Edited and Published by Hale Sweeny
Web Site: http://www.lapidarydigest.com
Associate Editors: Geo. Butts, JR Shroeder, Steve Henegar,
Margaret Malm, Sam Todaro, and Ed Elam
This list digest contains the following message subjects:
1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 285 - Sun 2/25/2001
2. NEW: Polishing Jade
3. NEW: How to Clean Spots from a Crystal
4. NEW: Need Mail Order Source for K-20 Fire Brick
5. NEW: Best Foredom for Carving?
6. NEW: Need Advice on Restoring Old Viking Tumbler
7. RE: Beads: Operating the Covington 5" Bead Mill
8. RE: Need Information on Crystallogical Concepts
9. FS: Highland Park Vib-Ro-Lap (Flat Lap)
10. FS: Beadmill and Drill Press
11. CLASSES: Dania Beach, FL
12. SHOW: June in Surfers Paradise, Qnslnd, Australia
Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 285 - Sun 2/25/2001
You may wish to take a look at the new Dremel site at
www.dremel.com . If you want to contact a Dremel customer
service rep, e-mail Pat Hensiak at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, there is a group doing a fundraiser to help with the
medical expenses for fellow rockhound Bill Figi by selling
stuff on eBay. There is nice lapidary rough (I'm bidding on
some of it!) there; take a look!! You can see the auctions
by accessing http://www.commean.com/rocks/badgerbill/
Y'all know that faceting is outside the scope of LapDigest,
but I know that some of you are interested in it. If you
are, I suggest you look at John Miller's lapidary pages at:
Our member Don Dietz had an article in the Dec 2000 edition
of Lap Journal on making beads from black coral. Don said:
"I have made quite a number of them in many shapes and they
string up beautifully. Add some turquoise, pink coral or
small pearls and they really are eye catchers. I might even
try making some in the bead mill after we get it running."
Way to go Don!!!
Hello out there... If Stan Todaro is reading this, please
send me your current e-mail address.
And finally, we Editors really enjoy publishing this Digest,
but we get all warm and fuzzy every once in a while, such as
when we get letters like this one from Vicki Vincent Horton
<PreachnMom@aol.com>, of Columbiana, AL. She wrote:
"I want to say thanks to everyone who gives to this great
digest. I am an amateur rockhound trying to follow in my
grandfather's big shoes. He had so much lapidary equipment
but never really showed anyone how to use it before he died.
We have a large rock saw, trim saw, polishers and grinders
but do not where to start. He had stock piles of petrified
wood (crystallized), Geodes, Agate and others I can't
identify. I have learned a lot from all you shared. Keep
sending it out to us amateurs."
Thanks, Vicki. I am sure I speak for the whole team when I
say that your letter made us all very happy!!
Subject: NEW: Polishing Jade
I started researching jade polishing several years ago when
I took over our club shop. I could get a polish on jade but
trying to tell someone else how to do it didn't thrill me
much. What I found, when I started reading, was that most
authors had the same problem I had, they could do it, but
telling someone else how was hard. The problem, it seems to
me, is that most of the directions are "technique
sensitive", and telling someone that "this piece of jade
needs more pressure than that one", or some other such
description, isn't easy to explain in print. What I wanted
was some way of polishing jade that I could tell someone and
not have to worry about their being able to do it,
regardless of the quality of their jade.
I had better luck talking to cutters about their methods
than reading about it. Al Youngquist of "Jade and More"
pointed me at Rapid Polish on wood. I found it worked better
than anything else I had ever used.
