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Pre-Form Layout Problem / Carol M's Brazilian Agate

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Author Topic: Pre-Form Layout Problem / Carol M's Brazilian Agate  (Read 1395 times)
lithicbeads
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« Reply #45 on: July 05, 2013, 07:36:10 pm »

 There is an even faster unusual method of sanding out the flat on the top. This will sound odd but it is quite fast but should be done outdoors due to a bit of dust. I would not make this routine but you can reshape the very top quickly this way. This is hand held dry sanding using wood working sand paper. Cheap and readily available to experiment with . You can get a sheet of 4/0 which is medium coarse and hold the sheet so it covers your palm of one hand and twist and rotate the dopped stone on the paper with the other . You can cup your palm a bit to change the curvature  and even use it over the grooves between your fingers for other shapes . I try to go to a finer paper before returning to the machine but that is not required for agate .
you may find it too slow but perhaps not . I bang the dust off the paper before storing it in a plastic bag. I think it is a fun technique  at times.
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helens
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« Reply #46 on: July 05, 2013, 07:44:29 pm »

The purist cabbers will probably beat me up for saying this...

But I tumble finish cabs in a vibe tumbler when the rock can take it. This because it is a PAIN to change my single grinding wheel for every single grit, and also because I don't have the wheel between 1200 and 50,000... I don't have a 3000 or 14,000 wheel. So tumble polishing makes the most sense for me. Now I get my cabs to 1200 polish, so the tumbler is really only putting a final polish on MOST of the time. There are other times, where I only go to 220 grit, then tumble the rest of the way starting with 220 grit in the tumbler. Some rocks cannot take tumbler polishing, so you have to learn this from trial and error of cracking beautiful or pricey cabs.

That said... a tumbler will put a glass finish on both sides... so to me, a 'hand' finish = completely raw backside. That naked backside is the ONLY way I know that it was hand polished, given how close the appearance is to tumbler polish.

I know lots of pro hand cabbers will polish the backside... but if I were in the cab buying market, and I wanted hand cut only, I would look for raw backs, just because it is undeniable evidence of hand polishing.

To give you a visual... this is one batch of tumble polished 'cabs' and small slabs for my specimen box:


I save up my shaped cabs to polish at once when I'm on a cabbing roll (or when I want to finish a single cab really badly).

I don't sell, I am only doing this for my own collecting right now. Cabbing is just so I can get a beautiful specimen rock smaller so I can fit more rocks into a display case, but it gives you an idea of an alternate way of doing it.
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« Reply #47 on: July 05, 2013, 09:48:39 pm »

I use the sharpie marker method with my cabs as long as they are not porous or pitty.  Works for me!  I always do my backs, starting with the back then the front and then back bevel the edge when I get to 600.  I don't dop though unless I'm doing really tiny stones so, my advice might not help much  hide

Some of Franks ideas sound intriguing.  I would go back to 325 but some of the other suggestions sound like it might be faster.
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« Reply #48 on: July 05, 2013, 10:39:00 pm »

Carol, you might try working from the center out to the edge, or at least until you blend the flat spot in. Always keep the stone in motion, turning it and rocking from side to side. If you let the stone sit still even for a second or two, you'll start to form a new flat spot. Start with the 325 mesh disc.

Actually Don, this is what I was thinking too. 
The spots are so tiny and not totally flat and I don't want to chew up my cab-wantabees, any more than I must.  I didn't create the flat spot by dwelling too long on it.  It was flat to start with and it stayed flat because I was 'strategically' avoiding it.  bricks
Live and learn, eh!!
If I work the 325 disc and it doesn't remove material, I can always go grittier, but at least this way I don't have to redo my whole sequence for a 3rd time.  yes
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Ciao,
Carol M
"Pursue Your Passions....."
"Imagine the Possibilities!"
"Mistakes are simply a form of practice!"
"People who never make mistakes.....probably never do anything!"

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« Reply #49 on: July 05, 2013, 10:50:41 pm »

I'm also showing them off to point out that it might be a good idea to take a class at your local rock shop, because before you can depart on your own, you should have a base to depart from:).

