Edited and Published by Hale Sweeny
Web Site:
Assoc. Editors: Geo. Butts, JR Shroeder,
Steve Henegar and Margaret Malm

This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 212 - Mon 6/14/99
2. New: Orienting a Star Ruby
3. NEW: Stone Master Saw
4. NEW: Making Diamond Core Drills
5. NEW: Want crystal chips and small stones
6. NEW: Polishing Watermelon Tourmaline Slices
7. NEW: How to Stabilize Purpurite
8. NEW: Corundum- Cutting and Shaping Ruby/Sapphire
9. NEW: Spool Machine Information
10. NEW: Making Red Faceting Quartz Instructions
11. NEW: Info for Arizona trip needed
12. Re: Wyoming Jade
13. Re: Looking for cabbing rough in New Mexico
14. RE: Polishing Obsidian
15. Re: Searching for Nephrite Headstone Maker
16. Re: Help cutting small cabs
17. BIO: Esa Virolainen
18. BIO: Jim Baker
20. BIO: Robert Goll
21. WTB: Quartz Crystal Caps
22. WTB: Cabbing Services


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 212 - Mon 6/14/99

Well, I'm back. And I want to apologize to every member
for the hiatus -- I have been sick at heart over the loss
of my mate -- I never knew life could be this lonely and
have been paralyzed into inactivity by depression. I hope
and believe that it is approaching the end and that I will
fully regain hope and ambition very soon. Anne's condition
is not improving but continues to worsen. She still knows
me and welcomes my visits warmly, but soon forgets that I
am there. This is a blessing as it means that she has now
become accustomed to her new home and does not ask me to
take her home.

Hopefully we can get back to regularly issued Digests - or,
since this is summertime and the beach and the road
frequently beckons, get back to frequent issues.

The Digest gets regular and long newsletter reports from
the ALAA which I do not publish as they are not directly
related to lapidary. But you can read them at their website
( and write them at
<>. They work to keep collecting sites alive!

Some of the letters sent in have been saved and will appear
in the next issue, which I hope to put out on Wednesday.

Enjoy the sun with a good sunscreen, and above all - have


Subject: New: Orienting a Star Ruby

Can anyone tell me the best way to orient a Star Ruby
to get a nice star? This is high quality alluvial material
and I don't want to waste it.

Subject: NEW: Stone Master Saw

Dear Listmembers:

Anyone know about a Stone Master 12 inch saw? They used a
spring (!?) to keep tension on the rock vise. Another friend
has rescued one from his parents basement and is looking for
a source for parts.

Once again, sincere thanks for any assistance,
Karen: Would you please get full information from the
nameplate on the saw? They usually list name and location
of manufacturer. We have no information on our mfgrs list
about Stone Master, and I would like to find out more about
this company and add it to our list. hale

Subject: NEW: Making Diamond Core Drills

Has anyone here made their own cutting tools? Can you
share the details?

As I understand it, a mixture of diamonds, solder powder
and flux is driven into cuts in the edge of the saw. The
saw is placed inside an oven with a reducing atmosphere and
heated to melt the solder. Simple and easy if you know the
recipe and have a suitable kiln (and aren't too worried
about flatness and uniformity).

Here is my plan:

Cut steel pipe to a length of ~ 6 inches .
Hammer on end to thicken the edge.
Flatten the end (preferably on a lathe) .
Saw cuts into the edge with a hacksaw.
Fill cuts with solder/flux/diamond paste.
Stand pipe, cuts up, inside a coffee can with some
pieces of paper.
Heat in a kiln to the melting temperature of the solder.
Cool then remove from the coffee can.

This uses a silver-casting trick to generate the reducing
atmosphere (the paper to burns and use up oxygen) but I
really could use some help with the solder/flux/diamond
recipe. My best idea is to buy some pre-made
silver-solder/flux paste and just mix in the coarsest
diamond grit I can find. I hesitate because the chemists
did not plan on the solder being used with diamonds.

Any thoughts? Will the solder paste shrink too much? Will
it run out of the cuts? Are hacksaw cuts too wide?


Subject: NEW: Want crystal chips and small stones

Hi all

This may be an unusual request, but here's my story:
I plan on volunteering myself at our holistic church to
put together a "large" angel and scenery made from chips or
small stones. It'll probably be a project that will take a
good year - maybe more - to do at my own pace.

