used Diamond Sanding Belts
(This is being reprinted from GemstoneWorld Newsletter of
02/07/99 with permission. Steve, the author, is a member of
our Digest. He made slight changes from the original.)
Hello out there...
I am wondering if there are any adventurous souls out there
who have been wondering what to do with perfectly good used
diamond sanding belts with the diamond abrasives worn off.
I hate throwing anything away so I have tried to fix these
belts with epoxy and diamond powder.
The following discussion is for a 6"x11/2" belt.
The first thing you need is a used belt in relatively good
physical condition - no holes or delaminations. I have been
using Raytech True Circle Bands (TC's) because they are
smooth, have relatively long life and are inexpensive. And
they are easy to resurface.
The second thing you need is a good epoxy. I have been
using Hughes Associates Epoxy 220. It seems to hold up
well under use and bonds the diamonds to the belt in an
The third thing is a used diamond grinding wheel, to places
the belt on as a jig, when resurfacing.
I mix about a teaspoon to a teaspoon and one half of the
epoxy together in a small container. I then mix in 5 carats,
of the same diamond powder grit that was on the belt
originally, with the epoxy in the small container. Mix it in
well. You have plenty of time because this epoxy takes
about 1 hour to set up.
I place the used belt on the used diamond wheel and place
the diamond wheel on a dowel placed over two piles of books
so the wheel will turn freely and nothing will touch the
surface of the belt. Begin applying the epoxy diamond
mixture on the belt with a screwdriver tip, popsicle stick
or maybe a stiff flux brush (haven't tried the flux brush
but it sounds like it should work). Apply it as uniformly
as possible over the belt. It doesn't seem like it goes on
very well, but after a while the epoxy begins to flow over
the belt and it smoothes out with time. That is also why
you need to have the wheel over the dowel. You need to turn
the wheel every couple of minutes to keep the epoxy from
dripping down and forming thick spots. Keep turning that
wheel and the epoxy box says if you have a heat lamp on it
should only take 30 minutes to harden but I don't have a
heat lamp and have not tried that.
I usually let the belts cure for a couple of days before
putting them on the grinder.
The resurfaced belts with 5 carats of diam. powder on them
seem to last longer and cut faster than the original TC's.
The only downside here is that they aren't as smooth as the
original belts and now it seems we have exceeded the life
of the belting material in the belts and they eventually
will come apart. Be careful when using these belts and be
sure to use eye protection!!
Has anyone else tried this and had luck with a different
technique or using different epoxy or different types of
belts or different amounts of abrasives. Has anyone had
any bad experiences when trying to resurface belts.
Thanks in advance for any discussion on belt resurfacing.
By the way Kingsley North has been my source for the
diamond abrasives as well as the epoxy 220.
(NOTE: people responding to this address
might need to send also to: email@example.com)
Subject: NEW: Honduran Opal Cutting
I recently obtained a small piece (perhaps one inch square)
of Honduran opal. The matrix is black, not glossy, and
apparently has not been treated. One surface has an
abundance of fiery "sprinkles" with lesser amounts on the
other surfaces. I have never worked with this type opal and
the seller advised me to make a cab in the normal manner,
then coat the cab with epoxy (sic), and then the usual
final polish. Since this is my first attempt and the opal
was expensive, I'm eager to hear any other suggestions and
advice. Do the fiery spots continue into the stone? Is the
use of epoxy really the way to go?
Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Gail: There was a great article in the October 1998 issue
of Rocks and Gems by Tony Dabdoub entitled: Saving the
Honduran Black Matrix Opal (Forget What You've Heard. It
Can Be Polished!) And another by the same author in the LJ,
September 1993 entitled: A CUT ABOVE. hale
Subject: NEW: Carving Rocks
I would like to try my hand at carving figures & fancy cabs.
Can you suggest books & equipment and/or give me some tips.
I already have a flex shaft & a Dremel, but what kind of
tips do I need? Do I need to wear a breathing mask, face
shield, and would it be safe to demonstrate at our club
I also consider myself a scrounge jeweler, so if you have
any suggestion on how to make or purchase things cheaply
please let me know.
