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Debbie K

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About 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. Dante: Great to see you back on the forum! Beautiful piece, I think it was worth all the effort. Is that BC, California, or Guatemalan jade? This is much bigger than most of your work; of course it's going to take alot longer to carve that much jade. A friend of mine was looking forward to meeting you in Tuscon last year; you weren't there, I don't know if it was just for the day. Hopefully, you get to come this year. Hope you and yours are doing well. Debbie K
  6. Beautiful spoon. Love the bolt through the leaf and the intersect into the spoon. The leaf looks so thin, yet I know it isn't. Good carving, good design,good finish, good presentation: what else could anyone want? Debbie K
  7. Micahel: They're solid glass beads on top of glass enamel. I cheated and used epoxy. The glass beads are able to be fused to the glass enamel, but my high temp solder (IT, for anyone who's interested) had already begun to separate from the bezel and the back, and I didn't dare fire it again. I couldn't fuse them before I put the piece together, as heating the piece even enough to get EZ solder to flow is enough to melt the enamel. Enameling always poses all kinds of construction issues: I usually find a way to do it mechanically, but I was assured that the IT solder was sufficiently strong to stand many firings. It failed after the fourth firing. You live and learn, I just wish I'd learn enough to not run into all these problems. I've had enough learning experiences lately! Debbie
  8. Thanks, you guys! Thanks especially to you, Michael, I still haven't gotten the nerve up to tackle that piece of pyroxmangite. It's such a good piece it deserves something really special. I had trouble riveting that first one together, it had to be done from the front. I'm not very good at the jewelry end of things, so I didn't know about centering drills and how you use them to keep the drill bit from "drifting" when it tries to follow the angle of the metal. Live and learn. Those citrines drove me crazy; I know next to nothing about stone setting but this piece made me get a little better. I didn't crack a single one (yeah!). Debbie
  9. Hello everybody! It's been a while since I've posted any new work, mostly because I've been too lazy to take any photos. I'm only posting a few a time as to not overwhelm you guys. This piece is tongua nut in sterling silver with tourmaline crystals, citrines, turquoise, peridots and garnets. I've had this piece in a box in pieces for a couple of years and finally got the nerve to try to put it together. The construction leaves something to be desired, but I like the design. Michael, do you recognize the rhodonite? The pendant is sterling silver, enamel, glass and rhodonite. Isn't it amazing how the profile was there in the stone? I just followed the rock where it wanted to go on both of the pieces. I'll put up a few more tomorrow. Debbie K
  10. Tom, Beautiful work. The jade piece is extremely well done, I especially like the choice of finish. Sorry to hear about the bone piece. It happens to all of us, mostly it happens to me in the last stage of finish. The wheel grabs it out of my tired hands and flings it across the room onto the tile floor where the preditable happens. I've learned to wait til the next day after my hands have recovered. Your work is really good. I look forward to seeing more in the future. Debbie K
  11. Wow, Michael! I've never seen a natural stone that yellow! Amazing color and beautiful cab. Did you know that yellow jasper used to be reserved for royalty, as it is so rare? I've been absent from this website for a few months, but have lots of new work. As soon as I take pictures I will post, one is your rhodochrosite. Hope you and yours are doing well and glad to hear that your business is doing so well. Debbie K
  12. I like your lizard very much, but might have liked him better with a lighter stain. I would be pretty happy with myself if I carved him, you should be, too! The only other thing that bothers me a little are his hands and claws. They're not carved with the same sensitivity and attention to detail that the rest was, but I know you were somewhat constrained by the size and material, this is a really small piece. All in all, really well done. Debbie K
  13. Thomas: Gorgeous work. I also enjoyed looking at your website. Hope you like it here, I look forward to seeing more of your work. Debbie K
  14. James: I'm hoping that Daniel will chime in on this subject, because I feel sure that he knows of some products that I don't know about. I've been working on some pieces that are larger, and out of necessity have been making larger bits myself. I'm primarily using brass or wood with oil and diamond powder. It is possible to charge felt and bristle wheels for smoothing purposes also. I'm currently working on a piece of lavender turkish jade about 3.5" x 2" that is concave, and the wood, oil and diamond has been working well for me. I'm working on a slightly smaller piece of chalcedony at the same time (MUCH harder than the jade), it's slow, but it works. I used grinding stones to do the initial carving out, and got the bumps out with wood, oil and 200 grit diamond. I'm still working with the 600 grit right now, hope to move up to 1200 today. I think I know who you are James. Didn't you have a really beautiful piece of shrinkwood on Etsy? And don't you make the really neat water cooling spray system that's inexpensive? (My friend has one) Craft stores like Michael's and Hobby Lobby sell hardwood balls, wheels and misc shapes of turned wood for not too much money (I don't have a lathe, or I'd make them myself). If you like, I'll try to post a picture (if I can remember how!) of my set-up, I've built a point carver/grinder/polisher out of an old arbor. I couldn't find any pictures on the internet of the cameo lathe bits that you're talking about, if you can, post a link. Debbie K
  15. Just noticed that the link didn't work, cut and paste this in your browser: www.jewelryartistmagazine.com/feature/polishing_gemstones.cfm Debbie
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