Edited and Published by Hale Sweeny
Web Site:
Associate Editors: Geo. Butts, JR Shroeder, Steve Henegar,
Margaret Malm, and Sam Todaro

This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No 272 - Sat 4/15/2000
2. NEW: HAZARDS:Gasoline
3. NEW: Diamond Wheel Speeds
4. NEW: My Saw Blade Won't Cut With a Water Coolant
5. NEW: Need A Few Grams of Untreated Emerald Rough
6. NEW: Working & Polishing Koroit Nuts
7. RE: Protecting Druzy Quartz from Grit and Polish
8. NEW: Protecting Druzy Materials
9. RE: WTB:Pietersite Cabs
10. RE: WTB:Pietersite Cabs
11. RE: WTB:Pietersite Cabs
12. RE: WTB:Pietersite Cabs
13. RE: WTB:Pietersite Cabs
14. RE: Adhesives for Doublets and Triplets
15. RE: Colors on Raytech Diamond Disks
16. RE: FS:Ruby in Zoisite
17. FS: Lapidary Equipment in Saint Joseph, MI


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No 272 - Sat 4/15/2000

Ever want chemicals and can't find them? Then you may be
interested in The Chemistry Store. They sell "common
chemicals, in small packaging, without paying the price
for reagent grade." All their products range from USP to
Industrial Grade, as well as tradename raw materials.
See their website at: .

And to see some pretty agate, look at the website of member
John Utterback at:

Have you ever seen tagua nut carvings? This is the nut
which supposedly looks and cuts like ivory. To see some
examples of tagua nut carvings, swing your browser toward: . Is this
lapidary? If it were ivory, it definitely would be!!

Well, spring has sprung, and I am going to Wildacres next
week for a one-week course in fused glass work, including
dichroic glass (did I spell that right?) Will be back in
the week following Easter, and the next Digest should be
distributed about April 25.

All of you take good care of yourselves, cut a few cabs and


Subject: NEW: HAZARDS:Gasoline

Hi Gang;

This is my first safety and health item for Lapiday
Digest. As Hale said in #269, I’m a safety specialist as
well as a lapidary. (Actually been a lapidary longer!) My
master’s thesis dealth with arts and crafts safety.

Some of the most hazardous techniques are performed by
lapidaries and jewelers. Once a month or so, or as Hale or
the group desires, I’ll send out some info on various
hazards that may be encountered and the means of protecting
yourself. If anyone has any specific concerns or ideas for
a column, let me know.

For this first one, I want to pass on some information about
gasoline as it was mentioned in a previous issue. Gasoline
has a flash point (the temperature at which a flammable
liquid will give off sufficient vapors to form an ignitable
mixture in air) of about -45 to -50 degrees Fahrenheit
(that’s minus - as in BELOW ZERO). Gasoline has a very high
vapor pressure; that is, is evaporates extremely rapidly
and will easily provide an explosive mixture in an enclosed
area, like a room. The "gasoline" used by movie arsonists
is not. A puddle of real gasoline will propagate a flame
from one side to the other with absolutely incredible speed.
To further complicate matters, gasoline is extremely toxic.
It can enter the body by inhalation, ingestion, and
absorption through the skin. It can damage the nervous
system, kidneys, skin, lungs, respiratory system and liver.
High exposures can cause death. To add insult to injury,
gasoline is a suspected (probable) carcinogen. Gasoline is
much more dangerous than many people realize and should
never be used for anything except fuel for your car.

If, for some reason, you must use gasoline for something
other than a motor fuel, you should have, as a minimum, an
organic vapor respirator. Gasoline resistant gloves (not
latex) should also be used as well as protection for any
skin that may be exposed to splashes. You should also wash
off any liquid as soon as possible.


Subject: NEW: Diamond Wheel Speeds

Can anyone quote optimum or maximum speeds for Galaxy and
Nova wheels, both 6 and 8 inch preferably.

I am used to running 6 inch SC wheels at 3000rpm to get a
surface feet per minute approaching 5000 but notice that
commercial equipment designed for diamond wheels runs much
slower - 1725rpm for a Genie.

Since SC wheels wear less and cut better at higher speeds,
I wonder if the same applies to diamond wheels.

