Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Dop wax alternatives, for facetting

No, not really Noel. I usually sign quite small on one of the rear
surfaces near the girdle. 

I was picturing a cab. Whole different story! I often set cabs so
both sides are visible, and a signature could be a problem if in an
obtrusive place. Now I’m impressed that you manage to fit a signature
and year on a facet!

Noel

I am amazed that this thread became anything about tumbling
cabochons.

It seems to me that tumble finishing cabs is too unpredictable.
Nothing like the control one gets by doing it by hand.

And now, a further diversion within this thread…

I generally set cabochons in closed-backed settings and faceted
gems in open-backed settings 

You can do what you want, but that’s not a good rule. A better rule
would be, and I’ve said it before…

…Set opaque stones in closed-backed settings, and
transparent/translucent stones in upon backed settings.

Transparent/translucent cabochons don’t benefit from closed backs.

I am not a supporter of foiling because I don’t endorse the use of
glues in finished jewelry products. I make an exception to doublets
and triplets because I accept them in the industry, but do not do
them myself unless hired to do so by a customer (that’s also how I
treat diamonds, I set them only if requested by a customer).

And now about the topic.

When I facet I use Super Strength 5 min Epoxy, the white/blue two
part I think is made by DevCon. Any other 5 min epoxy is unwise for
this application. When transferring I back the stone off the dop a
bit (if doing a round) to allow more epoxy between the stone and the
dop because I’ve found If I do this it will eliminate the vacuum that
can happen. This vacuum makes it difficult to pop the stone after
it’s done. Then you will have to use something horrible like Attack
or Methyl Ethyl Ketone to break down the epoxy and, because of the
vacuum, it will take even longer for the solution to penetrate the
epoxy. The stone should be cuttable in 3 hours but I often wait over
night.

Any epoxy facetor out there experience this vacuum? I had this
problem quite a bit until I figured out that I shouldn’t have the rim
of the dop touch the stone.

I thought I followed this post all the way. Has anyone mentioned the
use of heat to liberate stones from epoxy dops?

And lastly, I don’t use dop wax at all. I became tired of being
burned. Also, if my shop freezes I have to re-do all the wax dopping
and that isn’t fun.

TL Goodwin
Lapidary/Metalsmith
http://thepacifikimage.com

I don’t think anyone has mentioned using heat to get an epoxied
stone off a dop. However that’s what I do. Works nicely and I haven’t
have a problem with a vacuum.

RC

TL,

There is no vacuum. If you transfer, for instance, a faceted
pavilion, even a round, into a cone dop, the facet meets are the
only thing that can touch the surface or rim of the cone. In such a
situation, no vacuum is possible. A vacuum implies, even demands, a
difference in vapor or gas pressure. It doesn’t happen.

The proper application of heat will allow removal every time, even
with heat-sensitive stones. I’ve been doing it since 1975, all day,
every day. There is a right way and a risky way.

Also, why do you feel that using anything other than Devcon is
"unwise"? Its properties (curing, bonding and release) are different
from other products, like the new Loctite Professional. I choose the
adhesive based on the task at hand, utilizing their different
properties to my advantage.

Allowing a gap between the stone and dop after transfer invites a
tilted girdle if the epoxy cures unevenly, and that can happen for
many reasons. I’ve seen it happen time and time again when I’m
teaching faceting.

Perhaps I misunderstood your post?

Wayne Emery

I said:

I generally set cabochons in closed-backed settings and faceted
gems in open-backed settings 

Todd said:

You can do what you want, but that's not a good rule. A better
rule would be, and I've said it before.... ....Set opaque stones in
closed-backed settings, and transparent/translucent stones in upon
backed settings.... Transparent/translucent cabochons don't
benefit from closed backs. 

We’re on the same page Todd. I generally set cabochons in closed-
backed settings because my cabochons are generally all opaque stones

  • that’s pretty much why they were cut (by whoever cut them) en
    cabochon. And I generally set faceted stones in open-backed settings
    because all my faceted stones are transparent - that why they were
    faceted in the first place, to make the most of the reflection and
    refraction of light inside the
I am not a supporter of foiling because I don't endorse the use of
glues in finished jewelry products. 

