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

This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 221 - Mon 7/19/99
2. NEW: Need Information on Sunbeam Equipment
4. NEW: Buehler Grit Equivalents
5. NEW: Variscite - Does it Naturally Whiten?
6. RE: Cabmate suggestions
7. RE: Your Cabmate Suggestions
8. RE: Converting Between Carats and Grams
9. RE: Converting Between Carats and Grams
10. RE: Converting Between Carats and Grams
11. RE: Converting Between Carats and Grams
12. RE: Pre-Polish for Tumbling - What Is It?
13. RE: Who Makes a Really Tough Diamond Blade?
14. RE: Improving the Color of Blue Chalcedony
15. RE: WTB: Lapis Lazuli


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 221 - Mon 7/19/99

In a note, Terrie said: "Are you OK? RE: Franklin show; You
are a month ahead of yourself." I goofed again; Terrie is
right; the show dates are in August and not September! I am
leaving Wednesday for the show and will return Sunday.

The next issue should be Tuesday July 27. Please continue
to send in queries, and for goodness sake, take good care
of yourselves and your loved ones. And give them BIG hugs!
Smile at inanities, laugh at your foibles and HAVE FUN!!


Subject: NEW: Need Information on Sunbeam Equipment

We purchased a Sunbeam grinder, polisher, honer and have
no information or instructions. Being new in the lapidary
business, we're hoping that someone might have one of
these old machines and can e-mail or send me a copy of the
instructions. This machine has a tiny (3") wheel on top
that looks like a very small faceting lap and a grinder on
one side and polisher on the other.

There are letters on the front of the unit which say:
SUNBEAM Grinder, Sander, Honer. The nameplate on the
bottom says:

Model 73 Grinder I
110 - 120 Volts AC-DC
3 amps 3800 RPM Sunbeam Corp.
Chicago, ILL. USA
Toronto, Canada

I couldn't find any markings on the wheels to tell what
they were.

The unit is about 10" wide, 7" high, and 6" wide; the wheel
on the left (grinder?) is 5" in diameter & 5/8" thick; the
right wheel (grinder? honer?) is 5" in diameter, 1/2" thick
and the top wheel that looks like a small lap, is 4" in
diameter and has a metal bar the goes halfway across it to
hold down something (the bar is adjustable).

The left wheel is dark blue and very coarse. There is a
plastic window/guard that swivels down and up over the wheel.
The right wheel looks permanent - as if it's used as is or
with some kind of sanding papers stuck to it. There is a
three inch shelf right next to this right wheel. All three
wheels turn at the same time and there is one switch in
front of the unit that turns it on.

Hope you can help. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Lenny (M. Lenora Salandi)


Dear Listmates,

While in Madras, Oregon over the fourth weekend, I bought
a few beautiful pieces of rough. I have two 8" x 2" (appx)
chunks of calcite, a 6" x 6" x 3/4" slab of "African" agate,
and several 8" x 2" (approx.) pieces of sodalite.

I'm wondering about hardness of these pieces and what can be
done with them. The calcite looks very fractured. I'd like
to try making some jewelry with them, but I don't know
anything about working them. I was thinking that since I'm
very new at this, maybe I could cut them into smallish
geometric shapes and tumble them. I'm just not sure. Any

I love the calcite, but I have absolutely fallen in LOVE
with the sodalite. What is sodalite exactly? I cannot find
it listed in any of my books.

Also, where does a person find jewelry fittings in precious
metals and are they expensive?

Thanks so much!!

Ann Griffin

Subject: NEW: Buehler Grit Equivalents


A friend obtained some surplused adhesive-backed nylon
polishing cloths and wants to know the grit equivalents.
On each cloth is "Buehler, ...., Lake Bluff, Ill" and one
of the following numbers: "383", "435" or "494".

Does anyone know what the grit equivalents are for these
numbers? Or point me to an Internet website with this
information? I couldn't find it.

Thanks in advance.

John Gay.
John, I searched (AltaVista) on the words: +Buehler and
abrasive, and got several hits on TBW Industries. Looking
at the source code for TBW's home page, I found the keyword
'Buehler', which led me to think that TBW had absorbed
Buehler. So I wrote them about your query and am awaiting
their answer. Please don't let this stop anyone else from
answering! hale

Subject: NEW: Variscite - Does it Naturally Whiten?

A couple of days ago I had the opportunity to dig in a
varascite claim and eventually extracted a pound or so of
the stone from the sticky clay in which it was buried. I
checked the Web and books, and the material I had appeared
to be the real thing, various shades of green in color and
of varying hardness from almost chalky to perhaps hardness
of four. I took it home, washed it in tap water, cleaning
off the clay and dirt, and sorted it into the "good" stuff
and the not-so-good stuff. The good stuff went on my rock
bench inside the garage to dry and remained there overnight.
The other, lesser, material, I placed in a container of
water, also in the garage overnight.

The next morning, ALL of it had turned white! A piece or
two in the water still retained some green, but most had

Did I do something wrong? Could the material actually be
something else rather than variscite? Or perhaps a very
poor grade of variscite? Is there anything I can do to
recover the green color?

Any help or advice will be appreciated.


Gail Clark

Subject: RE: Cabmate suggestions

Here are some answers to questions posed by Bob Lombardi
about use of the Cabmate.

Q1. How do I get water to the wheel without taking a bath?

