The dop stick is a very important aid to the Lapidary Artist, allowing for a method to securely hold a stone whilst it being worked. While at the same time keeping fingers away from the highly abrasive and fast rotating grinding wheels. Ask anyone who has used a Lapidary grinding machine without a dop stick about what happens to their finger nails.
A dop stick can be made from virtually anything, I have seen people use nails, screws and all manner of things as dop sticks. However, I prefer to make my dop sticks out of wooden doweling of different diameters. My dop sticks are usually between 60 and 100 mm long as that length fits comfortably in my hand. So as you can see you will get a lot of dop sticks out a few meters of doweling.
Your Stones need to be warmed before they will stick to a dop stick
You will also need some dop wax and a container to melt it in, a heat source, usually a spirit lamp with a retractable wick. A bowl of very hot water with a metal plate to sit on top of the bowl, you will sit your stones on this plate to warm through. Finally a small bowl of cool water to dip your fingers in to stop them burning!
Be organised and don’t rush
The video explains how to go through the doping process better than I can write it. A word of advice though before you start, have a clean work area with all your bits laid out in easy reach. Work slowly and methodically, don’t rush! I usually set some time aside and do around 15 to 20 stones to dop sticks in a session. Soon you will find you have mastered how to attach a stone to a dop stick!