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 249 - Thur 11/25/1999
2. NEW: Need Source for Sintered Diamond Segments
3. NEW: Vibratory Tumbler Recommendations
4. RE: Notes from Lightning Ridge
5. RE: Materials for Intarsia
6. RE: Materials for Intarsia
7. RE: Dop Recipe
8. RE: Dop Recipe
9. RE: Storage of Cutting Materials
10. RE: Storage of Cutting Materials
11. RE: Crack Healer Recipe
12. RE: Crack Healer Recipe
13. RE: Grit Feed on a Sphere Making Machine


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No 249 - Thur 11/25/1999

I wish for you and your family a safe and happy THANKSGIVING
HOLIDAY. (Thank goodness there is TUMS!!)

The AAA reported that in 1998, more accidents happened at
Thanksgiving than on any other holiday. So, if you are
taking a trip, leave early and don't allow the traffic to
frazzle your nerves. It is a HOLIDAY, for goodness sakes!!
Relax. Drive defensively and come home safely.

I have been reviewing all I have to be thankful for ... I am
alive (and at 74+, that is a blessing!!) I have three
children (all well and WORKING!) and three grandchildren -
and they are all blessings. I am in moderate good health
(not enough exercise). Anne (wife) is being well cared for
in a safe and comfortable home and that, too, is a blessing.
I don't owe any debts I can't pay out of my checking account.
So you see, all in all, life has been good to me and I do
feel truly blessed.

Why not think about YOUR blessings, and when you summarize
them in your mind, you will better understand the meaning of
THANKSGIVING DAY! (It ain't just turkey!!)

God Bless all of you.... And don't forget to have FUN!


Subject: NEW: Need Source for Sintered Diamond Segments


I need a source for diamond segments such as are used in
segmented core drills & saw blades, for incorporation in
sphere cups.

E. Rudisill
2605 S.W. 49th St
Corvallis, OR 97333

Subject: NEW: Vibratory Tumbler Recommendations

I am considering buying one of two models of small vibratory
tumblers for finishing stones and would appreciate pro/con
comments from anyone that may have experience with either of
these two models. I'm more interested in performance,
quality, and durability rather than capacity since I'll be
using it primarily for small size lots.

The two models are: Tumble-Vibe 5 and Micro-Sonic KG-1.
Both units cost under $100. The TV-5 has about 4 lb.
capacity vs. 2.2 lb. for the KG-1. The TV-5 has mechanical
vibrating action vs. magnetic(?) for the KG-1.

Jim Schnell
Jim: Be sure to read the article on tumbling in the latest
issue of Rock & Gem magazine. hale

Subject: RE: Notes from Lightning Ridge

hi, making the final push with the mine before the Christmas
holiday. we have moved to another shaft, and will drive
towards the spot where we have been working. We had to move
coz we ran out of room to put the dirt! still lots of potch
around..... a little color. even if we find no opal, i will
have great mine air conditioning for the house!

Lots of buyers in town at the moment, Nicolai, Ally (John
West), Mario, Paul, John from Hawaii, and several others.
Quite a few people seem to be headed for Tucson this year,
so maybe our black opal will be seen a little there. Keep
your eyes open for the little people in the lesser
positions; you can often get some great bargains, and a
contact for the future.

Opal seems to be getting rarer every year for the past 5
years. Miners tend to stick with proven ground, but reports
are coming in of new occurrences at some pretty far flung
locations. the rising field of Lambina in south australia
is causing a bit of talk, and some people are also thinking
of Andamooka next year. Doug Johnson (who doesn't check his
e-mail ) rang me from coober last night, he just returned
from 3 weeks at Lambina. He says there is lots of andesite
and other products generally associated with volcanic
activity. he says it is a LONG way from anywhere else, and
he heard about $3.6 million came out last year. as usual,
there has only been one really good claim, but more work
needs to be done, and many claims are producing color trace.

Andamooka produces excellent quality crystal and the odd
black stone. there is a lot of prospective ground adjacent
to this field which has never been worked. summers on the
south australian fields are not a tenable situation; May is
about as early as i would go.......

