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JADE ..... ready, set, go !!!


iambluesman

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OK, I have been checking out the forum and previous posts and have seen all the great tools, tutorials and work stations. However, I see that not all the tools are as effective from Medium to Medium.

 

I saw Matt Gladsby on Cash and treasures put a piece of jade in a pan of water and start going for it with a flex shaft but I know there is much more to it than that. I think I can get to the rough shape with the burrs but have no idea what to use when it comes to polishing implements or finishing the piece and I was hoping some members with experience in Jade could help me along the learning curve a bit with a few pointers and suggestions.

 

I have a big work bench with plenty of space, electricity and light

I have a good set of glasses

I have a large glass ashtray and some water

I have a quarter ton of Jade

I have a Dremmel, flex shaft, some diamond bits and 220grit burrs. I know I will need to upgrade and add more grits but this is all I have to start

 

Thanks in advance for any advice you might have to help me get started correctly.

 

Take care all

 

Drew

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OK, guys. I see 52 views since my original post and not one reply ..... hmmmm. Anyway, I did get a personal message from one very well know jade carver that didn't have a lot of time but did give me a tip until we could talk more. I wanted to share a couple of pics of some of the pieces I'm thinking might be good to carve and see if anyone might offer any suggestions on how THEY might proceed with any of these pieces. Take care all and I hope to hear from someone. THanks

 

80lbgreenbouldercutand15lbblacka-9.jpg

 

4-27-09finishedpieces016.jpg

 

3-23-09jadepieces021.jpg

 

3-07-09NorthJadeCoveDive021.jpg

 

finishedpieces1-15-09020.jpg

 

1-78-2009Jadepicksndive025.jpg

 

1-78-2009Jadepicksndive039.jpg

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Hi iambluesman

 

Sorry no one got back to you, but hang in there. Although I am new, everybody seems very helpful. But jade is a less ventured medium for most users of the forum. Having said that, I'm sure someone who knows what they're doing will give you some time soon. Donn Salt visits this forum and he is a master.

 

I too have been researching the process of jade carving as I want to get into it as well. There are many carvers here in NZ as it is a traditional medium for Maori. I'm a bonecarver and have been told the principals are mostly the same – just with diamonds and water.

 

Here's a website which might be of use: http://www.creativejade.co.nz/carving-process/

 

Lapidary supply stores may have some equipment to get you started. As a guess you will need: a diamond trim saw, your handpiece with diamond bits, sanding wheels and polishing wheels of various grits, plus a water cooling system.

 

Sorry to be vague.....but I don't want to be too specific as I'm not 100%. And as you will find, lots of carvers use different methods. I'm visiting a carver this weekend who is amazing and I hope to pick up some tips while I'm there.

 

I hope I have been a little helpful. And I'm sure someone will give you some more help soon.

 

Take care, Billy.

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I don't carve in stone Drew, but for what it's worth to you this is what I see.

 

In the pic of the Jade with the ruler in it -- I see a Baluga Whale. Or what could be.

The head and front fin are already started for you and the body as well. As I can't see the whole piece it's hard to say if you could coax it out. Just a thought.

 

So I am of little help to you as well. Hope someone taps your shoulder soon.

That much Jade should be transformed.

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OK, I have been checking out the forum and previous posts and have seen all the great tools, tutorials and work stations. However, I see that not all the tools are as effective from Medium to Medium.

 

I saw Matt Gladsby on Cash and treasures put a piece of jade in a pan of water and start going for it with a flex shaft but I know there is much more to it than that. I think I can get to the rough shape with the burrs but have no idea what to use when it comes to polishing implements or finishing the piece and I was hoping some members with experience in Jade could help me along the learning curve a bit with a few pointers and suggestions.

 

I have a big work bench with plenty of space, electricity and light

I have a good set of glasses

I have a large glass ashtray and some water

I have a quarter ton of Jade

I have a Dremmel, flex shaft, some diamond bits and 220grit burrs. I know I will need to upgrade and add more grits but this is all I have to start

 

Thanks in advance for any advice you might have to help me get started correctly.

 

Take care all

 

Drew

Drew,

 

Billy had a good suggestion with Donn's name. If you visit his site www.donnsalt.com and click on jade pieces and click again on his ourboros (Dragon holding tail) you will get an amazing tutorial on how it was done and consequently some of the tools needed. Look also under other headings in this forum. Jade carving and tools have been discussed.

 

Best of Luck,

 

Tom

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THanks for getting back to me guys and I appreciate the feedback. New Zealand and Canada .... cool!

 

I went through the expensive learning curve with the grinding and polishing wheels and found that every lapidary website likes to push their own concepts and products. The problem was I had a mish mash of stuff from guys that didn;t necessarily work in Jade and my results were moderate and my "I don't use it anymore" pile was growing until I spoke with dudes that worked with Jade specifically. With their input, a little trial and error and some time, I was able to minimize my costs and turn out some nice pieces. I'm hoping that a few tips and suggestions from carvers like yourselves can produce the same results when I start doing some carving. THanks again Drew

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I think you're on the right track, Drew. I find a good way to learn is go visit a carver in person. See first hand what they are doing. But the best way to learn is with every new carving you do. Get in and give it a go. Start with the basic tools and figure it out as you go along.

