Edited and Published by Hale Sweeny
Web Site:
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. 294 - Sun 4/29/2001
2. NEW: What Acid Will Clean Crystals?
3. NEW: Other Lapidary Internet Groups
4. NEW: Tumbling Cast Metal Parts
5. RE: Hillquist Saw Repair or Spare Parts
6. RE: Hillquist Saw Repair or Spare Parts
7. RE: Sphere Preform Cutting Jig
8. BIO: Randy Glenn
9. BIO: Rick Corless
10. FS: Drilling Holes in Stones
11. WTB: Cabbing Unit


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 294 - Sun 4/29/2001

Looking back over the past four or five issues revealed two
queries which were not answered and for which the answers
have never appeared in the Digest. I'm sure some of you know
how to do these things and would appreciate a description of
the process for publication. They are:

.. How to Make Opal Mosaic Cabs?
.. How Do You Cut an Egg Shape?

I will be off to Wildacres next week and so the next Digest
will be published on May 6, but the scheduled issue for May
13 will probably be delayed until late in the week of May
20. After Wildacres, I may go to Myrtle Beach or go to
Charleston for a short visit. (Love going to both of those


Subject: NEW: What Acid Will Clean Crystals?

I bought some crystals from a place in Arkansas and they
still have a brownish mineral deposit on them. When I bought
the crystals I also bought some acid that is used to clean
the crystals and somehow I lost the acid. It was a powder
that I was to mix with water and simmer for a specific
amount of time.

Does anyone know what that acid could have been, where do I
get it, how do I mix it and for how long do I simmer the

Thanks so much,
Kathy Miling

Subject: NEW: Other Lapidary Internet Groups

Hello friends,

I want to know about other groups like Lapidary Digest.
Please tell me if you have any info.


Subject: NEW: Tumbling Cast Metal Parts

Hi Folks,

As I don't do tumbling, my information resources on the
subject at next to nil. Any help from the list will be

I have a friend who runs a foundry. They produce small
ornamental cast iron things, say in the size range from a
large button to about the size of a cigarette pack. To
prepare their surfaces for chrome or nickel plating they
are presently taken through four stages of manual grinding.

My friend is wondering whether it might be possible to
tumble these pieces to eliminate the labour intensive and
costly manual grinding. He's asked me to run some tests.

But rather than re-invent the wheel in experimenting from
ground zero I wonder whether any lapidaries might be aware
of a good book on industrial tumbling for metal preparation.

Any other advice? Can components the size of a cigarette
pack be successfully tumbled at all? Should he use a rotary
or a vibratory tumbler? The aim is to smooth and clean the
surfaces prior to plating. So I don't suppose grit would be
appropriate, as it would likely erase surface detail. What
medium should he use?

Any and all advice is welcome!

Cheers & thanks

Hans Durstling
Moncton, Canada

Subject: RE: Hillquist Saw Repair or Spare Parts

Gregor needs information and spare parts for a Hillquist
saw. I had the same problem with the clutch slipping on my
saw and wrote to Hillquist for replacement clutch parts.
They have a lot of parts available for their old saws but
unfortunately no clutch parts. I duplicated the composite
parts of the clutch using some phenolic sheet the same
thickness as the existing parts and cut them out with a
band saw and bonded them on to the existing metal parts.
Then whenever the clutch starts to slip I use some rough
emery paper and rough up the inside of the aluminum drum
and the outside of the phenolic parts that grab the drum.
This works very nicely.

I would suggest first to write to Hillquist as parts for
your saw may still be available. Hillquist is still in
business and does have some parts and a catalog of their

You can call or write to:


Ernie Ogren

Subject: RE: Hillquist Saw Repair or Spare Parts

Hi Gregor-

I've got one of these Hillquists, and had similar problems
with it. In my case, the vise also stopped advancing,
although I hadn't broken anything. The rubber loop that
rides on the cam was worn out, though; I replaced it with a
loop of conveyer belting to which I added a touch of grease.
I cleaned out the aluminum hub with degreaser, and roughed
it up a little, trying to be careful not to remove material,
since there's no apparent adjustment to keep the Bakelite
units in optimum contact with the hub. And I rubbed some
violin rosin on the inside of the drum and on the working
edges of the Bakelite contacters to restore some friction.

