Saturday, January 19, 2008

How to Cut Rocks Step Three

Sorry it took so long to get back to this, the holidays were a bit crazy and since we are now short one person at work (with absolutely no plans to replace him for at least a year) I have been working more too. This is tough because even though I like my job I would rather be designing and making jewelry so having less time to spend doing that and promoting my store does not really thrill me. Although the extra money is always a good thing lol!

So we left off at the trim saw. The next step is cabbing the stone. This takes a little more skill and time although there are some tricks to make it easier. This step requires lots of water instead of oil to avoid heat. You do want to make sure all of the oil is off of your stone. We use a bucket of kitty litter and a brush. Then wash well with warm, soapy water. (The large round object in the picture is a vibratory tumbler. We use this for all of the odds and ends left over from the trim saw . After several weeks it gives us highly polished stones that the kids at the gem show go nuts over). So we have our lovely almost oval trim sawed stone and we are going to start grinding it to a 15 degree angle with the machine on the left. This machine does not have removable belts, the grinding wheel has tiny diamond pieces embedded in it. This spins at a high rate of speed. A plastic apron is a good idea with this machine as the water you use to keep it from getting too hot sprays in the direction of your body not the wall. Also eye protection is a must. Here is one of the tricks of the trade. The grinding wheel has a natural 15 degree angle so that you really don't have to do any fancy calculations to get it right. Remember that oval we drew on here with the magnesium stick? This is where you want to grind it to. This is the back of your piece and the angled portion is the front. When you have it to the right size and before you begin to grind your dome you need to put it on a dap stick. I am going to leave off here because I need to take pictures of the dap stick and how it is done before I can continue. (Remembering the camera is always an issue for me. When I head for the rock club I usually have two toolboxes and my purse, and since it is winter my coat, gloves etc. I'm lucky I remember my name on some days much less the camera lol!). This is a good stopping point as I will be able to finish hoe to cut rocks with my next post on this subject in a couple of weeks.

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