Assorted Lapidary Tips


Simple assorted tips for lapidary projects

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Listed are various assorted lapidary tips or suggestions working with stones. glue great for repairing many surfaces, wood, metal, glass, fiberglass, ceramics, masonry, concrete, leather, rubber, vinyl and plastics. Lynn Neale, WY says he had a tumbler belt split and it”s working again with the use of E6000 glue. He also repaired an elk hide polish pad that got torn. Thanks Lynn for sharing!***Have you got some large tumbled stones to use for an Easter egg hunt? This would be a great treat for the children.*** An idea, brought in by a guest from MT, apparently gemstone buttons are fun to make and quite unique. Just drill two holes before you do any grinding and polishing.***If you have a tumbler with a rubber barrel that needs to be relined, or any other rubber coated item, send an e-mail to: [email protected] in Casper, WY *** A few more suggestions on tumbling are as follows: When getting started in the rough grit stage, check to see that no edges on a chip or slab tapers off to almost nothing. Use a tile nipper, to chip off the thin edges because this stone will not tumble into a useable stone. The very thin edge will always stay the same and continue to break thin in the tumbler. ***When tumbling in a barrel tumbler, a mix of rough chips and broken slabs (flats) can be tumbled successfully together, although the final polish time in agates and jaspers slabs took 4-5 days longer,but the polish was great! The rounded stones were ready at two weeks of polishing, but the flats needed more time. A schedule we like to follow for rotary or barrel tumbling for beautiful polished agates and jaspers is 6 weeks for the Course grit stage (60/90), 2 weeks for Medium grit (150/220), 2 weeks Fine grit (500F), and Polish at two weeks. (Plus an extra five days if flats are included with the small stones.) You”ll notice while you are tumbling that the stones in the tumbler are filling less and less space due to the grinding process, and the ground rock, grit and water slurry is covering the stones more and more. Each week when adding more course grit (since the course grit breaks down quickly), we first drain the extra liquid (grit and water slurry) back down to a level of one to two inches below the stones, then add the fresh Course grit (one tablespoon per pound of estimated weight of rock remaining in the tumbler). Too much water slows the grinding process. Recently on the start of the third week of Course grit tumbling, small dogtooth amethyst crystals were added in the tumbler to take advantage of the extra space in the tumbler, and we continued the usual process of four more weeks at course grit, etc. (Another addition was broken picture jasper slabs.) Remember, the tumbler barrel should always be at least 3/4 full of stone and media. The amethyst and picture jasper did not need as much time tumbling in the course grit for nice smoothing and when the tumbling process had been completed, the added stones turned out quite nice. Remember, the tumbler should be 3/4”s full to achieve maximum grinding action and of course you want to tumble as many stones as possible in the least amount of time. The best way to tumble with the fastest completion time is to have all stones of the same hardness or type of gemstones. But keeping the tumbler full or maximum capacity for tumbling requires you have to have extra similar material for each grind sequence, course and medium to add to the tumbler when processing. (Little material is removed in the Fine grit stage and no additional stones are needed.) If you have no additional stones to add in the course or medium tumbling stage, remember, ceramic media is a nice filler option to use instead and they can be reused.


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