And again, I don’t use glue in my jewellery either. Just a personal
thing. I’m not saying that others shouldn’t, just that I choose not
to.

I make an exception to doublets and triplets because I accept them
in the industry, 

I’m also not keen on doublets or triplets and won’t use them in my
jewellery. Doublets and triplets might be more affordable but they
can look “cheap”. I’d rather use the real deal. In fact, if I can’t
afford the real deal, I would sooner use a nice synthetic in place
of genuine/mined or doublet/triplet.

Helen
UK
http://www.hillsgems.co.uk


http://helensgems.ganoksin.com/blogs/

TL,

It seems to me that tumble finishing cabs is too unpredictable.
Nothing like the control one gets by doing it by hand. 

I respectfully disagree. If you use vibratory tumblers, watch them
carefully, and know your stones you can get very repeatable results.
The finish and time savings are both reasons I tumble polish my cabs.
Having the stone polished on both sides is a big selling point to
wirewrappers. With about 4 hours cutting and daily checking of
tumblers I can produce 100 cabs a week plus keep on top of everything
else.

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

Any epoxy facetor out there experience this vacuum? I had this
problem quite a bit until I figured out that I shouldn't have the
rim of the dop touch the stone. 

Yep, I too back off just a tad, but I use an epoxy called
"Tite-On"…

I thought I followed this post all the way. Has anyone mentioned
the use of heat to liberate stones from epoxy dops? 

Again yep (to the use of heat, I haven’t followed the whole thread),
but only for heat insensitive stones. It doesn’t take much either, if
you can smell that hot epoxy smell it’s too hot.

And lastly, I don't use dop wax at all. I became tired of being
burned. Also, if my shop freezes I have to re-do all the wax
dopping and that isn't fun. 

I live in sub-tropics so it’s not an issue here, but I can see it
being a problem! When it gets too hot here I have had wax dopped
stones drift so during summer I use epoxy only, but for the rest of
the year it’s wax to do the pavilion and epoxy for the crown… BTW
only been burnt once, when I was standing a tad too close to a fellow
faceting student (years ago now) who panicked and flicked a hot drop
of wax onto my arm, still have the scar to this day!

Cheers, Thomas Janstrom.
Little Gems.
www.tjlittlegems.com

Hi, Todd, Wayne, et al -

Thanks very much for all the about dopping. Yes, it
expanded a bit much about tumbling cabochons…

Anyway, it looks like I need to find some Devcon 5-min epoxy. Is
this available at hardware stores, or is it a specialty item only
through lapidary supply businesses?

My thanks to the person who suggested not using the superglue
accelerator! Having two stones pop off the dop convinced me something
was wrong with my technique. Besides being careless, yes, I had used
the accelerator. So now more care, no accelerator, and no stones
lost.

Wayne, special thanks for the detailed description of your work
habits - definitely something I will emulate!

best regards to all who responded,
Kelley

Noel…let me clear this us. It sounds like you understand I am
doing that on faceted stones? Well, I do facet stones but do not sign
them.

I sign my cabs! But, if it is a stone, such as a chalcedony or
fairly clear agate, etc., and it is cut to be set in an open back,
(i.e. it is a lentel cut or double flat or buff sides) I find a place
where the signature will not be obvious…such as on the
perpendicular edge. Otherwise, if it is a standard domed cab, but
suitable for open back, I will sign it on the bottom edge just inside
the girdle where any bearing device (even a step bezel) will not show
it.

Note: metal smiths include a quality mark and, by law, must then add
a makers mark, be it a signature or stamp when making settings. There
is no difference in my view, in signing a stone. I cut it, I am proud
of it and do a great job, why shouldn’t I be identified as the artist
who cut it? I have found it to be a selling point with my clients who
are appreciative of this fact.

Hope that makes it a bit more clear.

By the way, I often set doubled backed translucent or transparent
stones in the ‘frame-up’ design or with a simple open back bearing.
Unless one knows where to look, the signature just can’t be seen!
But, I know its there and I point it out to my clients.

Cheers, Don.

