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Dop wax alternatives, for facetting


#1

Hi, all -

Forgot to order dop wax when I last ordered my lapidary supplies,
and now I’ve got rough enroute and no way to stick it to the dop!
(pun intended)

Other than super glue and 5-minute epoxy, what alternatives are
there that I could get in the next 24 hours? I DO have some red pitch
(from my chasing & repousse days) - would that work, or be more
trouble than it’s worth? I’ve looked through the archives…there are
articles on alternative dop sticks, but none on alternative wax that
I’ve found.

Thanks!
Kelley


#2

Hi Kelley,

Try the red pitch. Chances are it will work so long as it doesn’t
get so warm that it gets flexible, rubbery. Stick shellac will also
work, or sealing wax. Probably roofing tar would work also. Further
afield there is this relatively new plastic molding stuff, whose name
escapes me, that is soft and moldable when at hot water temperature
and hardens when cold. But I don’t know how adhesive it is, whether
it would stick to the stone. You might have to help it with crazy
glue. Using crazy glue only could be a solution although it’s
problematic to do a transfer. Wayne Emery has an elegant solution to
this which if I remember correctly entails burying the joint to be
detached in a jar of acetone-soaked sand and masking off the joint
that you want to stay firm. Plus he’ll likely have other useful
suggestions as well. Wayne? You hiding anywhere out there?

Cheers,
Hans Durstling

peck-typing lefthanded in Moncton Canada due to a recently broken
right arm pinned together with titanium lag bolts & hence also
faceting for the nonce with the left hand only which yes it can be
done but it’s not real quick.


#3

I’d suggest either epoxy or the super glue – although I’d use
something other than five-minute and mix a little cornstarch into the
epoxy. Or you can use both. Do the first dop with super glue and the
re-dop with epoxy. Then stick the double-dopped piece, still in the
transfer jig, into a 200 degree oven for 20 minutes or so. The heat
softens the super glue and cures the epoxy.

RC


#4

Kelly,

There are number of ways to go. One is to use 5 min epoxy but add
corn starch to it. That leaves it sufficiently strong to dop but
fairly easy to remove. You cn also use double stick carpet tape
though I don’t like it for large stones as it does allow some
movement. Small stones work well though.

Cheers from Don in South Florida.


#5

I cut every day for a living, 12-16 hours a day. For me, time is
money, and I keep my customers because my work is very, very
accurate. I can’t afford lost time, sloppy meets, tilted or uneven
girdles, etc. Been at it for 37 years, one does learn a few things
along the way.

Keeping in m ind that I have a few stones dopped up at any given
time, here is my general proceduRe:

After cutting a flat or temporary table, I attach my dop with
LocTite Professional Grade Super Glue. There is no question that
this product creates a superior bond, providing your surface are
scrupulously clean. Some folks will tell you that roughened surface
provides a better bond. That may be true with carpenter’s glue, but
is absolutely not correct if you are working with a cyanoacrylate. A
polished or nearly polished surface creates the best bond. if you
don’t believe me, call Loctite, they will confirm it. I put a 3000
grit falt on my stone and 3000 grit surface on my dop end.

The use of an accelerant is okay, but WILL decrease bond strength by
about 25%, so just be aware.

After cutting the pavilion (I almost always cut the pavilion first),
I use Lcotite’s new Professional Grade 2 part 5 minute epoxy. It is
MUCH stronger than the “older” 2 part epoxies, bt I understand
Devcon now has a competitive product on the market.

Rest assured, the Loctite, all I have experience with, is very, very
strong. Anyway, after carefully and fully mixing equal amounts of
the two parts, I place some in the receiving dop, gently bring the
pavilion into the dop (don’t press), wipe off ALL excess glue, and
place the transfer fixture into my kitchen oven, cold. I turn the
heat up to 235 degrees F, and set the timer for 30 minutes. When the
timer goes off, open the oven door, wait five minutes and remove the
transfer block and let everything cool down until it’s cool enough
to handle.

After removing the stone with two dops still attached, rap the first
dop sharply and the cyano will release easily. Sometimes that end
just falls off. Then, back to work.

Keep in mind that while it’s in the oven, I’m working on another
stone, so the time is productive. Starting from untouched rough, I
have my first dop in place in less than two minutes, and I’m
cutting. Mixing the epoxy and putting the second dop on, placing it
in oven takes maybe two minutes. No burned fingers, no open flames,
no wax mess, no shifting of stones while polishing big corundum
facets.

