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 239 - Thur 10/14/1999
2. NEW: Need Source for Pulley, Belt and Arbor
3. NEW: Need Manual for German Sand/Polish Machine
4. NEW: List of Chatoyant Rocks
5. NEW: Flashes of Light when Cutting with SiC
6. NEW: Cutting Dopsticks
7. NEW: Looking for Aqua Sander
8. RE: Notes from Lightning Ridge
9. RE: Need Help With Polishing When Tumbling
10. RE: Mineral Oil As A Saw Lubricant
11. RE: Mineral Oil As A Saw Lubricant
12. RE: Saw Lubricant
13. RE: Saw Lubricant
14. FS: Y2k Rock Sale
15. BIO: Dave Stephens


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No 239 - Thur 10/14/1999

You guys are something else!!!! Tom wrote (see second item
below) that he needed a manual for a sander of German make.
I found a website for the company - in German, of course!!
-- and finally found an e-mail address, to which I wrote
asking for information. They wrote back (probably a canned
letter!) in German, and I was completely stumped, so I sent
the call for help to y'all. You guys!!! I heard from 93 of
you - for which I am very appreciative. One thing I learned
from it was the address of several language translating
programs. Am still communicating with them and hope to get
a manual for Tom. The company, I learned, is a lapidary
equipment manufacturer.

So this is a group THANK YOU for the responses you sent!

We have another letter from James Dumar on life on Lightning
Ridge. This time on surveying and staking an opal claim, and
then proving and protecting it!! Thanks, James

Next issue should be published on Sunday or Monday.

Take care, and again, thanks for the help!


Subject: NEW: Need Source for Pulley, Belt and Arbor

Anyone know of a good catalog source, on-line or snail mail,
for v-belt pulleys, belts, shafts and so on? I am looking
for an inexpensive 3 sheave combination (multispeed) v-belt
pulley for a 1/2 inch shaft. I haven't found any in my
lapidary equipment catalogs nor locally at the hardware



Subject: NEW: Need Manual for German Sand/Polish Machine


A friend just gave me what looks like a disk sanding and
polishing machine; it was made in west Germany by
Stephan-werke Hamein, it's type # is SSeo32 sK. If you or
anyone on the list knows where I could send for information
on it's operation I would appreciate it.

A quick check with Alta-Vista, searching on Stephan-werke,
gave the web page "";
the company is located in Hamein. The address is
Stephan-Werke GmbH & Co., Ohsener Straße 79-83, D-31789
Hameln (I guess that is where the pied piper came from!) I
sent an e-mail query , but haven't heard from them. I
suggest you send them a snail mail letter with your inquiry,
and let us know what they reply. hale

Subject: NEW: List of Chatoyant Rocks

Does anyone know of a good list of rocks that exhibit
chatoyancy? I can think of a few - Tiger eye, Pietersite,
labradorite etc. but I'm sure there are many others. Or,
if there is a good book with pictures of this type of rock,
please let me know. And, has anyone heard of Miramba?(sp)
Supposedly a chatoyant rock but I can't find out anything
about it. If you know of a good website with a list of
chatoyant rocks, please let me know.

Lenny from Seattle

Subject: NEW: Flashes of Light when Cutting with SiC

When I grind quartz crystals on my silicon carbide wheel I
can see flashes of light and this makes sense being that
quartz is piezo electric and compression makes light,
right? Well I'm making a cab out of a huge apache tear and
it is really doing a lot of flashes of light and now I'm
wondering where this is coming from? Is the carbide wheel
causing the light or does obsidian have piezo qualities?

Just curious.

Crystalguy Jewelry, Art Jewelry for the Mystic Soul
Paddle Jewelry for River Addicts

Subject: NEW: Cutting Dopsticks

I use wooden dowels for dopsticks and have a problem cutting
the dowels so the ends are square. Of course when you rotate
your stone it wobbles and this makes it hard to get a
symmetrical grind. Any ideas on how to square the end of both
a small and a large dopstick?

Crystalguy Jewelry, Art Jewelry for the Mystic Soul
Paddle Jewelry for River Addicts


Subject: NEW: Looking for Aqua Sander

I am having a very diffcult time finding a piece of
equipment called the Aqua Sander. It was distributed by
"Farmer's Gem and Rock Shop".