Andy Parker, Agate House Lapidary
Ulverston, Cumbria, England
Tel: 01229 584023
I called Diamond Pacific on their 800 line and asked their
technical person your questions, and here is what he said:

1725 rpm was a good speed for both wheels - this was the
speed of most motors on machines - but the wheels would
work well over a wide range. You may go higher than 1725,
but he recommended that you not go much higher.

I think, Andy, from what he said and did not say, that no
one knows an optimum speed for diamond. I don't know how
you would define an optimum speed. Hopefully some member
will tell us! hale

Subject: NEW: My Saw Blade Won't Cut With a Water Coolant

Last year I got an 18" highland Park saw and added 5 gallons
of Shell Pella oil as coolant. The saw was about 25-30 yrs
old with the original blade and it cut everything that I put
in it. After the oil got full of sludge, I spent a half day
cleaning it really well and started out with another fresh 5
gallon bucket which cost about $55.00. I began to worry
because I was coughing more and then I noticed some comments
on the Bob's Rockshop site about the possibilities of
chemical pneumonia.

I then switched to a brand called " Aqua-Oil" sold by the
Graves company. This is mixed one part oil to ten parts
water and retails for $26 a gallon. This stuff smell pretty
good, which must be better for you, BUT, the only problem,
is that now, for the first time since I started using the
saw, it bogs down in the middle of a cut, at which time my
circuit breaker kicks off. Like we rockhounds.....

Sorry, but I was in the middle of a sentence, when I looked
up and saw the messsage sending . I was adding the rest of
the story about when I purchased a second slab saw, an old
Covington, this past week, cleaned it up and added the same
Aqua Oil to it I sawed a couple of bricks and all went
smoothly. Then I started sawing a six inch log of petrified
wood and when I was 1/3 way thru, the saw ground to a halt.

So, any suggestions?

Best regards,

Jack: I can think of several reasons a saw will bind. This
has been well discussed in past threads and it is all in the
Archives. My rule is: never cut hard material (eg, agates)
with a water based coolant. It will dull your saw quickly.
(Everyone should read 'My Saw Won't Cut' in the Archives)
What happens is that the blade heats up and the metal around
the diamonds softens and smears over the diamonds, dulling
the blade. You really need an oil-based coolant for hard
materials like agates. Any other ideas, guys? hale not thru

Subject: NEW: Need A Few Grams of Untreated Emerald Rough

Hi Gang,

I'm about to conduct a little experiment and am in need of
a small quantity (3-4 grams) of natural, untreated emerald
rough. The quality doesn't have to be very good, less than
cab grade will work. It doesn't even have to be 1 piece.
It can be any number of pieces. The important thing is that
it is natural & untreated.

If anyone can help me with a source or the actual material,
I'd be most appreciative.

Thanks, you're a great bunch of folks!

Dave Arens

Subject: NEW: Working & Polishing Koroit Nuts

Hi Hale,

I recently purchased some Koroit Nuts from a dealer in
Australia. I have quite a bit of regular Australian Opal,
but never have had any of Boulder Opal Nuts.

I saw references in some of the messages to using shoe
polish and wet and dry paper to new products. If anyone
can give me any hints as to the best way to polish the
Koroit Nuts, I would greatly appreciate it.
I know that Koroit is a town on the coast of Victoria, but
I have never heard of a Koroit nut. Is it anything like a
Yaway nut? Why not write up something about it and send it
in? I'd like to read it. hale

Subject: RE: Protecting Druzy Quartz from Grit and Polish

Two possible solutions to protecting your druzy quartz:

..Try filling the holes with a thick paste of Tide
detergent and then drying it, or
..rub a cake of Fels Naptha soap over the hole until it is
filled up.

With either method, you will have to soak, scrub, and
reapply your protectant with each change of grit.

Rose Alene McArthur
Rose, the original question was asked by long-time member
Paul Boni, who sent another letter just today. So I am
reopening the question, as seen below.

Subject: NEW: Protecting Druzy Materials

Hi Hale,

With all due respect Hale, we have a large difference of
opinion. I am and was well aware of the one (and only one)
bit of information about drusy quartz. Mr. Robles is, no
doubt, a qualified and experienced lapidary. So am I, and I
have cut a lot of drusy quartz over the years. However,
there is a world of difference between the minerals quartz
and azurite. I did search the lapidary digest archives
before submitting my request. I also researched a couple
references in my own library.

