Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Topics - southerly

Pages: [1] 2
Cabbing and More / 'New beginnings' nephrite jade
« on: August 07, 2017, 01:46:15 PM »
"new beginnings" tendril form in nephrite jade from Wyoming. Tendril is polished, seed pod is matte and oiled.

Cabbing and More / Unicorn
« on: January 15, 2017, 08:51:23 AM »
This was my Christmas present to my 20yo daughter, it has been on the bench a couple of years as I started, got stuck, stopped, then started again, then stopped. Indonesian paccana jasper, Guatemalan white jadeite horn, Cowel SA black nephrite eye.

And progress shots:

Original slab

Marked up and ready to start

In progress

Finished, all but the white jadeite horn, the eye in black nephrite from Cowell, South Australia and about 1.1mm across.


(edited by admin to fix images)

Cabbing and More / CRKT Classic Trapper with Guadalupe poppy jasper scales
« on: February 25, 2015, 08:53:04 PM »
Guadalupe poppy jasper scales on a CRKT Classic Trapper. The nickel silver bolsters are solid so I was able to get very nice transitions from the stone to the metal. The material seemed to have tiny fractures in it so I soaked it in Hxtal prior to cutting, the slab held together no problem. Slowly getting better at the metal finishing, will get perfection one day, maybe...


Cabbing and More / Two Buck 501's with nephrite jade scales
« on: January 30, 2015, 06:28:35 PM »
Buck 501's with Tamworth nephrite jade scales.


Cabbing and More / Intarsia
« on: January 30, 2015, 06:23:54 PM »
Two intarsia just finished. The first is double sided with a different ocean jasper on each side with a border of black amphibole (West Aust black jade) from Western Australia.

I also made a intarsia toki using some very good quality Tamworth rhodonite and black nephrite jade from Cowell, South Australia.

And showing off the polish..


Cabbing and More / 2 jades from one block
« on: July 19, 2014, 08:28:26 AM »
Since taking a strong interest in jade in recent years I have come to realise that both nephrite and jadeite readily mix with other rocks, indeed both the constituents of nephrite - actinolite and tremolite, and the jadeite-omphacite series are considered 'rock forming minerals' and make up a diverse range of mid to high grade metamorphic rocks. Therefore many 'jades' consist of greater or lesser amounts of 'jade'.

A block I have just cut the ends off is an excellent example. The two pendants here were cut from different ends of a 12kg block of nephrite jade from Cowell in South Australia. It is a solid block and looks from the outside like a homogeneous block of nephrite jade.

The first pendant has a mottled colouration, with crystalline shapes evident. It was soft for nephrite and the different colours had different hardnesses and almost certainly represents different minerals or different compositions. Probably a mix of dolomite, tremolite, actionolite and maybe diopside. The Cowell deposit is in dolomite rather than usual serpentine-talc-nephrite relationship. Due to the different hardnesses and softness this was easy to cut and hard to polish, with a texture on the surface where each mineral mix intersects.

The second pendant was cut from the other end, this is classic solid 'black' nephrite jade. As with all true black nephrite this is actually very dark olive green when cut thin enough. It takes a great polish and cuts really well, it does not have any of the directional fracturing that can sometimes plague nephrite jade.

I will put up a pic of the block when I get a chance.


Cabbing and More / Toki madness
« on: April 21, 2014, 09:37:48 PM »
When I rejoined my local lapidary club 3 years ago, the club had shrunk to almost entirely retired members, some of who joined in the 60's & 70's hey days of local rock hounding, and some started once retired, they were only open during the day mid week between school pick up hours and generally chugging along.

That was fine while I was out of work buy not sustainable for me in the long term, so I started opening up one evening a week and quickly gained a number working people interested in lapidary, I also attracted a half a dozen high school students which is really exciting.

To help focus their interest and increase their skills and learning I started at the beginning of the year a challenge project, the first being the making of a toki which is the NZ term for a stone adze, axe of scraper. Originally they were functional tools and weapons. Today they are commonly worn as pendants and represent strength.

Well the challenge was a great success with 15 toki's being made, even some of the established retirees came along to try something new. Here is a small selection:

Joseph's nephrite jade toki, his dad also made a similar one. Amazing as it is his second ever cut stone.

Bruce is an accomplished facetor, this was his first attempt at a toki and working nephrite jade.

Cassie's lovely moss agate toki

My daughter Tayler's nephrite toki before being face drilled

Sharnie's great amazonite toki

Alana's unique take on a toki, in chrysoprase

And finally I finished mine well after everyone else. This is beautiful nephrite jade from Tamworth, which for a nice change does not need to be back lit to show it off. 75mm long, the rest of the slab is dedicated to knife scales that are in progress.

Our next project is making a cross, Bill has shown the way and completed the first one already. I have plans for more projects in the future including simple intarsia and symmetrical beads, can you suggest any others we should try?