WOW, they're lovely Helen,

Re taking a class.  I did take a class [private lessons even] from my Lapidary Guru but he taught on a CabKing sort of machine.
I really love the Ameritool Flat Lap and just basically find it 'more fun' for me to use than the wheel type but that's just me.

I don't think that the problem is not knowing what to do.....it's bringing myself to go back 'yet again' to fix a different screw up from the one I made the first time.
I have to tell myself that these little 'cab-wantabes' are my first cabs done on my own with no one looking over my shoulder, and on a different system than I learned on....so in retrospect I guess I was just venting my frustration. [sheepish grin]  hide

To quote Scarlett O'Hara "After all.....Tomorrow is another day". yes
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Ciao,
Carol M
"Pursue Your Passions....."
"Imagine the Possibilities!"
"Mistakes are simply a form of practice!"
"People who never make mistakes.....probably never do anything!"

lithicbeads
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« Reply #50 on: July 05, 2013, 11:09:11 pm »

 I just did a dry sanding session to try out things . The wood sandpaper only worked out on very undercutting jade.
  The dry sanding with sic worked very well on the 60 grit paper. I used a 60 grit expando belt and laid it on a piece of wood and sanded a piece of jasper back and forth for a couple of minutes and sanded out the grind marks from 80 grit hard grinding wheel in that time on the top of a 35 mm cab . Plenty effective . You load the belt sanding in one spot until the belt turns white . It is often just as aggressive when it is moderately loaded. When you are done you can rinse it off outside .
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Carol M
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« Reply #51 on: July 05, 2013, 11:13:02 pm »

I just did a dry sanding session to try out things . The wood sandpaper only worked out on very undercutting jade.
  The dry sanding with sic worked very well on the 60 grit paper. I used a 60 grit expando belt and laid it on a piece of wood and sanded a piece of jasper back and forth for a couple of minutes and sanded out the grind marks from 80 grit hard grinding wheel in that time on the top of a 35 mm cab . Plenty effective . You load the belt sanding in one spot until the belt turns white . It is often just as aggressive when it is moderately loaded. When you are done you can rinse it off outside .

Thanks for this info but I have an Ameritool Flat Lap......no belt.
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Ciao,
Carol M
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"People who never make mistakes.....probably never do anything!"

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« Reply #52 on: July 05, 2013, 11:14:39 pm »

I'm afraid I'm becoming a 'bit of a purist' [what am I saying 'becoming', now that I think of it, I've always been a purist] and since I'm not in any big rush or anything, I just had an idea of a way to deal with the backs when I remove the dop stick.

If I was doing it Krystee's way [with no dop stick] I wouldn't have this problem, but I tried to do it that way and had a heck of a time.  bricks
Krystee must have fingers like a surgeon because I found it really hard to hang onto the little suckers.  The dop stick at least fixed that problem.  yes

So, to fix this [how to finish the backs problem] I think I'll just set them aside until I do my next batch, which will probably be very shortly after these are finished, and then when I have each of the successive discs in place [for the new dopped cab pre-forms] I'll just run this last batch through sequentially, keeping the backs flat but polishing them, leaving the small bevel around the perimeter.  
I'll basically do the backs after I remove the dopping stick.   Then if there's any mark from the SuperGlue, I'll remove that at the same time.

Does anybody think I'll have a problem with this??
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Ciao,
Carol M
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« Reply #53 on: July 05, 2013, 11:21:45 pm »

 If you can scrape or soak any remnant super glue off it will help. a little will sand off easily but a little pile will be a problem at times . It is very easy to tilt the back and over sand some part of the edge and very difficult to sand off enough of the edge or bottom to bring back perfect symmetry so we all have to be very careful on the back edges. When you can do perfect backs the fronts will seem easy.
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helens
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« Reply #54 on: July 06, 2013, 01:14:31 am »

I don't dop either... at the rock club, they have melted wax pots going for the class period, but at home, I am not on it long enough to justify heating dop wax. So I lose fingernails... (not being capable of remembering to wear gloves, or taping my fingers with bandaids, which worked when I remembered them dunno )

I read on an opal site that the best 'dop' to use for very small stones is double sided picture hanging tape, the white kind. I have not tried it, but makes sense. I don't think this would work too well with larger stones due to the weight, but again, with larger stones, it's easier not to dop... despite the fingernails:).

