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 266 - Thurs 3/16/2000
2. HELP: Expanding Drums Project
3. NEW: How Do I Polish Chilean Lapis?
4. RE: Expanding Drum Problem
5. RE: How to Apply Cerium Oxide to Leather
6. RE: BIO: Tammy Kinkade
7. RE: Pine-Sol Used as a Cutting Oil?
8. RE: Mineral Oil as a Cutting Lubricant
9. RE: Mineral Oil as a Cutting Lubricant
10. BIO: Chris Calentine
11. BIO: Victoria Fulmer
12. WTB: Zebra Marble


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No 266 - Thurs 3/16/2000

I know we like to make things from lapidary materials, but
this is ... a house made of petrified wood??? See it at:

I'm getting interested in soft lapidary materials, such as
alabaster, clays like catlinite, steatite, and so on. If
any of you have worked with such soft materials, and have
good tips on lapidary procedures and tips, please send them
in. We'll put them together and do an article on it!

Try to live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older
and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.
And try to remember that life is short, so for goodness
sakes, try to find time each day to have fun, and have fun
with those you love.


Subject: HELP: Expanding Drums Project

Please help with this.

We continue to hear tales of people with expandable drums
buying belts from a different source and having the belts
fail to fit - either too tight or too small.

With today's technology we should be able to get belts
from any good manufacturer and have them fit a drum bought
from any reputable drum maker. Other industries have trade
associations to solve things like this. In the absence of
one here, we are trying to collect data to better define
the problem. This is obviously a statistical problem in
that we need data from a large number of drums and belts.
And that is where - hopefully - you come in.

If you have an expanding drum (one you don't have to take
off the machine to install the belt), please write me and
tell me about your drum - the size, and make, and whether
you have ever had problems finding belts which properly fit
your expandable drum.

Please send this information whether or not you have had
a problem of fit. You will be helping yourself and the
whole lapidary hobby.



Subject: NEW: How Do I Polish Chilean Lapis?

Hi Hale,

I just acquired a slab of lapis lazuli from Chile and I'm
wondering how to polish it.

Thanks in advance, and BTW, I love this newsletter.

Ali Casado

Subject: RE: Expanding Drum Problem


I've been kind of quiet out here, but this topic has hit
close to home. My expanding drum is probably my most used
piece of lapidary equipment and the most troublesome.

I have an 8"x3" drum made by Graves Co. It was purchased
second hand from a lapidary shop that was going out of
business, and thus I don't know how old it is. It is the
type that is made from molded rubber with 45 deg slots.

Belts fit my drum so snugly that it takes at least five
minutes of wiggling and cursing to change from one to the
next. I have double checked the direction of rotation and
even resorted to sanding the outer edge of the drum to make
belt changes easier (only helped a little).

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you know of or hear
of a way to make this easier.

And thanks for the wonderful forum.


Randy Glenn
(short for lefty)

Subject: RE: How to Apply Cerium Oxide to Leather

Hi Hale and list,

I have been using cerium oxide as my only polishing compound
for every type of rock except jade and lapis lazuli for
about 35 years. I do not try to polish on my genie because
I have an old Covington belt sander, who's only purpose is
for polishing now.

I don't try to put the cerium oxide on the belt at all. I
have a small jam jar with a screw-on lid and I have a
little bit of cerium oxide in the jar. I wet it down until
it is runny. (It will dry out between uses.) When I am
ready to polish a piece I dip the stone in the cerium oxide
until it is well covered and then go to the polishing belt
(which is leather with the hair side out). At first I let
the water in the cerium oxide provide the dampening and
then when it begins to dry I use a spray bottle to wet the
belt down a little bit. The real trick has very little to
do with the speed but is much more dependent upon the
quality of the final sanding and then letting the stone get
fairly hot so that the cerium oxide first begins to dry back
into a powder and then the actual polishing begins. I
usually spend less than 45 seconds in polish on the typical
30x40 cab. The results are spectacular.

