Friday, 4 June 2021

My Summer Lapidary Project

 I am blessed to live in an area where there is beautiful rock- agate, jasper, amethyst, carnelian, petrified wood- you name it and "She With The Agate Eye" will find it!

Because of Covid, this summer promises to be pretty quiet tourist wise so I felt it was a good time to work with some of my "inventory", a small fraction of which is shown here in my hi-tech plastic bag rapid retrieval system.

So my goal for this summer is to produce at least 100 top quality cabochons!

The first step was to fire up the Hi-Tech 10 inch slab saw (as shown here - mine ain't quite as clean!) It's a win/win as after I have done a bunch, Vickie cleans out the sludge and uses it to make pigment for her (real) art. She even sells the stuff!

I am cutting slabs and slices and then after a close examination of the rock, choosing the best possible shapes and sizes to maximize colour and patterning. They then look something like this.

Then I install the trim saw attachment on my Cab King. Honestly, I now do this in under 5 minutes- start to finish.

I love this saw for several reasons. First, it is an excellent trim saw and the Cab King blade is REALLY good. Secondly it is easy to clean. And lastly, putting the saw on the right I can still use the coarse grinding wheels at the same time I'm using the saw. Now don't get the idea that I'm good enough to cut and grind simultaneously but sometimes it is handy to move from the saw to the wheels and back.

So then I end up with a bunch of what are called "pre-forms". By the way, notice the extensive use of plastic meat trays!

As you can see, I make lots of small cuts to minimize the amount of rock I have to grind away thus saving wear on my coarse wheels.

Sometimes, if a rock is really small, I'll attach it to wood blocks to make it easier to handle and I find that, with a little practice, you can cut thicker slabs in two when you want thin slices for earrings etc.. I use double sided Gorilla Tape but it's not really vital.

So the project has begun and I'll update you on my progress and try to show as many pics of the finished product as I can.

Hopefully, at some point, Covid is in the rear view mirror and you can come and visit in person but in the meantime, if you see anything you like in our shop ( or on the blog, just let me know.

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