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Messages - mick B

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Ask a "Silly" Question / Re: Jade Guitar Frets
« on: April 19, 2020, 08:10:18 AM »
Matt, sounds like a great project. True jade, nephrite or jadeite can be one of the most difficult gems to work on. Stay away from the fractures in the rough parts as there is a chance that some could split in the process. It's a great idea to use a guide when you start cutting the rough to keep them all even in size.The MK blade from Aussie Sapphire is a very good all round blade but there is a blade called a Smart Cut from Ukam in the US that is better on jade. It's not as good all round but stands alone on jade.All jade has a direction that the grain runs or forms, try to cut the length in the same direction, as it will be much stronger.
Shaping and sanding can be done on either diamond or silicon carbide. A diamond expanding drum belt around 200 grit to start or a silicon carbide wheel or belt around the same grit, shape on the belt or wheel- carbide. I then switch to hand sanding with carbide sticks to shape and smooth go to 600 grit.
Next go to 1200 diamond to smooth out, check for scratches as they will show when finished. I would finish these on 1200 wet & dry paper by hand, start wet then go dry. This will give you a satin finish that will look very good, hides imperfections. I go to 100 K diamond and also linde A powder but that's for comp carvings.Join a club and learn the basics of cutting and polishing, make a basic cab then move to a free form cab, you need to learn to walk before you can run and jade is considered as one of the most challenging gems to finish.

Ask a "Silly" Question / Re: Cutting Jade.
« on: October 27, 2017, 07:12:43 AM »
Nephrite jade can be challenging to cut and shape, most professionals do not use oil to cut, only water, this counts out the 301, I use the 303 MK or baranca, or even better is the Ukam smart cut, the diamond in the smart cut is finer and cuts nephrite smoother, I have found the 303 cuts harder gems better than the smart cut, both are top shelf products, I have 18 and 10 inch blades, if using auto feed slow it down do not force it as it will glaze the blade, sometimes its best to dress the blade on large blocks to expose the diamond.
Best off luck   

Cabbing and More / Re: 'New beginnings' nephrite jade
« on: August 13, 2017, 05:31:31 AM »
Great result Southerly, jade can be a severe pain to finish, every piece has its own challenges, sometimes a mix of satin and high polish looks better, gives it more contrast, us carvers are rare here, great to see you finished this.

General Discussion / Re: Vale Woofa
« on: December 31, 2016, 09:02:43 PM »
A great supporter of this forum, I never had the opertunity to meet Paul but I think he will be remembered for all the good positive things he done for the lapidary fossicing community.

Shows and Events / Re: Gemboree 2016
« on: March 25, 2016, 05:31:00 PM »
Thanks Jimnyjerry, has been a difficult time with us recently, great to get this good news, I do sell a few carvings and do custom carved pieces for a client and friend in Singapore, would love to one day just carve, but I think it will never happen, lapidary- gem artists never get the same recognition as many other arts.
Cheers mick B

Shows and Events / Re: Gemboree 2016
« on: March 25, 2016, 05:09:15 PM »
Wow, thanks for the great news, we both spent many hours on these, great to get some recognition, thanks Bucket for the news, was it the little jade fish or my opal that placed first.
Thanks again mick & margie B

Ask a "Silly" Question / Re: gem hunting at Nundle
« on: March 22, 2016, 08:38:41 PM »
From memory the sign said authorized vehicle entry only, video surveillance, I was expecting a fine but its been more than 12 months, if I can,t drive in I won,t go, I have walked in at least 3 times.

Ask a "Silly" Question / Re: gem hunting at Nundle
« on: March 22, 2016, 05:45:48 PM »
I have lived in the NW - Tamworth Nundle region most of my life, this area does have some great gems, last year me and my wife drove into the prase mine at Hanging Rock, there is a sign stating that there is no longer access to 4wd vehicles and there is camera surveillance checking who goes in, there is a mobile number to ring, but I left my mobile at home, we drove in. As Jamo states there is jade and rhodonite in my region, there is no excess to any of the jade deposits as the area has either exploration licence or mining leases on them and you need to go through private land, it will never happen. The Tamworth NW region has heaps of rhodonite deposits but most of the good ones are on private land also.

