Edited and Published by Hale Sweeny
Web Site:
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 229 - Sun 9/5/1999
2. NEW: Hello to you all from Turkey..
3. NEW: Parts for Highland Park Saw
4. NEW: Mystery Stone?
5. NEW: Mirror Finish on Tumbled Hematite
6. NEW: Coloring Agates
7. RE: Mineral Oil as a Trim Saw Coolant
8. RE: Mineral Oil as a Trim Saw Coolant
9. RE: Mineral Oil as a Trim Saw Coolant
10. RE: Mineral Oil as a Trim Saw Coolant
11. RE: Mineral Oil as a Trim Saw Coolant
12. RE: Filling Cracks in Dino Slabs
13. RE: Filling Cracks in Dino Slabs
14. RE: Filling Cracks in Dino Slabs
15. RE: Filling Cracks in Dino Slabs


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No 229 - Sun 9/5/1999

Well, it has been a while since #287 was published! I
went to Wildacres for a week and then came home to find Anne
with a severe infection. Much of this week has been spent
taking care of her; she no longer knows the children, and
only knows me as "husband" (which is a hellova lot better
than not knowing me at all!

At Wildacres, I took opal cutting under Joe DePetrie (who
is a lurking listmember). He had lots to say about filling
cracks in opal (and other materials), and lots of tricks. I
was impressed!! Smart guy!! So smart, I'm going to try
to go back and take another week with him in October!!

This and the next will be published back to back -- too
many to include in one issue. So if you dont see the one
you sent in, just wait - it should be out tomorrow. Then I
am going off again for a week and the next issue will be
out on Sept 14 or 15.

One of our listmembers who has been on almost since the
beginning is F. Oya Borahan, a very nice lady who (here is
where I am jealous!) studied for a year or so in Germany
at the lapidary center (can't remember the name just now;
closest I can come right now is Uber-Oberstein). Oya is
from Turkey, and while not injured herself in the recent
earthquake, hurts for the thousands of people who were. I
am breaking my rules and am publishing (below) her plea for

Going back to Wildacres on Tuesday, and will return on Sept
13th. Summer is ending soon for many of us (not for our
friends in So. California, as I was reminded last year!) so
lets make the most of what we have left -- enjoy the outside
world with your family and HAVE LOTS O' FUN!!!

Stay safe, guys....


Subject: NEW: Hello to you all from Turkey..

Dear friends,

I am receiving notes from people that I have never heard of
asking about my health and asking if we need anything. I
suspect most of these emails are from the digests
subscribers. Therefore I would be very grateful if you post
my note of thanks for all. I thank you all with all my
heart. I and my family live in Anatolian side of Istanbul.
The first night we felt the tremor strongly but thank God we
have no damage.

My two sons had come home for short visits. One from Poland
where he as a contracting firm, the other from US where he
works as a technical writer. And my daughter and grandson
had come from Montreal, Canada for summer vacation. I
normally miss them a lot but for the first time in my life
I was happy to see them go out of Turkey to their homes
safe and sound.

After the earthquake there are lots of people without
clothes or shelter. Right now the most important help will
be donation of money. This is a web site for secure way to
make a donation to Turkey for the earthquake victims:

Dear, very dear people God bless you all.
F. Oya Borahan
PS. Please see my web site to know me.

Subject: NEW: Parts for Highland Park Saw

Dear Hale,

I need to find parts for a 10" Highland Park saw (Gravity
Feed) model # E5. I need the bushings and guide rod that
the vice travels on, and a gasket for the oil reservoir.

Was it Raytech that bought out Highland Park? I can probably
fabricate what I need, but was wondering if the parts were
readily available anywhere.



Subject: NEW: Mystery Stone?

Dear Hale,

I have a piece of rough that I bought in Tucson last
February and I lost the receipt, and I can't remember what
it is. I was wondering if anyone can help be identify it.

It is a beautiful stone that is mostly white and black with
areas of ruby red. It has to be stabilized, but makes
wonderful cabs. I saw the rough in one place in Tucson,
but finished cabs in several places. My wife thinks it is
from Canada. Can anyone help solve this mystery?

Randy Aue
Estes Park, CO

Subject: NEW: Mirror Finish on Tumbled Hematite

Any tips on obtaining a mirror finish when tumbling
hematite? We re-tumbled some pitted hematite stones, got
them smooth but lost the shine.



