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Gemstone Carving Tool Sources


TomFinn

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Hello All,

 

A few people recently have queried about gem carving. These are a few sources for reasonably priced diamond tools for carving gem materials. Remember one needs to lubricate while cutting i.e. water drip.

Lasco Diamond Products; www.lascodiamond.com/products, American manufacturer of plated diamond tools, drills down to approximately 3/4mm cutting size 1/2mm wire, long wearing tools with quality plating. Also sells diamond powder which may be mixed with vaseline 3 or 4 parts to 1 part diamond to make paste (see below)

 

www.jadecarver.com; quality manufactured in china (I know, but it's true), larger tools for mounting on machine or carving arbor. (I will be getting around to carving arbors at a later date) Some tools can be mounted in a collet type handpiece with !/4" collet but other than the tools which are not much larger than that 1/2" they can be very heavy and at 10,000rpm or higher can be dangerous. I can not testify to worth of smallest tools ( I use lasco).

Mountain Mist; www.mtmist.org in West Virginia, Tom supplies sintered diamond tools in fine sizes, excellent for detailed work. One wants to use sintered tools in the 200 - 600 grit range for any crystaline materials or fine edges, lines, etc. plated tools are chippier on most materials but are less expensive. They also sell diamond paste up to polish.

 

After using the metal tools one needs to shift to hardwood points with diamond paste. These can be made by mounting a piece of wooden dowel on a worn out burr shank or other piece of small diameter rod, mounting in flex shaft hand piece and turning against a file. It's better to use a lathe if available or mount your hand piece to bench (do not use a vise if you value your handpiece. Mounts are available from Rio Grande jewelers supply I believe. You'll have to google for them.) and holding file against piece. Most commercially avialable dowels are birch now, this will work but rock maple or harder wood is quite preferrable if there is a hardwood supplier in your area. Clean the piece and your hands thoroughly between grits. Start with same grit paste as last metal tool i.e. 600/600. Run 600, 1200, 3000 (may polish some materials), 8000 (usually optional) and 14,000 most materials are well polished at this point 50K and 100K will improve some, is necessary for others but is extraneous for most depending on one's level of perfection or neurosis.

 

An excellent resource for gem carving is Henry Hunt's "Lapidary Carving for Creative jewelry" ISBN 0-945005-10-5. Geoscience Press, 602-953-2330. This book offers techniques on non figurative form carving, tools, and characterists of quite a few crystaline gem materials. For Nephrite jade go to www.donnsalt.com, click on jade pieces, click on Ouroboros, there's a step by step on how he carve this 5+ inch diameter piece. Also shows value of Silicon Carbide for carving.

 

Okay, that's it for now. Good Luck.

 

Tom Finn

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Thank you Tom, for starting this topic, for the leads and links to resources, and for the tips from your experiences. There are members who are working in stone, and others who would like to know more. I hope that some of them will chime in with their own experiences.

 

Janel

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  • 2 years later...

hello to all of you,one of the best places to buy diamond carving tools is Daniel Lopacki.he has a very good slection of tools,drills,and saw blades.his tools hold up very good for me and i carve everything dry,even opal.i have been using his tools now for about eight years.he is also a fine gem carver and is always willing to help anyone with carving gemstones.best regards,ken

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As I have been in the lapidary business for over thirty years and have had to overcome many of the problems encountered myself, I have a bit of expertise. I have used diamond tooling for nearly all the years I 've been at it, this said because of what I know and where I have been blessed to get to travel to it put me into the position to find and market some of the best quality and best priced diamond wheels burrs and saw blades available to the lapidary/carver.

 

All diamond tools I sell are 100% satisfaction guaranteed, I am pickier than most when it comes to tools, so rest assured that what you purchase from my company will be best quality. Yes they are made in China, I spent nine months in China in the late eighties developed good relationships with a few people and took advantage of those friendships when I started the diamond tool company in 1995.

 

Diamond tooling was getting so expensive back then and many of the U.S. manufactures quality verses price was becoming unbearable, so I had to do my best to source out and supply people with quality and good pricing. I think if you check out my site and products you will become a faithful customer.

 

All my best .......... Danny

 

www.lopacki.com

 

P.S. This is the one and only time I will ever promote my company on this forum.

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