With sensitive stones like opals I believe doublets and triplets are
the way to go. For me it’s not an issue of cost, it’s an issue of
durability and customer satisfaction.

(Ah opal! If it wasn’t so darn gorgeous no one would mess with it.)

RC

Hi everyone,

This is becoming a bit anecdotal, so let me add my own tuppence.

When faceting I use dop wax. Green. It’s what I have; it’s what I’m
comfortable with; it works. No other considerations apply.

I have not been burnt (that I can remember) and if I have, so what?

When transfering I heat the wax on the receiving dop to a pasty
condition just short of flowing so that it takes a close impression
of the stone, but not so hot it wets it; a drop of cyanoacrylate
completes the bond. Heat again disengages the stone, the hot (warm)
pasty wax will pull off, ususally taking most of the cyanoacrylate
with it. A few minutes in acetone gets rid of the rest.

In cabbing likewise green dop wax and for the same reason that it
works. For really minute stones sometimes cyanoacrylate on the head
of a finishing nail (or similar, to fit the size of the stone) filed
flat, real flat, for better contact.

As to doublets and transparent stones and settings, if I decide that
a transparent stone will look better in a closed back setting that’s
what it gets. In a sense it’s the stone that decides. It seems to me
that it is a cutter’s business and his pride to get the most from
what nature has given. If I have a beautiful opal that just won’t
work without doubleting it that’s what I do. Again in a way it’s the
stone that decides. It goes without saying that the client is always
told, and not only told, but given a full explanation why the choice
was made. Sometimes their eyes glaze over and you know you’ve lost
them. But mostly people appreciate knowing what choices and
considerations have gone into the making of their stone.

Your own mileage may vary. Indeed it will vary. No two stones are
ever alike, nor no two cutters.

Cheers all,
Hans Durstling
Moncton, Canada
arm still in sling but typing two handed again

I'm also not keen on doublets or triplets and won't use them in my
jewellery. Doublets and triplets might be more affordable but they
can look "cheap". I'd rather use the real deal. In fact, if I
can't afford the real deal, I would sooner use a nice synthetic in
place of genuine/mined or doublet/triplet. 

seriously? As I understand it, there is a visible difference between
synthetic / lab grown and natural opals.

good doublets can be lovely, as can triplets - and the skill level
involved in producing them is pretty high. In fact a bezel-set
doublet is all but indistinguishable from a solid opal, apart from
the price :wink:

My only beef with triplets is as a wearer of jewellery rather than a
maker; I like my jewellery to be able to stand up to my tendency to
forget to take it off before I have a bath :wink: Nice opal triplets are
NICE.

Unless one knows where to look, the signature just can't be seen!
But, I know its there and I point it out to my clients Well, Don,
it really is impressive how we can, despite the best intentions,
fail to communicate! I did misunderstand. 

I’m glad you have found a solution that allows you to sign your work
without limiting its usefullness in design terms. I agree that you
should rightfully take credit (and responsibility) for your stones.
Actually, I wish more cutters did this. I often wonder whether the
person I buy from really did cut the stones heis selling as all his
own work. A signature would also help me keep track of where I got
stones (when I want more). I’m still impressed that you can sign
that small…

Noel

I cut it, I am proud of it and do a great job, why shouldn't I be
identified as the artist who cut it? I have found it to be a
selling point with my clients who are appreciative of this fact. 

I wouldn’t say that what Don is doing is really common, but it’s not
that unusual, either. Many cameos and carvings - special stones of
all kinds done by special craftspeople - are signed.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com

I said:

I'm also not keen on doublets or triplets and won't use them in my
jewellery. Doublets and triplets might be more affordable but they
can look "cheap". I'd rather use the real deal. In fact, if I can't
afford the real deal, I would sooner use a nice synthetic in place
of genuine/mined or doublet/triplet. 

Sophie said:

seriously? As I understand it, there is a visible difference
between synthetic / lab grown and natural opals. 