Try it, you’ll ditch wax fast.

I have to say I can’t imagine using a double sided piece of tape.
The thickness of resilient tape would create much more slop than I
could ever tolerate in good work. Just my opinion.

Wayne


#6

Your absolutely right Wayne…I was referring to cabbing in that
portion. Should have better stated it (silly me)!

Cheers, Don


#7

wayne I was following your thread and realized you do not mention the
material the dopping stick is made of? what do you use metal or
wood or other? the crazy glue material doesn’t seem to work so well
on wood. thanks for the great suggestions and advice

Hratch


#8

The gap filling crazy glue works very nicely on wooden dop sticks.
It’s what I use for cabbing.

–RC (who has a bunch of stones setting up on wooden dops prior to
cabbing as he types)


#9

I have not read the postings for this string as I do not facet but I
would like to say that for my small cabs - agate- jasper -wood etc. -
I use super glue on the heads of nails.

I use different sizes of nails for different sizes of stones. I use
acetone in a glass jar with a lid to soak the stones loose.

This seems to work well for me. It is quick to set up. For cabs, I
use a tray of very fine clean sand that I position my preform stones
in. I place a dot of glue on the head and position the nail on the
stone. I will slightly push the nail down for good contact with the
stone and then try to keep the nail up-right so it does not fall
until the stone and nail are glued together.

If it seems that there is not enough glue for a solid stick, I add
just a drop around the nail head to make sure the stone does not fly
off while rough grinding

Larry E. Whittington
Larry E. Whittington Lapidary
http://www.jewelrycabs.com


#10

Larry…Just a couple more cents for this thread. I do a lot of
cabbing (a good day, I’ll do 20-30 stones) but fabrication keeps
getting in the way along with all the other fun things to do. Because
there is just never enough time to do it all…I have learned to cut
without dopping which eats a lot of time. Of course, most of my
stones are free form and large but I also do some smaller calibrated
ones too.

About the only time I dop is when doing something under 10x8 or when
I want an perfect geometric shape and calibration. All the rest are
done free hand. Saves a lot of time and lets me ‘feel’ the stone.

Cheers from Don in SOFL


#11

Don: You and I are on about the same page. One thing may be
different though. Many of my cabs I will finish in the tumbler just
like many jewelers will finish their silver in a vibrating tumbler
in order to get it done faster.

There is some resistance from some silver/gold workers in using
stones that have been finished in a tumbler. They do not like to use
the stone if it has a rounded edge for the bezel to fit around. I
think a taller bezel would help them overcome this.

If the piece is open backed the stone needs a polish so a tumble
finish on a large batch of stones supplies that polished back.

Closed back pieces do not need the backs of stones polished so each
stone front can be finished by hand instead of tumble finishing.

Larry E. Whittington
Larry E. Whittington Lapidary
http://www.jewelrycabs.com


#12
There is some resistance from some silver/gold workers in using
stones that have been finished in a tumbler. They do not like to
use the stone if it has a rounded edge for the bezel to fit around.
I think a taller bezel would help them overcome this. 

Speaking as a silversmith and a lapidary who finishes cabs in
vibratory tumblers I feel the same way about cabs that are
"overdone" in vibratory tumblers. Meaning that the bottom edge is
very rounded and the back even gets concave. That’s usually the way
the Asian cutters do it. I was a silversmith first so I finish my
cabs like I would like to set them. There’s no need to overdo the
tumbling if you have any lapidary skills at all. I grind my cabs on
an 80 grit diamond then sand them on a 280 grit flex wheel smoothing
out all the lumps and bumps. Then into the vibe tumblers for 1-2 days
at each grit (120-220, 600, 1000) then on to polish in a separate
vibe tumbler.

I am building an ever growing list of clientele that like the way I
cut cabs so I must be doing something right.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado
rockymountainwonders.com


#13
There is some resistance from some silver/gold workers in using
stones that have been finished in a tumbler. They do not like to
use the stone if it has a rounded edge for the bezel to fit around. 

