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Everything posted by Quinn

  1. Thanks everyone, and particularly Daniel, for all the advice, and good quality diamond products. This was carved on a foredom using course and 360 grit diamond carving burrs. The carving bits and diamond powder I used during the polishing process were from www.lopacki.com Tom, yes definitely, the color patterns that are brought out as I remove material greatly affect the final shaping of the piece. I was lucky in a lot of ways on this one, and i was particularly surprised/delighted/creeped out when the eyes came out looking as if I had actually conjured some sort of an entity into the stone and trapped it there... It has that look like it's alive sometimes. Ken, the material I'm working with has a few fractures around the perimeter of the boulder, but I use an angle grinder to grind those out first until I'm left with a solid piece of stone. Once I get to that point there are usually no soft spots. I have noticed that some of the color layers are slightly softer than others, resulting in uneven sanding, If you want to carve a piece I have plenty of material available.
  2. Hello everyone. Just thought I'd share a new piece I finished recently. It has a definite presence! This Rainbow Obsidian Spirit Mask Carving measures approximately 9" x 6" x 3" and weighs 7 LBS. I hand-mined the material from northern California, then hand-carved/shaped it, and hand-polished it. The star-shaped pattern is the backside of the carving.
  3. Greetings Everyone. It's been a while since I've been on here. I've managed to finish a few pieces recently so I thought I'd post them. I'm continually blown away by the carving talent I see on this forum. I'm still a complete amateur but thankfully the material I work with lends itself naturally to beauty.
  4. Daniel, just wanted to let you know that after you had mentioned boar-hair bristle dremel bits to me a week or two ago, I tracked some down from a professional carver that I met at a local gem and mineral show. He sold me several bits that fit a dremel, some of them finer hair and some of them stiffer hair. Bottom line is that the boar hair bits worked wonders on the obsidian carvings I've been working on! For some reason, the boar hair really delivered the diamond powder to the curved surfaces better than the wood bits and I was able to achieve very close to a water-wet polish. I do have a couple of questions though. First of all, I can't seem to find very many places online that sell boar-hair bristle dremel bits or wheels for arbors. Can you possibly refer us to a website/s that sell these products? Also, do you use the stiff bristle for 1200, and 3,000 grit diamond, and then use the fine bristle for any grit higher than that? Thanks for your time, your information has been invaluable.
  5. Ok, so this is strange. This piece of amethyst I've been working on trying to get a water-wet polish... I worked for several hours today with both wood and felt bits on my dremel. I tried cerium oxide and 50,000 grit diamond and neither would get rid of that ultra-fine haze that is left behind from the pre-polish. Nothing seemed to be making any difference whatsoever. So before resorting to the hand-pan method, as recommended above, I decided to just take the piece to my 8" inland flat lap. I used a felt wheel charged with cerium oxide paste on the lowest speed, and within 5 minutes I had a perfect water-wet polish on my piece. I left a small part of the surface unpolished so I could experiment a bit, knowing now that my problem is during the final polish phase, not a previous grit. So I went back to the dremel and tried harder with the cerium oxide, running it both low and high speeds using both the wood and felt bits, and once again.. nothing. For some reason I can't seem to get a polish using the dremel.. And this is a problem for me because I really want to be able to polish hard to reach spaces for more intricate carvings... Any ideas why the 8" flat lap is yielding results and the dremel isn't?
  6. Haha... well I guess I need to go back to grade school. Or perhaps invite over my 10 year old nephew to help me out. Actually I didn't start thinking very hard about this whole process until after I had spent many hours attempting to get a nice polish on a small piece. I've probably spent well over 10 hours now on a small piece of obsidian and a small piece of quartz, neither of which I can get a perfect polish on as of yet. Thanks for the link, though, I'll give it a try. I'm willing to try anything at this point. The only thing I don't understand is why doing the process by hand in a pie pan would be advantageous over a rotary tool..? It seems to me that many professional lapidary artists are able to achieve the water-wet polish with a rotary tool. You're the first that has recommended I do it by hand. I'll post again in a day or two and let everyone know how the pie pan experiment goes.
  7. As Daniel said above, "The wheels usually are run very slow, this works because it gives the diamond a chance to bite into the stone and not just ride on the top doing nothing." When you say polish by hand with a pie pan, do you mean just put down a piece of leather in a pie pan, coat with polishing compound, and rub the specimen against the leather pad? Daniel and several others have recommended diamond powder to me, mixed with a light oil, as an efficient means of sanding and polishing stones, but I have also tried cerium oxide with the same results... When I finish the process, the surface still has a subtle hazy look to it. I'm sure the haze is being left behind by one of the grits I'm using. I think the 1200 grit is the one leaving behind the haze. I've been trying to work it out with the 3000 before polishing but still having troubles. I'm thinking a 2000 grit might help. Otherwise, I might be doing something fundamentally wrong, like running the bit too fast...?