Subject: RE: Colouring Agates with Silver Nitrate
G'day Hale et al:
I noticed one of our correspondents suggested the use of
silver nitrate to give agates a black/silver effect.
There were some cautions added to the comments, and I'd like
to add my $NZ 0.02
If one does get silver nitrate on the skin it must be
immediately washed off. No, a single drop won't eat you
alive, but if you leave it for a few moments it will react
with proteins in the skin to produce colourless substance
nobody will notice. For a little while. Then it will go
dark brown or black as the silver metal is 'developed' by
light (just like old-fashioned printing out papers when
photography was in it's (my) infancy.
True Story: When my sons were 8 and 9, one had a few warts,
so my wife (who was also a lab technician) used the favoured
treatment of the day - a drop of silver nitrate repeated
every day and the wart vanishes in about a week. But it
goes dead black and looks decidedly unpretty on a little
boy's hand. She was administering the silver solution one
day with a matchstick, whilst the other bloke was jumping
around and being his usual pestiferous self. So he knocked
the tiny bottle over and dabbled in it. Wife sent him
instantly to the bathroom, and having presumably done this,
he shot outside. On returning from the bright NZ sun, it
was instant horror! He'd done the usual little boy wash-up
job, and there were nasty brown smears all over his face,
hands and arms! And they won't erase easily even with pumice!
So she shot the other fellow to the chemist next door to buy
some iodine and some photographic hypo (sodium thiosuphate,
fixing agent for photos.) Firstly the naughty one was
anointed with the iodine, allowed to stand, then washed
with strong hypo (harmless stuff unless you drink it).
The silver stains were gone inside half an hour. But his
face and arms were a bit red from the rubbing. The same
bloke is now a pillar of society and Chief Valuation Officer
for a large district. One never knows how they'll turn out,
Use the above or not, as you will. Nothing claimed.
Subject: Re: Coloring Agates with Silver Nitrate
Larry gave some info re this process, and said you get the
silver nitrate at the drug store. First, silver nitrate is
used in the MANUFACTURE, not the PROCESSING of film. Thus,
Hale's discovery that you can't find it in a drug store
follows quite logically.
I would suggest that you go to your local college or high
school chemistry teacher and ask to look at his/her catalog
from the Chemical supply house they purchase from, and order
from them. In California, I got most of my lab chemicals
from E.H Sargent and VWR. I should think you could get by
with whatever is the least expensive grade. But I would also
buy it as crystals, rather than in solution (yes, crystals
are toxic, but the solutions are equally so!) Any solutions
they have would probably be the so-called "standard
solutions" and are quite expensive, as they have been
carefully prepared to be a VERY EXACT strength, and then
analyzed to be sure. Get the smallest size bottle (probably
will be 1/4 pound). This should last you (and probably all
your friends) a great many years, as I assume you can work
with quite a weak solution. And that it doesn't need to be
an exact strength, so you don't need to weigh it out
carefully; just a few crystals in water.
Then THERE ARE SOME PRECAUTIONS TO BE TAKEN, and they apply
to both crystals and solutions:
Keep the crystals (and any leftover solution you may have)
in a well-capped DARK colored bottle. Like the dark brown
one the crystals will come in. Otherwise the light will
slowly deteriorate them. (No, they don't get explosive or
anything, just sort of turn dark and lose their strength.)
Wear rubber or disposable plastic gloves. And an apron,
unless you want your clothes discolored. And, just to be
sure, safety goggles, --unless you wear glasses. It will
"burn" your skin so that it will (not immediately, but after
a few hours of exposure to light) turn a dark brown and get
rather stiff. This will go away (peel off) after a few days
or a week, but the brown spots are rather unsightly. And
they don't come out of your clothes. (Yes, I speak from vast
Margaret also included a number of Chem Lab safety tips for
which I thank her. They will appear in the next issue.
Subject: Re: Tumble Start.
G'day Hale and lapidarists.