Nothing wrong with being a purist... and you have way more control over each stone by hand. Also, it is much faster, it takes a full week to run through a vibe cycle (tho you put more stones in at a time). There's no time savings, just labor savings.  Also, the vibe tumbler can do a real number on a wide variety of stones, from eating druzy completely to cracking some incredible stones. It certainly exposes all soft spots in a stone, and in some cases with super soft stones, it can literally grind them to powdered mush if you aren't watching carefully.

It's just such a hassle for me to change wheels that this is the best solution for most stones, but it's NOT the best solution of all. Hand polishing is always superior when the choice is there, and the finish on hand polish cannot be rivaled with any stones except the most uniform rocks (montanas and brazils being among those).

That said, I DO hand polish really pricey stones that I don't want to risk in the tumbler. I don't always tumble finish... but that missing wheel from 1200 really makes it hard to get a mirror polish. I need to just buy the 3000 wheel:P.

I totally understand the not wanting to redo screw-ups... it can be really frustrating to go back over something that you already feel is done... I think everyone has those. I just throw them into an unfinished bowl, and if if I feel like redoing them later, I do, and if not, they're not going anywhere.

I think you'll love cabbing, it's one of those JUST DO IT things, and you will learn as you go! And you can say you did all your jewelry from start to finish, which is wonderful:).
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helens
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« Reply #55 on: July 06, 2013, 01:20:36 am »

As for backs, for the most part, I start shaping with perfectly flat slabs, front and back. If they are not (like saw marks or that little dent from the end of cuts), I fix that first like Frank does.

So when I say 'rough backs' I don't mean saw marks, dents or bulges, just not mirror polished like the tumbler will put on. I also bevel the backs before I start shaping the front, because it's easier to pick up off the table if you have a small bevel in the back to grab from. 

I don't know how dopping with crazy glue works. I would think that makes it hard to remove later, but I haven't tried it.
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« Reply #56 on: July 06, 2013, 04:04:16 am »

Wow, something that everybody seems to have missed - I'm surprised!

When you are shaping your stone here are the rules - follow them or I rap your knuckles with a ruler! Nooo not really, but this really is the best way to go about it -

Always shape your stone with your courser grits - up to 325 (you can do a we bit of shaping with that Ameritool semi-rigid 325 disc but you'll go through them far quicker than most) but preferably try and get your shape at 180 or better still the 100 hard pressed disc you bought (good idea btw).

You will still have lots of tiny ridges and what not most likely when you get to your soft discs but that's pretty normal. And, these get smaller and smaller the more you do and better you get at it - don't worry about, just get the shape as close to how you want it as you can on the hard discs.

Shaping with your 1200 or 1500 (blue) disc is a bad idea. You'll be keeping Ameritool in business on blue discs alone. Your shape should be almost perfect (in the sense of perfectly how you want it to end up) by the time you're done with your 325 and at very least by the time you're done with your 600. The blue disc is for removing similar lines and imperfections that are so small they're hard if not impossible to see with the naked eye. I try to get mine to that state before even starting the 600 but there's some room for personal recipes on "the method" here - the one big thing I'm trying to impress is simply to get your shape finito as close as possible before you even hit the colored discs then use those to work out, in succession, whatever you absolutely could not work out with the last wheel.

The concept is that you shape on rough and then each step after that is to remove the scratches left behind by the previous step.

Life is not perfect and you will have ridges and whatnot along the way - but if it requires a lot of pressure or time or discs to get something smoothed - go back a step, smooth it, then proceed.

--

Patterns - this is something we could have a whole forum devoted to and it is probably the one thing other than shape that determines the artistic aesthetic value of a cab (more so than shape when using common shapes like ovals and circles and triangles etc). It is that thing that makes everybody go "WOW!" when the see one of Eric's (Ajo) cabs - the guy just has that something special eye for finding the magic places in rocks and framing them on to cabs.