My cry for help is to ask anyone who has spare chips
(polished or unpolished) of any type of stones to donate
them to a good cause. I will need massive amounts of the
small stones, and if no one would care to donate them,
then perhaps someone could direct me to a catalog / or a
person who could supply them for me. If any are donated,
I will add your name to the plaque of "he who helped".

My main need will be that of clear crystal chips but other
colors will help with the scenery.

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help out.

Subject: NEW: Polishing Watermelon Tourmaline Slices

I have some watermelon tourmaline slices and I cannot get
the surfaces to polish either with cerium or tin oxide.

Can someone help?


Subject: NEW: How to Stabilize Purpurite

I was wondering if Purpurite could be stabilized much like
Turquoise so that it can worked into cabs or for intarsia.
If so, what process should I use?

Terri Collier
Dallas, TX

Subject: NEW: Corundum- Cutting and Shaping Ruby/Sapphire

Recently, a member of our lapidary club worked on some Star
Ruby material from North Carolina. She ran into difficulty
with the diamond saw, a 10" RayTech "Green Blazer" in water.
We found the saw wouldn't recover cutting power by sawing a
renewal brick and, with a magnifying glass, couldn't find a
trace of diamond left on the blade.

We then found an 8" 100-grit (black binder) SiC grinding
wheel was now 7.5" in diameter. It had been replaced that
morning and no one else had been working on it.

The question is, how do others handle corundum (ruby and
sapphire)? Our member has "lots" of these stones and is
anxious to continue with the project.


Subject: NEW: Spool Machine Information

Dear Listmembers:

A friend has expressed interest in the wooden spool cab
makers as advertised in Lapidary Journal. I don't know
anyone who has one. Do they work well? Are they as clean
as advertised?

Any advice?


Subject: NEW: Making Red Faceting Quartz Instructions

Finally I finished THE paper on treatment of Quartz. As
a final I gave all the instructions on how to manufacture
and identify the material that will make Red Faceting

Enjoy, the formula is copyright free. But the research paper
is not. I would like to see it published as I am in the
twilight of my 30 year career and maybe this can be a
contribution to be remembered for. Webmasters, Club letter
editors, magazine, E-zines or journals, please contact me
for linking or publishing information. You may
find the paper at:

Mark Liccini

Subject: NEW: Info for Arizona trip needed

I'm going to Arizona, northwest part, in a few weeks and
wanted to know from members of any collecting sites to
visit. You may answer directly to me at

Robin Pascal

Subject: Re: Wyoming Jade

I have Wyoming Jade for sale, most is very dark green or a
color approaching black. This is old from an estate. Many
of the pieces are beautifully wind polished.

Web site:


Subject: Re: Looking for cabbing rough in New Mexico

There are not as many rock shops as there used to be in New
Mexico! I am south of Albuquerque about 3 1/2 hours drive.
I have a lot of old estate cabbing rough, fantastic agates.
If anyone wants to collect in this area let me know and I
can help with some directions.

Web site:


Subject: RE: Polishing Obsidian

Bill, as you may have realized from the response to your
question, there is more than one way to polish obsidian and
all methods will work if you spend the time to get your
technique right (practice).

But from your post, it sounds like you are stopping with
the 14,000 polish, this is not good enough for material
like obsidian. You need to add one of the suggested
polishing steps. Because of the construction of the
"All-You-Need" system you might want to consider a 50,000
diamond disk. Look at the Diamond Pacific Nova Disk or the
Eastwind 50,000 or 100,000 diamond disk available from
Graves. While the oxides will work on your machine, they
can get messy.

You may also be having a sanding problem. My experience
with students is that they almost never get the sanding
done adequately. Obsidian is one of the materials that
are subject to "subsurface fracturing". When you grind,
fractures will extend down from the surface for a short
distance on most materials. With obsidian this distance
may be deeper than you are removing with the next sanding
step. The most critical steps seem to be 600 and 1200,
try spending more time there and see if it makes a

To add to the list of ways to polish obsidian. I like to
add some time on 3000 grit and then polish with aluminum

Dick Friesen

Subject: Re: Searching for Nephrite Headstone Maker

Try contacting Oro Stweart at Stewarts Photo Shop in
Anchorage, she is the main distributor for Alaskan (Kobuck)
Jade and routinely sells larger pieces of nephrite, for
book ends etc., on hand. She has up to 32" saws and most
likely would be able to help you in this matter.