In its more familiar massive form, azurite is tough (if
still relatively soft) and cuts just like malachite. Using
moh's hardness scale, azurite rates only 3.5 to 4. Compare
with quartz at hardness 7. Also, azurite crystalizes in the
monoclinic crystal system and has one direction of perfect
cleavage {011} and another of fair cleavage {100}. Quartz
has no cleavage planes. The combination of crystallography
and mineral hardness makes the crystal form of azurite
(which druse is, on a very fine scale) a fragile and
delicate undertaking.

Drusy quartz is still quartz and is still very tough. It can
even be cleaned with a tooth brush and vigorous "elbow
grease". Drusy Azurite would come apart with such abuse. The
laquer treatment in issue 261 is intended solely to keep
grit and grindings from becoming inbedded between the tiny
crystals of quartz, and it is a very nice trick. The laquer
treatment would do the same with drusy azurite I'm sure, but
will it disolve cleanly in solvent (acetone in the case of
issue 261), or will it require mechanical help? Any residue
after the solvent treatment could ruin the finished cab. Any
attempt to use a brush, even a very soft one, or an ultra-
sonic cleaner (the vibration would induce cleavage) would
absolutely ruin the tiny azurite crystals. Are there other
treatments specific to drusy azurite known to any of the
list members who would care to share the information?
Whether I use laquer, paraffin, super glue, or trust in
blind luck, I will still be experimenting with druzy azurite.

I think I have described how drusy azurite requires special
consideration. In fact, I'd like to see if there are other
techniques which list members have for working with drusy
quartz. I realize that not many people ever have the chance
to cut something as special as drusy azurite. Heck, I've
been cutting for 25 years and this is the first drusy
azurite rough I've ever laid my hands on (I've admired it
for a long time). I know you're trying to keep monotonous
repetitions to a minimum Hale. Believe me I appreciate it.
The endless string of using vegitable oil in diamond saws is
a great example of that!

However, this is a new question. I would greatly appreciate
it, if you would rerun my inquiry as a NEW subject, with a
retraction of your earlier reply. I think potential responses
have been discouraged as a result of said reply. I also
realize that this subject is of an advanced nature and not
useful to many, but it is interesting in and of itself, and
can serve to demonstrate the great variety of cutting
material available.

I do hope Hale, that you are not offended by my response.
That is certainly not my intent. I just disagree with you
and really do need some applicable advise on drusy azurite.
I give you great and liberal editing license with this
reply as I want to avoid any appearance of dissension
and/or disrespect. You are a shining knight and gentleman
among lapidaries in my opinion and I value this list, its
potential, and your selfless labor. I truly hope to have
the oportunity to meet you in person one day.

Sincerely yours, in Boulder,
Paul Boni
Boulder, CO

4500 19th Street
Boulder, CO 80304-0613
303 415 0495 -
No offense at all, Paul. You have taught all of us about a
material I've never seen and probably most of us will never
see. So Thanks! I hope all will notice that this IS a new
thread, and will continue discussion of drusy agate and any
drusy material. I did a small bit of editing, but I did NOT
delete the part about me being a shining knight!! (grin)

Subject: RE: WTB:Pietersite Cabs

<<Would you or any of the many knowledgeable lapidarys out
there know where I can find nice pietersite cabs. I have
seen lots of beads or carvings, but not nicely polished
cabs. Different shapes if possible, not just the typical

Ali, I have some extraordinary Pietersite cabs, none of
which are "normal" cabs.

Sizes range from about 14mm to over 40mm. I have to look,
but I think I also have a piece of rough.

Best place to find them??? Would you believe, eBay???

HOpe I can be of help.

Jackie Paciello
jewelry and glass artist
"Pretty Wilde Designs"
Jackie: I don't thinkl eBay is the best place to buy them;
I'd rather buy from a lapidary that I know will do a fine
job on shaping, sanding and polishing. I feel you take
your chances on quality when you buy from eBay. hale

Subject: RE: WTB:Pietersite Cabs

My name is Joe Dugan, and I'm new to your endevor but here
goes. The person needing Pietersite cabs can find a fair
number listed on "eBay auctions" at diffrent times. Look
under Jewelry-cabs & rough, or use ebays search engine for
Pietersite. This opens up a whole world.

