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My first carvings and lapidary works


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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.







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Wow! Beautiful stones! I really like the rainbow obsidian! Does it usually have rings like that or is that just artful cutting and orientation?


Nice amethyst and rutilated quartz, too!


I was looking at what you are doing, and I'm wondering what kind of tools you are using. Do you have a rock grinder/polisher? I have an unit that is similar to a Covington combination saw with two fixed wheels and one expando drum. I have a series of both diamond and silicon carbide wheels in grits from 80 - 8000. It looks to me that most of your carving needs could be met with a unit like that, as you are primarily polishing convex shapes. The wood and diamond are used on the more concave shapes.


The first amethyst piece that you are holding in your hand (looks kind of like a shell shape) has a series of angles on it. I realize that this is a piece in process. Sometimes, if the piece is not too large, it easier to get rid of these angles with stones by hand than it is to do with the machines. Donn Salt (jade carver extraordinaire) uses these stones. They're available at Gesswein in a variety of grits. They offer alot more control to refine shapes. I wouldn't use the coarser stones on transparent stones such as the amethyst or quartz, but the 400-600 grits would be aggressive enough without fracturing the rocks.


Wish I had seen this post before I answered the other one. Looks like you are doing really well already, and I hope that sometime in the future I can buy some of your rutilated quartz.


Debbie K

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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!

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