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Author Topic: Cutting  (Read 3456 times)

JLB

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Cutting
« on: December 17, 2008, 09:03:35 PM »
What's a price range to set up for amature cutting/polishing?
There's an easy one for someone. ::)

Andrew

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Re: Cutting
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2008, 07:52:55 AM »
Hi,
I guess the most popular way of starting is Tumbling. To get going with a basic machine and Grits needed, costs are in the $200-$300 mark.  Tumbling is rewarding and simple but still needs skill to achieve the best results.

Another option is some Opal, a small Dremel and a handful of Wheels which can be found for a similar starting price (although can go much higher).  Mostly Opal is polished on a Multiwheel Grinder ($2,000-$2,800) but good results can be achieved with the hand held Dremmel tool in smaller Black Opal.

Cabachon work is the next level.  There are some Hobby type Flat Laps that start at around $550 with more commercial units starting $1,200.  You need to add a few laps for cutting and polishing but there are a range of options here.
 
Most dream of Faceting and it's a satisfying and rewarding achievment to cut your own stone.  New machines start at around $2,500 with most recognised (better quality) models around $4,000 and up.  Second hand units are very rare and sought after - popular models usually sell privately around the $2,400-$3,000 mark.  Of course, if you find yourself in the right spot at the right time, you may pick up a good bargain but often 2nd hand machines are traded among lapidary club members/contacts.  Again, you need appropriate laps for cutting and polishing.

Anyone else got some ideas or views?

calxoddity

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Re: Cutting
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2008, 10:53:07 AM »
Andrew,
      I've been pleasantly surprised by both the ease of use and the results achieved by tumbling, even though I originally wanted to take up faceting.  The benefits of tumbling include:
  • a much broader range of source materials available - you can even tumble some really dodgy stuff just on the off-chance that it will turn out well and there's no time penalty
  • whilst the results take many weeks to produce, you're doing it in bulk and it doesn't require dedicated quality time (this was really important for me as I travel a lot and the tumbler can still be working when I'm overseas.  Imagine how little faceting would get done...)
  • the learning curve is more gentle
  • even if you get it wrong, it's rare that you can't fix it with a repeat of some of the steps (like polishing...)
  • the cost of entry is around one tenth that of faceting - let's face it, tumblers are pretty simple and reasonably robust devices.
  • there's the element of chance involved - I continue to be surprised by what comes out of tumbling batches, and I luuuurve surprises!

I used to do cabbing years ago, but ended up not using it often due to time pressures.  I've tumbled more materials in the past six months than I've cabbed in the rest of my life...

Regards,
Shane

Andrew

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Re: Cutting
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2008, 11:27:50 AM »
Hi all,
 Yes great points shane,with tumbling you can also go on to very basic Jewellery making with wire wrapping or glueing simple End caps on stone . You can even progress to Drilling without large costs but thats another post in itself.
  In my first reply I forgot to point out the benifit of joining a Gem club if you have a active one near by,then you can try some of there gear and see if you like before spending yourself,of course usually the Club gear is hard to get onto as machines are limited.
 Cheers Andrew

JLB

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Re: Cutting
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2008, 02:50:13 PM »
Thanks all, I gather tumbleing is perhaps a stand alone option?   I had thought it was just the first stage of cutting.

I'd annoy my neighbour with this stuff, but I think he's hiding from me.  Yesterday we did transfering a stone from the stick thingy via a um, jig to turn the stone over.   I think he still has all his gear, so I'll keep on him.

So, seems I'm in the right forum.  I ordered a gem partly on the basis it had a window.
When it arrived, damned if I could find my window.     So who has some ideas on what can
constitute a window. Technical and or lore would be good.

Also just ordered another, supposed to have silk.    Well, it better have.  I expect to see a
bit of fog or such?   Also it's supposed to be about a caret.  Well that will be handy as a reference.     IS this they way to buy gems or what?    ;D


calxoddity

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Re: Cutting
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2008, 10:07:01 PM »
I posted a pikkie of some tumbling results in another thread about where to get rocks to tumble - have a look.   The rocks came from my local beach...  ;D

JLB

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Re: Cutting
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2008, 10:50:59 PM »
Yes, I've seen them,  thanks.   I'm amazed.  Speachless almost.  8)


moonshadow_dancer

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Re: Cutting
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2009, 09:58:51 PM »
HI JLB,

It really depends on the typ of cutting you want to do.

Anyway I just wanted to say to you that the only silly question is the one that isn't asked.

Take Care
Deb  ;D
Ron and I have an Appointment to do some Laps ;) ;D

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