On the Aqua Sander, sanding is done it is on the inside of
the wheel. My husband had this piece of equipment a number
of years ago and then had a house fire and is trying to
relocate this Sander.

If any one has help or information on this please write me.



Subject: RE: Notes from Lightning Ridge

G'day from the ridge.

some definitions: you can own 2 claims. a claim here is
50x50 meters, generally square. you can buy one for around
$500-$1000, or peg one yourself. to peg a claim, gather up
your gear: good compass, 4 steel stakes, claims map, and
100 meter tape. Look for the mines department survey peg and
shoot a bearing and meaure to your corner peg. from this
datum go around the clock taking bearings and measuring
50 m to the peg location. peg. shoot the next bearing.
repeat until you have 4 pegs in the ground. add the 4
bearings and you should come up with 360 degrees for a
square claim. if you come up with a different result, go
back to datum. you will next need to map your claim using a
protractor trace overlay. you get it from the mines dept.
check your work. if you bottom on opal. there will be a rush
on your boundaries. if your claim is inaccurately pegged
relative to the map, it will be challenged and overpegged
if money is there. more than 1 degree inaccuracy on your
bearings is grounds for cancellation so do use a good
compass. next register your claim with the mines dept. this
will cost around $500 including bond with a recurring annual
fee of around $400. the bond is to ensure you restore the
ground. this means backfilling all the hole, and removing
any spoil.

if it is a rich claim and you take all the dirt from below,
it can fall right up to the surface! then you have to bring
in lots of top dressing at big expense. if you don't restore
the ground, you lose your bond, and next time you register
a claim, your bond can go higher and higher......

so how do you know where to peg? prospecting is a very
large subject covered in Stephen Aracic's newest book. it
has thousands of color photos and is the definitive work
on opal mining. it covers almost every field in australia.
any body wanting one, email and i will send it to you.

we look for paleo channels of the cretaceous. these are
buried under 1-25 meters of sandstone here. little
depressions where water stands, and infiltrates down; box
trees, wild orange trees, visible linear faults, "blows"
(mixed opal dirt and broken sandstone pushed upward from
the level below.), and tree LINES delineate faults on the

you can peg an area like this for a claim, or get a 30 day
exclusive license for the large slice of country you like
and drill it with a 9" prospecting drill.

ok. we got opal prospecting block 16a which takes in some
productive fields. we want to find a new field and register
all the ground in our names, those of our families and
friends. if not, there will be a rush, and neighbours you
know are better than strangers.

so we start drilling about 3 holes down to the level at 60'.
the ground is hard here with bands of silcrete that the
drill don't like. we plan to have down time of 1 day a
week. we can't afford more than that coz the prospecting
lease only runs 30 days. so, we are looking for a big
sandstone plate. under that, there may be seam or nobbies,
potch or gems. once we find and define the sandstone plate,
we will be looking for faults and slides in it, and all
level dirt from each hole will be washed and examined.
sometimes you find potch, rarely color. sndstone is
considered sufficiently good trace to put down a shaft.

when you find opal, keep your mouth shut or you will
definitely have nocturnal visitors who can steal lots in a
short time. it is no fun hauling dirt up out of your claim
that had opal in it before the ratters got there. these
people are extremely well organised and professional in
their thieving,and also heavily armed. they are no joke so
if you find something, TELL NO ONE!!! some claims have
produced over usd10 million so it is pretty low risk
thieving for the potential reward. there are plenty of
people trying to catch the ratters, and they are sometimes
caught. they get a light sentence and come back to their old
game. oh well...... different in the old days!

next time: mining and equipment, costs of mining

regards to all,

james dumar

Subject: RE: Need Help With Polishing When Tumbling

<<I have been practicing on Apache Tears, Onyx, Clear Quartz
Crystal, inexpensive Jaspers and Agates.>>

Apache tears are notoriously hard to polish. Quartz requires
plastic pellets -- I use them in fine, prepolish, and polish
runs, and even then you often don't get a great shine,
there's some frosting. Onyx might be too soft or irregular,
I haven't tried it. Agate and jasper should shine up nicely
-- depending on the type of material!

