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 261 - Tues 2/22/2000
2. NEW: Need Help with Garnets
3. NEW: Help Me Buy a Titan
4. NEW: Dry Vibratory Polishing Extenders
5. NEW: Diamond Compounds for Polishing Agates
6. NEW: Mineral Oil as a Cutting Lubricant
7. NEW: Colors of Brazilian Rutile Quartz
8. RE: Expanding Wheel, Belt Too Tight
9. RE: Cutting Material from Israel
10. RE: Cutting Material from Israel
11. RE: Source for Tiger Eye in UK?
12. RE: Protecting Druzy Quartz from Grit and Polish
13. RE: Egg Making Revisited
14. RE: Egg Making Revisited
15. RE: Egg Making Revisited
16. RE: Egg Making Revisited
17. RE: Risk of Almag Oil Explosion in Sawing
18. RE: Want Advice on Flat Laps
19. BIO: Tiffiny Leitenberger
20. BIO: Robert Parker
21. BIO: Denver Leaman
22. WTB: Used Polishing cabinet.
23. FS: Four Foot Lap


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No 261 - Tues 2/22/2000

Our member Oya Borahan (
reminds us that the Sultan's Treasures from the Topkapi
Palace in Istanbul, Turkey are now on tour in the US and
invites our members to visit them: In Washington DC: March
1 - June 15, 2000. San Diego Museum of Art: July 14 -
September 24, 2000. Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale,
Florida: October 15, 2000 - January 14, 2001.

I know that this is a long issue, but I have a pot full of
items which came while I was 'away', and I'm trying to get
caught up. Will try to get another issue out tomorrow, for
I must go Thursday and help my brother - he lives up in the
mountains, so it won't be too bad!! (smile) Will return on
the next Tuesday, probably!

Was with my grandchildren this past weekend, and there is
nothing sweeter than a hug from them. They have gone back

Stay loose, guys. Getting all mad and upset is just not
worth it. The answer is, of course: set some time aside
to have fun every day with those you love.


Subject: NEW: Need Help with Garnets

Hi all,

I have been reading the digest for a few weeks now and have
enjoyed it thoroughly. I submitted a question a few weeks
back .. only to learn I did it incorrectly. So here I go
again. :)

I used to polish rocks as a youngster.. with a polishing
machine even but have reason to believe that even if I had
my lil' old rock polisher, I couldn't polish the gems I have

Last year I was mining in North Carolina for fun...and I
happened to find quite a few nice size garnet and some
sapphire. I would really like to do something with them.
The only thing I have done is soaked them in muriatic acid
to clean off the rock debris. My Uncle had said this would
be a start. Well, now I have 3 or 4 garnets between 4 and
5 inches in diameter and many smaller ones. I don't think
I can really tumble these "small boulders" in a tumbler?

I have heard of using diamond polish with a Dremel? Where
do I start? I guess ... since I am really new to this any
information would help!! I would like to have some of the
smaller ones cut ... what does this cost?

Thanks again,

Sue from NH

Subject: NEW: Help Me Buy a Titan

I want to buy a DP Titan and wonder if anybody on the Digest
can help me. Diamond Pacific are not prepared to drop ship
to the UK to protect their UK distributor but their idea of
an exchange rate, 1USD=3D1UKP annoys me.

Specifically is anybody prepared to order up a 220V Titan
from say Rock Peddler (Jeanne Rifolfi has been great but
their hands are tied by DP) or Bombay Bazaar and then ship
on to me in England? I am prepared to pay up front for unit
and freight with say 100 bucks to cover hassle involved.

If this sounds mean I am sorry but I never did like the
feeling that I was being ripped off!

If anybody has seen what I am cutting on now on my website
you can see why I am so keen to get hold of a Titan.

Andy Parker, Agate House Lapidary
Ulverston, Cumbria, England
Tel: 01229 584023
Note from Hale: Andy is an honest guy and I hope one of you
will volunteer a little time to help him. hale

Subject: NEW: Dry Vibratory Polishing Extenders

Dry vibratory polishes have an extender available. Does
anyone know what this is? I am trying to work on a
restricted budget.

Subject: NEW: Diamond Compounds for Polishing Agates

Fellow subscribers:

I have a Star Diamond combination unit with 6" trim saw,
expandable drum, rotating disk and two silicon carbide (SC)
wheels. I have been cutting different types of agates
including moss and plume agates on these wheels.