Sorry, I’ve caused some confusion here. When I wrote the above
quote, I was indeed initially talking about opals. And personally, I
do NOT like doublet or triplet opals - just the real thing. Then I
realised that the poster I was replying to, may not just be talking
about opals, but may also be talking about such stones as emeralds,
sapphires, etc. Again, I prefer the real thing, but my comment about
" In fact, if I can’t afford the real deal, I would sooner use a
nice synthetic in place of genuine/mined or doublet/triplet", was
referring to stones such as emeralds, sapphires, rubies, etc. I
confused myself in the process of writing that post! :wink:

For clarification, I always prefer the real thing. If I can’t afford
that, then I am happy with synthetic - with the exception of opals.
I do NOT like synthetic opals or doublets/triplets - only the real
thing. I can only afford such a thing occasionally but it is always
worth it when I can.

Helen
UK
http://www.hillsgems.co.uk

Kelly

Yes, you should be able to find 5min Super Strength Epoxy by Devcon
in hardware stores. Make sure it’s blue and clear. The Clear and
Clear 2 part Epoxy is Regular Strength and isn’t good to use for
faceting!!! It’s too unreliable!

For some reason our Home Depot does not carry it, but our True Value
does. You might be able to find it in some of the larger drug stores,
supermarkets, etc.

BTW, if you ever have a stone pop off you can superglue the stone
back into the epoxy by matching the cast of the stone in the epoxy.
You might have to make some adjustments with the cheater or degree or
both. I always cut opposites to help minimize problems and allow
myself a small percentage of error. It’s sometimes better than
loosing the amount of material it would take to start over.

TL Goodwin
Lapidary/Metalsmith
The Pacifik Image
http://thepacifikimage.com

Rick

Your cabs seem to be fine. I can’t tell that they were tumbled at
all. I guess it can be done well. I stand corrected.

And Wayne

I was only mentioning epoxies I’ve used, and I should have clarified
that. I’m sorry. I’m sure their are superior adhesives out there. I
insist on nothing more than the regular 5 min epoxy by Devcon or
another popular co. does not work very well in my exp.

I used the word “vacuum” because it was the only thing I could think
of to describe the seal. I should have just said “seal”.

I’ve just had brilliant cut stones become very difficult to remove
from the dop with the use of heat, resulting in the need to use a
solvent. With the use of solvent even, it took longer than normal to
separate. If I back it off just a bit when gluing, I don’t have much
of a problem, though I have experienced the uneven cure pull.

I’ve only been faceting for less than four years and I use an
extinct lower functioning machine, but I love it. Cabs for twenty
years.

Thank you
TL Goodwin
The Pacifik Image

Hi John,

Here is how to dop your stones and they will never come off. I
have done hundreds/no problem after listening to a lot of
professional advice. It is also how I teach my lapidary students to
dop:

  1. Heat fresh wax in your dop pot.

  2. Dip the appropriate diameter wood dowel 10mm(approx.) into the
    wax(round dopsticks for round stone-square for square cut). Dopsticks
    need to be 2/3 the width of your stone.

  3. Immediately after you remove you dop from the melting pot- gently
    spin it once pointing down & place the waxed dop on a glass plate.

  4. Your now have a prepared dop standing up on the glass plate. When
    cool tilt it enough to break off a perfectly flat wax surface.

  5. I use a plug in- coffee cup warmer you may be able to purchase at
    your local pharmacy for under $5.

  6. Place your stone on the cup warmer- it gets warm within a few
    minutes and your dopstick will adhere to it.

  7. Pull your dopstick off the stone once it gets soft several times
    and then leave it(or hold it if domed) till you see the wax turn
    glassy up the side of the dopstick slightly.

  8. Turn your stone over & with your stick in one hand- position your
    stone to be perpendicular.

9.After your stone is completed place it in the freezer. It will
drop off or you may have to apply a little force to tilt it off. It
will come off easy- so be ready for it to nOt hit the floor.

*You can buy ready made glass palates for oil painting at craft
stores. Tape the edges of the glass to 1/4" plywood.

James
Brontotheroocity Stone Cutting

My reply to John- addressing his problems dopping cabs had it’s
title mislabeled. Before I get a ton of mail- it was only describing
the proper way to dop cabochons. It was mistakenly put in the wrong
thread. Maybe my mistake?

If you use the method I described: you will have no further problems
with the stone coming off unexpectedly. While preparing cabochons.

James