I did try polishing on the end pad of my Genie at one time
and found that I did not like the offset feel, but the
polish came out just as nicely as on the Covington.

As for Richardsons’ equipment, I have spent at least one
weekend a year there for 22 or the last 25 years. Their
equipment is very good and will do a fine job.

Hope this helps.

Dan Ice

Subject: RE: BIO: Tammy Kinkade

(Tammy said in her BIO that she was having trouble finding
information on mineral inlay (channel work) or intarsia. In
response, Ed Elam sent the following info.)

Tammy, go to:

for information on classes in channel work and intarsia.

Further classes that I know of include a channel work class
sponsored by Eastern Federation of Mineralogical & Lapidary
Societies at Wildacres near Little Switzerland, NC Sept 25
- Oct 1.

Contact Jack Rowland at about
eligibility to attend or other info. After March 15 Jack's
address will change to

John C. Campbell Folk School,, has a
channel work class scheduled July 30-Aug 5.

Ed Elam

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

Anna Marie Andrews of Greenville, SC, wrote to say that the
KITSAP MINERAL AND GEM SOCIETY newsletter in Bremerton, WA
contained a note as follows:

"Tired of the high cost of cutting oil? Can't stand the
smell of diesel? Your worries are over- Just use Pine-Sol.
..(snip)... ."

She wanted to know if Pile Sol would be a good replacement
for more traditional cutting oils. I sent the item to the
technical department at Clorox and asked for their advice.
(Clorox makes Pine-Sol) The first answer was a full page
history of Pine Sol from the beginning. I wrote again,
stressing the question and also asking whether Pine Sol
became sticky if left on a surface over time. They answered:
"Unfortunately, we would not recommend using PINE-SOL
dilutable cleaner in a diamond saw." They did not answer
the other questions, so I resorted to reading their
published information on their products.

There are, I believe, five different Pine Sol products.

>From their FAQ: "Is this product safe to use on no-wax
floors?" and their answer was: "Yes. Use Rain Clean Pine-Sol
diluted to avoid stickiness on the surface." "Does Rain
Clean Pine-Sol have pine oil as an ingredient?" Answer: No.
Thus the one they recommend using to avoid stickiness has
no oil in it! I infer that the others will cause stickiness,
which we wish to avoid.

As I pointed out before, it is a degreasing agent. I do not
want to degrease my saw bearings! Finally, they say:
"Moderately toxic by ingestion; mildly toxic by skin
contact; irritating to skin, mucous membranes. Large doses
may cause CNS depression." Also, the California EPA said:
.. "an eye irritation study for a product containing 60 %
pine oil. Review of the data indicated that the product was
Toxicity Category I for eye irritation, and therefore,
should bear the signal word "Danger" and appropriate
precautionary language."

All in all, I will not use it myself and suggest that you
also do not use it as a saw lubricant/coolant.

There are very good products out there (light mineral oil
is an example) which I think you should stick to.


Subject: RE: Mineral Oil as a Cutting Lubricant

What I mean by 'gets mucked up too fast', and this may be
because I cut outside, is that the oil does not let the
sediment settle out. It also may be that I am using heavy
because I could not find the light weight mineral oil. I
am paying about $2 / pint.

I was using Shell Pella oil before. I cannot stand the
mist that the Pella oil throws out.

I tried the mineral oil and the only thing that I could
find good about it was that it did not mist like the Pella
oil. I am cutting mostly soft materials for front porch
tiles for my mom and the oil just doesn't want to settle out
and stay clean enough to lube the blade.

robert redden
Robert: You paid $16/gallon. As the next letter describes,
you can get 2 gallons of Lortone's light mineral oil for
about $15 plus shipping.

When you cut plaster of Paris, it goes into suspension and
will almost never settle out, but becomes a gooky mess! I
know you are not cutting plaster of Paris, but other soft
rocks act like that also, so the slow settling may be more
due to the rock you are cutting than the oil. The detritus
from the rock may be such small size that it would be hard
to settle out even in water!

