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Thread: Opal cutter and polisher!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    South Devon, UK
    Posts
    25

    Default Opal cutter and polisher!

    Hi there,

    Thought I'd better introduce myself. I'm more into Ladipary and turning rough stones into things that can be set into jewellery in some way, but at the moment I'm happy with that and don't feel i want to take the 'next' step yet.

    I've always had an interest but couldn't try it out primarily due to the lack of lapidary clubs here in the UK and also that any equipment, either new or second hand is both rare and very expensive!

    So, I thought if I can't afford it, I may as well try and make some.

    With stainless inch bar, a local engineer company to put threads on the ends, bearings, a motor from fleabay and diamond wheels from Lithuania, I made a cab machine with 8 wheels. I've also made a polishing bench from another bar / bearings, a felt pad and a cut bundt cake tin (?!). I did try for an 10 inch saw...it works but it's the most 'Heath Robinson' of my pieces and although it cuts slabs, they aren't too reproduce-able thickness wise and it's a pig to set up!

    I've always loved opals so I've been buying some rough and seeing what I could do with it. Some of them were cracked (only to be expected with the rough I'm using and my initial lack of experience) but at least it was a start! I've taken some to destruction (purposely and ahem...not purposely...). I've only had books and the internet to teach me.

    I have been progressing however and some of the stones I've produced I'm now quite proud of if I may say so myself! Lightning Ridge, Coober Pedy, Koroit and Opaltron tend to be my stones of choice.

    I've also tried with apatite...beautiful but not stabilised so a little bit fragile. I also have some rough tigers eye that I picked up from somewhere but I haven't played with that yet, still mainly into my opals..

    I need a trim saw now, so I've bought some discs from Hong Kong and will get a tile cutter locally and a speed reducer. I'd love to be able to get a proper lap trim saw but at over 300...we'll it's too much at the moment!

    I'm here to learn and enjoy myself doing so!

    Pusscat

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    99

    Default

    Hi Pusscat,

    Sounds like a lot of creativity and a passion for lapidary against the financial odds!
    I've watched a number of interesting video about cabbing soft (mohs 6) stones by hand (by Lawson gems) demonstrating what could be done with very little equipment and others videos of gem cutting and polishing using hand powered tools prevalent in India. I did by some rough apatite and I am planning to shape myself at a later date...

    As a fan of Australian opals, I'd love to see some of your results...

    A warm welcome to the forum,
    Ceri.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    South Devon, UK
    Posts
    25

    Default

    Hi Ceri,
    I've put some photos on the 'Show and Tell' forum!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    102

    Default

    Hi Pusscat , Welcome to the forum , I am also an opal cutter amongst other things I would love to see some of your work , Im not sure if you are aware there are a couple of really good facebook groups for Lapidarists from the uk with a lot of very helpful people . I have also built all my own machines . There is a cheaper supplier for wheels etc than the lithuanian one . If you look up Hanslapidary on Etsy I have found him to be the cheapest and never had any problems with anything from him . If you look me up on you tube you can see some of my work and machines its Brighton Gemstones

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    102

    Default

    Ah just realised after seeing the pictures who you are lol , Hi Peter Its john from Glitter and Gem

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Central London
    Posts
    8,126

    Default

    Welcome, Pusscat, to the forum. Dennis.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    South Devon, UK
    Posts
    25

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by J Allison View Post
    Ah just realised after seeing the pictures who you are lol , Hi Peter Its john from Glitter and Gem
    Hi John,
    Ha...small world!

    I'll have a look at those facebook groups tomorrow and also the wheels. I feel my info base is growing!
    Cheers,
    Peter

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