At this point I set up a series of experiments to see what
the other things affected the polish. The most common thread
in the books seems to be: "sand it dry on a worn 600 grit
belt." I didn't have a used one so I used a new one. Using
the belt wet produced essentially the same results as the
diamond belt. But dry, the surface started to look like it
was almost ready to polish. I also tried a new 400 grit
belt. The difference between the 400 and 600 was visible
My next step was to find a finer grit silicon carbide. Rio
Grande carries 3M 15 and 9 micron belts and is the only
source of finer grit belts I have found. Use their "micron
graded," not the "Trizact" belts. The "Trizact"
designed not to load and won't work. If you are using a
Diamond Pacific "Genie" or similar machine, sanding disks
on a rubber backed disk work fine. I found a supply of 1200
grit PSA backed 6 inch disks at Red Hill Corporation. I have
also used 1200 grit paper and glued it to a Crystalite
"Flexodisc." Dry sanding isn't speed sensitive but you may
want to keep a pan of water handy to keep the jade cool
enough to stay on the dop stick.
What I did find, however, is that the differences are small
and a "worn" 600 grit belt is about the same as a 1200 grit
belt new. I was able to follow a dry 400, 600, or 1200 grit
belt with the Rapid Polish and get a good polish with little
or no orange peel. It was just a case of being able to
improve the finish with the added steps.
I think the sanding surface is being loaded by jade
particles whose size is determined by the grit size. This
jade surface then "burnishes" the jade cab's surface. I
think that the surface of the "burnished" cab is harder than
the "un-burnished" jade. This harder surface is then less
subject to orange peel. This difference in hardness, if
real, is small. I believe that this surface change is what
has led to some of the different jade polishing methods. If
the time you spend on the polishing buff is short enough
after the dry sanding the jade is less sensitive to how it
is polished. But if you leave the jade on the buff long
enough you may go through the "hard" surface and get orange
peel. The Rapid Polish never seemed to go through the "hard"
I have tried different polishing pads and found the
differences to be visible but small. There is an area where
different jades seem to respond differently. Bill Myers,
from the company that produces Rapid Polish, suggested using
the paper side of a sanding disk. I tried that and found the
results about the same as wood disks, although perhaps
easier to acquire. I don't think the pad life would be as
good either. The harder leathers helps keep the surface
smoother but the softer ones seem to give a brighter polish.
I think the answer is: don't worry about it.
I tried other polishes after the initial Rapid Polish and
found that Reynolds POLY-AL F improved the polish. This is
a .2 micron alumina available from Diamond Pacific. Other
polishes in the .1 to .2 micron range would probable work
Rapid Polish also isn't rapid. It takes about three or four
times as long for me to polish a jade cab as other polishes
on other stones, it just does a better job. Many cutters
are now recommending adding some vinegar to the polish. I
have tried adding some to the polish and have a small spray
bottle to spray the polishing disk. Sometimes I think it
helps, sometimes I think it doesn't. At least it doesn't
seem to hurt anything, give it a try. It does seem to
deteriorate the leather pads faster. Ken Fitzgerald of
Fitzcorp, Inc. recommends mixing any alumina one-to-one by
weight with liquid dish-washing soap and use as though it
were diamond paste. Fitzcorp has done extensive laboratory
testing of polishing compounds and plans to publish a book
soon on tumbling and polishing -- watch for it.
So, after all this, what do I recommend?
Diamond: Don't sand past 1200 or 1800 grit.
Silicon carbide: Sand through 600 wet.
Dry sand on 600 grit until the jade burnishes.
Polish with Rapid Polish on what ever pad you have.
If you are happy, stop.
If you want to try for a better polish, start by getting
some 1200 grit silicon carbide disks or belts.
If that isn't good enough, try the different types of
wood and/or leather polishing disks.
Try other polishes after the Rapid Polish, sometimes you
can improve the finish.
I know there are other ways of polishing jade but most are
sensitive to the type of jade being polished and technique
being used. This method has proved to be the least sensitive
of any I have yet found.
The companies mentioned can be reach at:
Crystalite Corp. 8400 Green Meadows Dr. Westerville OH 43081
Diamond Pacific Tool Corp., 2620 W. Main St., Barstow, CA
Fitzcorp, Inc. P. O. Box 565 Point Blank, TX 77364
Jade and More, P.O. Box 2381 Castro Valley, CA 94546
Myers Rapid Polish, P.O. Box 646, Keller, Texas 76244
Red Hill Corporation, P.O. Box 4234 Gettysburg, PA 17325
Rio Grande, 7500 Bluewater Rd. NW, Albuquerque, NM 87121
Subject: NEW: How to Clean Spots from a Crystal
Can someone tell me how to remove silica spots from
crystals? Both inside the tiny cracks and out.