I like that you're thinking of this right from the get go, however, as you're right - vanilla patterns are a dime a dozen. So - the biggest challenge facing you is not learning to shape and shine cabs (you'll get that no sweat) - but finding those magical patterns. Frank (I think it was Frank - four pages was a loooong time ago!) is so right about cutting shapes in paper or cardboard so that you can move the shape over the stone while the paper blocks out the rest and man what a difference that makes in finding magic! At least for those of us who aren't Eric.

Finally, do exactly what you're doing - ask questions AND hit up the people who's work you've fallen in love with. Krystee really helped me out a lot too - she's why I have my Ameritool. I figured buy the tool that the person who's work you are really into is making and ask them how they use it - and I did - and she was more than accommodating (I love that girl!). Same with patterns, remember the names of those who consistently make patterns you really like and follow them or even ask them for advice. I've got a few I follow on this front - Eric and Helene consistently pop my noggin' when it comes to framing and there are others as well. The KCC is good to watch for this because you get to see the naked stone and preforms along with the final product - it's fascinating to see where some people pulled their patterns from and good for learning.

Hope I helped more than hurt - I tend to over-explain because I like to hear myself talk I reckon - but the points are there if you've survived this point driving

Oh - one final point, it may sound criminal but there is a lot of rock out there that nobody is going to miss if it gets turned to dust - experiment away and you will grind your way to success!
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« Reply #57 on: July 06, 2013, 04:18:19 am »

Oh - I forgot to mention my view on tumbling (vibing actually - that keeps the shape, tumbling tends to round everything off).

If I had a place to put one I would have one here a year ago. I do enjoy hand polishing and there are some things you can do that way that a vibe would probably undo but I gotta say, even being somewhat of a purist I would have no problem at all cramming 99% of everything I do (including carvings) into a vibe. Once my carving gets to a high enough level I'll probably change that view to just wishing I could vibe cabs because carving more complex than I do can involve complex textures and there's also something to be said for just different looks to different methods of polishing with carvings that a vibe could not do (mixed textures, for example - even two high polished but slightly different textures are going to require hand work).

So my view is this - if a tool can do it and not detract from it aesthetically and it's not a matter of showing skill (which is true in some cases and valid in my opinion) then use the tool!

Just my added 2C
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Carol M
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« Reply #58 on: July 06, 2013, 09:35:50 am »

As for backs, for the most part, I start shaping with perfectly flat slabs, front and back. If they are not (like saw marks or that little dent from the end of cuts), I fix that first like Frank does.

So when I say 'rough backs' I don't mean saw marks, dents or bulges, just not mirror polished like the tumbler will put on. I also bevel the backs before I start shaping the front, because it's easier to pick up off the table if you have a small bevel in the back to grab from. 

I don't know how dopping with crazy glue works. I would think that makes it hard to remove later, but I haven't tried it.

Hi Helen,
Re CrazyGlue and how it works, I got it from a Youtube video by DurangoSilver on Cabbing Turquoise - check it out.  The 2nd video shows how to put the cab pre-form on the nail with glue


This 3rd video shows how to remove the stone from the nail with a torch.  He's holding the nail with his hand so he can feel that the doesn't get hot enough to make the stone hot.  He heats between his hand and the stone...but nearer the stone.


Haven't tried to remove it yet, but so far the stone's solidly on the regular long nail.  I couldn't find anything 'cement coated' so I just got a regular big head nail.
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Ciao,
Carol M
"Pursue Your Passions....."
"Imagine the Possibilities!"
"Mistakes are simply a form of practice!"
"People who never make mistakes.....probably never do anything!"

helens
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« Reply #59 on: July 06, 2013, 09:50:35 am »

Interesting video:).  I really enjoyed doing the dopped cabs at the club, but these days, I'm getting bigger and bigger with the cabs... so don't need to as much.

Frank... one thing the vibe will not do is polish the insides ridges... tried that. hehehe. Imagine wrapping a cloth around the outside of a piece, and that's how much the tumbler will polish, any indents, ridges that you can't get to with a piece of cloth the tumbler action won't get to either, so you still end up hand polishing any carving grooves unfortunately. Of course, having the outside part polished first still saves time:)!
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