Cabbing and More / Jade dagger - Finished at last...
« on: January 25, 2014, 02:50:25 PM »
After completing the jade neck knife I decided to be a bit more adventurous and tackle an all jade dagger. I searched the web for ideas and saw some nice daggers, I settled on the proportions of a beat up old Gerber Guardian dagger that I found when cleaning out the draws of an employee who left the office rather rapidly one day. This is the knife and my initial sketches based on my web research.


I then defined and dimensioned the shape into something I could use to make a template for cutting out the various elements of the knife. There are four components to this knife, the blade, the handle and the front and rear bolsters to be made using 3 different coloured jades. Note the pattern on the knife handle, it is my intention to carve this pattern into the handle.

My vision is to use all Tamworth nephrite and local Tamworth timber for a presentation box and to call the knife 'gabba yarrul' which means 'mountain stone' in the language of the Gamilaroi (or Kamilaroi) people who are the traditional guardians of the area where the nephrite is found.

This is the slab of nephrite used for the blade.

The blade was cut out on my band saw then preformed to the outline shape on the grinding wheels, this is nice jade with no tendency to fracture, yippee. I then rough ground a small bevel, I found this hard to keep straight so I quickly swapped to hand grinding the bevels with thick carbide sticks. This makes for a slow and very well controlled grinding action. This is the blade during shaping, just about finished the 100 grit shaping, then onto 220 and 400 carbide sticks.

I took the cutting edge of the blade down to around 0.3-0.5mm thick and sanded to a prepolish of 3000 carbide. I won't polish further until it is ready to be assembled as it may get scratched while fitting the other elements. The biggest problem I had was with the plunge lines (where the blade bevel ends near the front bolster. I had tried a few things to make the plunge lines and had stuffed one up a bit so I had to even everything up. It now looks ok, if I do another one this is an area I will pay a lot more attention to. Here is the completed blade in its pre-polish state.

Next step is to cut out the handle. I wanted to use a light coloured whitish nephrite and went through my stash. I found a green/white block that looked ok and slabbed it into a block about 80mm x 25mm x 15mm. To see how this stuff worked I cut a couple of test cabs, well that was a complete disaster, they chipped, under cut, were very soft and the polish was poor. So I had to scrap the white jade idea and raid the rest of my stash. I came up with 2 other options, one was a green to white opaque nephrite I collected recently with MickB, the other was a dark dusky green that I found a year ago on another visit to MickB's which I was intending to use for the bolsters. In the end I decided to go with the dark green nephrite I self collected (bottom block in the photo).

I was still unsure whether the carved handle in my original drawing would work so I grabbed the original white handle block and ground it to the shape of my handle, it was soft and quick to cut and I got a soft polish on it using dry 1200 carbide belt and some fabulustre on a buff. It is quite attractive.

I then used this handle as a prototype for the carving of the handle pattern, well the block chipped in a chalky bit as expected (thats partly why it is not being used as the handle), I ground and rough sanded the pattern to see what it will look like. I don't like the pattern and won't use it, it is too hard to see the pattern and it looks like sh***. The pattern may look better if better cut and fully polished but I just don't think it is worth it, so the final handle will go uncarved. Maybe a sandwich of different toned slabs would work in the future for this style of pattern?

Now that I am using a dark material for my handle, I need a light/white material for the bolsters. I have sourced some jadeite from Guatamala and will use that for the bolsters. This will take it away from an all Tamworth knife, but it will still be all 'jade'. May take a few months more to finish, so stay tuned.


Ask a "Silly" Question / Lowest cost shipping from the USA?
« on: November 25, 2013, 06:31:40 AM »
A contact int he Us wants to send me a box of rocks. I recall Anthony (agemcutr) saying there is a low cost flat rate box that goes sea freight. Does any one know the details of this?


Show us your latest finished product / Jade neck knife
« on: October 01, 2013, 01:16:20 PM »
Here is my latest project. It is an all jade knife using Australian nephrite. The blade is nephrite jade from Tamworth, the scales are black nephrite jade from Cowell South Australia. I had intended to drill a hole and fit a brass tube and lanyard and make beads out of all the other nephrite deposits to make the knife a true Aussie Jade knife showcasing all Aussie nephrite, however my test holes have not provided a satisfactory snug fit for the tube so no hole until I get the right bur/tube combination. The knife is in the style of a neck knife 14cm LOA, 8cm blade, 3.3cm high, spine of blade is 4.2mm and max width with scales is 13.0mm.

Original slab of Tamworth nephrite from Mick's friend John.

I positioned the knife to maximise the translucent green in the blade.

Cutting out the blade shape on the diamond band saw. The jade had some soft and directional sections which modified the original shape a little.

I ground the bevel for the blade roughly on the grinding wheels but found it hard to get a nice grind with the narrow round grinding wheels so I stopped with about 3 mm flat on the blade. Moved to a 100 grit carbide stick and created the bevel of the blade by hand, then moved to 220 grit stick, then sanded 500, 1200, 2000, 3000 carbide.

