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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Mama's got her new lapidary blade and she working it!

Back again so soon and EXCITED! I actually got some more use out of the wet tile saw this morning and I am very happy with the results! I left the evidence on the tray so you can all see I did use it.....
First off, I had all sorts of strife getting the arbor size right on this thing, Leo bought me a lovely new saw for my birthday which I then rudely took it back and swapped believing the info on the internet that the Ryobi one had a 5/8" arbor which would nicely fit the most common sized lapidary blade (arbor is that hole in the middle of the blade)...... nope, it did NOT!!! Unfortunately Bunnings only stocks saws that have 7/8" (or 22.2mm) arbors so then I had to find a solution - I did not want to take this saw back as well it was driving me NUTS! Fortunately for me after some hunting about I found a lapidary supply place that had 1" arbor with a bush to suit the 22.2mm in 7" actually made to suit wet tile saws....... and the love story begins!!!

Knowing that I was sorting out the saw situation I started making myself some murrini components over the past few days and here they are all sawed up and ready to use. I finished the top half of a butterfly's wing last night (out of the kiln this morn) and made the leaf cane which is mostly graduated transparent green with opaque pistachio coloured veining yesterday too. The fish scale cane I made last week and I am really keen to try putting them together like Loren Stump does his fish scale cane..... hopefully I won't bugger it up!

I have been giving some thought to how I will be able to deal with the polishing issue and think I might have a plan of action - its not perfect, but hopefully it will work with some patience. I am going to slice up quite a lot of the large cane slices and pop them into my old rock tumbler with loads of little bits of cut up leather (a trick my Dad taught me when we into fossicking and tumbling our stones) starting with a medium grit and moving to fine at which time I will use my dremel with a polishing pad attachment and some cerium to finish off. The only big pain in the arse is the wait for the tumbler, but I reckon because it is glass and not rocks it will not take weeks, maybe just a day or two for each step. The added advantage of this option is that even the edges will come out lovely and smooth and polished too which makes using them even more fun. Here's is my old Lortone rock tumbler (double barrelled!) hunted out of the back of the shed by my darling Leo again - I will have to give it a clean up, but then I will load er up today and I will see how we fare. I thought I had better make the slices on the thicker side rather than the really thin ones seeing as they will be bumping together somewhat!

What am I going to do with these polished slices you might ask? I am thinking that if I preheat them I can apply them to the surface of a bead or pendant, I could drill a small hole in the top and use that to hang off some chain or earrings or even ask a friendly silversmith to bezel them up with a bail for a pendant on a necklace....... it will be interesting to see where this takes me!


  1. That is really cool Nat!!!! Please keep us posted....we are really keen to do some of this stuff up in Qld too!!!!!!

  2. Cool Nat! My dad did lapidary - Margie and I used to go down every Friday night and make cabs out of gemstone slabs - havent seen one of those in years! You're gonna have fun!