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Author Topic: My first turquoise cab, by hand, in progress  (Read 889 times)

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Rosemaryr

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My first turquoise cab, by hand, in progress
« on: January 06, 2019, 01:16:34 PM »

So, I currently live in a tiny 2-bedroom apartment, and am waiting (somewhat impatiently) to buy a real house where I can have a lapidary workbench. In the meantime, I am staring at the stash of turquoise my dad left me, and decided to try an experiment. I got some basic sandpaper at the hardware store, and tested some lapidolite chunks to see if it was feasible to grind softer stones by hand. The results were not too hideous, so I tried it on a piece of the turquoise. The piece was already sliced, and was an irregular square shape, so I first tried to flatten one side. That went fairly well, so I moved onto the next side. Again, the results were acceptable. These are pics of the current stage, using 100 grit sandpaper.

The piece is about 1/2 inch long on each of the straight sides, and about 1/4 thick.

I figure that this may work moderately well for pre-forming straight-sided pieces, but anything more complex will have to wait until I have proper equipment.
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lithicbeads

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Re: My first turquoise cab, by hand, in progress
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2019, 04:46:35 PM »

Hand finishing stones was much more common about 50 years ago. Good luck getting  a place for equipment , many of us have been in the same spot.
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Enchantra

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Re: My first turquoise cab, by hand, in progress
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2019, 06:44:32 PM »

Get some wet/dry sandpaper in various grits and do the sanding wet.  Doing it dry can be bad if you inhale any of the dust.

100 grit is fine for shaping it, but to get a good polish you will have to go up in grits incrementally - at least to 3000 or higher.
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Rosemaryr

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Re: My first turquoise cab, by hand, in progress
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2019, 10:01:52 PM »

Get some wet/dry sandpaper in various grits and do the sanding wet.  Doing it dry can be bad if you inhale any of the dust.

100 grit is fine for shaping it, but to get a good polish you will have to go up in grits incrementally - at least to 3000 or higher.

Yup!  Doing just that.  It took about 2 1/2 hours to flatten out those two sides, (and another 3 since then, to do the other sides).  My hands and arms are aching just a bit from it.  Here's what it looks like now.  (I'm a little bit worried about the fracture that shows on one side, but I may just leave that as the bottom of the stone when finished, .... or it will disappear once I dome the cab.  Dunno...)
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Jhon P

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Re: My first turquoise cab, by hand, in progress
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2019, 06:29:48 AM »

You should get one of the flat lap all in one lapidary machines. You can set it up on a table almost anywhere. They don’t take up much room
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Rosemaryr

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Re: My first turquoise cab, by hand, in progress
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2019, 11:20:33 AM »

*chuckle*  But right now, we are trying (hard) to weed out all the stuff we don't want to pack and move.  I can wait until we get a house with more room, before I start buying equipment.  And it gives me something to do with my hands while watching the idiot box at night.
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Rosemaryr

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Re: My first turquoise cab, by hand, in progress
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2019, 10:22:48 PM »

Been working some more on that one piece I showed above, and a few more as well.  Got them up to 1200 grit sandpaper, that being the finest grit I could find; anything more will have to wait until I have the machinery.  I will say that the first stage at 100 grit took the longest, while shaping the pieces and smoothing out the rough patches as best as possible.  I know they aren't 'done' by any means, but I'm happy for the level of what I have gotten just by handwork.  Here are some more pics.

The piece I showed above, is the square just below the quarter.  A piece matching that same color is just above the quarter (a bit smaller, but also a bit thicker).  I have also worked three more slices of a lighter color set.  I hope to put those three into a bracelet or necklace once I have my workbench, and can do silver work as well.
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Rosemaryr

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Re: My first turquoise cab, by hand, in progress
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2019, 10:25:02 PM »

And these are the two pieces I am going to work on next:

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hummingbirdstones

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Re: My first turquoise cab, by hand, in progress
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2019, 05:52:19 AM »

I think you're doing a fine job on those by hand.  Just remember to give your hands a break when you're doing it and stretch them out.  Last thing you want to end up with is carpal tunnel or something!
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Robin

Rosemaryr

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Re: My first turquoise cab, by hand, in progress
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2019, 02:22:57 PM »

Yes, I'll have to work on the larger pieces for now.  I found working that smallest piece was difficult to control since it was smaller than my fingertip... made it hard to keep an even stroke while sanding it.  Anything else will have to be large enough to be held with at least two fingers comfortably.  Anything smaller will have to wait for dop sticks.
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vitzitziltecpatl

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Re: My first turquoise cab, by hand, in progress
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2019, 06:50:05 PM »

Sometimes it's possible to fashion a "handle" from good (very sticky) duct tape.

A narrow strip folded and stuck together in the middle section - leaving two tabs with the adhesive still exposed - can be used to hold a stone for some operations.

Rosemaryr

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Re: My first turquoise cab, by hand, in progress
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2019, 11:39:28 PM »

I am actually finding that my biggest problem with the hand work is the coarser grit that works loose from the paper is rubbing my fingertips... they get pretty sensitive to touch after a session.  But I take my time, and I do take a day or two for a break, and that is enough.
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brentnewton

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Re: My first turquoise cab, by hand, in progress
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2019, 10:01:23 AM »

You absolutely can cut cabs by hand and you are doing a wonderful job!  Especially something soft like turquoise.  I'd second what others have suggested and mount it on a stick.  I don't know what you have .. but if someone asked me how I'd do it .. I'd say ... go to the auto parts store and get wet/dry sandpaper ... 220, 400, 600 and 800 grit ...maybe 1200 too.  Go to Lowes and get a quarter inch dowel rod and a glue gun.  cut the dowel rod in short lengths and use the glue gun to attach it to the rock.  Then have at it on a flat surface like a cafeteria tray with plenty of water.  Just be careful to clean up totally after each grit ... like absolutely no grit left to contaminate the next stage.  You can do it!   PM me offline and I'll mail you some cerium oxide for polish ... use it on apiece of denim the same way.  I've never cut a cab that way ... but I've make petrological thin sections using just that method.
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Rosemaryr

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Re: My first turquoise cab, by hand, in progress
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2019, 10:33:00 PM »

Thanks, Brent!  That's pretty much what I'm doing... except for the polishing.  I'll wait on that stage. 
I'd rather have a good collection of pre-staged cabs all ready up to a certain point, then take them all on further from there.  That way I can do a bit of planning on how they will all get set into jewelry: either as individual items, or a group in a necklace or bracelet, for example. 

...but thank you for the offer of the CO...!
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Rosemaryr

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Re: My first turquoise cab, by hand, in progress
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2019, 12:42:13 PM »

Have a question for any of you: I am working on a piece, which has a good amount of matrix rock. I would like to keep some of it because I like the look with it remaining, but, the matrix is softer and has bits of ?quartz/sand? which keep popping out, leaving divots in the turquoise. The turq itself is not stabilized, and I don’t really want to have to go that route. How do I keep the matrix intact? I have seen comments elsewhere on the site about using different types of epoxy or filler…should I consider this, or simply work around it and accept the divots, or something else? Any advice is appreciated.
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