Their address is 531 W. 4th Ave. Anchorage Ak. 99501. Phone
Number 1-800-478-8581.

Gil Shea

Subject: Re: Help cutting small cabs

Thanks to all of you and the great advice you sent (never
thought of using nail heads and glue for dop sticks). I
did cut them!!!! Ruined a few (also many fingernails) but
they did not turn out half bad. Learned a lot.

Will let you know when the bracelet is finished and the
picture is up on the web site so you all can see how
wonderful I did (LOL).

Thanks again.

J. Byers

Subject: BIO: Esa Virolainen

Hello and Greetings from sunny and warm Finland.

My name is Esa and I live in Finland. Just wonder if there
are any other Finns around this mailing list?

Anyway I've been working with stones for 7 years as a hobby.
First I started just to grind plain stones after that I've
started to make my own setting from silver. Still after
seven years I'm thinking myself as an starter ..... at least
compared to the age of stones :).

I'm working with the computers (software) in order to give
me and my family a living. I think that this hobby of mine
is good therapy for the brains, you forget everything else
when you start grinding a stone; it relaxes me and gives me
great satisfaction.

As to machinery, I've got a small cutter and a diamond belt
grinding machine at home.

I'm a member of Lohjan Kiviharrastajat (Stonehobbyist of
Lohja) and at the club we have better machinery although
it's not very new; most of our equipment is selfmade. I've
planned to order an faceting machine some sunny day for

My favorite stone is Spectrolite which reminds me of
Labradorite but it's more colorful. If someone wants some
Spectrolite I'm willing to trade it for some other stones;
I'm not making any money out of trading, why should I?

Sorry for my bad English. Hope everybody nice summer.

Esa: Welcome to the Digest. We have members from 32
countries, but you are the only one from Finland. One of my
friends and fellow club members is married to a Finnish lady
and they go home every other year, or so, and bring back
beautiful Spectrolite rough! Good Spectrolite is highly
valued here and you should be able to trade it for very high
quality rough - both faceting and cabbing rough! And don't
worry about your English -- you write much better English
than most of us can write Finnish! (smile) hale

Subject: BIO: Jim Baker


My name is Jim Baker and I am very new to lapidary and am
just looking to learn all I can about all aspects of the
art. I live in Colorado. Looking forward to reading and
Thank you.


Subject: BIO: S.N. JOHRI

Dear Hale,
Many thanks for admitting me on the list. I really look
forward to receiving the digest as soon as possible. As for
me, I am involved in manufacturing Lapidary Machines and
Equipment for sawing, pre-shaping, cabbing and faceting
operations. The machines are being sold under the "ANAND"
brand name which is really a household name in India.

We have already sold over 15,000 machines to the lapidarists
in India. I am also involved in the actual faceting and
polishing of Cubic Zirconia. I give job-work to nearly 1,500
machine-owner workers for faceting and polishing - while
slicing and pre-forming is done in our factory.

I am also involved with "poverty alleviation programmes" of
the Government of India. Under this programme, our lapidary
machines are supplied to the beneficiaries; they are
trained by us and finally we give them job work for faceting
cubic zirconia and pay them for it. This has resulted in
resurrection of several thousand women from below the poverty
line. Today they are independent and living happily with
their reasonable earnings.

I hope I have not taken too much time.


sn johri

Subject: BIO: Robert Goll

I have been working in Silver and Gold fabricating since
the early 1970's. Working with turquoise and other stones.
Enjoyed the first of the lapidary digest Thanks for
letting me join.


Subject: WTB: Quartz Crystal Caps

Looking for a source for quartz crystal caps, various
sizes, for opal, etc. Am interested in oval, round & square
shapes. If someone knows of a supplier of such things, I'd
appreciate a direct email .


Subject: WTB: Cabbing Services

Sure would like some serious cabbing done on some stones I
have. Please contact me privately, giving cutting charges,
etc. Thank you very much.

To unsubscribe from the Lapidary Digest, send a message to, 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.