  8. Thanks for the responses. I'll try taking my time a bit more, especially around the 600 grit level. Another question comes to mind now. I've been using a 300 series dremel with a flex shaft. Do you think the lowest speed on my dremel is low enough to get a good polish? Maybe it's too fast and no matter how much time I take with it, the diamond won't "bite."??
  9. Title: Eternal Eyes I still want to reach a full water-wet polish with this piece, but it will do for now...
  10. Hello again Daniel. After reading your advice about diamond powder mixed with oil on wooden bits, that was one of the first things I tried. In fact, I ordered diamond powder from your site. I made my own wooden bits out of dowels from the hardware store and proceeded to charge with diamond. Still, cannot get the haze off the surface of the quartz. There must be something else I'm doing wrong. And believe me, I've spent a lot of hours trying to figure it out now. For some reason, my intuition is telling me that the problem is somewhere around the 1200 grit... and yet I'll spend extra time on the 1200 grit before moving on to the 3000 and then the cerium oxide (I've also tried 50,000 grit diamond instead of the cerium oxide) and still can't get a water-wet polish on quartz or obsidian... Here is the sequence I've been following: *Shape with diamond carving burrs (from lopackis website) *Smooth with diamond carving burrs up to 600 grit (from lopackis website) *1200 grit diamond *3000 grit diamond *cerium oxide/50,000 grit diamond Still can't get the haze out... I must be doing something fundamentally wrong. I've been using light cooking oil instead of mineral oil to hold the diamond on the wooden bits... could that be my problem? P.S. And by the way, no offense taken. I can understand why you'd be frustrated with me by now after having explained the wooden bit/diamond powder thing to me like three times... but as I said above, that was one of the first things I tried and it doesn't seem to be working for me. Maybe the dowels I bought are hard wood instead of soft wood, could that make the difference? I'm thinking about starting over with dowels that are definitely softwood and getting some mineral oil... what do you think?
  11. Thank you both for the responses. Kenneth, you say that the only way to get a high polish on quartz is time. I have no problem with that, I would just like to know which grit I should be spending time on. I have a feeling that there is a certain stage in which I need to spend more time to remove that hazy appearance on the surface before I move on to the final polish. Or perhaps it is the final polish that needs more time before it works? I know what you're saying about wax, as a quick way to achieve that glossy look, but in my opinion it takes away from the overall value of a piece if you can't get it to the polish you want naturally. I've seen numerous pieces of obsidian and quartz polished to a perfect water-wet polish, without wax of any kind. Think of all those faceted amethyst stones you see on the market, all of which are polished to a water-wet finish. Now when I see a piece of quartz polished to that level it just makes me jealous cuz I've been trying a lot and can't seem to figure it out...
  12. Hello everybody. I'm having a lot of trouble achieving a water-wet polish on quartz and obsidian. After shaping with 100 grit carving burrs (using my dremel with flex-shaft), I then go to 280 grit and then 600 grit. After that I go to the 1200 grit. Between each grit, I check to make sure that I removed scratches from the previous grit sand I've been very careful about cleaning up between each grit to avoid contamination. Once I finish with the 1200, the piece generally looks pretty good, but still a bit hazy. From there I've tried a number of different things. I've tried going to 3000, then 8000, then 14000 and then 50000. I've also tried omitting the 8000 and the 14000. No matter what I do I can't seem to get that haze off the surface of the piece I"m working on. Any suggestions?
  13. Hello. Thought I'd post some pics of this piece I finished yesterday. This is the first piece that I consider a real carving, and not just an experiment in symmetry. I still have to use some cerium oxide to get the final polish, but it's polished up to 14,000 grit right now. (Images coming soon)
  14. Wow... that's a nice looking knife. Did you carve the handle?
  15. That first piece you did for the Masons is awesome! If you don't mind me asking, how do you create such a thing? Do you start with a sheet of metal and pound it with tools?
