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Need Help - Dop Stick Wax Won't Stick

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Author Topic: Need Help - Dop Stick Wax Won't Stick  (Read 9197 times)
castocreations
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« on: February 25, 2008, 09:54:15 am »

So...I'm a total newbie when it comes to cutting stones so I have no real idea what I'm talking about.

But my grandfather is an old pro (and old...80) who has done this for decades. However he hasn't done it in a few years so he's trying to get back in the swing of things by teaching me. The problem is that the stupid dop stick wax won't stick to the damn stones.

I ordered new wax and he cleaned out his little melter thingy and we tried again on Saturday but again it didn't work.

We are drying and warming the stone, and he even roughed up the back a little to see if it would help. The wax is new. He cannot understand what the problem is as he's never had anything like this happen before.

Any ideas? Are there other newer techniques for holding stones to grind / polish them down?
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Taogem
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« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2008, 05:53:24 pm »

Hey, welcome to the forum castocreations!

I just got my first dop pot and it took me a little bit of playing to finally get it to work out every time now.

It can be a little different for some people. For myself, what is working great is this:

I use a propane torch to really warm up the stone and the dop. I use metal dops...

The torch also does a great job burning off any oil that might be on it too.

When I first saw the wax texture after melting, I was a little concerned that it was not melting enough. I was using the brown wax when I started. Nothing wrong with the brown, and have switched to the green only  because that is what the store had.

So..., After heating up the stone and dop really warm. Almost too warm to touch... I then dip the dop into the wax and wrap a significant amount around the dop. It won't stay on for long because it is pretty warm and wants to fall off the dop. So I have to move quickly to get it to the cab.

Between the hot dop and the fairly hot stone, the wax will actually melt more on the dop than it was in the dop pot.

I then just sort of work it easily. As it cools I am forming it around the dop and getting as much if not all of the stone covered with wax. I also press fairly hard on the wax against the stone as it cools. I don't know for sure, but pressing on the wax as it cools seems to help it adhere even better to the stone.

Here are a few pics..... I am sure this is not a whole lot different than your grandfather is doing, but thought would post it any way.....

For me..... heating up the stone nice and almost hot as well as the dop works best for me. Of course we have to be careful with some stones that will crack if over heated..... Trial and error  :)

Sorry some of the pics are blurred...... Not sure why.... The final pic could have been a much better example.... I usually completely cover the back of the stone with the wax. Not partially like this picture.













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rocknut
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« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2008, 10:30:21 pm »

Taogem, great photographs on using dop wax. I use green which I find better for stones, brown is more for faceting (spelling?). I warm up my stones first by putting them in fine sand warmed up on a small hot plate pan (about 5 minutes) then put on a liberal amount of wax on you stick. I then pick up the stone using this mass and transfer it to a flat surface where I push the stick down, make sure the stick is centered on the stone in both directions, then and flatten out the wax and check the stick to stone is squared. I have not used super glue yet but understand it works great. Use either a nail or cross-point screw (wood or sheet metal type). To remove the finished cab use a small propane torch to heat the lower porting to loosen the glue. Will post a photograph tomorrow of a set-up someone gave me. 
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Taogem
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« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2008, 02:29:51 pm »

Hi there castocreations,

Been a while and had not heard back if you had success with your dopping process.

How is it going for you?

Would love to see a cab or two!
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CMan
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« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2009, 12:31:20 pm »

I started roughly a month ago with Cabochon. I was taught to dop with a nail and super glue.
Well after a few times I decided to try wax from a dop pot with light bulbs to warm stone and wax.
Wax I used was a dark green brownish tone.
There are a few different colors for different applications. I don't want to add links just Google Dop Wax.

I decided to make use of my little alcohol lamp at home.
I retrieved from our recycle bin a B&M baked bean can and a Tuna can.
I removed all labels and cut a long circle in the side of can. This allows the alcohol to slide inside under the Tuna can.  Add a few knife slash's for air vents in the side or use an awl.

I mounted the Tuna can with  Loctite super gel let it stand roughly 24 hours.
I warmed a pan for Cabs. I place a little wax on cab in pan. Then I placed the  wooden dowels in tuna wax area. Stir wax and try to circle it around dowel then place  dowel on wax of cab that is in the warmed pan sitting on a wood cutting board.
Don't over heat your cabs.
Be sure you protect your area for fire and injury's use caution.