Subject: NEW: Need Mail Order Source for K-20 Fire Brick
I writing an article on channel work and want to refer the
readers to a mail order source of K-20 Fire Brick, one or
two bricks at a time.
I buy them by the case for my classes but I am not in a
position to go into the mail-order business. None of the
current catalogs I have has the brick. (Rio Grande, IJS and
Kingsley North). I went on line to pottery suppliers but
could not find anyone selling brick.
Subject: NEW: Best Foredom for Carving?
For a beginner at carving (mostly harder materials such as
fire agate but also to include opal) which is the best
Foredom tool? There are two kits: 2272 with handpiece #30
and kit 2273 with handpiece #44T.
Any advice is appreciated.
Subject: NEW: Need Advice on Restoring Old Viking Tumbler
I am requesting any and all advise you can give. I
purchased an old Viking Vibratory tumbler, with a 14 pound
hopper. It has been sitting outside in the weather,
totally unprotected for the past 15 years. I am attempting
to restore it back to its old self.
It needs a new motor (will possibly replace with a Variable
speed motor). Also needs new pillow block bearings, 4
springs, 2 belts, etc.
I think I can eventually locate most of the parts and
motor, but any advice on anything at all about this old
Viking unit and what I can possibly do with it, would be
Also would like to know the best ways to cleaning and
restore the aluminum body of the unit and its aluminum
Thank you very much
Subject: RE: Beads: Operating the Covington 5" Bead Mill
All, noted with interest the item on the Covington 5" Bead
Mill. Our Gem and Mineral Society has a mill that was
"donated" but we have not yet tried to do anything with it.
The instructions provided was exactly what we needed.
Cheers, Don Dietz
Subject: RE: Need Information on Crystallogical Concepts
My favorite book about crystals is "Crystals and Light" by
Elizabeth Wood. It's sub-titled: An Introduction to Optical
Crystallography. The ISBN number for the Second Revised
Edition is 0-486-23431-2, published by Dover Publications,
I don't know whether it is still available. In 1977 when
it was printed, the price was $3.00.
Subject: FS: Highland Park Vib-Ro-Lap (Flat Lap)
A friend of mine here has a Highland Park 27" Vib-Ro-Lap
flat lap for sale. It is in very good condition, almost
like new. He only wants $450.00 for it. New price in the
Diamond Pacific 2000 Catalog is &1375.00 plus shipping.
It can be seen in Baton Rouge, LA.
E-mail me off-list if interested
Subject: FS: Beadmill and Drill Press
We have a used (slightly) beadmill for sale. It is complete
and is driven by a 1/2" drill press, also included.
The price is $250.00 plus shipping. If anyone is interested
please contact me offlist.
Yardville, New Jersey
Subject: CLASSES: Dania Beach, FL
The Florida Gold Coast Gem and Mineral Society located in
Dania Beach, FL (just south of Ft Lauderdale) is now
offering courses in cabochons and faceting. A wire
wrapping course is also in preparation and we hope to begin
silver smithing before the end of the year. Classes are
taught by Society members of long experience and are very
For further information contact, Les Degarmo (954) 587-0098
or Don Dietz at (954) 578-9005 or email@example.com.
Subject: SHOW: June in Surfers Paradise, Qnslnd, Australia
Please let all of your members know that we will be holding
the Gold Coast Lapidary Clubs Gem and Craft Show on the 2nd
& 3rd of June 2001 at the Civic Centre, Bundall Road,
Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia. For Further info,
contact me for bookings and competition details.
John G. Bowden
In private correspondence, John says he really hopes that
some American Lapidary people may be interested in
submitting items in the club competitions. If you want a
copy of the Show Schedule, write John and he can send it as
an attachment. hale
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