  16. Don, you're always welcome to try. I have about 5 tons of rainbow obsidian and I'd be willing to send anyone on this site some material to work with. I also have a 24" rock saw and can cut slabs if anyone would prefer. And as for the rings you see on the rainbow obsidian, that is a result of carving a curved surface into banded material. Pretty cool the way that works out. You can make the curves look like hearts, or stars, or other shapes too. Debbie, all the pieces I've shown so far were ground, sanded, and polished on one of those Inland all-in-one lapidary units. It's basically just a flat lap and a small trim saw that are interchangeable with the same motor. In the last few weeks, I've gone to the dremel to try to do some more interesting shapes. I carved a heart for my girlfriend out of amethyst for valentines day. I'll post pics of that soon. You're definitely right about those angles left behind in the amethyst piece. It seemed that no matter how hard I tried with the flat lap I couldn't get those out! I ended up just accepting their presence, lol, telling myself that they are an interesting aesthetic addition. However, in truth, I'd like to be able to get the surface smooth. The other side of that amethyst piece is a natural elestial crystal formation. I've had my eye on the Covington 8" combination unit with the 10" trim saw for a while now but have had some major financial setbacks preventing me from investing. I have a lot of visions in my head for what to do with the rainbow obsidian but I don't want to dive in too deeply until I can get the basics down first, namely, being able to obtain a nearly perfectly curved surface with a near perfect polish. I'll check out those references you mentioned. Thanks very much for the help!
  17. Kenneth and Chris, thank you both for your feedback. After taking everything into consideration, I've decided to stick with the plated burrs. Also, I agree that Daniels site seems to be one of the best for supplies. As soon as I get paid from my next obsidian sale, I'm going to stock up on some bits and diamond powder from his site.
  18. Kenneth, thanks for the warning about the obsidian dust. I’ve read a bit about silicosis. Doesn’t sound too fun. I should stock up on some respiratory masks. Debbie, that is an amazing carving! I love the combination of wood and obsidian, and the overall aesthetic appearance of your piece is fantastic. It doesn’t have to have a full polish to have full effect/affect. Daniel, thanks very much for your tips. I’m going to make myself some wood bits very soon and give it a shot.
  19. Hello. I thought I'd go ahead and post some pictures of my first projects along the carving path. More than anything, these first projects are an attempt for me to get familiar with the tools, to learn to shape, balance, create symmetry, and to learn the art of achieving a fine polish. The polishing part has been the hardest for me so far, but I'm slowly getting the hang of it I think. I'm fully impressed with the work that everybody on this forum has been doing. You're all an inspiration to me, and I greatly appreciate any time you spend answering questions I may have. In return, I have free rainbow obsidian for anybody on this site. Feel free to send me a message and inquire. All the pics I've attached are of material that I've hand mined myself from northern California, except for the labradorite, which a friend of mine gave me.
  20. Hello. I'm new here. The whole question of sintered vs. plated diamond carving burrs has been on my mind for a few months now. I'd really like to hear more opinions from people who have worked with both. Particularly, how much longer do the sintered burrs last than the plated ones? Are they worth the extra money, or am I better off just buying mass amounts of plated burrs? I've noticed that the cut-off discs wear out super fast for me (at least all the ones I've ordered off ebay). Does anybody know where to order sintered cut-off discs? I think that would be one bit that would be particularly beneficial in the sintered form. What do you all think?
  21. Hello. I'm new here. I just tried to download this Netsuke Carving Book and for some reason it keeps having errors when I attempt to download it. Do you think it's just my computer or is there something wrong with the file linked from your web page? I'm really looking forward to checking this book out, as it looks like you poured a lot of your soul into it.
  22. Hello everybody. I'm glad to have found this forum and to see that there are a lot of very talented artists posting on here. I'm very new to carving but have already decided that it is something I love. I have been hand mining quartz crystals, fluorite crystals, rainbow obsidian, agates, etc... from northern California and Nevada for about 10 years now, which led me to choose Geology as my field of study when I began college at C.S.U. Chico. About a year ago I obtained my M.S. in Geology. Since graduating I've been looking for work with very little luck. To get by I've been selling rainbow obsidian on ebay which I hand mined from a particular vein in Davis Creek that is producing some extremely high quality rainbow. My goal is to become adept at carving obsidian. I know it's one of the more difficult stones to work with because it has a tendency to micro-fracture more easily than other material, and it seems to me that it's difficult to obtain a perfect polish on. But the results of carving it correctly are, in my opinion, truly amazing. I've managed to mostly finish a few small carving projects but have yet to achieve a perfect polish with the obsidian or with quartz. Quartz is the other material that I primarily want to work with because I've done a lot of quartz collecting over the years and have some really nice amethyst, citrine, smoky, chlorite phantoms, etc... which would make excellent carvings if I can get the techniques down. I'm really looking forward to communicating with people here and, most of all, learning. I have lots of rainbow obsidian and would be willing to trade material to people who can help me out by providing me information, links, etc... whatever might help me learn quicker. -Quinn Street
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