The Queensland fields are a great place for fossickers
(rockhounds) where you definitely will find something
worthwhile on the old fields like Opalton. over Christmas,
i will try and find the time to write about collecting
sites for Lapidarists in Australia. I guess you have all
heard of the legendary Agate creek in north queensland
where you can literally load a truck with quality agate
nodules and seams including carnelian, sardonyx, iris agate
etc? You need a sharp pick, stamina, a drum for washing,
and a liking for high grading coz there is so much agate
you will only take away 10% of what you would like to.....
unless you bring a truck.

gotta run,


Subject: RE: Materials for Intarsia

White marble would be a good intarsia stone--maybe softer
than some others--but it does come in beautiful white and
should be inexpensive.

Vi Jones

Subject: RE: Materials for Intarsia

The white material I would recommend for intarsia is
ivoryite. It is a fine grained variety of magnesite mined
here in Arizona. I use it as an ivory substitute for
carvings. It has a hardness of about 5, and is enjoyable to

I purchased mine from Sweetwater. They advertise in Lapidary
Journal, and are at Tucson. I have no connection with them
other than as a very satisfied client.

I also LOVE their Absolute Black Jade.

PO Box 3494
Prescott, AZ 86302
(520) 445-0356

Epaul Fischer
Gryphon Song Creations
Phoenix, AZ

Subject: RE: Dop Recipe

<<Does anyone have a recipe for making DOP wax?>>

I don't have a recipe for making dop wax. However, for
this application, you may want to check out some of the
manufacturers of resins. Newport Glass has a WEB page with
information on some optical resins used for dopping lenses
to blocks during the manufacturing process. Their WEB site:

There are a number of other manufacturers of these resins
and it would probably be worth your time to contact them
rather than trying to develop your own dopping compound.

The "Photonics Buyers' Guide" is a one-stop shop for the
optical industry. The listing for pitch manufacturers
can be found at:

I hope that this helps.

Their buyers guides can usually be found in the reference
section at the local university or college library.



Subject: RE: Dop Recipe

<<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.>>

Hi Jeff,

Assuming (that's dangerous) the piece has a large flat spot
& your machining isn't a bunch of interrupted cuts, you
might try crazy glue. Stick the part to a suitably sized
plate, then when the glue is set, use the plate to attach
the unit to the machine tool. If coolant will be used,
paint the glue line with fingernail polish or some other
material to waterproof the joint. Crazy glue is water
soluble (in time).

If the part is uneven & the previous isn't applicable, dop
wax could be used. It's usually available from shops
catering to lapidaries. It's probably easier & less
expensive to buy it than it is to make it.

Be sure the part is dirt/oil/grease free before applying
the dop wax. The part & anything else the dop wax is
expected to stick to should be warm when the wax is applied.
If dop wax is applied to a cool surface it won't stick.



Subject: RE: Storage of Cutting Materials

We have several storage systems for rough rock but once the
rock has been cut and ready for cabbing, my system helps me
find what I am looking for.

I have a very sturdy cabinet (taken from a remodeled police
dept.) that has large wooden drawers. Since I used to be a
secretary and had to file things--I now store my stone slabs
in alphabetical order, standing on their sides like file
folders. There is a problem sometimes in that some of the
slabs are smaller (I usually put two side by side then).
Agate would be a heading, then dividers would read "Brazil",
"Montana", "Laguna", etc. , other examples would be Jasper,
Thulite, Jade, etc.

Finished stones may be glued on a cardboard and filed in
another location but we usually don't have that many, so
they end up in glass display cases. It makes it easy to
find something in a hurry, not like "Now where did I put
that piece of Willow Creek Jasper ?"