I purchased diamond cabbing belts a few years ago for the
expandable drum and achieved wonderful high-gloss finishes
that seem much harder to duplicate with more traditional
methods, e.g., shaping and sanding agates with SC wheels,
then polishing on leather, muslin and other pads with tin
or cerium oxide. I haven't purchased diamond belts in a
long time because they're so expensive. (The best price I
managed to obtain from Minnesota Lapidary Supply was
$40/unit price about 5 years ago.) One of my husband's
colleagues got me a supply of diamond compound (some of it
already mixed and ready to apply in syringes) which is
used in the CD industry for polishing disks.

I tried using Grade #1 of the compound to prepolish
(instead of 600 grit size sanding belts), and it seemed to
work. I managed to polish a small slab of plume agate
which came up fairly well on the polishing disk using the
premixed Grade 1 Diamond Compound. Some of the mesh sizes
that I will be experimenting with are: 230/270 mesh size
(1000 carats); 0-10 Nat. Fine (100 carats); 2 micron mesh
size (100 carats). The manufacturer is Warren Diamon
Powder Co., Inc., USA. The latter mesh sizes came in a
powder form.

Has anyone out there had any experience using diamond
compounds for prepolishing and finishing? How about
cabbing? What should I use to mix with the diamond powder
for an optimal viscosity?

Thanking you in advance for any information you would like
to share with me on this topic,

Rebecca Solon

Subject: NEW: Mineral Oil as a Cutting Lubricant

Hale: The best cutting oil I have come across is mineral
oil. Diamond Pacific has a Rock-Oil. On the label it says
high grade of mineral oil. Their price is $16.75 per gal.
plus freight I think. I found mineral oil at the local ACE
hardware store for about $12.00 per gal., but the best place
I have found is a wholesale veterinary supply. With the
permission of my veterinarian I bought theirs, which is used
on horses, for $9.65 per gal.

Mineral oil has no odor, and is non-toxic (food grade). It
is also easy on your skin. The flash point is 275 F (as per
Diamond Pacific catalogue). It washes out of my clothes
with soap and water. I am presently using it in a 20" and a
10" saw.

Jerry Miller
I agree, Jerry. I also think mineral oil with properties,
such as you describe, is the ideal lubricant to use when
cutting hard materials. hale

Subject: NEW: Colors of Brazilian Rutile Quartz

Does the Brazilian Rutile Quartz come in various colors, or
are they all the same. Does the rutilated inclusions also
come in different colors as well???


Subject: RE: Expanding Wheel, Belt Too Tight

The answer to the problem of belts fitting too tight on
expandable drums lies in the drum, not the belts. This,
according to Dan at Kingsley North (1-800-338-9280). I was
grabbed by their catalog description for the Raytech
"Rayspan" drum- "...Belts can be quickly changed merely by
stopping the machine and slipping off the old belt and
sliding on the new one...". Dan says Raytech holds to very
strict tolerances such that any specification belt (25-7/32
inch for 8" wheels) works this way with Raytech's drums.

That was my experience with the Raytech drums as I wrote in
LD Issue #250, Msg-5. Do any other wheel manufacturers
follow this same critical sizing policy? I haven't been
able to find any information that they do.

I know some don't because our lapidary club has five wheels
that are worthless for our new polishing system. To quickly
polish through several diamond-loaded resin belts, depends
on easy changing. None of these bad wheels are Rayspan,
otherwise nameless they should remain. I am committed to
teaching the diamond compound polishing system and the
too-tight belt problem crippled the program. Now, a
solution at hand.

...George Butts

Subject: RE: Cutting Material from Israel

In Issue #260, Cortney Mayle said, about her Eilat stone:

<<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?>>


I would suggest that you might try to make it into a doublet
or triplet with some clear quartz on top of it.

This will stabilize it to a great extent.

John Campbell
John is right on with this. You may put a thin piece of jade
on the back side to strengthen it, and cover it with clear
quartz to protect it when worn. hale

Subject: RE: Cutting Material from Israel

I bought my whole lapidary shop, complete with rocks, from
a gentleman who as selling it after his father had passed
away. Among the boxes of rock was a white and brownish
gray mottled stone that his father called Mount of Olives
jasper. The guy said that he found it on the Mount of
Olives while he was in Israel and sent a bunch of it home
to his father. It is not colorful but takes a good polish.
Is that "Eilat stone"?
Unfortunately it isn't! Eilat stone is a copper rock and
is usually green/blue in color, and probably contains
turquoise-like minerals (azurite, malachite, etc.) hale

Subject: RE: Source for Tiger Eye in UK?

