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 232 - Fri 9/17/1999
2. NEW: Chrysoprase Web Site
3. NEW: Cabbing Machine and Saw recommendations
4. NEW: Healing Fractures in Stones
5. NEW: Soybean Oil as a Saw Lubricant
6. NEW: Notes from Lightning Ridge
7. RE: Need Parts for Vibra-Tek Vibrating Polisher
8. BIO: Duane Pearson
9. FS: New Prices on Adams Sphere Machines
10. FS: Set of 8 " Nova Wheels
11. SHOW: Quartzite Show Dates


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No 232 - Fri 9/17/1999

Members of Lapidary Digest who wish to have a link to your
website added to LapDigest's website, send an e-mail to with your full name, your URL, and a
brief paragraph (no more than 7 or 8 lines) describing the
contents of your web site. I'm in a webbie updating mood
and think I have updated all that were sent in!

I took opal cutting at Wildacres from Joe DePetrie, who has
done a lot of experimenting on methods to heal cracks. He
taught us those methods. So I asked Joe to write up
descriptions of how to do it and send it in. I think he
will do that and write up other opal tips. Most recently, I
took Crystallography(sp?) and also started knapping an
arrow head shaped piece of glass. The study of crystal
shapes was fun and the knapping was kinda exciting!

Next issue should be out on about September 26. While I'm
gone, I hope you will do a lot of cuttin' and a lot of
cuttin' up!!! ..and having FUN!


Subject: NEW: Chrysoprase Web Site

Dear Hale and Listmembers,

We have posted a selection of photographs on our web site
of our B grade chrysoprase together with mineral specimens
- both big and small - and carving and cutting stones of
all types. In general a wide range of odd and unusual
materials, all of which we believe will be of interest to
the lapidary.

I would like to take the opportunity to invite all
interested list members to be our guests and drop in for a
look : and check the Products
section (which is represented by the piece of chrysoprase in
our graphics.)

A separate section featuring A grade stone and finished
cabochons and carvings is coming up !

I look forward to hearing any comments,

Best wishes to all,

Craig White
Chrysoprase Mines of Australia

Subject: NEW: Cabbing Machine and Saw recommendations

Having got our Rockshop open I feel the need to upgrade
equipment. Any body who has seen the home made kit on my
site will know why! And there is a new business grant afoot.

I think I fancy a Diamond Pacific Titan since I cut a lot
of larger stones and the 8" wheels really should help.
Does anybody have any experience of this machine? I am
particularly interested in any possible problems due to
the proximity of the wheels. Do those long shafts flex? I
haven't used an underwheel water feed before; is it OK
and/or can it be adapted for an overhead spray.

Thoughts on an 18" or 24" saw would also be useful, my 10"
is not up to some of my rough and I simple have to see
inside some of these big agates!

I definitely want autofeed and power off and like the idea
of hydraulic control of weight feed but suspect a separate
power feed is more easily adjustable?

So many questions I know but I only expect to get this
chance once.

Hope everybody escaped Floyd -- that looks scary from here!

Andy Parker, Agate House Lapidary
Ulverston, Cumbria, England

Subject: NEW: Healing Fractures in Stones

Hello Hale -

I too am trying to find a substance that can be used for
filling fractures in stone - like white quartz.. I have
found that Opticon is no good for the purpose I need. It is
a filler and will go into cracks and fractures. Getting the
hardner to work is another thing. I did every thing by the
book, but still had problem with it setting. So I rang the
manufacturer to see if they could help. I had just recently
bought a kit here in Australia. The first question I was
asked was what address was on the box? I told him
Victoria, MN 55386 USA. He told me that they left that
address 3 years ago. So the product I had (the hardner) was
probably beyond its shelf life. I asked him how long shelf
life was and he said about 12 to 18 months, but that
sometimes it would last a little longer. I dare say a few of
you are having this problem of it not setting. If the
hardner is sticky on the outside of bottle, check how long
you have had it.

I have also been told that it is a filler, not a bonder.
When I did get it to dry, I found it had no strength. When
I tried to break the slab with my fingers, I found it very
easy to break.

I still need a filler and a good bonder that is very
strong and hard. Also it must not go yellow, so if anyone
out there can help with a quality product from anywhere in
the world, please let me know.