Subject: NEW: Coloring Agates

Hi all,

I've read all the threads with relation to this topic, but
would like some more information on current techniques with
chemical reactants to obtain colour. The German Method
posting describes historical methods which were not
recommended due to better and safer processes being
available today, but I have not been able to find
information on present processes.

We have a load of Brazillian agate, some of which is
beautiful in its natural state, but others are rather
bland and we would like to experiment with colour
treatments to these.

Any tips or references would be appreciated.



Subject: RE: Mineral Oil as a Trim Saw Coolant

On Mon, 23 Aug 1999 11:00:07 +1000, you wrote:

<<Now I use auto antifreeze, ethylene glycol, undiluted.
There are some advantages. Steel based saw blades do not
rust, the lubricant washes out of cracks with just water.
The best thing is the price. Around here it sells at times
for less than $5.00 per gallon. With all those things
going for it, I wonder what I have missed?>>

The main thing you've missed it's it's toxicity. This is
rather poisonous stuff. And with saws, you need to be sure
you're not inhaling mist, a problem you don't have to
normally worry about when just putting the stuff into your
car's radiator. Remember too, that though it's toxic, is
tastes good. Dogs, cats, and sometimes little children
have been known to drink the stuff. Cats in particular
seem to like it, happily licking up spills. It causes
irreversible fatal liver damage, and the poor animal (or
child) dies a horrible, slow and painful death. While it
may make a good saw lube, it's also nasty material that
needs to be handled and used with considerable care.
Personally, I won't use it.

I prefer to use the standard diamond grinding lubes sold
for use with diamond grinding wheels and faceting disks,
such as Crystalite’s dia-lube. More costly, perhaps not
quite as effective, but it's a lot safer by far, and my 10
inch saw is still quite happy.

Peter Rowe

Subject: RE: Mineral Oil as a Trim Saw Coolant

Ethylene Glycol is poisonous! Many pets (the stuff is said
to taste sweet) and occasional people are killed by
accidental ingestion yearly. When Ethylene Glycol meets
Alcohol Dehydrogenase in the liver, Oxalic acid forms, both
acidifying the blood and depositing oxalates in the Liver,
Kidneys, and Bladder. As the material is relatively
insoluble, the result is stones. As anyone who has had them
will testify (I haven't, but have friends who have), these
are horridly painful.

First aid for ingestion is ethyl alcohol and antacids. The
whiskey, brandy, or whatever, saturates the available
alcohol dehydrogenase, promoting the excretion of glycol
unmodified, and the antacid helps buffer the acidity of the
material that does get converted to oxalic acid.

A similar, but much safer alternative is Propylene Glycol,
sold in RV supply places as an antifreeze for drinking
water(!) systems.

Bottom line, Ethylene Glycol is poisonous, not as bad as
the used PCB transformer oil popular as a saw lubricant
30-40 years ago, but worth avoiding, especially as the
essentially non-toxic Propylene Glycol alternative exists.
Compare the apparent savings of using automotive antifreeze
with the cost of a single emergency room visit, plus the
stabbing flank pain that sent you there!


Subject: RE: Mineral Oil as a Trim Saw Coolant

WARNING- Ethylene glycol (anti-freeze) and its fumes are
toxic. It should NOT be used in a rock saw.

>From the MSDS (material safety data sheet)-----
Human poison by ingestion. Moderately toxic to humans by
an unspecified route. Moderately toxic experimentally by
ingestion, subcutaneous, intravenous and intramuscular
routes. Mildly toxic by skin contact. A suspected
carcinogen. An experimental teratogen.

Mineral oil is the proper lubricant BUT it must be pure
oil with no additives - machine shop cutting oils all have
additives. Texaco sells Almag and Shell sells Pella. It is
available too from other sources such as small oil outfits
that mix lubricants for special users. Most refiners make
such an oil but almost none sell in lots smaller than 55


Subject: RE: Mineral Oil as a Trim Saw Coolant

I have been watching the articles on saw coolants .. you
had some early articles on using RV antifreeze - pink -
the best stuff I have found. Cheap, no odor, non-toxic
(used to winterize motor homes or vacant campers water
systems .. just fill up the lines and rinse them out with
water in the spring - even drinking water lines)

It also leaves a very pleasant soft texture to your hands -
like lanolin ..