You could try Burhouse in Huddersfield on 01484 655675 or, but I don't think they take a lot
of notice of their email.

Last time I was there they had a couple of barrels of rough
with pieces of 5 inch thick seam up to 18 inch square
- drool!

Andy Parker, Agate House Lapidary
Ulverston, Cumbria, England
Tel: 01229 584023

Subject: RE: Protecting Druzy Quartz from Grit and Polish

How to protect Druses and rough edges? Not simple, but it
can be done. The answer is clear lacquer. Put on several
fairly heavy coats, letting it dry in between, until the
surface is smooth. (I usually use about 8 coats, but I'm
a stickler - you might get by with less.} Then go ahead
and put it through your process; inspect it between grits
- you usually won't have to remove the lacquer until after
the polishing phase, although you may have to scrub it
pretty hard if some grit is adherent.

It is sometimes a good idea in between grits to run it in
your tumbler with dishwasher detergent to get rid of any
traces of grit; you may want to recoat it a few times if
it looks like your lacquer is coming off, but it usually

Then after everything is polished to your satisfaction,
put the whole thing in Acetone overnight. You may need to
rinse it a time or three with fresh acetone. Try it; I'm not
too sure about rough edges, but it has protected a lot of
drusess in Chalcedony roses for me.

Ted Robles

Subject: RE: Egg Making Revisited

In the last issue, I noted that a lapidary, Denis Brand made
beautiful eggs, so I wrote and asked him to discuss how eggs
were made. You may see them at: He did
not want to reveal his method, as he considered the it a
trade secret. But he did say:


If anyone else out there knows anything about cutting eggs,
please write and describe the process you use.


Subject: RE: Egg Making Revisited

Hi, In response to the queries about egg making, I have seen
two methods that use machines to do most of the work.

Contempo made, (and will make one for you on special order),
a lathe type machine that has a diamond blade that moves
horizontally, controlled by a template that is half of your
desired shape. The advertising that I remember for this
machine, shows an egg preform.

Another machine that I saw in Tucson many years ago, uses
a form wheel. This wheel is in the shape of half an egg, but
it is a negative. The spinning stone preform is forced into
this cavity, and the electoplated diamond grit on the form
wheel grinds the egg shape.

Art Ruggiero

Subject: RE: Egg Making Revisited


Sumner Olsen of Washington State (sumnermo has a
web site full of eggs he has faceted. They are exquisite.
Instructions are given for faceting two different eggs. His
URL is: .
Instructions for faceting a simple egg and for faceting an
egg patterned after an egg cut by Sinkankas, now in the
Smithsonian, are found on the above 'gemstone' page as

Hope this helps.

Thanks, Teresa. These are beautiful eggs, and I commend them
to everyone's viewing. Sumner's home page is at, on which he
shows about 80 stones he faceted. These are made of many
different materials, so if you want a reference to what
a lot of faceting rough will look like when cut, look at
this page. hale

Subject: RE: Egg Making Revisited

A few years ago in Tucson I saw a machine to make eggs
commercially. It used a diamond wheel with an egg shape
indention in it. Had automatic grips for the rock which
had been preformed (core drilled). The ends then were
ground off and the egg finished in large tumblers. The
demonstrator was from Sweden working with Contempo
Lapidary in Tucson.

Ernest Rudisill
Corvallis, OR

Subject: RE: Risk of Almag Oil Explosion in Sawing

In Issues #258 and 259, the following question was explored:

<<I noticed that some materials spark in my lapidary saw
that is cooled with Almag. Is there an explosion danger
due to the misted oil?>>

Almag is made by Texaco, so I wrote to their technical
information group <> asking for an answer
to this. They replied:

"There is no danger of fire or explosion from the ALMAG Oil
for the described use. I cannot answer directly as to the
cause of the sparks without further investigation, but since
some minerals do contain metals, some sparks could be
generated as a result of impurities in the stones. The
sparks are NOT caused by the ALMAG Oil and there is no
danger of fire or explosion. The cutting saw does not
generate enough heat to reach the flash point of the ALMAG.

I hope this helps.

Kathy Couch
Sr. Project Chemist"

Hope that helps...


Subject: RE: Want Advice on Flat Laps

I have an "All You Need" with more than a few miles that
has pleased me. However, I have not had great success at
getting perfect faces on 3"-4" size material. I end up
with areas (somewhere in the middle) that are unevenly
abraded. Can someone who does not have this effect offer
me some advice?