I do use a small plastic nut container that is filled with ice frozen to wet my fingers.
I find that I don't have to be fancy with my wax around the dowel.

My cabs seem to hold fine for my preformed cabs.
This picture was taken day after wax was solid state.
Those cabs had no problems of coming off dop sticks.
When finished I place them in ice box or cooled ice water. Backs of cabs are much cleaner to me then Super Glues.
It seems like no wax is really wasted reused add a little new.


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« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2009, 02:14:52 pm »

Here's my method. I use an alcohol lamp (most are made of glass but this one is from a dental supply so it is metal) to heat my stone and the dop on the stick.

I hold the stone lightly and I hold the stone up to the side of the flame. Don't hold it above the flame because the flame will go around the stone and burn you. Filp the stone back and forth so you heat both sides. Heat it until it is uncomfortable to hold your finger on the flat surface. Keep holding the stone lightly on the edges.

With your other hand heat the dop wax on the stick. Rotate the dop stick to heat all the sides until the wax just starts to turn liquid. Don't hold it in the flame so long that it turns flamy and drippy.
Apply the dop stick to the back of the cab.

Reheat the stone/dop stick combination to get the wax to flow onto the stone and to reheat the stone. Shape the wax against the stone with your fingers. Remember to wet your fingers before and during the shaping process.

Set the dopped stone aside to cool naturally. Do not plunge the hot dopped stone in cold water. You could fracture the stone.
I prefer this method because it is quick, you dont have to wait for the dop pot to warm up and it is a cheap setup. There is a little discomfort holding the heated stone lightly by the edges but its bearable, at least for me. This has been my method for a few decades so far. I tried the super glue method when the glue first came out but between the glue pulling a significant divot out of the back of an expensive Opal or the flammability, odor and time required to soak the dopped stone in solvents to get the cab loose I rejected that method.
Bob
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« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2009, 05:03:50 pm »

I had the same problem a while back. Everyone was great and gave me solutions to try.  I found that the reason my dop stick was'nt sticking was that I need to clean the slab more. I thought I got all or most of the saw oil off the slab, but I did'nt. I really scrub the slab or preform even more now.  Eric.
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Eric

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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2009, 12:11:24 am »

OK, new/old debate.

*Wax is recyclable, glues are not.

What are the pros and cons of either use?

In my opinion,
*Wax has a higher degree of "not sticking to the darn stone" as posted in this thread as the original question.
 This I believe has three points of failure,
1: not enough heat which can come from both ones environment, and technique,
2: not cleaned thoroughly of oil as Ajo notes, also part of technique
3: humidity, Iíve noticed in the dry season, cabs stick well, and when the monsoons come in, they donít.
 Wax generally has use for a hobbyist, and production cutter. But it does take time to figure out ones technique I feel, and then you can still have problems. I only use wax for small stones, or a stone I am afraid I will have a problem with it in any way to its mounting. That could be a soft stone, or brittle stone.

*Glues are, in my opinion easier to use, and about the same cost. However, glues also require a little, getting used to. But it may be easier in most cases with less stone failure when cutting. That's about all there is for glue. Itís faster to in my opinion when production cutting. Just as messy as wax I think.

I perfer cutting without a dopstick at all either. But there are limits there when cutting high domes, or inner sharp angles.
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Neural
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« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2009, 09:45:18 pm »

my 2 cents (which I think are posted elsewhere on this forum too :) )

I use methods similar to the ones posted, but I have an additional step that has worked like a charm to the point that there are times when I have to go to extremes to get the stones unstuck.
It should be noted that I primarily work with opals, which usually are smaller when it comes to overall cabochon size, but I've had solid success with other types of material as well (jade, sodalite, obsidien, jasper, etc.)

I purchased a couple of shelac sticks from Arrowhead Lapidary Supply (though I'm sure you can get them in various places).  I then shave off some flakes from one of the sticks into a small glass container.  I pour some denatured alcohol into the container as well, and let the shelac disolve in that.  The mixture is not an exact science, and as time passes you will find the alcohol evaporates (if you don't have a container with an air tight lid).  For me, I like to have the mix such that it is a nice light amber color.