General Discussion / Re: Drilling agate
« on: September 05, 2015, 10:47:43 PM »
Drilling agate and other stones in the 7 plus hardness range can be challenging, as a carver drilling is a very important step in the process, I use small ball points, triple ripples, and cores, I also have a set up in a drill press that I sometimes use, but now mostly drill the gem free hand in water. I drill in from both sides with very careful placement, no blow out, drilled these today for a friend, agate, tiger eye, nephrite jade, prehnite, rhodonite, only around 5 minutes to drill the agate, I drill at around the 400 grit final sanding stage, the blue gem is gem silica I cut for a customer in Singapore, 7 hardness.

Cabbing and More / Re: Our entrys
« on: August 02, 2015, 06:12:43 PM »
Thanks, great reply's, I was very surprised not to get anything this time, in 2013 I used a great piece of seam Ridge black that I paid $450, around 450 carats now the same opal is around $4000 US, I could not justify this, yes I think I would have placed but don,t think it was worth the cost, I used Coober Pedy in my carving,  this event is all about the Ridge and this may be one reason, but I will just move on and keep carving.

Cabbing and More / Our entrys
« on: August 01, 2015, 09:56:21 PM »
Just wanted to share some entry's me and my wife entered in the Ridge opal awards, the dragonfly was a joint entry with a friend in Singapore, Kevin, a jewelry designer, did not place this year but will try again.

Forum Announcements & Rules / Re: Cabbing/Cutting competition idea
« on: May 20, 2015, 10:25:17 AM »
A comp like this may help to promote the forum, this is by no means a first, the US forum has been running these for a few years now, another idea would be to do a comp in the futer based on jewelry, so all aspects of lapidary can be covered, cabs, faceting and carving, covers all types, another issue I have seen on the US comps is at times people who have more friend on the forum attract more votes, not always the best piece.

Cheers mick B

I come from the Tamworth region, originally a member of the Tamworth lapidary club but no longer, a good member there did teach me to cut my first cab back in 2005, most off the rest off the members would not share there knowledge, as far as carving there is NOTHING they could teach me now, a good club environment can be good if most are willing to share knowledge, I live in jade and rhodonite country, great for my carving, I think there would be thousands off independent lapidary people like me, if AFLACA could get more members like us independent people it may help the organization if they would let us join as independents.

Ask a "Silly" Question / Re: Hot to use mini-flexodiscs?
« on: April 19, 2015, 07:23:41 AM »
NZ green stone can be either nephrite jade or Bowenite- gem serpentine, most New Zealand carvers prefer a satin finish, they finish on 1200 or 2000 silicon carbide dry - wet & dry paper, its a matter off personal choice how high the polish will be, some jades look better with satin finish and others look great with either, I do prefer diamond polishing but Linde A - alumina A can also work. One polishing method will not work on all jades as they all have differences in hardness, some undercut more than others, I do not think miniflexo disks are a good polishing option with jade - greenstone, most rotary tools pull the fibers causing undercut in the final polishing stages.     

Fossicking Locations / Re: Crown road access sell off in NSW
« on: April 18, 2015, 05:15:10 PM »
Very interesting read, I recently went to the Nundle- Hanging rock prase mine with my family in my 4x4, there is now a sign stating that only authorized vehicles can enter and there is camera surveillance, there was a ph no to ring but I did not have my mobile, this is crown land and so is the road, by the time I was at the sign it was difficult to turn around so we went in to the prase mine, lapidary clubs have been going to this site for years, do they expect elderly people to walk in, the locals did not know about this, even the volunteers at the Nundle mineral collection did not know, it may be a way off keeping people out with 4x4 vehicles, public liability, the people at the Nundle mineral collection said they would contact me but not yet.

Cheers mick B 

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