It seems to work pretty well now. If your Bakelite-to-metal
connection is broken, clean both surfaces and try some
E-6000 (GOOP) glue. If the Bakelite piece itself is
destroyed, you should be able to saw another one out of a
piece of phenolic. If you do any of this, let us know if it
helped, okay?


Andrew Werby - United Artworks
Sculpture, Jewelry, and Other Art Stuff

Subject: RE: Sphere Preform Cutting Jig

Here is a nice looking jig:

I don't know about the patent status, but It looks makeable.
Hey, there's an idea: do a patent search to get working
diagrams of lapidary equipment. There were probably a
zillion patents filed in the 50s, now all expired. There is
nothing like a patent to explain how and why something


Subject: BIO: Randy Glenn

I guess I have been something of a lurker out here.
Been around the list for a couple of years. My name is
Randy Glenn, I live in Silverton, OR., been picking up
shiny rocks since I was able to walk. Got some old
equipment, HP 10in saw and Frantom SiC grinding/polishing
set, about 4 years ago and have been going nuts ever since.
I am an industrial mechanic by trade and am having almost
as much fun building my own equipment as working with the
rocks (emphasis on the almost). So far I have built a high
speed sander, a two and three head sphere machine, a flat
lap and I am gathering parts for a 6" trim saw. After that
I think I'm going to try a drag saw, if the wife doesn't
freak over all the equipment pushing her car out of the
Thanks all,
Randy Glenn

Subject: BIO: Rick Corless

Hi -
i was looking for some info on saw blades and found your
list on a search engine.......anyway a bit about me...

My name is Rick Corless . I make my living as a underwater
harvester, diving for sea urchins , up north in Canada's
pacific north west, between Alaska and the top of Vancouver
island. Fishing keeps me busy September through April, then
I get all spring and summer off to carve rocks and make
jewelry in my little shop where I live on a island called
Gabriola Island in B.C. I have been in lapidary for the
past 3 years. My favorite materials are opal and the copper
type minerals.

I self taught myself cabbing, starting with a Dremel , using
a mizzy to rough grind and sand paper to get rid of the flat
spots. This worked but eventually I bought a few old
grinders and rock saws through estate sales.

To make my opal I use my Foredom and diamond bits to get to
just before the fire then I use sand paper on my (human) lap
up to 600 then tin oxide on a leather pad.

Today I am making a saw for a new project I am working on.
I am making small mosaic tiles from my collection of amazing
beach rocks that I find on a remote beach on the west coast
of the Queen Charlett Islands; they are an agatized jasper
of greens, reds, browns, and yellows. I have collected there
three times and have enough rock to tile a coffee table that
I am going to making. The drag about this material is that
it is so tough to cut - it is very solid - The strongest 7
on the planet. I am going to try using a Lortone (Sahara)
blade . I have a feeling this project will take me through
to next fishing season...

I love rocks


Subject: FS: Drilling Holes in Stones

Hi Everyone

After hearing on this list and others about the problems of
drilling stones I just wanted to let everyone Know that we
offer this service with very competitive rates. We do all of
the drilling ourselves here in the U.S. We use high quality
ultrasonic drilling machines and can drill holes as small
as 1mm. Our turn around time is very quick for most jobs,
usually a week, and our prices start at $8.00 per hole and
go down to $2.00 per hole depending on quantity and depth of

If anyone needs more information or quotes for jobs please
give me a call at (520) 241-4543.


Jason Penn
Jason Penn Designs
(520) 241-4542

Subject: WTB: Cabbing Unit

Hale...Ed Dibble here. I just finished teaching a 15 hour,
silver smithing class (as a volunteer) at the local high
school and now some of the students and teachers want me to
go the next step and teach them to cab various stones. My
need for help is this...I sure would like to find some good
soul out there that could either donate (or sell very
cheaply) a cabbing unit for my use in teaching.

Do you have any leads for me?

To unsubscribe from the Lapidary Digest, send a message to, with the word UNSUBSCRIBE as the
subject of the message. To change address, send old and new
addresses to