 

Good luck and stay in touch. I'll keep you up to date with how I'm getting on.

 

Cheers, Billy

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi guys, thanks for all the tips and suggestions. I went on to Donn Salt's website and saw the step by step of the Jade Dragon he did. Unbelievably sick! I see that a lot of the work was done on the wheel for the basic shape and sanding the larger areas. Core drills for the inside. Once the basic shape has been ground, the carving starts with the hand power tool and the details start to show, this is where I get lost. The presentation mentioned a type of "stick" that he used to fine sand and polish all those tight little nooks and crannys "by hand". Does anyone know if these sticks are fitted to the hand held power tool or is it more of a "filing" process?

 

Billy, did you get to sit with the Jade carver and observe? That is an awesome idea and I would jump at that opportunity should it be presented to me as well.

 

I still haven't taken the plunge yet for my first carving as I'm one of those guys that needs to have all my questions answered before I start. Plus I don't have a design or destination for the piece that would motivate me thereby over riding my "information gathering" process. However, once started, I will be carving into the wee hours of the morning further driving my wife to drink.

 

Thanks guys for all your input, suggestions and I hope all your carvings are masterpieces.

 

Drew

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Hey Drew,

 

The sticks that you see Donn using in his tutorial are silicone carbide polishing or die making stones. They're just used hand held like a needle file. The stones are real nice to use to clean up your lines and forms between the carving and polishing stages. Gesswein has a large variety of stones. Go to their site and look up "Die makers pencil stones". I like to go over a carving from 320 grit on up to 600 grit stones before beginning finer sanding and polishing stages. One of my favorite stones is something my wife picked up at Wallgreens for filing her nails :D . Its probably betwween 300 and 400 grit and real slow to break down.

 

Good luck

 

Dustin

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Hi Dustin and thanks for the info on the "silicon carbide sticks or pencil stones". That helps a lot. I am still working rough Jade into Jewelry and gallery pieces as I have a bunch of stuff to go through but as I do so, I am putting a few of the fractureless, rough ground pieces aside as my "carving pile". One of these days when I finally figure out what it is I want to carve, I'm going to start. Thanks again for the info/ Drew

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  • 1 month later...

Drew:

 

I hope that Donn Salt gets back to you, but until he does, maybe this will help.

 

I carve alot of stone, and have carved a little jade. My main observation on jade is that if it gets too hot, it has a tendency to craze like old china. So, while carving with power tools, keep it wet.

 

Regarding fine finishing, which I am no master of, I use diamond grit. It is available at most lapidary suppliers, try Pacific Diamond. I bought mine with alot of other folks in bulk, it came from Russia. I have found that if you use oil (I use bur oil, some use extra virgin olive oil) with the grit and use tools made from brass rod (available at hobby shops) you can get a respectable polish. I modify the brass with a file to get the points that I want while it is spinning in the flex-shaft. I run the flex-shaft on a low to medium speed with the oil and diamond and try to move around the piece so it won't get too hot.

 

The grits I have are 100, 200, 600, 1200, 3000, 8000 and a little 50,000 if I'm in an anal-retentive mood. I'm not really crazy about a high-gloss finish, I usually stop around 3000.

 

A really helpful tip in determining if you are ready to go to the next finer level of grit is this: Before beginning the sanding/polishing cover the entire piece with black marks alot. When you have removed all the black, you at least know that all of the piece has been sanded. Some people do this a number of times with the same grit to be sure of going over all the areas.

 

Don't try the marks alot trick on any soft stone, as it will absorb the ink. This is a faceters trick and is used on primarily hard transparent stones. Regarding polishing softer stones, wooden skewer sticks and toothpicks charged with the diamond and oil work great.

 

If your piece has a large flat area, they are better addressed with a lapidary wheel, such as a Genie (see Pacific Diamond again). These wheels are pretty expensive, if you can join a local gem, rock or mineral club they may have them available to members, mine does. Another caveat, jade sometimes has a tendency to have soft and hard areas. The soft areas sometimes erode away quicker than the hard areas, resulting in an "orange peel" finish. You'll know it when you see it. For these types of jade it is better to use a spool polisher, a polisher made of wood or marcasite. Check ebay to see if they have any, I have no idea where to purchase them.

 

I envy you all of the jade. It's great to have so much raw material to work with, it takes the pressure off to make a masterpiece when you have enough to play. Ironically, all my best carvings are done on "trash" stones, when I don't worry about destroying an expensive stone.

 

Sorry if this is too elementary, I don't know what level of carver you are. But it might be useful to others who are just starting.

 

If you want to see what I do, go to New Works and scroll down. I think I also posted a photo in Who's Who.

 

Debbie K

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  • 1 month later...
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  • 9 months later...

Hello,

 

If you can, Take Matt Glasby's class at the California School of Jade carving, Fremont, California. Contact Mike Burkleo, "revelations in stone"

 

Or see him at Jade festival, Oct 9-11, 2010 Bug Sur, CA

 

Craig

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  • 5 weeks later...

hi. not sure if this helps because the way i seem to be learning to carve jade appears very different from in the west. I am an englishman based in china being taught in chinese with traditional chinese tools how to carve nephrite - specifically hetian jade - but i have a section on my website jadefiend.com which lists the tools i use and how and when they are used when i carve. its a personal website not a commercial one just for information only

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