I find the Namibian pietersite to have a much nicer
appearance than the Chinese stuff, but will cost more. I
notice that Goodnows in Texas sells the rough up to $100/lb.

Hope this helps someone.

Joe Dugan

Subject: RE: WTB:Pietersite Cabs

I don't have a source for cabs but Hannes Kleynhans at mines the material - US$50 per kilo
last time I asked.

Andy Parker, Agate House Lapidary
Ulverston, Cumbria, England
Tel: 01229 584023
They also make cabs, but I think only in large quanities.
His address is above, and you may write to him. hale

Subject: RE: WTB:Pietersite Cabs

I can provide freeform African Pietersite cabs at $4.00/gm,
plus shipping.

Karen Hemmerle
Boulder, CO

Subject: RE: WTB:Pietersite Cabs

I've notice there's a lot of interest in Pietersite in the
digest. I've just acquired a few kilos of this material and
thought the digest members might be interested.

This material comes from China and contains the highly
prized dark blue color, whose bright blue/white flash
appears rapidly, and then fades to black. Those deep red,
yellow and gold sections flash also, help warm up the
materials color tones, and frame the blue/black areas nicely.

Pietersite is one of the most interesting chatoyant rocks on
earth. Even though we love tiger eye, charoite, mawsitsit
and all the different cat's eyes too...there is something
psychedelic about the changing color, pattern, flow and
flash of pietersite! The rough is translucent and the fibers
are not straight and parallel as in most tigereye, but are
distributed in irregular brecciated masses within the quartz.

I have cut some great cabochons from this material. Starting
price only .10 cents per gram ($45.00 per pound) which is
below the wholesale price.

Thanks Guy Clark
24195 US Hwy. 19N #123
Clearwater, Florida 33763
phone 727-796-0330 after 4pm est
Thomas and others who cut Pietersite: I would appreciate,
and I know the list would too, if all of you would write up
some notes on the problems of cutting this material, and
your recommendations for cutting and for polishing it. That
would be a good addition. hale

Subject: RE: Adhesives for Doublets and Triplets

Hans wrote:
<<I also use epoxy 330 because of its clear drying. But
it's a little thick when you mix it, which means that
bubbles are a constant worry.>>

Yes, that is the main problem. However; I read recently on
another site (think it was Orchid??), where they were also
having a discussion on adhesives -- someone mentioned that
he had solved the thick glue problem by:
1. warming the stone, and
2. warming the epoxy before he put it on the stone.

Heating it makes it much runnier, he said. And thus he had
little to no problem with bubbles. He used his dop warmer to
do the heating. I haven't had a chance to try this out, but
I intend to next time I do any glueing of that type.

There are two ways of thinning epoxy I know of, and you just
described one: heat. I also mentioned thinning it, in #270,
with a solvent. I called Hughes Associates (the maker of
330) and asked about this. They said do not thin with a
solvent, but do use heat, and a gentle folding motion in
mixing with a toothpick. (They do not have e-mail but are
getting it with their new computer system.) Just remember
that reactions double their rates with every 10° rise in
temperature. So it will cure much faster. hale

HUGHES ASSOCIATES 18116 Minnetonka Boulevard Wayzata, MN
55391-0332 Phone: 612 404 2626

Subject: RE: Colors on Raytech Diamond Disks

I would like to thank all the good people who responded to
my grit and color problem.

Thank you, one and all

Henry Kirschner

Subject: RE: FS:Ruby in Zoisite

<<We have 10 tons of Ruby and Zoisite ... (snip)... It's
selling for $6.00/Kg for regular rough, and $50.00/pound f
or the high quality (at least75% Ruby)>>

Howdy Dave and others:

Question, will this material heat treat to blue like the
facet grade zoisite('tanzanite')? Always wondered if anyone
has tried.

1 Lucky Texan

Subject: FS: Lapidary Equipment in Saint Joseph, MI

Our friend Keith Hayes (from Michigan) wrote:

When I was at the Blossomland show last weekend, I met a
lady who was trying to sell her late husband's old lapidary
equipment. She is located in St. Joseph, MI. I told her
that I would pass contact information on if anyone was
interested in it. I don't know what all she has or how
nice it is, but there is supposedly a diamond saw, and lots
of slabs.

Her contact information is

Mrs. Betty Brecht
2830 Dozer Drive, Saint Joseph, MI 49085
Phone:(616) 429-0049

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