Anyway, to make a long story (or tutorial) even longer, here's the rest of it:
I use a dop pot (like the one pictured in the post by Taogem).  I set my stones on the broad part of the white surface to heat up (but I don't leave them there very long as it is quite warm).  I place the stones such that the "back" (where I want the wax to stick) is facing up.  While the stone is warming, I dob on a bit of the shelac solution.  As the stone warms, the alcohol will evaporate and leave a nice tacky layer of shelac.  I then drop the dop stick into the wax (or if I have one with wax on it already, I heat it up with the alcohol lamp).  With hot goey wax, I apply the dopstick to the back of the stone, then shape the wax to the back of the stone with my fingers (not while it's on the dop pot.  once the wax meets the rock, you can generally pick up the rock and turn the stick over and start mooshing around with your fingers). 
Please note: the wax will be hot.  You can A) lick your fingers to prevent the wax from sticking to your skin.  B) keep a small dish or such with some water in it to use instead of licking, or C) just deal with the pain should the wax stick (this is my personal choice, not because I'm "manly" or anything, but because I'm lazy and don't have space for a dish of water, and am not interested in taking off my dust mask just to dop a stone.)

Pictures and additional long windedness regarding dopping stones can be found here: http://gemstone.smfforfree4.com/index.php/topic,1839.0.html

Hope this helps. :)
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« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2009, 12:27:40 am »



Hope this helps. :)


It sure does... 

Thanks !  :)
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Kwheeler
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« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2010, 03:13:05 am »

The tip about stick Shellac is well worth listening to, Neural.  I've been using it for a little while, now, and my biggest problem is getting stones OFF the dopstick...lol.  On a side note, does anyone have any special tips for getting the dop wax off your sticks so you can reuse the sticks and the wax?  I got a good deal on a couple pounds of wax, so I'm just freezing the sticks and cracking the wax off over the trash bin at the moment, but would like to be a little more economical in the future.  Thanks for any help.

Kristopher
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Bluesssman
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« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2010, 09:29:33 am »

I use a pair of large wire cutters to remove the wax from the dop sticks. I do it over a large plastic bowl so to catch the flying pieces. Works really well for me...


Gary
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« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2010, 11:43:03 am »

RE dop wax:   freezing is good, over large container is good - how about freezing and cracking it off over a large container?

or maybe just reuse the dop stick as is - that is what I do.

Gregor
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« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2010, 12:44:14 pm »

I thoroughly clean the polished cab/dop stick by scrubbing the polish off with a brush and then placing it in an ultrasonic cleaner for a few seconds. By keeping the polish from contaminating the dop wax I can reuse the dop sticks nearly forever. I very rarely need to remove the wax from the stick. To remove the cab I just set the dopped cab and stick, cab faced down, on a shelf in the freezer compartment in my small refrigerator for about 4 to 5 minutes. When I pick the stick up the cab usually falls off (sometimes on the floor if I'm not careful).
Bob
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Neural
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« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2010, 01:50:43 pm »

An important note about dop pots.

This Christmas I was given one of the new Inland dop pots as a gift.  I can say that it works great, however there is a bit of a difference that I've noticed which is vital.

The old style dop pot (as has been seen in pictures here) has that larger white surface to place stones on.  With opals, I generally placed them closer to the edge.  They would still get hot, but the heat from the surface of the dop pot wasn't as intense.

The new Inland dop pot has a rim on it that they supposedly designed in for setting stones on.  While I'm sure this will work for a number of stone types, I believe, personally, that it is *too* hot.  I've not seen any cracking on my opals, yet, but with the older dop pot, I generally did not get an outright burning sensation from the top side of the stone I was dopping when I placed my index finger on it to position it on the wax.  This issue has caused me great concern, and I'm actually now considering going back to the old dop pot.
Opals can take a lot of heat, but the issue is that the surface *may* be hot enough that the temperature difference between a room temperature stone and the heat of the dop pot rim might cause a stone to crack.

I am guessing that this may be similar with other stones such as Obsidian.
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