Lapidary Workshop Prepared for use

After the long hard winter we have all just endured the Lapidary workshop was just too cold to be worked in, even the wood burning stove couldn’t cope, so it’s lain dormant for a quite a number of months.

So yesterday we spent much of the day cleaning up out there, sorting out rocks, while all the time resisting the temptation to switch the machines on.

Of course the machines all had to be cleaned down, checked over and lubricated, with that done, it wasn’t long before Shalini fired the cab machine up and gave herself a manicure again.

Now only the saw remains to be cleaned up, but there is no rush as we have plenty of slabs to be worked on.

She was working on some larger Labradorite tumble stones that didn’t quite work out in the tumbler, so far they are cleaning up nicely so lets see how it goes.

I found a small piece of Lapis and tried my hand at a bit of carving, didn’t really know what I was aiming to achieve at the start and to be honest I don’t really know what I have ended up with, maybe a “Gollum’s foot” would be a good description, but I will take it through all the stages and get it polished as it’s all good practice.

On a different note, we had a good show at the Stamford Arts Centre recently, Shalini managed sell all of the stalls so there was a wide variety of crafts on display and, considering there wasn’t a massive publicity push for this show, there were a lot of visitors. The wire tree sculptures got their first official airing to the public as well and they were well received with some nice comments.

I sat at my stall for a while making a tree and numerous people stood there watching what I was doing and asking questions, so I have learnt that doing a live demo does increase people interest in your wares.

The biggest seller on the lapidary stall seems to be the tumble stones, kids and adults seem to love them and it’s great to hear the kids telling me all about their crystal collections, who knows, maybe Lapidary will come alive again in the UK in future generations, that would be cool.

On the tree side of things I have two rolls of brass wire for another tree soon so am looking forward to getting into that one.

Following on from that one will be a bare iron wire tree, maybe 4 foot tall I hope to go outside in the garden, why bare iron? Well the idea is that it will rust and give the tree a natural colour over time.

On the horizon, we will be attending the Stamford Military Tattoo on the 19th June, the organisers have asked the Stamford Artisans Guild to set up a crafters area so we are busy on that and we have our next show at the Stamford Arts Centre on 25th July, so looking forward to that.

Anyway all for now, got to and sort out some more rough to go on the shop.

All the best

Dave

Lapidary Activities on Hold

I am sorry I haven’t made any new posts here for a short while it’s because I am recovering from a broken left collar bone at the moment which happened as a result of a motorcycle accident back on July 17th.

I am sorry I haven’t made any new posts here for a short while it’s because I am recovering from a broken left collar bone at the moment which happened as a result of a motorcycle accident back on July 17th.

It is healing well but the doc’s told me it would take about 6 weeks so I am taking their advice and not putting any strain on it.

This has not only hindered my Lapidary activities but also my motorcycle courier business as well, both of which I need to get back into but only once this bone is fixed.

I aim to start cabbing again in early September, I think some more Labradorite will be first in the line as it’s my personal favourite followed by some Carnelian and of course some more Lapis Lazuli now that I am getting closer to understanding the polishing process for this rock.

That reminds me I must order a few more REZ belts and some more diamond paste as I believe these will allow me to bring the Lapis Lazuli to the next level.

I haven’t been totally away from the jewellery making though as I have strung and knotted a few strings of pearls for Shalini, think I will do some more later today.

Anyway all for now

Dave

Cutting and Polishing

Welcome to our messy world of Lapidary, yes Lapidary is very messy but extremely rewarding, it really brings out the “creative” in you, sometimes with realising it.

So what is Lapidary, well as far as we are concerned it’s all about taking a lump of stone, be it a semi precious piece from our stocks or a piece of agate I have picked up in the fields when walking the dogs and then turning that lump of rock into a unique, highly polished item that can be used in Shalini’s jewellery.


Basically, it’s not rocket science but does require a good amount of care as it employs some pretty ferocious machinery, and the proximity of the fingers is always very close to a fast spinning saw blade or grinding wheel. Not to mention the lubricating water/oil mix that is used on the saw, eye protection must always be worn during this process.

So where do we start, well we grab a lump of rock and slab it on the saw, by slabing we mean we cut the rock into slices, usually about 6mm thick but this depends on the end use we have in mind, so it can vary.

After we have our slabs we sometimes use a template to mark the shape of the finished item, sometimes we just use the natural shape of the slab to dictate the outcome.

Next we will go back to the saw and trim the slab to the marked out shape if needed, if we are using the slab natural shape there is no need.

Now we move onto our homemade cabachon machine, its basically a grinding wheel with two wheels on it, one is a very rough diamond grinding wheel that we use for the initial shaping of the piece, this wheel also lover to eat finger nails – be warned. Then its onto the other wheel which is an expanding rubber wheel that has various silcone carbide sanding belts fitted on it. We always start with the most ferocious belt and work our way down to the finer belt which produces a nice pre polished piece.

From here it’s onto the polishing wheel which has a felt pad on it and cerium oxide polish which just finishes off the piece nicely ready for Shalini to mount it in her fine jewellery style.

Rough Sodalite

Rough Sodalite

Here we have a fine rough Sodalite specimen weighing approximately 164 grams.

Picture taken when the stone is dry.

Sodalite is a deep blue mineral, often with white deposits of calcite running through it.

This piece would be fine for cutting and polishing into cabochons for use in jewellery making.

Sodalite has a hardness rating of 6.0 on the Moh’s scale.

Sodalite is also said to have healing properties, however, I cannot state this as a fact because I am not a spiritual healing practitioner.

Sodalite on ebid

http://uk.ebid.net/stores/Rough-Rocks-and-Tumble-Stones

Rose Quartz

Rose Quartz

Rose Quartz on Ebid

rose-quartz

Rose Quartz can be very light pink through to deep pink in colour, this varies between specimens of the crystal. Rose Quartz is fine for cutting and polishing into cabochons for use in jewellery making.

Rose Quartz has a hardness rating of 7.0 on the Moh’s scale.

Rose Quartz is also said to have healing properties, however, I cannot state this as a fact because I am not a spiritual healing practitioner.