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 260 - Thurs 2/17/00
2. NEW: How to Send in a Question or a Response.
3. NEW: Source for Tiger Eye in UK?
4. NEW: Pine-Sol Used as a Cutting Oil?
5. NEW: Use of Old CDs for Backing Stones
6. NEW: Egg Making Revisited
7. NEW: Selecting a Polishing Material for Tumbling
8. NEW: Need Advice on Polishing Amber
9. NEW: Need Information on Econo Preformer MMJ-71.
10. RE: Cutting Material from Israel
11. RE: Want Advice on Flat Laps
12. RE: Want Advice on Flat Laps
13. RE: Want Advice on Flat Laps
14. RE: Want Advice on Flat Laps
15. RE: What and How to Polish with Tin Oxide
16. BIO: Kevin Kirschman


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No 260 - Thurs 2/17/00

Well, I'm back and the Digest is back and with God's (and
my doctor's) help, both of us will stay around for as long
as we can. It was a very dark place I was in, all depressed,
until a good friend (my doctor) gave me a swift kick in the
seat and told me to 'knock it off', and told me the steps I
should take to recovery; I followed them and am back, all
full of vim and vitality and hope!!! God bless friends!!

And while I'm asking God to bless that friend, I also want
him to bless all the 174 friends on the Digest rolls who
sent notes of concern and caring -- you guys are the

Have you tried the new (well, almost new) search engine
which George Butts added to the web pages Archives? It
searches every past issue for key words which you specify,
and reports every issue with those keywords in them. So if
you are interested in 'goldstone', it will tell you every
reference to it in the Archives! Try it and let me know
what you think of it -- and give me (that is, George!)
suggestions for improving it's use. Have trouble with the
instructions? Tell us about it!

My older sister is 80 years old this coming Saturday and we
are having a gathering of the clan (no, NOT the Klan!!) to
celebrate her life, so I'll be gone till Monday. Next issue
will be out Tuesday.

We had a very large number of items in the Digest at the end
of my hiatus, which I have stored and which I will add to
future issues of the Digest. So if you don't see yours here,
have patience!

In the meantime, Kevin Kirschman (see Bio below) wrote up
instructions for sending in an answer to a query, and they
are so good, that I am adopting them (slightly modified)
and will include them periodically in the Digest. Thanks,

Turns out that when I was most depressed, I just 'shut
down'! Didn't phone or talk with friends -- and my doc
friend told me that was the worst thing I could have done.
He talked about the healing effects of friendship and the
absolute need to talk about your problems with ones you
love. Now that I am back, I think it is ironic, for such
an expression of love and caring is just what I have been
preaching at the ends of these introductions with for the
past 260 issues. I guess the 'heal thyself' statement
applies directly to me!

So I'll finish with: Sit and talk with your loved ones,
and tell them you do love them! Listen to all their worries
and cares, and hug them often. Works for me!!!


PS: Feels great to be back!!!

Subject: NEW: How to Send in a Question or a Response.

To submit a new question, send an e-mail to and write the subject of the query
on the subject line of your message. Do NOT use "RE:" on
the subject line. Then add your question in the body of the
message. Be sure to sign your query, adding e-mail address
and web page, if you have one!

To send in an answer to a query, send an e-mail to and copy the subject of the query
on the subject line of your answer. Make sure the first word
on the subject line is 'RE:' Then add your answer to the
body of the message. Be sure to sign your query, adding
e-mail address and web page, if you have one!

Please DO NOT use the reply feature of your e-mail client,
but open a new e-mail, and type or copy/paste in the address.
If you wish, you may cut and paste the original query at the
beginning of your answer, but be sure to set it off in

Courtesy of Kevin Kirschman


Subject: NEW: Source for Tiger Eye in UK?

Hi, can anyone put me in touch with a supplier of Tiger Eye
(Tiger's Eye ?) in the UK ?



Subject: NEW: Pine-Sol Used as a Cutting Oil?

The following was taken from the KITSAP MINERAL AND GEM
SOCIETY newsletter in Bremerton, Washington:

"Tired of the high cost of cutting oil? Can't stand the
smell of diesel? Your worries are over- Just use Pine-Sol.
Use about 3/4 bottle in a 16" saw and the rest of the bottle
in a 10" saw. This does the trick. End of article."

