Friday, 23 November 2018

Back in the Rock Lab

We have had snow and high winds on The Neck for the last few days but with my industrial heater, it's warm enough to work in the lab.
So here's an update on the material I showed you in my last post. I have finished the cab and guitar pick I made from petrified work and here's how it looks before I do the final polish.

I am actually going to use the red pebble grained leather behind the stones to create a "setting" for the guitar pick and it will become a pendant for Vickie's 48th wedding anniversary. (I looked it up and 48 years is petrified wood- actually, it's home improvement but that's no fun!). I won't polish the pick because it will become too slippery to use but I'll probably use my tin oxide and Fordham Buffer on the pendant.

I also finished one of the two pieces of Rhodonite (I love this material!). Again, this photo is taken before any polishing but just as it came off the 8,000 grit belt.

This stone is 4.5 cm x 2.7 cm and I have actually cut a groove all around the edge of the stone to hold a silver wire which will be the only setting. The stone's patterning and colour are so striking I want to show as much as possible. This one along with the petrified wood piece will be available eventually in the Artist's Mark Shop.

So that's how I'm spending Black Friday. Hope that wherever you are, you have a great day!

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Working With Petrified Wood

Last summer, my friend and fellow lapidary Glenn Cook from Arizona gave me some beautiful slabs of petrified wood from his "stash". I would tell you the extent of said "stash" but you'd never believe me. Let's just say it's... significant!

Anyway, Glenn cuts thick slabs and this one is about 11 mm. I was originally going to make a pendant and Vickie created a shape so I cut the slab and did a rough grind on the shape. Here's what it looked like.

Since it was too heavy, I thought I would try a little experiment to save me a lot of grinding. Could I actually cut this into two ovals without using a vise? First step was to draw a guide line.

Those of you with sharp eyes will notice that my line wasn't exactly straight but I knew that if I cut on the top side of the line on the left and ended up in the middle of the line on the right it would be perfect. Since I would be feeding the stone by hand, I decided to use my thin MK trim saw blade to give myself a little more margin for error. I carefully started to feed the stone into the blade and here's my result.

The thick piece on the left is now about 6 mm and I will now do a bevel around the edge on the good side and grind it smooth. If it is still too heavy, I'll grind a bit off the back. The one on the left is a shade under 4 mm.Again, sharp eyes will notice that there is now a shape defined on the right. That's the guitar pick that I'm going to make Vickie for our 48th anniversary in a few weeks. I'm thinking I might drill a little hole in it so she can wear it as well as use it as a pick.

Stay tuned for the final result!

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Picking Time on The Neck

Winter is coming.

All the signs are there. Today, we had some snow and the high winds and sub freezing temperatures  made the walk from my office to the rock lab "refreshing". The hatches have been battened down, roof leak repaired and the wood stove is cranked up. We're ready.

The industrial heater in the rock lab makes it nice and comfortable out there and over the last week I have finished a new batch of guitar picks.

I started with 23. 3 broke and the guy who fixed my roof bought 2 so I am left with 18 which should be enough to get me through the holiday season. The patterning in these is awesome and the light ones are mostly amethyst. Now I have to make some more leather pouches.

Fortunately, I have a lot of leather blanks ready to go and they can be done where it's nice and warm.

And speaking of warm, my friend in Arizona sent me pics of some slabs he is bringing me next year. These are slabs of petrified wood from the Petrified Forest in Arizona.

Pretty awesome, huh? Can't wait to do some cutting and polishing!

We will be taking the sign in pretty soon so it doesn't blow away but if the car is here, we're here so come on in.