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286  Stone Talk / Moderator, Hummingbirdstones ( Robin ) / Rough on the bench and slabs off the saw (general minerals board) / Re: Plume Agates on: March 04, 2012, 05:21:11 pm
Here is some blue plume agate I found in Quartzite this year.  It's mixed with some moss, too.  I'm not sure what the matrix is, but it is essentially black.  It would make a great contrast to the blue and clear, but it's completely friable and doesn't want to stablize well.  Oh well.  This material still makes great cabs, but the more I look at this particular slab, the more I'm inclined to keep it as is.  What do you think?

287  Lapidary Shop / Moderator, Catmandewe ( Tony ) / Miscellaneous Shop Talk / Re: Stabilizing slabs with Stone-Weld? on: February 26, 2012, 10:55:14 am
Christopher, unfortunately it will probably be a month or so before I can get to the slabs to cut them, so I thought I'd ask around in the meantime.  When I do cut them I will post the results.

Amanda, some people do use a vacuum pump, especially when stabilizing large batches.  But I don't have one, and they are expensive, so I am looking for a process or product that doesn't require one. 

288  Lapidary Shop / Moderator, Catmandewe ( Tony ) / Miscellaneous Shop Talk / Stabilizing slabs with Stone-Weld? on: February 25, 2012, 01:13:29 pm
Ever on the lookout for better (i.e. easier & faster) ways to stabilize material, I was interested in an epoxy someone recommended called Stone-Weld by American Synthetics.  It is made for the granite countertop industry, and comes in various thicknesses for different purposes.  A cabber I spoke to at a recent show swore by the stuff, and said it was easier, better penetrating, and not nearly as obnoxious-smelling as either Opticon or 330.  Sounded great, so I decided to give it a try. 

I purchased the ďPenetratingĒ type, which is advertised as a penetrating sealant for hairline fractures in installed granite.  That sounded promising, as obviously you canít stick a countertop in an oven or wait two weeks to use it like some other products, so it must be easy to use, right?  I bought some online and itís a bit pricy; the cheapest price was about US$50 for a 24-oz kit.  It says right on the box ďultra-thin epoxyĒ so Iím imaging something nearly water-thin. Itís mixed 2:1, and comes in three 8oz bottles with a super handy measuring spout built right into the top of the bottle.  Iíve mixed lots of epoxy, and this was about the best method Iíve seen yet. 

So I prepared (no preheating, yeah!) some small slabs of lace amethyst with some poorly-knit crystals and mix up a small batch of Stone-Weld.  As my acquaintance advertised, it has a noticeable epoxy odor but nothing that will knock your socks off like Opticon.  But right away Iím a little worried, after the mixing and settling time recommended in the instructions, about 2 minutes, itís already the thickness of cream, not what I would call ďultra-thin.Ē  Itís a small test batch (not very deep) so I dunk the small slabs in and use a popsicle stick to scrap the epoxy over the surface and into the cracks.  After about 5 minutes itís the thickness of heavy cream, and at the end of the working period, 10 minutes, itís like honey.  I set the slabs asideóstill no heating needed!óand waited 24 hours for full curing as the instructions noted.  Well, it actually took about 2 days for a full cure.  At 24 hours the material was still soft enough I could stick a pin in it.

Some things have come up so I have not had a chance to do anything with the slabs yet.  At this point itís impossible to say for sure if the Stone-Weld actually penetrated the way I had hoped, but given the thickness of the mix I am very skeptical that it went much past the surface.  I am quite certain I mixed it correctly, and the ambient temps were well within the range suggested in the instructions.  I do not have a name or contact info for the person who suggested it.  Has anyone else tried Stone-Weld?  What were your experiences?  I have searched this forum as well as a few others and did not find much, my apologies if I missed a previous discussion of this.

289  Creative Stone Works / Moderator, Michael Hoover / Michael Hoover's Testing To Destruction / Turquoise, Jadieite, / Re: Testing to destruction China $50.00 a pound jadeite on: January 28, 2012, 07:23:32 am
Are there no reputable jade dealers online, or is the issue just the Chinese dealers?
290  The Gathering / Our Place / A great find in Quartzsite on: January 17, 2012, 01:31:10 pm

Living in Phoenix makes it possible to visit Quartzsite every year.  I always find interesting stuff, but I think this year this was easily the best deal:

(I have no idea what the specks were.)  ura

291  The Gathering / Our Place / Posting images? on: January 15, 2012, 11:39:28 am
Sorry for the newbie question, but I could not find a forum or FAQ that covered how to upload and post an image in a forum.  Any advice?  Thanks!

292  The Gathering / Introductions / Hello from Phoenix on: August 25, 2011, 11:31:16 am
Hello everyone!

I have been an occasional lapidary for some time now, but now that the kids are (mostly) out and on their own I am finally able to spend more time on it.  I'm also a member of the AZ Leaverites mineral club here, altho I don't often get to the meetings because of my work schedule.  I am always looking to improve, so I wanted to join an online community that is passionate about lapidary, and this is forum seems to be the place.  I hope you don't mind thousands of questions.  :-)

I am also the proud owner of a c. 1950 Highland Park Model E12 grinder/saw/polisher combo, serial #0005. I found it on Craigslist a few years ago and have been slowly refurbishing it.  I know that someone has re-started HP and I have seen some of their stuff in person (it's fantastic), but so far anyway nothing they make would apply to my machine.  If there are any fellow E10/E12 owners out there, I'd like to hear of your experiences in refurbishing.

I look forward to being here.  Thanks!


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