I have a 3 lb and a 12 lb, both Lortones, in continuous
operation. I mix just about anything in the coarse runs,
which I dump, clean, and sort weekly -- or even after six
days, which seems long enough to devour the grit. But after
that I would not mix soft/delicate (quartz, onyx, obsidian,
feldspar) with hard (agate, jasper). I sort them into two
piles, and I find oatmeal cylinders (containers) a good way
to store them.

<<While I watch my supplies, I am not miserly.>>

You can reuse prepolish (not 600 but prepolish metal oxide)
and polish compounds. Pour slurry in a gallon bottle, let
it settle, pour off the relatively clear water, shake, reuse.

Hey, maybe going from 600 to polish is too big a jump? I go
from 220 to prepolish to polish. I let the prepolish and
polish steps run long, 8-9-10 days, and it really makes a

<<I generally course grind once or twice to get a rounded
stone using 60/90.>>

Depending on the stone I might go 3-4-5 weeks, in a few
cases even longer! But I like them very well rounded. I'm
rolling a 4" geode for my daughter, 1.5 months so far and it
needs another month(?), trying to remove ALL the rind so we
get a solid(?) ball of polished blue agate.

You get 60% of the visible grinding in the first week, after
that it's perceived as much slower. Matter of practice,
judgment, and personal preference how much is enough,
decided when sorting.

<<If the stone looks smooth, I then detergent wash overnight
and use the 600 grit.>>

I don't find it necessary to detergent wash, so long as I
rinse the rocks really well and check for grit hidden in
cracks, etc.

<<I then use cerium oxide for up to one week. The stones
often have light dust (Cerium Oxide?) in them...>>

I use cerium for hand polishing, other stuff (aluminum,
tin, whatever) for tumbling. Some cracks and crevices can
hold grit and it's hard to remove. That's one reason I
tumble a long time on coarse. Spraying and scrubbing
finished stones also helps.

<<I use plastic pellets, but only use new ones on the
pre-polish and polish cycles.>>

You can reuse them. I just segregate two piles -- one for
fine grit, which get black and visibly smaller, and the
other for prepolish + polish, and it seems to work OK.

Keep at it! It takes practice and experimenting.

Alan Silverstein

Subject: RE: Mineral Oil As A Saw Lubricant

This is in reply to Becky Solon. That was the very
question that brought me to this newsletter several months
back and I got a lot of good advice (check the Archives).
I did put mineral oil in my trim saw and it has been
running fine. I got it at the drugstore. Check with the
pharmacist and see if he will order it by the gallon for you.
It may be a lot cheaper. Also look into using "on sale"
generic baby oil, its the same stuff, has a nice smell and
is usually MUCH cheaper and a little thinner.
Try Kmart/Walmart etc.

I put a gallon in my trim saw with a new blade and it
still hasn't worn the paint off the blade (and it
smells a whole lot better than Pella).

Good luck,


Subject: RE: Mineral Oil As A Saw Lubricant

All the talk on cutting oil, I use Johnson's Baby Oil. I
buy in large quantity from Walmart or Sam's. It works good,
it smells good and it keeps my hands soft. It's a cheap oil
that works.

The digest is getting better everyday.

Subject: RE: Saw Lubricant

I hope Keith would consider wearing an OSHA approved filter
mask or respirator or something to stop the inhalation of
the toxic type of Anti freeze vapor mist.

Anything that you cannot eat, you probably should not
inhale it either. Gloves and sealed goggles wouldn't be a
bad idea either. Better yet, use the nontoxic anti freeze
or plain old water for real safety. Yet, even with water,
one should wear a good quality approved mask no matter what.

Just my concerned 2 cents worth.


Subject: RE: Saw Lubricant

First, I don't think that vegetable oils will yield
anything but a mess.