Edge created ready for sanding whole knife

Lapping the blade flat on glass with 220 and then 600 grit went up to 3k diamond but got bad orange peel so had to go back to 600 carbide grit on glass and started over again. Flat surfaces and nephrite don't mix well.

Tried several designs for the scales, chose the bottom one as I wanted to show off the pattern in the nephrite at the bottom of the handle.

Made a template to create the scales and cut them out on the band saw.

Shaped and sanded the scales off the blade

All ready to glue up

I then finished up the polishing using belts and small leather disks on a rubber backing to polish through 14k and 50k diamond then finished on leather by hand with 100k diamond.

The finished product.

The texture in the scales in the photos is due to the dark olive green texture showing through from under the surface. Will have to work out a way to get a better photo.

Showing off the blade.

My favourite shot.


Cabbing and More / Black mobius
« on: June 30, 2013, 08:32:19 PM »
Well it has been quite a while since I posted some of my work. I have 3 projects on the go at the moment and this is the first one I have surrendered on (not sure you ever 'finish' a carving). This is 'black mobius', made from West Australian nephrite jade, 60mm x 21mm x 14mm. It is the same material Michael Burgess made his Gemboree entry from that caused all the excitement. This stuff is tougher then Tamworth nephrite and certainly slower to carve. It took a ridiculous amount of time and effort, it came up nicely in the end, but I can't help thinking it needs more wow factor for the effort.

Original slab ready to go

All marked up and ready to party

Blocked out preform and plasticine model used as a carving guide.

10 hours of burs and dremel and the mobius is finally freed from its rocky prison


Grinding done, now to the hand sanding sticks. Many hours of sanding sticks...


Used nail polish to identify the areas needing more work, very hard to see scratches in pure black.


'Black mobius' revealed...


Fossicking Locations / Tasmanian nephrite jade
« on: June 29, 2013, 02:58:00 PM »
Can any of our Tassie crew shed any light on the nephrite deposit at Trial Harbour? There is a mention in the Tassie geological site and the samples I have seen seem to be rounded boulders suggesting they are eroded from their original source. Any one know more?

Thanks, David

This one was made for my physio who is a keen rock collector but does not do any cutting. It is nephrite jade from Tamworth, it comes from an estate the previous owner apparently made jewellery boxes and had a stack of thinly cut slabs that are too thin for general use so I grabbed some for the knives. They are the perfect thickness for the smaller knives.

Original slab, I used Mick's band saw to cut these out, really quick and reduces grinding by heaps, I gotta get one.

Fitting the scales up, this I find really tricky very easy to get the wrong angle and over cut, will get it perfect one day.

The slab edge has a really cool striped pattern on it that would have made awesome scales had the block been orientated that way.

Glueing everything up:

Mostly polished, metal yet to clean up.

For a while there I did not think this stuff would polish, indeed at 50,000 diamond it was still cloudy lacked any sort of polish at all. It looked so bad I looked up waxing jade on Google, but could not find any reputable guides, lots of Chinese jade sellers, stating that 'all jade is waxed' and needs to be re waxed because it deals with pits and cracks "all jade has", will post a topic on my research about this later.

I finally got a good polish with 100k diamond with leather by hand, I just mix a batch of diamond paste up and watch a movie while working the leather on the stone. The perfect metal polish is still eluding me, I am using Hyfin on a cotton buff. The stainless comes up really well but the nickel silver shows scratches, clouds etc. What am I doing wrong.


Cabbing and More / Jade fish hook from Tamworth nephrite
« on: January 30, 2013, 06:38:07 AM »
 I have always wanted to carve a fish hook for myself due to my lifelong association with the ocean and I had sketched quite a few in my book, so when visiting Michael B over the New Year and saw his recent work and his offer of using the band saw and some of his premium nephrite the offer was too good to refuse.

This is a blue/green nephrite from Tamworth that Michael self collected (lucky bugger). I have cut some before and it takes a lovely polish but fractures easily in some directions on the diamond wheels and burs so I shifted to hand sanding very early in the carving.

This is the original slab, the band saw is really quick and produces much better curves than I could achieve with a bur.

Still in the grinding stage. It did fracture a little but it is not noticeable and does not impact the polish in anyway.

Around the 240 grit stage, hours of sanding still to go. I drilled this vertically so I could tie the lashing, I still have not found the ideal thread and will re-tie it when I do.

I made a jade bead for the 'latch' using one of the off cuts. I knew I kept these for a reason. These were the pieces I considered using. I selected the piece at the bottom for the bead.

Here is the finished piece in a variety of lighting conditions. The photo's show up a few faults that are not obvious in the hand, ah well perfection will have to wait for the next project.

The girls have already put in a claim for this one.


This is a small Swiss Army Knife 'Executive' with jasper scales from Nundle. I am very happy with the fit, there is about 0.5mm overhang all the was around.

Lovely stone to cut, nice and 100% solid.


Pages: [1] 2