Vi Jones

Subject: RE: Storage of Cutting Materials

<< use the system that nurseries employ to contain dirt
and landscape rock, large wooden bins. >>

The best system I have seen was just a bunch of wooden
boxes. 2x6 at the ends and 1x6 on the sides and bottom.
Maybe 12x14inches. They are sturdy and stack well. Not
too big because rocks are dense. Unfortunately it was at
an estate sale so I didn't get to ask questions, but I have
used the multiple-box system to great effect in the past.
The system would work well with boxes of differing depths,
say, some 4 inches and some 12, but all 12x14 so they stack.

You start with a number of boxes into which you sort your
rough. When one box gets full, divide it into two based on
some obvious characteristic. Split your obsidian into black
and mahogany. Later split the mahogany into sheen and not.

That is what I say. What I do is use milk crates laid out
in an array in the back yard. Not good for three reasons:
1) the crates are too heavy to move 2) Only the rocks at the
top are visible (and there is no good way to stir them) and
3) it takes too much room. Earthquake safe though.


Subject: RE: Crack Healer Recipe

Hi Hale,

In the thread concerning healing fractures (I believe it all
started with dino bone) you mentioned a recipe using Hughes
330 epoxy which you thinned in acetone and soaked slabs in
this mixture for a week or more. My question is: Does this
method work with any epoxy?

Epoxy is basically the same from one formulation to the next
(as far as I know anyway). At least there is a resin and a
hardener mixed together which bonds into a plastic.

In any case, my curiosity is piqued and I have started
experimenting with what I have on hand.

Paul Boni
Boulder CO
Paul: I have never used anything except Hughes 330 in this
formula - mainly since it gives a clear polymer. But I see
no reason why it wouldn't work with any epoxy. The major
difference between epoxies - if you believe the labels - is
in time to completely polymerize. I don't know what effect
this would have on the results, and the only way to find
out is to experiment.

Incidentally, <> asks us to remember that
acetone is very flammable!! Treat it with respect. hale

Subject: RE: Crack Healer Recipe

<<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.>>

Dear Hale,

I have three types of UHU glue in my hand now (I cannot
find everything here)

1. UHU quickset transparent epoxy adhesive. This one has
two tubes; one is hardener. "sets in five minutes........"

2. For model building, "it dries and forms an isolating,
crystal clear, very hard glue film. It is free from acids
and alkalis and resistant to hot water and fuels used in
motors for models"

3.For plastic and other materials "the power of UHU
Allplast is derived from acrylic resins.......... For all
plastics, metal, glass,........marble. Dries out crystal
clear, remains flexible. Dishwasher proof, resistant to
heat (90oC) and cold (-30oC) to diluted acids, alkalis,
petrol, mineral oils, water."

My question is which one is suitable or is anyone of these
three suitable for the crack healing?

Kindest regards from Istanbul,

Oya Borahan
Hello Oya: First, we read of the latest earthquake in your
homeland, and hope it missed you and your family and pray
that you and your family are safe.

About your UHU adhesives: possibly the first one will work.
I do not think the second or third ones will work for this
crack healing application. Why not try the first one? Add
the contents of the two tubes to the acetone, and try it
out! And let us know how it worked.

The first one is a two component epoxy. The second seems to
be what we used to call 'model airplane glue'; it sets up by
evaporation of the solvent from the glue. I can't tell about
the third one; is it a one- or two-component adhesive?

UHU brand adhesives are made by Faber-Castell Corporation;
I have never seen any of their adhesives here in North

Thanks for mentioning UHU AllPlast; I need such a glue and
will try it. hale

Subject: RE: Grit Feed on a Sphere Making Machine

I have seen several that use a bottle mounted to a timer
motor. The grit goes into a small plastic bottle with a
metal screw-cap lid. (Now that I try to think of an example,
I can't. Are metal caps fossils?) A brass tube is soldered
or epoxied to the cap and a hole is drilled through the cap
and into the tube. The tube is attached to the shaft of a
timer motor with just a few RPM (

The motor turns the tube and a bolus of grit falls into the
tube when the bottle is at the top. As the tube turns the
grit works its way through the tube (downhill, away from
the motor) to the outlet and falls on the rock in a slow
steady stream.

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