Washes off with soap and water - and is biodegradable - not
like Prestone ...

good luck ..
Let's get this straight. The BAD STUFF is Ethylene glycol.
Made by Prestone and others as an AUTOMOBILE antifreeze.
The material you are talking about is Propylene glycol, and
is made for RV antifreeze for water tanks. DO NOT USE THE
ETHYLENE GLYCOL as a saw lubricant!! hale

Subject: RE: Mineral Oil as a Trim Saw Coolant

A little "heads up" about combustible coolants - Some
years ago, where I worked, a diamond saw that was cutting
glass with an oil coolant suffered a "minor" explosion. By
minor, I mean that there were no injuries (unless you count
hair and eyebrows, and nerves). These folks were thoroughly
frizzled. Anyway, the glass cutting saw I am talking about
was a converted surface grinder with a plastic enclosure
around the cutting area. It used some sort of oil as a
cutting fluid. It was ventilated only to the extent of
having some sort of mist recovery system.

One day, like any other day, ka-thud!, the thing exploded
and I think caught on fire (not sure about that part). The
department immediately switched to some water soluble
system for the saws. If you are using mineral oil, Maybe you
should get a good fire extinguisher. And of course, goggles

Sorry to plant such an unpleasant thought, but---

Looking forward:
Alan Shinn

Experience the
beginnings of microscopy.
Make or buy your own replica
of one of Antony van Leeuwenhoek's microscopes.
The important number here is the FLASH POINT or temperature
at which the material will burst into flames. It is listed
in the specs (in safety sheets). If it is low, don't use

Subject: RE: Filling Cracks in Dino Slabs

If I remember correctly, the initial question concerned
filling cracks in Dino slabs that were going to be polished.
I would suggest using the cryanoacrylate (super glues) made
by Satellite City Co. There are several companies that carry
this line of glues, including Johnson Bros. Inc in
California. Here is the number on listed on the side of the
bottle, and you can probably call the company and find a
distributor nearest you: 805-522-0062 They make three or
four types of glue, and they vary in thickness from a very
thin glue like the original super glue, to a very thick,
gap-filling glue. You just need to select which thickness
you need,depending on what size cracks you are filling.

They also sell an accelerator spray in a spritz bottle that
makes the glue harden completely in about 20 seconds. It
works like magic! Once the glue has hardened in the cracks,
you can grind and polish it to your heart's content, and the
glue will take a mirror polish as clear as water.

I use it to fill cracks, pits and holes in just about all
lapidary materials. When you buy the glue and accelerator,
I believe you get an instruction sheet that gives you some
additional tips for using it. It is really so easy you can't
believe it. Now, I use it when grinding and polishing with
water lubricated diamond wheels and belts, so I don't know
how well it will hold up to grinding on a dry belt or wheel.

There is a very similar product, with an accelerator, sold
by Richardson's Ranch in Oregon. I can't remember the name,
but I understand it works at least as well. As I mentioned
in an earlier post, these glues are also excellent for
dopping and make an incredibly strong bond between the work
piece and the dop stick.

Vance McCollum
Earth Relics Co.

"Ready-to-wear pendants made from
the finest agates and jaspers"

Subject: RE: Filling Cracks in Dino Slabs

<<Hughes puts out a water clear epoxy, and I can't remember
whether it is 220 or 330.>>

Epoxy 330 is what you want. It has been the favorite epoxy
of opal triplet makers for years. It's slow setting , 24
hours to completely cure, and remains crystal clear for


Subject: RE: Filling Cracks in Dino Slabs

I use this method on petrified wood and other agates.
Learned from people who show in competition.

For small hair line fractures use "hot stuff instant glue".
For larger fractures, I pulverize a piece of the material
in a can with a hammer. The thin sections left on a cut
slab works great when cut off with a trim saw. Then add
this to "Opticon resin no. 224 fracture sealer," add
hardener and put in sun or oven. If it does not set
properly add more hardener. It can also be used in place
of hot stuff but is more difficult to use because of
addition of hardener.

Opticon can also be used to save those rare fossils that
are too soft. Coat the whole piece with Opticon and add
hardener. Have seen both materials for sale in magazines
and shows. I never use any of the clear industrial glues.
Why save fifty cents and ruin eighty hours of grinding and

Will Morton

Subject: RE: Filling Cracks in Dino Slabs

For filling in the Dino slabs, Opticon works well for
filling in the large areas. For smaller areas, I use Hughes
220 or 330. Either would work, 330 has a slight amber
color, 220 is clear. Both should set overnight before
cutting. When using epoxy for repairs, I heat the piece
after gluing, usually with a close 100 watt bulb. (I
usually just lower my desk lamp so it covers the glued
area) This not only works with rocks, but I've used this
to repair the frames of my husband's glasses plenty of

Giovanna Fregni
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