A correspondent was asking about a substance that helped
thicken the grinding grit in a tumble-polisher. I suggest
that the stuff was polymethyl cellulose, or something very
Most people have seen this in paint/decorator shops as a
kind of wallpaper paste. In NZ the name is Polycel and
Selley's Surebond, but it should have the polycellulose type
word somewhere on the package. It is a granular off-white
powder which is added to cold water to be used as a
wallpaper adhesive. A teaspoon of the stuff in half a
glass of water, with constant stirring eventually gives a
clear, colourless, odourless and tasteless gel which is so
harmless that manufacturers put it in soups - you can, and
probably do, eat it! It is also very slippery. I
actually use it to keep my hair in place too! Honest!
It is of course, possible that flour and water paste might
do the same job in a tumbler.
At sunny Nelson NZ
John: I believe you when you say you use it to keep your
hair stuck down! And from looking at your picture, it is
obvious that you need only a tiny bit of it!! (grin) hale
Subject: RE: Surface Tension
By now almost all of your readers must have some favorite
wetting agent. Presently, most of my cutting is faceting.
Polishing of soft stones is a pain. Swarf can cause
scratches at the most inconvenient time. I use deionized
water with a surfactant liquid from AMWAY. It is called
"First Prize" and is or was sold as a soil conditioner for
lawns and gardens. I use 2 ounces per gallon of water. I
first read of this in Lapidary Journal many years ago from
a note sent in by an MD whom I believe lived in Arlington,
Having mentioned this, I hope AMWAY still makes the product.
Subject: BIO: George O. Mabe
HI: i have worked with rocks and gems for forty years. i am
near seventy two years old and still find questions i have
no answer for. i make cabs, do silversmithing, have made
spheres, and the machine to make them with. i would love to
correspond and/or swap with anyone from anywhere. when you
have the time, ask me about the "rockhound's haven" also
known as "the gathering place"
Subject: BIO: Jerry Loegering
I am a retired science teacher, just getting started in
Lapidary. I have a small tumbler, a Lortone 6 inch
combination unit, a 10 inch Lortone slab saw and a Lortone
8 inch sanding unit with expando wheels.
I have found the digest very interesting , full of many of
the questions which I have.
Although I still don't have a lot of specimens I have been
fortunate in being able to collect much of what I have on
site in Oregon, Montana and Minnesota. Now my problem is
learning to work it. I will certainly appreciate all the
help from the digest.
Subject: BIO: Sally Richards
I am a student at the college of Dupage in Glen Ellen IL.
and was introduced to lapidary in my jewelry class. They
really don't have a lapidary class and I need more
information. I have used one of the sanding machines to
shape a stone and I love it. I would like to make stone
shapes to incorporate into my metal projects and I'm eager
to learn as much as I can.
Subject: BIO: Doug Knape
My name is Doug Knape. I am a very slow evolution into the
hobby of rockhounding and lapidary. I have had an interest
in the hidden treasures and beauty contained inside stones
ever since a small child. Now I have two sons, Deric - 13,
and Devereux - 11, who seem to have the same love. This is
apparent from the growing piles of stones that collect
around the house, inside and out, that they have hauled home
from all over. The little double barrel Lortone tumbler
doesn't even begin to keep up.
Recently we took a family trip to Arizona and took along an
old guide from the 70s to look up a few old rockhounding
sites. The three of us had a great time and felt like we
had discovered treasure, everything from agatized petrified
wood to agates to some of the strangest swirled jasper(?).
By the time we had traveled through California, Nevada,
Utah and back home to Loveland, CO., we had collected some
660# of rock. And not about to throw out a single pound to
lighten the load.
One of the highlights for us was stopping at the Quartzite
show. We only spent about 2 hours there for fear of
overdosing my wife, Sharon, on rocks and forever souring
her on the hobby. (She is very patient, but does have her
limits.) While there she discovered opals and gems (her
favorite stones) and got some ideas on how to work them
into jewelry. She came home with the most projects from
the show and now we think she's hooked and ready to take
At any rate, we are planning on attending several shows in
this area this year, getting some lapidary equipment and
going to Quartzite next year for at least a day or two.
On a final note: Can anyone tell me if the GEMSTONE
VIBRATORY TUMBLERS advertised in the Ebersole ads in Rock
and Gem are considered to be "quiet"?
