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Aceton In Vacuum


Stephan A

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Greetings artisans, Has anyone stabilized stone using the 330 epoxy/acetone mix IN A VACUUM? Opticon is fairly expensive seems to have problems with tackiness and fouling tools. I like the idea of the epoxy/acetone stabilizer but would like feedback on whether the vacuum would help with impregnation. The waterglass adherents rely on the vacuum, if I'm reading the method correctly , to open up the fractures or crazing in gems and minerals allowing deeper penetration of the stabilizing agent. I'm a real novice at working with stone and have been selecting softer materials while I learn the correct tools for carving and polishing. I had one successful project adding marble/travertine scales to a folding knife. My last two attempts using ricolite have not been very good. I do have a background in building fine cabinetwork and musical instruments so I'm not forcing the tools or banging the stone around. I can only go up from here but I do think stabilizing will help hold the material together through cabbing, drilling etc. My next project will be a folding knife with ruby in fuchsite scales. But will hold until I can sort out the stabilization enigma. So how bout it? Any one tried the acetone in vacuum, will I vaporize and become a poster boy for stupid lapidary tricks? Any help is greatly appreciated thanks

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Stephan,

Welcome to the forum. I just read all of your posts and will do my best to be of some help.

 

I saw that you are wanting to stabilize some Mexican opal, if it is the type in the volcanic matrix you will most likely have little to no success as the matrix is so hard. If it is all opal you may have some luck but I have found over the years if it is badly cracked its best to throw it in the yard (just my feelings). You also mentioned possible treating of some of the softer stone, I think that if you play with this stone you will find you need to do nothing to it. I have used stone like jet and pipe stone alongside hard stone in my early work and with a little patience found it worked just fine, you just need to use a light touch around the softer stone when finishing.

 

You say “scales to a folding knife” and I do not have a clue what you mean, can you post an image of a knife so we can all see what you mean, as the saying goes one picture is worth a thousand words.

 

Regarding epoxy 330 mixed with acetone. I had a friend do this without vacuum he just soaked the stone for a very long time in the solution, it seemed to give him what he was after, I never saw the stone but he was pleased with the results. I do think he only used thin pieces in the process.

 

I have been absent from the forum for quite some time but will do my best to check in once a day from now on. I just saw a message sent to me from months ago and because of the fact that I’d been absent this person never even got a reply.

 

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

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Hello Daniel, Thank you for responding with your sage advice. I wasn't going to stabilize the opal until after cutting and then only if ... Its pretty cheap Mexican opal in rhyolite purchased mainly for practice. My primary effort so far has been working with only one material until I feel comfortable with basic geometric intarsia. Knife scales is knife making jargon for the handle of the knife. I've gifted the two success's so far. I have been terrible at photographing any of my work ever...But here are a couple of basic examples from some fine blades smiths. post-3841-0-82745100-1398384061.jpgpost-3841-0-07571100-1398384118.jpg The top pic is jade created by Painted Pony Knives. The second is a pink opal knife created by master bladesmith Jay Fisher. The next photos are the project on deck. A koji hara designed knife post-3841-0-93598000-1398384496.jpg using this piece of Labradorite post-3841-0-89065900-1398385093.jpg Danial, thank you for your input and interest I look forward to seeing your work and the work of the other artists here on The Carving Path.

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Stephan,

I would be very careful when using Labadorite as it is a feldspar and being such it has many cleavage planes so it will break easily on these planes. I think I would make my slices and then try breaking them prior to putting them in the handle. I do this with many stones just to cover myself as there is nothing worse than getting a piece done and then seeing a crack after polishing.

