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Debbie K

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    Houston, Texas

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  1. I haven't posted in a long time, and recently replied to a person who had asked a stone-carving question and Janel said she was curious about what I'd been up to lately. This one is several years old, but it's the last complicated piece I did. It's a carved citrine face, carved tiger eye "blade" and has peridots, rutilated quartz, sapphires and tourmalines. The head detaches from the dagger and is a pendant. I think the stand for it took almost as long as the other part; I cast the silver and rolled the square wires and it took a while to get everything to fit properly. So this is for you, Janel. I still carve some, but arthritis is making it more difficult, especially for the critical hand finishing part of it, so lately I've been doing a lot more enameling and faceting. Sorry it's slightly above the kb limit; I don't have a decent Photoshop type program anymore. Debbie K
  2. John: I looked at the pantograph that you referenced but don't quite see how it will address the 3-D issue that a carving presents; a low relief, yes, but not a high relief or in-the-round one. I made a 3-D duplicator years ago using drawer slides (good ones) and a foredom. It took so long to carve with it that I never used it but for roughing in a few, I found it faster just to carve. Let us know how it works for you; I'm interested. Debbie K
  3. John: I have used the silver marks-a-lot, but mostly the white grease pencil I mentioned above on darker stones. Also, pencil marks show up pretty well on black stones; the lines shine. The one thing good about carving stone is that you get to make your mistakes very slowly. Sounds funny, but it's true. In wood, it's far easier to overcut. Since you know how to carve wood already, you're going to do just fine. Regarding where to start, I always go from large to small, so I'd start at the outside and then work down to the smaller areas. Odsidian cuts like butter (in the stone world) so you'd get a better idea of how the material works where you have more margin for error. Just go for it; obsidian is cheap and easy to procure and carve so if you mess it up it's not that big of a deal. I have noticed that I have a little more trouble with the change in perspective or proportions in harder stone than I do with softer ones or wood. I carve a lot of faces and have noticed that I have a more difficult time with them in stone than I did in wood. General advice: These tools will be your best friends; an inverted cone diamond bur and a diamond or tungsten steel scribe. The inverted cone makes far better curved lines than a straight bur. The scribe can be used to give you a "starter" line that your burs will follow more easily in small detailed areas than trying to use a bur alone. Both the inverted cone and the scribes can be used to undercut, which gives you the nice shadow line. I don't know if you have used a flex-shaft very much, or rotary tools, but it's different than using hand tools. You'll adapt. I always brace my hand on the piece I carve using my little finger and ring finger as the brace which allows me to make small moves with my thumb, index and middle finger which are holding the handpiece. I found that the smaller handpiece worked better for me than the large one; I got hand cramps using the big one. I also have found that I often move the carving with my left hand against the burs rather than the other way around. Let me know if you have any questions as you go on; I'll try to make a habit of checking every few days to see if you do; I'm also checking the "Notify me of replies" again, I hope it works this time. Debbie P.S. You can make a tungsten scribe out of a broken tungsten drill bit. I ground it down on a wheel and cleaned it up on stones and bought a holder at a jewelers supply place (they have little collets and the tighten down on round tools).
  4. John: I used to be a pretty active member of this forum, but haven't been on for years. I carve gemstones and have for many years. This is what I do: http://dlskdesigns.com/ Always use a tool with a flexible shaft and water. You always carve stone with water or oil to keep down the dust, as it causes silicosis. I have found that I end up doing much of the work by hand. I use diamond files and then razor blades with diamond powder (bort) of various grades with oil to smooth out the diamond bur marks, along with popsicle sticks, toothpicks, etc. I also make brass burs to use with the bort and oil. Tungsten carbide gravers will also mark most stones of 7 hardness or less. The bort is available on Amazon and Jade Carver. I have not been happy with sintered burs, they shatter the more crystalline material ; I like the cheap plated ones and the diamond dental burs. Do not start with agate, as it will be very discouraging. It's the hardest to carve of all the quartz and it'll wear out your tools. Obsidian is a far better stone to begin with. I'd also recommend going a little smaller. Larger stones take a long time to carve and three times as long to polish. I use a marks-a-lot or pencil to draw on light stones, and a white grease pencil (china marker, available at hobby stores in the art section) to draw designs. The grease pencil is messy but better than nothing. I got a notification of your post; hopefully I'll get one of your reply. Good luck with your first hard rock carving. P.S. I will NEVER carve soapstone again. It raises too much dust and I inhaled some of it and couldn't breathe right for months. Most of it (and some serpentine and tiger eye quartz) has asbestos in it. Malachite can make you very ill, it has some type of copper (I forget what form) in it that's killed a lot of carvers in Africa. Stay away from Cinnabar (mercury) and Cerrusite (lead). Debbie K
  5. Yloh: Check your messages, I sent you one earlier today. Debbie K
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