Does anybody know anything about this? Is this in addition
to the lubricant or to be used by itself? Also, can you use
this in any size saw? Would appreciate any information you
can share on this subject.


Anna Marie Andrews
Greenville. S.C.
Hi Anna Marie: I'll tell you, I'd want to know a lot more
about Pine-Sol before I put it in my saw! For example, we
know that several suggested substitutes will 'gunk up' a
saw in time and will be a bear to remove. Will Pine-Sol do
that? And incidentally, there isn't just one formulation
named Pine-Sol, but several (see website at
Rain Clean Pine-Sol does not have any pine oil in it, and I
don't know whether it contains ANY oil at all. Some of the
Pine-Sols are solvents and cut oils and greases; do you
want your bearings degreased? I need a lot more reassuring
information before I use it - and I have written Clorox for
data on this application. ... to be continued, I am sure!!!


Subject: NEW: Use of Old CDs for Backing Stones

Someone recently suggested using CDs for backing for stones.
Has anyone tried this? What kind of glue did you use? How
long have your stones held together?

Thank you,

Rose Alene McArthur


Subject: NEW: Egg Making Revisited

Just and FYI,

Some time back a query arose asking how eggs are made????

At the time it was speculated that they were turned, and I
even agreed! Now I have changed my mind, I'm quite sure
that they can be made with a variation of a preformer.

After strolling through several tool catalogs I got some
ideas and decided to CAD the "Egg Thing" up.

In short it will be a preformer with a tracer cam, by
adjusting the distance between the center point and most
any grinding/sanding/polishing wheel setup a egg of most
any scale will be formed. In theory by using different
cams it should be able to make (reasonable) spheres,
ellipsoids, cones, bullets, marbles, cylinders, or most any
solid of revolution. Unfortunately I can't really see any
way around not dopping the egg, and using a transfer to get
both ends formed. Think of it as a faceted stone with an
infinite number of cuts and planes of revolution.

I'm trying to keep it very simple and make the "Egg Thing"
out of easy to obtain items such as commercial set collars,
screws, round rod, cold rolled steel, and UHMW sheet stock.
Access to a table saw and drill press should get the job
done. I get my plastic from a local supply house that has
a scrap bin in the lobby, a buck a pound for any thing in
there, such a deal!

Of course this device is designed to be used with an
existing grinding/polishing setup, a rock saw would also be
handy to help rough the shape out first.

I'm guessing that after I build the prototype, I'm looking
at few weeks out to finish off the prints.

Please let me know if there is further interest on this


Jeff in Kalamazoo
Jeff: I recently found a webpage: for
Denis Brand, a lapidary who turns out both spheres and eggs
(1/2" - 12"); I wrote him explaining the query and asked
how eggs were made. I haven't heard yet, but expect to and
will publish his answer when it arrives.

About your preformer, we would like to have such plans on
our website! Go for it!! hale


Subject: NEW: Selecting a Polishing Material for Tumbling

I have been tumbling for a few months, using cerium oxide
for the polish run. The results have been good, but I was
wondering if there is a rule of thumb for when to use
cerium or tin or titanium or chrome oxide on a particular
material. I have mostly tumbled agates and a few smaller
runs of quartz/amethyst and other mish-mash, and will be
loading a batch of jasper soon.

All opinions welcome!


Mike Trimble

Subject: NEW: Need Advice on Polishing Amber

Hello all,

I recently picked up a few pieces of rough amber and was
wondering if anyone will tell me how to polish it. I see
amber with great polishes at shows but no one can tell me
how they were polished. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
Mike H


Subject: NEW: Need Information on Econo Preformer MMJ-71.

I just got a deal on a used piece of equipment called an
"Econo Lapidary Tool Company" preformer, MMJ-71. It did not
come with standard shaped ovals, etc., to trace with it.

Can anybody give me any idea how to use this? I did a web
search for Econo and couldn't find them. Any support would
be appreciated.