Thanks a bunch. Hale, I've enjoyed the DIGEST so far, even
though I don't understand a lot of it.
Welcome, Doug! And don't worry about it -- I don't under-
stand much of it, either!! hale
Subject: WTB: Spiderweb Turquoise
I am looking for a source of high quality spiderweb
turquoise to be used as inlay in the handles of custom
knives that I create. I would also appreciate any tips on
working and polishing it.
Handmade Knives by D. Fronefield
"Specializing in meteorites and other exotic materials"
Subject: FS: Montana Agate
I have access to an old collection of rough. In that
collection is a considerable amount of Montana agate rough.
I will sell some for $2/lb plus shipping. That I have cut
has been very nice. If someone wants it slabbed, it will
be $5/slice. I bought some rough in Montana this past
summer and paid $15 per rock which weighed about 1 to
Subject: AD: Spheres and Sphere Machines
HI - I would like to tell you about my spheres I sell. I
manufacture four sizes of sphere machines, Marble
makers/refinisher to machines for 3,5, and 7 inch spheres.
If anyone is interested please respond to my email address.
Subject: AD: Liquidation Sale
I will be conducting a liquidation sale of the rock shop
"Gems by Alexander" February 24-27. You may check my site
in a couple of days for a itemized list of items to be
Here is a list of the lots:
Lot 1 Precious Metals $3,091.37
Lot 2 Facet Rough $2,300.10
Lot 3 Faceted Stones $20,562.50
Lot 4 Office Furniture & Display Cabinets $1,500.00
Lot 5 Jewelry $4,100.00
Lot 6 Beads $1,652.00
Lot 7 Lapidary Supplies $2,314.50
Lot 8 Miscellaneous $1,760.00
Lot 9 Cabochons $953.25
Lot 10 Cabochon Rough $9,069.30
Lot 11 Tools $1588.50
Lot 12 Lapidary Equipment $8,399.00
Subject: SHOW: Lincoln Gem & Mineral Club Geology Day
Lincoln Gem and Mineral Club will host its' annual Geology
Day at Pioneer's Park Nature Center, 3201 South Coddington,
Lincoln, Nebraska, Sunday afternoon, February 14 from 1:00
PM to 4:00 PM. Displays of minerals, fossils, and gemstones
and demonstrations of lapidary techniques will be featured.
Lapidary Digest subscribers who are in the Lincoln area are
encouraged to stop by and visit. Hope to see you there.
Roger K. Pabian
Subject: Show and Dig: Graves Mountain
Former Visitors to Graves Mountain
Dig and Rock Swap on MAY 14th, 15th and 16th, at Graves
Mountain near Lincolnton, Georgia
Sponsored by: Junior Norman
Club members only. No visitors, No children under 12 years.
Waivers must be signed daily by everyone entering Graves
Mountain. Please designate one club member to collect
waivers. (If you sign a waiver on Friday a new waiver must
be signed on Saturday and another waiver must be signed on
Sunday. This is a Combustion Engineering regulation.)
Port-O-Lets will be available. A donation is expected to
cover the cost of the Port-O-Lets.
Ticks carrying Lime disease have been found recently at
Graves Mountain, please take appropriate precautions.
Please abide by the AFMS code of ethics.
Bring: Food, chairs, beverages, digging tools and
dress according to the weather.
Fri: 9 AM - 5 PM; Sat: 9 AM - 5 PM; Sun: 9 AM until 3 PM
Fri: 2 PM - 5 PM; Sat: 2 PM - 5 PM ; No selling at swap.
If your club plans to attend, please respond with the club
name and the number of people by April 15th, 1999.
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
phone: (843) 559-3459 or (843) 554-8485 or mail to
Charles Towne Mineral and Lapidary Club PO Box 902
Johns Island, SC 29457-0902
Subject: FS: Cabbing Services
I operate 2 lapidaries in Sri Lanka using modern equipment
and employing over 75 skilled persons. If any member needs
commercial quantities of roughs/preforms or recuts
processed, please contact me off list for further details.
Yath M Iqbal
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