Mary: Do you have a 4" or a 6" AYN lap?

Subject: BIO: Tiffiny Leitenberger

I'm just a kid, 17 years old. Since I was a small
child, rocks in general have fascinated me. I love the
fact that no two stones are exactly the same. I don't know
much about lapidary, but I want to learn!

My favorite gemstone is opal. It is such an interesting
stone I love the color play. Rough stones are what I
prefer, but I want to know how to cut and polish them.

This may sound ridiculous, but I just got a Dremel and I
expect to be able to polish some of my rough opal. I've
done a little research on the process, but if anyone can
give me more info, I'll be much obliged. I'm afraid to
start on a stone, because I think I am going to ruin it!!!
Someday I hope to get some decent equipment and be able to
make cameos out of opal.

I guess that's good, if anyone wants to know more just ask.

Tiffiny Leitenberger

Subject: BIO: Robert Parker

Hello. I am new to this site. So I thought I would give you
some background on myself. I have been in the stone
business for around 25 or more years. I own and operate a
Novaculite quarry here at Magnet Cove, Arkansas. Its been
a family business from the beginning. When we started, we
quarried for Arkansas Whetstone. And cut the stone
ourselves for several years. Now we just sell our stone in
the green or raw form straight from the ground.

We export our stone to Germany and Japan, also we sell it to
flint knappers from all over, along also to what we call
cabbers. The public is invited to visit the quarry site
with advance notice, usually a day or two.

We also offer tours to local areas for mineral collectors
and rock hounds. But only in group form, and only by
appointment. We also sponsor a junior mineral club here at
Magnet Cove and through us they sell what they find and
collect. This helps them to make extra money and gives them
a sense of pride in their community. Plus gaining knowledge
on minerals.

In our quarry we offer three different grades of stone.
1. Hard Arkansas colored stone, 2. Translucent Stone,
3. Blue Black 4. Porcelain. Most of the stone we quarry is
99.6 to 99.9 per cent silica. For more information on us,
check us out at .

I hope that I can continue to enjoy this site like I have
been doing. I find it very informative and interesting.
Thank you for letting me jump in. If you have any questions
for me feel free to contact me.

Robert D Parker
Magnet Cove Stone

Subject: BIO: Denver Leaman


I am a 45 y.o. new subscriber living on the southwest slope
of Mauna Loa volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. I have
been a resident for the past 21 years and DO miss the
geological diversity of the mainland. I order most of my
materials by mail since locally we have a choice of lava,
lava, basalt, or lava. To be totally fair, I HAVE found
silicified wood in eroded ash flows and opalized coral in
eroded tuff deposits from prehistoric steam explosions in
coastal areas.

I have a pretty complete wood shop but also own a 12 inch
rocksaw and a 15 inch vibe lap. I built a stand up
"lap-center" with water cooled diamond drum and SC grinding
wheel last year and find it very useful. I collect and do a
bit of carving (mostly whales, dolphins, orchids, and curvy
freeforms) using a Dremel with flexshaft and diamond tools.
. love those sintered bits. I also collect mineral spheres
ranging from 5 mm ruby to 4 inch septarian with 60 or so
items in between. I am learning a few silver working skills
from a friend.

I have had an interest in rocks and minerals since I was a
kid with the nearly prerequisite rock collection while
growing up in the Midwest. I have a good library of rock
and lapidary subjects and subscribe to Rock and Gem and
Lapidary Journal. I AM finding myself running into a wall
of sorts when trying out new things or learning how to do
something. The only Hawaiian rock or lapidary club that I
know of is on Oahu so local information is pretty deficient.
My Internet searches led to this publication where I found
answers to a number of my questions. You WILL be getting
questions from me.

Nice job, Hale! You're providing a much needed forum.

Denver Leaman

Subject: WTB: Used Polishing cabinet.

Hello Everybody,

I'm looking for a used polishing cabinet with filter and
lights. Doesn't matter if it has a motor (lathe), or if the
motor works or not! If you know of or have one for sale,
you may email me off line.


Subject: FS: Four Foot Lap

Hello I am new here, so it will take a while for me to get
to know some of you all.

I have noticed that some of your sale items here. So I
thought I would try it if it is OK. I have a 4 ft lap that
has never been used. It does need a motor and a drive belt.

If interested I will take $1200.00 firm on it. Contact me

Thank you,
Robert D Parker
Magnet Cove Stone,
Magnet Cove Arkansas
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