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 248 - Sat 11/20/1999
2. REVIEW: November 1999 Lapidary Journal(LJ)
3. NEW: Another Way to Orient/Cut Star Garnets
4. NEW: Crack Healer Recipe
5. NEW: Dop Recipe
6. RE: Materials for Intarsia
7. RE: Materials for Intarsia
8. RE: Grit Feed on a Sphere Making Machine
9. RE: Grit Feed on a Sphere Making Machine
10. RE: Storage of Cutting Materials


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No 248 - Sat 11/20/1999

I have been interested in James Dumas notes from Lightning
Ridge; I will never visit there, but love to read how the
miners live and get the opals out. For another experience,
there are nice pix showing how they get the boulder opal
out in the Queensland outback in the webpages: , and I recommend it
to anyone interested in opals and opal mining.

Next issue will probably be published on Tuesday.

Anyone know the snail mail or e-mail address of Jane Culp
Zeitner? If so, please send it to me.

Christmas is coming. What lapidary item would you like to
get for Christmas? Write me and tell me two of the ones
you would most like to receive -- one inexpensive and one
more expensive. I will put together a list in the next week
or so and publish it, and you can print it and give it to
anyone undecided about what to give you for Christmas!!

Meanwhile, why don't you make a list of the ones you love
the most and who have the greatest meaning in your life,
and if they are out of town, sit and write them a letter
telling them how much they mean to you and thank them for
being a friend. The ones who live at home: hug and kiss
them and tell them directly. It is most important to do
this when it is not expected, like not at Christmas or not
on birthdays. We just don't do this enough and doing it
will help seal your relationships. DO IT!!!

You will find that doing so is also FUN!! (especially the
kissing part!!) So go and HAVE FUN!!(smile)


Subject: REVIEW: November 1999 Lapidary Journal(LJ)

Review of the November 1999 issue of Lapidary Journal(LJ)
This magazine is reviewed strictly from a lapidary point of
view. Materials not pertaining to lapidary are ignored.

Citrine Q & A. Page 56

Si & Ann Frazier have answers to the 12 top questions about
Citrine. They do a good job describing the difference
between Citrine and Topaz. Question 11 gives the names under
which Citrine has been sold as the more expensive Topaz. It
is illegal to misrepresent Citrine as Topaz in U.S. and in
western Europe so if you bought some Golden Topaz rough make
sure it is not Citrine before you sell it as a Topaz. If
it’s quartz it can’t be a Topaz.

Cold-Dopping Heat- Sensitive Stones, Page 97

June Culp Zeitner has a small paragraph on how to do this.
It is actually quite timely since we have had a recent
discussion on dopping. I have not tried this, but according
to June the trick is to add cornstarch or sodium silicate
to your cement and mix it to a stiff paste.

Well that is it for this issue. As we start to get close to
the holiday season don’t forget to do something nice for
someone you don’t know. After you do it, tell them it’s a
random act of kindness and they should pass it on.
JR & Janet Schroeder
J & J Jewelry

Subject: NEW: Another Way to Orient/Cut Star Garnets

Well, I hope this qualifies as a lapidary post, even though
my faceting machine was used to save the day.

I usually tumble polish my star garnets in order to see the
star before I cab them. Tonight I had a very irregular piece
and figured out a relatively easy way to get the star on
top. I dopped the stone on a faceting dop with a lot of wax.
I built it up so the star would orient to the top of the
finished stone (Just to make sure, I mark an 'x' with white
out where I want the star to appear). There was so much wax
that I don't think any of the garnet was in contact with the
dop. After grinding and polishing, I set up a cone dop in a
transfer jig and dopped the stone as if it was the pavilion
of a faceted stone. After taking off the original dop, I put
the stone in the tabling jig and ground the back flat. Last
of all, I set it at 90o to get a nice even edge around the
base. Worked like a charm.

Giovanna Fregni
Mpls, MN

Subject: NEW: Crack Healer Recipe


I have a recipe for a crack healer that calls for dissolving
two tubes of epoxy in acetone and soaking the rock in it.
The question is, is this two big tubes of epoxy AND the
little tubes of hardener that come with them?

Thank you,
Rose Alene McArthur
Rose: I use that formula and I use the two tubes which come
with Hughes 330 (which I believe is water-clear) in a pint
of acetone. Drop my slabs in it and seal tightly to keep
the acetone from evaporating, and keep the slabs in this mix
for at least a week. Hopefully, some of the mixture will
soak into the cracks in this time. (You might leave for two
weeks; it won't hurt the slabs.) When ready, I take the
slabs from the mix and wipe them dry, and then put them in
a VERY low heat toaster oven. The acetone evaporates, and
the theory is that molecules of the epoxy will be left
behind with molecules of the hardener, and they will
polymerize in place. Works for me! hale

Subject: NEW: Dop Recipe

(I know that strictly this isn't a lapidary topic, but it is
close enough. hale)

Does anyone have a recipe for making DOP wax?