A1. Water goes in the reservoir tank that sits on top of
the mast behind the wheel. From there, it passes through a
regulator valve to a plastic tube which supplies a wick,
which is held in the wick clamp immediately above and to
the front of the wheel. To prevent the clamp from occluding
the tube, thread a bit of wire up inside it.

For use with the wide expanding drum, I cut my wicks from
four layers of toweling in the shape of an inverted
"T", about 1-½" wide at the top and 2-½" wide at the bottom.
The tube feeds water between the second and third layers of
the wick. The wick drapes over the top/front of the wheel
and spreads the water while suppressing the spray quite

I always wear an apron while working and throw a towel over
my shoulder, but I don’t get very wet and don’t spread a lot
of water around the kitchen where I work (I would be
banished if I did!).

The tube is also used to feed water to the rim of a saw
blade or to the center of a grinding disk or polishing pad
when these are used.

Incidentally, as backing for my polishing pads, I use the
rubber faced disks with a hole in the center that slide on
to the spindle, rather than the ones that screw into the

Q2. Where on the wheel do you work the stone?

A2. Right on the front of the wheel. From your questions
and remarks, I suspect that you are holding the stone in
your fingers rather than using a dop stick. In my opinion,
this is a mistake. I dop everything and take advantage of
the extra leverage that the stick provides to gain a
greater control over the shaping of the stone. My left hand
rests against the metal casing and holds the stick fairly
close to the stone, while my right hand holds the end of
the stick and controls pressure, angle and rotation.

I never gouge into the wheel, but always work towards an

I hope that this answers your questions and that once you
have adopted these methods, you will come to like the
Cabmate as much as I do.

Geoff Haughton.

Subject: RE: Your Cabmate Suggestions

The Graves Company has a little pump that sits in the sump
of the CabMate and spritzes water onto the wheel from the
bottom. Its like an aquarium pump and the head sits in the
water. Quite inexpensive @ $17.50 + shipping. It is Item
#14-025 on page 12 of their catalogue #988.

Good luck

Dave Garner

Subject: RE: Converting Between Carats and Grams

<< I know a gram is a weight but I'm not sure what a carat
is. Does each type of stone have a specific conversion
factor? A metals website said there are 5 carats per gram
(.2 grams per carat) but one dealer multiplied grams by 9
to get carats for ammolite that I was buying.>>

There are five carats per gram as used in the lapidary

Roy Meade

Subject: RE: Converting Between Carats and Grams

There are 5 carats to a gram; i.e. 1 carat is 200 mg.

1 ounce avoirdupois is ~28.4 grams or 142 carats.

1 ounce troy is ~31.1 grams or 155.5 carats

Troy ounces are used for precious stones, such as opal and
precious metals, such as gold and silver; avoirdupois is
used for almost everything else.

I hope this helps.

Geoff Haughton.

Subject: RE: Converting Between Carats and Grams

Hi Kathi,

I'm sorry to tell you this, but if you bought ammolite
thinking you were getting a great price per carat & the
dealer used 9 carats per gram you got ripped off. The
dealer was either very ignorant or more likely, a crook.

The conversion is 5 carats to the gram for all materials
(not to be confused with karats, the measure of purity for

Hope this helps,


Subject: RE: Converting Between Carats and Grams

Hi, Kathi

In answer to your question: gram, carat, grain, ounce, etc.
are all units of weight, and always represent the same amt.
of weight. Thus there could not be different conversion
factors for different stones.

To convert carats to grams, you multiply the carats by 0.2.

To convert grams to carats, you multiply by 5.

I looked all through my conversion tables and couldn't find
*any* kind of weight conversion factor of 9; so I have no
idea where the dealer got that number -- unless he had some
other really weird kind of scales he was using. Or it could
have been an honest mistake. Or it could have been just
plain dishonest. Sad to say, this does happen. It's always
smart to have those numbers in mind, and let them know you
didn't just fall off the turnip truck. "OK. 10 carats. That’s
2 grams, right??" Or question them if it looks suspicious.
Particularly if you have a nice innocent-looking face!


Subject: RE: Pre-Polish for Tumbling - What Is It?

<<Can anyone authoritatively tell me what the common
pre-polish powder actually is?>>

Hi Hans,

I will not pretend to be an authority on anything but here
is my 2 cents worth. I have a white powder in a bag sold to
me as prepolish that is marked "micro fine silica." I read
somewhere that it should be used on materials below 7 in
hardness such as Lapis, Obsidian, Turquoise, etc.

In my ongoing experiments with vibratory tumbling
(finishing cabs in the tumbler with ceramic media) that
prepolish stuff has proven absolutely useless to me.

Everything I have tumbled, including some of the softer
materials mentioned above, seems to do mighty fine without

Good Luck

Subject: RE: Who Makes a Really Tough Diamond Blade?

Piranha Blades are sold through Johnson Brothers Inc. 818
705-7400. 18434 Oxnard Street. Tarzana, California.
They are about 45 minutes northwest of Downtown Los Angeles.
Good Luck


Subject: RE: Improving the Color of Blue Chalcedony

Some varieties of Blue Chalcedony, but not all, will darken
when exposed to the rays of the sun. Simply leave in direct
sunlight for a few months and see if any change occurs.
Good Luck


Subject: RE: WTB: Lapis Lazuli

In a message dated 7/16/99 8:06:42 PM EDT, Joshua writes:

<<Does anyone know how I can get a hold of some lapis

Why don't you let us know how much you are looking for?

DURNINGS Rings & Things
Joshua: This sounds like an offer in the offing! Why don't
you write directly to Larry and find out? hale
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