I think any stone can have a solution found for its idiosyncrasies.
I generally set cabochons in closed-backed settings and faceted gems
in open-backed settings. I have bought some cabs with rounded edges
and for those stones I make my bezels the appropriate height so that
just a very small amount folds over the stone’s extremities,
therefore not creating an excess of metal. I solve the rounded edge
problem by soldering a wire of the appropriate gauge around the
inside, bottom edge of my setting. This supports the stone better to
avoid breakage.

I think a taller bezel would help them overcome this. 

I can’t quite see how this would help. All a taller bezel does is run
the risk of the metal having too far to travel to be compressed onto
the stone, possibly causing ugly gaps in setting. Or even if it does
compress onto the stone successfully, if it is too tall, it can cause
an ugly setting with a too heavy-looking bezel. You’d still have the
problem of the outside, lower edges of the stone being unsupported
inside the bezel. A wire soldered in to support the rounded edge
solves this.

Helen
UK


#14
There is some resistance from some silver/gold workers in using
stones that have been finished in a tumbler. They do not like to
use  the stone if it has a rounded edge for the bezel to fit
around. 

This is hearsay, but I understand some lapidaries get around this by
glueing pairs of same-size cabs back to back to avoid the rounded
bottom edge. Then the back doesn’t get polished, of course.

Noel


#15

Larry…I do tumble stones but mostly cut-offs or stones broken in
the saw. Now and then after 1st and 2nd tumble grits I find one I
really like and proceed to finish it by hand.

I don’t care for cabs finished in the tumbler primarily for the
reason you state…i.e., rounded edges. I set a lot of stones and my
students also purchase quite a few and they need a good crisp girdle
with a narrow bevel. I also finish the back of just about all my
stones. The only ones I don’t do are those with some problem…don’t
polish well, vugs, cracks, etc. But even then I at least smooth them.
Reason? If anyone ever has to take out one of my stones I want it to
be well done. Also, I sign and year date all my stones with a diamond
stylus…a habit I began many years ago. So, if I sign it, I want it
to be the best! But…hey, to each his own.

Cheers, Don


#16
There is some resistance from some silver/gold workers in using
stones that have been finished in a tumbler. They do not like to
use the stone if it has a rounded edge for the bezel to fit
around. 

I’m having a little trouble visualizing just what the above means.
As both a smith and lapidary I cut my cabs for ease in setting and
sometimes tumble-polish certain types of stones. Tumbling can be done
so the finished cab is virtually indistinguishable from hand-polished
counterparts: crisp edges, sharp points, no “dished” bottoms, etc.

Cabs should have flat bottoms so there’s no unevenness where stone
meets metal at the bottom of the setting. They should have a slight
bevel around the bottom edge to prevent chipping when being fitted
into the setting. All cabs should be slightly angled from the base
toward the top at roughly 10 or 15 degrees – the amount can be even
less depending the esthetic of any particular stone. Cabs with even
the slightest bevel can be set solidly with the correct technique.

In my minimalist view, bezels should harmonize with the stone’s
symmetry and be no higher than necessary to hold the stone firmly in
place unless another height suits the design conception. Very little
bezel height is required to accomplish this when working with
properly cut cabs.

Rick Martin
www.artcutgems.com


#17
Also, I sign and year date all my stones with a diamond 
stylus...a habit I began many years ago. 

Doesn’t this habit preclude setting the stone with an open or
reversible back?

Noel


#18

No, not really Noel. I usually sign quite small on one of the rear
surfaces near the girdle. In most cases the signature is barely, if
at all, noticable. But it can be read with a loupe. In any event,
such a signature is no more offensive than a makers mark in the metal
around the stone.

Cheers, from Don in SOFL.


#19
As both a smith and lapidary I cut my cabs for ease in setting and
sometimes tumble-polish certain types of stones. Tumbling can be
done so the finished cab is virtually indistinguishable from
hand-polished 

This is pretty obvious, but someone has to say it, I guess. If you
grind out a preform on a 100 or even 220 grit wheel, as some of the
really cheap cabs are done (“Your choice, 25c!!”), You’ll get the
problems mentioned. If you sand them out real nice and just use the
tumbler for the last couple of finishing steps, nobody will be able
to tell it’s not done by hand.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#20

I would have thought that the ideal way with cabs would be to tumble
them and then grind away and finish the back by hand - at least that
would have cut down half the work and it would make the setters
happy…

Best wishes,
Ian
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK