Lets make something!

Here are some ideas you might like to try

Do you have some end pieces left from slabing some rocks? Here are some ideas on how to use them..
First cut some off the thickest part so it will stand up.. If it is a beautiful stone all you may need to do to it is polish the front. Leave the back as it is. This is a good way to show what the native rock looks like. If you want to dress it up some , make a cross and glue it to the top... You could just etch a cross or something on it........If it is not too thick draw a map of Texas on it then saw it out leaving enough on the bottom,say from the big bend to the gulf, so it will stand up..then carve a little off so the rest of the state is outlined..Polish the flat part and you are done....This is easier with softer stones.
Another idea would be to cut a star or heart from a thin slab and imbed it into it or maybe just glue it on........If the rock is big enough you might make a small gem tree or maybe use one of the little mine'rs ...I'm sure you can think of lots of other ideas.Below are examples of some I have made..

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put a star in texas

this can be as simple or complicated as you wish..I started doing this with limestone from my place for two reasons.!, I wanted to use a local rock.2.It is relatively soft and easy to work with.Anything can be used as long as it is not too hard.The picture rock from the big bend area works good.
We will start with the easy one..You can make a template by cutting out the picture of Texas from a magazine and transferring it over to cardboard or a piece of thin plastic. the star can be drawn freehand. Hobby stores have stencils with stars, hearts and other thingsYou will need a dermal type tool, an assortment of diamond burs and small diamond cut-off disk.Harbor freight is is good place to get these. In the first photo the stone is ready for the next step.The thickness of the star to be put in will determine the depth that needs to be cut out. The thinner the star ,the less work it is
.In the next photo the star has been inserted in the hole. You can see that the fit is not too good. This is not too important if you are going to put something around it. If you are not going to put anything around the
star, you will need to do a better job of matching the two.. or the glue filled gaps will be visible in the finished product. We can stop here or add more. I like to put something around the star as it hides the mismatch between the star and the hole. for this one I will add some copper and then a band of crushed rock.In the next photo the grove for the copper wire has been cut. The size of the wire used will determine the width of the grove.
The grove should be just deep enough so that the wire goes half way in . The wire will be ground down flush later so must be uniform all around or the band width will not be the same on all sides....The wire can be any size . You can use one piece of wire bent to fit or use short pieces. I find the last easier but may not look as good.
On this one I used short pieces bent into v shape with the ends on the point of the star.. If you pur the bend on the point of the star or use one long wire it may take a lot of bending to get it right. You may need to anneal the wire to keep it from breaking during the process.
We now need to cut a chanel next to the wire. Care must be taken here not to dislodge the wire . Too much heat can also cause it to come loose..Now we need to decide what to fill it with. I use some material from the copper mines. It is colorful and soft enough to crush easily. I have used every thing from agate to oyster shell. If you use a rock without much color you can add some sparkle with filing from copper or other metal. I think this one would have looked better with a smaller star and narrower band of rock. There are many other things you can do with this, the easiest would be not to put a stone in but just use the crushed rock epoxy mix alone. You could use a heart or put a name on it. Take a small bur and etch out the letters deep enough to fill with crushed rock. I'm sure you can think of other things to do...
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Make a Doublet
another way to save a pitted gemstone
Ever have a beautiful stone with small pits or imperfections that can't be sanded out? Here's what you can do. This works great on a lot of the agate and other stones we find.Making a doublet is simply gluing a quartz cap on the top of the stone to be made into a cabochon. There are several advantages to this.1. You can buy the caps already finished so this eliminates alot of work.2. It solves the problem of the imperfections in the stone asthe glue between the cap and stone makes them invisible... Because the cap already had a dome to it, you can use amuch thinner slab. This lets you get more slabs from a stone.Pick your stone and the size cab you want to make. Mark and cut it as usual. Leave the preform slightly larger than the cap. Then finish grinding it to size after the two are joined. By grinding with a slight angle to the back you can get a perfect match without getting into the cap. If you have a large slab you might want to glue several caps on it then cut it apart after the glue has set. The top of your stone should be perfectly flat. Sand it smooth. A flat lap is best for this. Do not polish it as the glue will adhere better to a slightly rough surface.Here is the tricky apart. You must be sure there are no air bubbles trapped between the cap and stone as these will show up as a silver streak after it sets up. The stone and cap should be cleaned with acetone to be sure they are free of any oil. A trick I use is to mix the epoxy and then heat it a little. This thins it a little and tends to make it easier to get any air bubbles out. This could be done by holding it over a light bulb. Be sure the stone is covered evenly with the glue. The caps can be rather expensive in larger sizes.You can make your own from plate glass but they will not be as durable as the Quartz. Natural or man-made quartz can also be used.�Don Brenholtz, in The Informer 03/0
This page is going to have some tips I have gathered along the way and have been picked up from the www. Some I use but most I have not tried.


  • If your saw is not cutting as good as it used to, it may need sharpening.Make a few cuts in an old silicon carbide grinding wheel or some other abrasive material such as a brick. You can order special blocks for this .The metal can be drawn over the diamonds in the cutting process. Sometimes reversing the blade may help. Sometimes a blade can ware so it has a sharp edge instead of a flat cutting surface. I was told this could be helped by putting a bearing or something that would turn freely on a bolt and clamping it in the vice. Forcing it against the running blade would tend to flatten it. Great care would need to be taken so as not to get too much pressure on the blade . You could bend the blade..

  • got a big rock

    modify the vice on you're saw to hold larger or odd shaped rocks..This idea will require some engineering and maybe some drilling or welding. It is based on the chain type vices plumbers to hold pipe.You will need to fasten one end of the chain to the carriage of your saw. it will go around the rock and need to be hooked on the other end with some way to tighten it up It might be possible to mount the entire vice to your saw. Every saw will require different adaptations.
  • An easier way would be to remove the moveable part of your vice and get a large C-clamp. I have used this one and it will work...The problem with either of these is that the lid to the saw will not close over the clamp. Some method will have to be devised to keep from covering the inside of your shop with oil from the blade...
  • Having trouble holding odd shaped rocks in the saw? Drill four holes in the back of the vice. Get four bolts about one or two inches long. Tap the holes so the bolts can be screwed into them. If you can't do this you will need two nuts for each bolt. Put one on the bolt,insert it into the hole and put the other not on the back side. This will let you adjust the length of the bolt inside of the vice,Adjust the bolts to fit the shape of the rock... I think my way is better,just keep several small pieces of wood of various sizes handy. You can usually secure any rock with one or two of these...