Second, about mineral oil:

There are various grades, but if you head to your local
pharmacy you'll find that it used for such purposes as a
laxative, etc. This grade will cost you about $5 a quart.
If you mail order the 1 gallon jugs from Lortone in Seattle,
that would be $15 plus shipping and handling $3 (I live
pretty close in OR., but still this is better than a trip
down to Walgreens at $20 a gallon. If you're a quart low in
a saw, head to the corner Walgreens or whatever). Finally,
check out Texaco Almag (as in al-uminum, mag-nesium). Any
Texaco distributor has it in 5 gal buckets, $24 for 5 gals.
If you read the hazard warnings on the bucket, you'll notice:
a.) flammable --mineral oil MIST is flammable at 600
something F degrees and b.) breathing -- well lipopnuemonia
is lipopneumonia, so don't breathe oil mists!!! Also you
should be able to deduce this is mineral oil generally
aimed at metal cutting -- that is it is a cutting oil --
that does NOT SMELL).

Notched vs Continuous blades:
Lortone has once again provided the best logic here, use
the best blade you can afford; the expensive (or in
Oregon-speak, the "spendy" blade) is the continuous blade,
simple reason: more diamond. Most of these blades will work
with water, and if the saw is "open"; use water and an
additive (anything from soap to water aid from Diamond
Pacific, you need to break the surface tension). Once the
blade is enclosed, go to oil and don't breathe the mist --
get a good respirator, learn to hold you breath, etc. Mist
generated has more to do with the physical action than the
oil viscosity etc. Less agitation is less mist; in other
words, DO NOT OVERFILL. Oil is an excellent lubricant
and does not further oxidation -- so you don't need to
drain as you will with water.

Regular Ethylene Glycol (radiator) anti-freeze also works
well, but the rust inhibition is limited. Oil is better.
Also, remember to keep pets away from anti-freeze, as it is
poisonous -- on purpose. Remember that Ethylene Glycol
vaporizes readily and as with oil (although it does not
mist much) you don't want to breath it either.

As far as wear, water does not lubricate very well, it wears
the blade faster; not a big issue on open (small diameter)
trim saws. Almag does not show a lot of wear regardless of
blade. The 18" segmented Ray Tech Gold blade down to the
MK 303 Professional and the Thin Kerf 12" Federal Mogul
blades in my Lortone look new after quite a bit of use.

I'm going to write a pseudo-technical article on the "tale
of two blades" so I won't go much further on the 12" saw in
this note.

Several of the other contributions on this thread appear to
be very interesting. I hadn't thought of the Chevron
connection, but any good "thin" oil should work out well.
Might give it a try myself.

Rudy Appleby

Subject: FS: Y2k Rock Sale

Just a reminder to everyone!

I am running a sale on bulk rock at really really good
prices. Check out my web site at for details. The sale will
run through early January anyway. The volume is only limited
to the stock on hand and I have tons of bulk rock in my
yard. Bruneau Jasper, Owyhee Picture Jasper, geodes,
petrified wood, assorted agates. If you don't see what you
want ask--- I may have or know where you can get some.

Dixie Reale

Subject: BIO: Dave Stephens

I just found this list and got tired of the crystal list so
here I am. I've been doing lapidary for about 6 years now.
Got interested in metaphysical stones and figured any idiot
could cut and polish those big quartzes you see at shows.
Bought an eight inch All-U-Need and almost immediately
burned out the 100 mesh diamond disk trying to rough grind
a four inch crystal down for polishing. Since then things
got better, ha. I'm completely self taught using books in
lapidary work which is probably why I have problems cutting
perfect cabs. The books don't explain it real well, but
don't often cut cabs anyway as I find them boring unless
using them in small accent areas in my jewelry. Maybe
someone can clue me into making perfectly symmetrical cabs?

By profession I'm a graphic designer and web developer but
would rather be making jewelry. I still have my All-U-Need
and just got an ancient silicon carbide rig for forty bucks
that I've rebuilt. I like the cheapness of the grinding
stones versus diamond, even though I like diamond better,
just too expensive for me. I had the first jewelry artist
site on the web about 5+ years ago and just got written up
in Lapidary Journal this month which is a real thrill...
maybe someday I can pay the bills with this stuff. Will be
avidly following the posts now that I'm subscribing and good
to meet youall.

Dave Stephens
Crystalguy Jewelry, Art Jewelry for the Mystic Soul
Paddle Jewelry for River Addicts
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