I have an industrial application where we need to hold
(fixture) an investment casting (titanium) for machining
then remove it to work the other end. Currently the
process involves the use of lead alloyed to reduce the
eutectic temperature then the lead is melted off. One of
the problems with the lead is contamination of the titanium
chips for post-recycling.

My thought is that some form of DOP wax may work, then it
could be melted or fractured off then cleaned up with steam
or hot water. Then possibly recycled?

Several of my old text books describe waxes used for optics
an similar laboratory things as mostly consisting of
shellac, pitch, etc. Then tempered with turpentine or bees

Something that sounds close is called DeKhotinsky cement
which is shellac and 20-40 pitch, softens at about 100 0C.
I've got a feeling that the basic DOP may be shellac, pitch,
paraffin, and clay. The clay is probably used to reduce

Another candidate may be sealing wax?

I guess what I'm looking for is a clue to the basic recipe
so I can play with it to meet the needs of the project.

Thanks for any ideas,

Jeff in Kalamazoo

Subject: RE: Materials for Intarsia

The white material that I use for Intarsia is Magnesite.
It is a manganese ore that is very white and works quite
easily. I believe that it is the same material that is
called prystene. It comes mostly in the form of nodules,
I bought quite a few at a $1.50 a lb in Utah a few years
back. You can get it from Don Olson and associates, but
at a premium. I also found people selling large pieces
at Quartzite last year.

For reds I use African red jasper. Not quite as nice
as coral, but a lot more abundant.

Pat McCarthy
Note that some people spell it "pristine"; it is a lapidary
name, not a mineral name. hale

Subject: RE: Materials for Intarsia

I suspect that Howellite (sp?) would be the rock of choice
here. It comes in a snowy white (and is often dyed to look
like turquoise). It comes from Tick Canyon in California,
and I suspect some California rockhound would be glad to
trade you some. There is also another creamy to tan
material ..magnesite.....the book says it also comes in
white....that works well in intarsia.

Someone from the San Francisco Bay area could probably
furnish you with a piece.

Best Wishes,

Rose Alene McArthur
Rose, I believe it is spelled HOWLITE; it is a mineral and
thus has a proper spelling. hale

Subject: RE: Grit Feed on a Sphere Making Machine

Auto feed on sphere machine. I use the chain method of
bringing a mixture of cuttings and new material all the way
to the pre-polish stage.

This material can be used over and over. Remember though
SAVE like material and then add to it. Some people do use
smaller sizes and add to larger sizes but never the
opposite. I have all of mine in plastic storage boxes. Then
the next time that I need a slurry I just go and get it....

The chains can be bought in any hardware store in bulk. Goes
by the # or by the foot. The thing that you have to watch is
that sometimes your machine will eat the chains.. You just
leave for a minuet or two and you come back and no chains.
..oooops. . . .better look inside your cups....take care and
hope this helps.

For now and till then.


Subject: RE: Grit Feed on a Sphere Making Machine

I've seen a homemade feed comprised of a coffee can with a
hole drilled in the side, very near the bottom. To that
hole, braze a copper tube of an appropriate length for your
setup. Also braze a 3/8" rod or all thread vertically to
the can to attach it to your mounting platform. Buy a
small aerator pump for an aquarium and attach it to the can
(duct tape will work but use your ingenuity).

By turning on the pump, you will get a steady flow of grit
from the tube (just from the vibration). You will have to
experiment with the size of tubing. Best I can remember,
it was 1/8" or smaller. Also, if you are an electrical
wizard, you could build a timed relay system for the pump
so it will turn on and off periodically.

Good luck!

Max Hunt

Subject: RE: Storage of Cutting Materials

Storage of rock stock depends on amount of stock
and amount of room available, plus finances available. Not
always an easy fix. If talking about tons of stock, use the
system that nurseries employ to contain dirt and landscape
rock, large wooden bins.

My system works well for me and costs a lot less. I
have room to pile rock on a decomposed granite base (road
base material) on the ground. Run a wood board between these
piles and stake to ground. This works fine when I need to go
through a lot of stock to find a particular rock.

Since I am a cab cutter I need a little more refinement. I
also use parts bins on metal stands such as you would see
in an auto parts store. Can be purchased from Fidelity
Direct (1-800-328-3034). I put individual rocks or slabs in
these bins, also acts as an index to what stock I have
available on the ground. Just one of many solutions.

Miner Mike

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