 

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

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Hello Daniel, I just received my Labradorite order. Ahhh the learning curve.. Kind of like seeing a celebrity in real life ie: I thought you were taller ;o) Your calling it right about the cleavage planes. i'm going to practice on some throw away stones the seller provided just for that purpose. My uneducated guess is I'll use the material for inlay surrounded by a harder material first. then for accents in intarsia. I'm so glad that you and other artisans make your knowledge and experience available to all. I have a real passion and desire to work at this and the experience will come. On the subject of stabilizing I'm going to try an oldtimer method of heating the stone to @ 200F and slowly adding the thinned epoxy mixture. The instructions say to leave for @ 10 minutes and that the process of cooling and contraction pulls the stabilizer into the stone. Probably only works on thin slices though. I've noticed Jay Fisher Knifeworks uses some soft stone and labradorite I would think they have to stabilize it by some method or chips and fractures would be a real problem... "I think Therefore I am right @ 50% of the time" DeCarte B'Fore De'Horse

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Stephan, I do use a vacuum sometimes to seal cracks in gems, this method is used on precious black and crystal opal at times, and I use a 50% mix of acetone and epoxy 330, this little fluorite mobius had a small crack in the string end, I was able to remove around 90% of it, I don,t use to seal a gem only on cracks in areas that may break during the carving process, I prefer not to do this but sometimes a great piece of rough can be even better if the crack is sealed by glue, the glue takes longer to harden, takes around 7 days for the glue to harden as the acetone evaporates.

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Hey Gents, Thank you all for your experience. One principle I am learning is to put aside the complicated methods until they are a progression from the basic steps. I will play with the epoxy acetone with safely heated stones but will be better served by cutting and fitting simple shapes as I learn the qualities of the material.. My knife handle projects will be simple compared to the intarsia I'm so taken with. Daniel your advice is golden. The rough mex fire opall I purchased was less than 5 dollars a piece and so far I cut a nice 10mm round with good fire. so far no fissures or crazing and a doublet will be made. I suspect I'm taking a common novice approach buying tools and material before ever actualy cutting a stone. seems silly I guess..

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Hi Stephen,

 

Many of the active stabilizers use Hxtal as the stabilizer of choice. The polymer can be vacuumed into the stone with the hardener sprayed on after the intial soaking. hxtal will even harden overtime without addition of the hardener. A very good discussion on Hxtal and stabilizing can be found on http://gemstone.smff...4.com/index.php forum.

 

On the knife making side, Jay fisher does very nice work. Another stone scale customiser worth checking out is Michael Hoover who has some great step by step tutorials. I also put a tutorial up here http://www.thecarvingpath.net/forum/index.php?/topic/3043-stone-knife-scales/ . Stone selection is important for knife scales if you are intending to use the knife, most stones softer than MOHS 7 with scratch easily and many will break or cleave easily if dropped, such as labradorite which is MOHS 5 and has a perfect cleavage. That is way most stone scale customises stick to jades or agate/jasper mixes for the scales. When they use softer material they stabilize it to strengthen it.

 

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Good luck.

David

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David,

Thanks for the information on the HXTAL I have some Chinese turquoise that is a bit light in color and have wanted to play a bit with treating it so I guess this will be a starting point. I will let you all know what I think once I try it out. Also thanks for the link for the other forum, I went there and snooped around a bit and found a thread on bead spinning.

 

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

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Well I finally tried the acetone vacuum on some fuchsite. I heated the stone on a hotplate burner set at warm. I had premixed the epoxy/acetone in a mason jar and dropped the heated stones into the solution and returned to the hotplate until the vacuum seal made an audible pop. I then removed the stones and set under a 40 watt incandescent bulb until dry to the touch and cured at room temp over night. ( A word of caution: when the vacuum seal was released it caused the stones to fizz like alka seltzer as the loose matrix was filled with the mixture it boiled over the jar also ruining the seal as well as being a hazard, allow for expansion.) The fuchsite went from crumbly and fragile material to a even and noticeably harder material. I was able to grind and file some inside and compound curves that previously failed on the untreated stone. Not much to report but hopefully some encouragement to a real newbie like myself. A special thanks to Daniel L, who suggested I examine my previous unsuccessful methods and return to basic principles.

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