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stabilizing opalized wood

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Author Topic: stabilizing opalized wood  (Read 596 times)
flyin66comet
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« on: January 03, 2016, 07:42:10 am »

I have a question about opalized wood. Is it possible to stabilize it and if so does it look ok. I have some real pretty opalized wood I just bought and it likes to come all apart when I try to cut or grind it.
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vitzitziltecpatl
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« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2016, 08:12:44 am »

Hi there, and welcome to the forum.

Could you post photos (640 x 480 - or similar size) of the type of wood you have? Your success rate might depend a lot on what you have.

If it's coming apart at fractures or boundaries between changes in the composition of the rough it should be possible. There's a cream-to-brown type from Washington, though, that's just plain delicate. Or maybe it was just the box of it we bought... .

Looking forward to seeing what you're working with there.
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bobby1
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« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2016, 11:12:45 am »

I've found that most opalized wood is fragile, fractures easily and rarely holds together enough to do much lapidary work on it. I would imagine that stabilizing it with Opticon might work but if it is of any size I doubt that the Opticon can penetrate very deeply. I stare at many of my pieces of this material thinking that someday I might just try stabilizing it and then I set it aside while I move on to working on other more solid lapidary material.
Bob
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flyin66comet
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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2016, 11:41:37 am »

Here is some pictures of the rough. I have made two cuts on It so far with some breakage. This wood was just found over the mountain from me in Westcliff CO. I guess somebody was digging their foundation for a new house and ran across this. Well this is what the owner of the rock shop told me.


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* 20160103_113149.jpg (876.96 KB, 2560x1440 - viewed 12 times.)
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light house jack
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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2016, 01:04:36 pm »

You will likely need a vacuum jar to draw the epoxy into the rock. Another method is to put the rock into the epoxy and heat it to about 160 degrees overnight and it seems to do pretty well as to drawing the epoxy into the cracks.  I make my vacuum jars using a hand brake pump from Harbor Freight, some hose and a mason jar with a tip sealed into the top. You can draw a pretty decent vacuum with this simple set up.
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peruano
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« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2016, 07:18:38 am »

Or you can cut it carefully, and attach the slabs to records or cds or bondo on the back side before cabbing.  I've worked a lot with some fragile opalized wood, and just count on saving the solidest pieces, treating them carefully during the cab process and telling folks to handle them carefully once in finished form.  You can use the standard crack fill materials to fortify things that appear during cabbing, but too too often you have to let the composition of the material dictate the shape and nature of the cab produced. 
If I really had a piece I wanted maximal success with (without totally stabilizing it), I'd glue it to a record (glue that to a stub), cut off one slab at the appropriate width from the record, and then do it all again to get a second and subsequent slabs.  I.E. the exact reverse of what you would do if it was a normal specimen.  Good luck.  tom 
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Tom
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« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2016, 02:17:14 pm »

Hi Tom

If you back this material like you say what would be the grit that you start shaping?

Bless
Shawn
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peruano
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« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2016, 05:49:33 pm »

80 or 100 are way to aggressive unless you have a light hand.  A worn 100 or better a 200 wheel should let you dome a cab within a reasonable time.  And yes the steps up to polish are quick as well.  Tom 
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Tom
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flyin66comet
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2016, 09:43:48 am »

I actually managed to get a slab cut out of this material without it shattering. I even got a cab cut witout it breaking. It was pretty crumbly stuff, about 80% of the rough was junk. At least I didn't pay much for the rough.  bricks
Thank You to everybody who have advice on stabilizing.
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gjones
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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2016, 12:23:54 pm »

Very informative! Has anyone used a food saver vacuum container for drawing sealant into a slab or rough?








































































 
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