If that is the case, don't worry - the blade will get plenty
of lubrication and cooling, even with that stuff in the oil.
Clean the oil by using two grocery store bags, one inside
the other, and placed in a small drum with a few holes in
the sides and bottom. This drum is placed in a larger drum
and raised on several bricks placed on end. The first drum
is set on these bricks and the dirty oil is poured into the
bags. It may take a week or more for most of the oil to
come through, but it will be clean. If you use the saw
quite frequently, you may have to have two changes of oil.
I hope our members may have other advice for you. hale

Subject: RE: Mineral Oil as a Cutting Lubricant

Hale and list

I just purchased a used Lortone 12" slab saw. I wanted to
use the right oil for the saw so I bought 2 gallons of
cutting oil from the Lortone Co. The cost was $14.95 plus
shipping. When the oil arrived I opened the box and inside
was a material safety data sheet as well as the oil and the
other items I ordered. Their oil is called Duopac70. The
other name is technical light white mineral oil. Listed
under the heading of Summary of Hazards it says "suitable
for veterinary use, manufacturing, processing, or repacking".
I remembered Jerry Millers article in # 261. So, I am going
to talk to my vet and see if he can help me out!

Carl Darling

Subject: BIO: Chris Calentine

Hi -
My name is Chris Calentine, I live in Indiana and am 53 yrs.

I have always been interested in lapidary work, but had
neither the time or the resources to be able to pursue it.
In the past I have done some tumbling etc, but have never
worked with a saw or polishing equipment. I have recently
purchased two tumblers, a 10 inch saw, a trim saw and a
Genie machine .... I have the time, and I made the money
available. I enjoy working with agate type materials. I
have done several cabs, from small to large, but I prefer
to start with a basic shape of scrap or whatever and turn
in into something beautiful. I have since got my wife of
30 years into doing beading so now we can both work together
at something we like to do. I hope to learn from all of
you, and in time I may have a project to enter on your web

In addition we enjoy fishing, cooking, gardening and the
out of doors. We are looking forward to taking some type of
guided rock hunting expedition this year if we can find the
right place and time.

If you enjoy cooking, check out my hobby cooking site.....

Chris & Tae Calentine


Subject: BIO: Victoria Fulmer

Hello everyone!
I am a 30 year old "domestic engineer", mother of 6 year
old Claire, wife to John. I've been receiving the
newsletter for a couple of months and have just now gotten
up the courage to write. I've been interested in rocks,
minerals and fossils since I can remember. My mother says
I always had a fine gravel collection in the bottom of my
toy box!

Trouble is I never really have had the time until now to
pursue my interest. I'm fascinated by lapidary, but know
very little about it technically. I'm currently reading a
book on geology, which I can't seem to put down. There is
just now a rock club forming in my town of Lawrence, Kansas,
and you can bet I'll be there. I'm looking forward to my
first really big show in Kansas City, Missouri later this

So I guess my question is, What is the first real hands on
thing I should try , with my limited knowledge? How much of
an initial investment should I spend and on what equipment
should I spend it? (I don't even own a Dremel.) I would
love to make spheres, but is that setting my sights too
high, too soon?

Any other information for a REAL beginner would be


Victoria Fulmer

Subject: WTB: Zebra Marble

I believe zebra marble comes from Mexico, but I'm not sure.
If you know, please write and tell me. This is a black and
white banded material, striped like a zebra. The white bands
fluoresce white under sw and lw uv.

Would like to get some more of this material. I made spheres
of the material that I have, but have not polished them yet.
I believe they will polish up fine.

Thank You for this site.

Terry Garber
I don't know whether it occurs in Mexico, but it does occur
in Utah! My Utah friend thinks it comes from near Milford,
Utah. I was just reminded that, since it is a porous rock,
you should soak it in water for 3 or 4 hours before cutting,
to prevent it from being stained by the saw oil. I'm sure
some sources can be found on the Net; just search with, say,
Alta Vista, for the term: "zebra rock". hale
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