Just a footnote. Superglue types of glue are no good as
they are too brittle.

I love this newsletter and always enjoy reading it.


Subject: NEW: Soybean Oil as a Saw Lubricant

Maybe you covered this before I joined, but the mineral oil
mail reminded me. I'll use anything that doesn't smell!

I have heard different views about using soybean oil as a
saw lubricant. Is it good or not? If it is okay, where
does one purchase it?


Subject: NEW: Notes from Lightning Ridge

Greetings all:

Our winter is nearly over now with warm days followed by
rain fronts sweeping in from the Bight about once a week.
Last night was a doozy and blew down my TV antenna again.
It gets me nervous sometimes having grown up in Oklahoma.
It is generally not well known, but we do get tornadoes

Now for the eternal subject: COOL ROCKS

We mine opal by sinking a shaft by 1 meter diameter.
Calweld bucket drill up to 70' deep. The presence or lack of
an opal level or maybe also some potch or if very lucky some
actual colour will have been previously determined by 9"
drill. After we drill, we drive horizontally on a grid
pattern. IF we find a colour slide, sometimes we chase it,
and sometimes we keep driving on the grid.

Mining machinery is very sophisticated now days, and LOTS
of dirt can be shifted for a very low price.

All this talk has given me a itch to go knock down the face
of my drive where there is lots of seam potch, and a little
colour? Like to see it? E-mail me and I will send a small


james dumar
I have asked James to continue to send in descriptions of
opal mining in Lightning Ridge, and hope he does. It would
be nice to have sort of a continuing column on this topic.

Subject: RE: Need Parts for Vibra-Tek Vibrating Polisher

<<I have been told that Vibra-Tek is no longer in

Hmm... I shed no tears. With gleeful anticipation, I
bought one of their (small) units a couple of years ago for
over $90 from a local hobby shop, and was very disappointed,
first, by the machine, and second, by how I was treated when
I called the manufacturer looking for help or a refund.

I found that the unit was finicky to operate and required
attention (messy) twice a day. It would ruin the rocks if
left to run too long so the rocks stopped moving; and
rapidly chewed up the plastic tub.

Based on this I decided to stick with rotating tumblers.
Lortone's units are awesome.

<<I am looking for some tubs and rubber inserts for the
small vibrating polisher.>>

You can buy my entire unit for $40. I'll pay the postage.
:-) One tub is new, the other has nearly eroded through,
but the rubber insert is in decent shape. All parts and
instructions included.

Alan Silverstein

Subject: BIO: Duane Pearson

Hi All,

I'm Duane Pearson and new to Lapidary Digest. My
Wyoma, and I are originally from Wyoming and have been doing
lapidary work for about 25 years or more, starting with
tumbling. We went gold dredging for four years and made
jewelry from the gold nuggets and flakes that we found.

Then we moved to Mexico for six years. For four years we
lived in a small pueblo of about 250 people in the Sierra
Madres. Then we moved to Chihuahua City for two years. It
was all an experience and we made a lot of friends that we
hated to leave behind. We sold all of our lapidary
equipment in Mexico before we moved to Las Cruces, NM in
June. Now, we're starting over.

Duane <>


Subject: FS: New Prices on Adams Sphere Machines

Hale: We have new prices on our sphere machines. The Marble
Maker/Refinisher is priced at $249.00. The model which
makes up to a 3 inch sphere is $349.00. One that makes up
to a 5 inch sphere is $449.00 and the model which makes up
to a 7 inch sphere is $549.00. Plus shipping.

Joe Adams

Subject: FS: Set of 8 " Nova Wheels

I have a set of 4 Diamond Pacific Nova Wheels, 280, 600,
1200, 14,000; all of them are 2" x 7 5/8". The wheels are
new and never on a machine. I am willing to sell them for
$500 including shipping. Can be contacted at 504-737-0259
or at

Does this seem to be a good bargain for someone??

Arthur Mott

Subject: SHOW: Quartzite Show Dates

Does anyone have info on the quartzite show dates? We
usually go to the Tucson shows, and have never been to
Quartzite. Any suggestions on the best places to go for
rough would be appreciated. Off-list would be O.K.

Thank you,
Tom and Donna Gemoriah

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