Bob Lombardi W4ATM in Melbourne, FL (ex-WB4EHS) or or
Visit ATM's Resource List:
or Visit me at
While we are on the subject of cabbing preformers, if any of
you have experience with typical preformers, such as the
Graves preformer or Gy-Roc prformer, please write me and
tell me about it. I have some questions I'd like answered.
Thanks ... hale

Subject: RE: Cutting Material from Israel

First off, I'm extremely jealous of Wally for getting to go
to Israel. It's a beautiful country, with an endless supply
of wonderful places to visit. If you need any suggestions,
just ask me. And Eilat isn't a bad city itself. ;o) I don't
know of any "native" stones to Israel other than Eilat
stone. BTW, be wary of places selling "Eilat stone" at
tourists attractions. I've heard that a lot of other stones
are trying to be passed as the real thing.

I may have a contact for getting some Eilat Stone rough in
Israel. About 6 months back, I was in contact with a lady
who lives in Kinneret (city in Israel). When she e-mailed
me, she said that she could get the stone for $250/kilo.
This is actually a rather great deal, but since I'm only a
hobbyist and can't afford anything near that much, I had to
pass up the opportunity. :o( If anyone can afford to get
this amount, please please please can I buy an ounce or two
from you? If anyone's interested, let me know and I'll give
you her e-mail address. As for the stone itself, I managed
to get a small slab on eBay for a REALLY good price because
the seller didn't know what the stone was and thus the value
of it. Eilat stone is a beautiful mixture of blue/green/
black/brown colors in a look very similar to tie-dye.
Unfortunately, it's a VERY soft stone. I spent the time to
shape and smooth a stone by hand, and the next time I saw
it, it had broken into pieces. :o(

I still have enough for another cab, but I'm waiting to work
on it until I find a way to make sure it won't go the same
path the other piece did. Since I'd absolutely love to set
the stone, I would also like to find a way to set it in a
manner that will protect it (heck, without breaking the
stone during setting). Can anyone help with this?

For any matter, if you can get your hands on Eilat stone,
go for it. It's beautiful and rare. If anyone wants the
e-mail address of the contact I have, just e-mail me
( and I'll be happy to share.

Maybe if folks would like, I could upload a picture of it
onto my webpage so people can see what Eilat stone looks
like. (did I mention that I'm not 'positive' if it's Eilat
stone, but based on everything I've heard about it, it is)
I need to make use of the Nikon 950 I got for Christmas,
don't I? *grin*


Cortney Mayle, Pittsburgh, PA

Subject: RE: Want Advice on Flat Laps

Cheryl asks:

<<We are in the market for a flat lap. Many of our stones
are UNDER 1" diameter, while some cabs may be as much as 3
or 4 inches at the longest point. If anyone has advice on
what type of small flat laps may be to our advantage, and
your own experiences with different laps, I'd appreciate
hearing from you.>>

Hi Cheryl,

Check with any faceters in your area. Faceters usually use
flat laps. Faceting laps are available in 2 sizes, 6 or 8"
in diameter, usually 1/2" thick with a 1/2" diameter
mounting hole. They're available in many different grits
from 100 or larger to 8000. Finer grits can be had by
applying diamond, up to 200,000 grit to polishing laps the
same size.

Laps can be made from many different materials, wood,
steel, cast iron, aluminum, & plastic. The actual polishing
surface may differ from the material the lap is made from.
Some polishing surfaces are made from tin, type metal,
corian, acrylic, wax etc. Different polishing agents, such
as tin oxide, cerium oxide, diamond are applied to the lap
for polishing. The polishing agents used are dependent on
the material being polished.


Subject: RE: Want Advice on Flat Laps

Cheryl, Look into the "All You Need" from HiTech. It will
serve you well. This is basically a grinder, sander and
polisher, and offers several different grit size laps. Has
a short learning time, and can be used for cabbing as well
as flat lapping.


Subject: RE: Want Advice on Flat Laps

For your application of small cabs and pieces I would
recommend the "All You Need" Machine made by Hi Tech
Diamond Products. I have used just about all the flat laps
available from homemade to expensive vibratory flat laps.
I found that for small pieces the "All you need" does the
job really slick and is relatively inexpensive compared to
the large laps.

It comes in 2 sizes, 6" & 8". The 8" unit comes with (4),
8" dia. backing discs and (1) 180- mesh diamond disc,
(1) 325-mesh diamond disc, (1) 1200-mesh diamond disc and
a final polish pad with diamond paste. You can get
additional backing discs and other mesh discs as they also
go down to 100-mesh which is really good for roughing.

Send for a catalog or call and ask for Wendell, they go to
a lot of shows and if there is one in your area you may be
able to pick up a demonstrator right at the show for a
reduced price.

I am not connected with but highly recommend them.

High Tech Diamond Products
750 Easy Street
Simi Valley, CA. 93065
(805) 522-6211

Ernie Ogren
The Geode Man
Torrance CA.

Subject: RE: Want Advice on Flat Laps

Cheryl ask for information on flat laps. It sounds to me
that a high speed sander and polisher made by Richardson
Ranch, in Madras OR would be just the thing for what you
want to do. It will put a polish on flat surfaces faster
and easier than any thing else I have ever used. The high
speed sander and their polisher cost in the neighborhood
of $400.00 each. They can be contacted at;

Gateway Rt. Box 440 Madras, OR 97741

I have one of the sanders and as you can tell; I am very
pleased with it.

Ralph Graves

Subject: RE: What and How to Polish with Tin Oxide

You ask: "How good is Tin Oxide and what's it good for, and
what do you use it on, both specimen and media?"

It's good. It's very good - on Silica (Quartz, Agate, and
Jasper.) It's moderately good on opal, although it takes
longer than Linde A. Use it in the tumbler with lots of
thickener like sugar. It is an acid, so don't use it on
Malachite or any other highly basic material unless it's
very insoluble.

Use it on either leather or felt, and it's really good on
a muslin buff. I haven't had any success using it on copper.

It is one of the best "Old Stand-by's," and if it seems to
be breaking down for one reason or another, it's cheap
enough to throw away. Landfill, please, not down the drain.
It's reasonably non-toxic, so you won't have to take it to
a hazardous materials landfill.

Ted Robles

Subject: BIO: Kevin Kirschman

My name is Kevin Kirschman and I've been rockhounding since
I was, oh.., say five or six years old.

Currently, I'm a high school science teacher in a little
town in the San Joaquin Valley of California named Dos Palos
("two sticks"). I grew up in Northern California's Coast
Range around Willow Creek and later, in Eureka (all Big
Foot country) and grew moss instead of peach fuzz as is
common in that moist climate.

Spent untold hours hiking the northern beaches above Eureka
and packed hundreds of pounds of beach agates, jasper, and
"jade" home. Tumbled most of it and gave it away.

I joined the Humboldt Gem & Mineral Soc. as a teen, worked
through the elected chairs and keep tabs on the club to this
day although I'm a long way away from them, now. I really
grew up in the club and was lucky to have all those
hobbyists as friends and mentors.

I hold a BS in geology and a single subject teaching
credential for high school science and am in my 13th year
in the classroom. So far, so good. I've past the typical
burnout stages and things are just now really getting
interesting, it seems.

I'm just getting back into gems/minerals and limited
lapidary after many years devoted to getting a degree,
credential, and a job! At one time, I sold Lortone
lapidary equipment and ended up keeping a large collection
of arbors, saws, and equipment when I quit. Good thing I
did as I doubt I could afford to buy that stuff today!!

Recently, I became interested in learning to carve stone
using a flex-shaft type drill. I've been visiting the
Quartzite, AZ and Blythe, CA regions for several years and
have hammered out (very literally) a fair quantity of fire
agate (some might be pretty fair but most probably just
good for me to learn on, I hope) and have thoroughly enjoyed
trailer camping in the desert each Christmas in the Mule
Mountain area. Time now, however, to stop amassing and
start learning to work the stuff up. I am very interested
in peoples experiences in using the flex-shaft units like
the Foredoms (which I recently purchased) and the
attachments needed (boy, is THAT stuff expensive!).

I would welcome direct contact via e-mail with fellow
rockhounds. My e-mail address is given below.

Kevin Kirschman
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