Does anyone out there know if a Dremel tool can be used for
carving stone? Does it need a water source? Thanks, Elena
What carves a stone is something harder than it. For many stones
this can be silicon carbide at 9 1/2 Mohs scale (separating discs
of this material fit onto 3/32", 2mm shank screw mandrels. (you
will need another collet for the Dremel).
You can use diamond tools (many of them free from your dentist)
to carve with.
It is possible to make a mixture of epoxy and silicon carbide
(or even diamond) powder as a cutting material. It can be molded
onto flexible shaft tools (you do need to trim it even while
spinning however with a diamond tool at a fixed distance from the
spinning lump of abrasive and epoxy).
They used to saw jade boulders apart with a rope, two guys
pulling back and forth and someone dripping an abrasive slurry
into the cut line.
One can do a surprisingly good job of carving or drilling gem
materials with wooden, copper or brass tools (they are soft
enough to grip the grits of the abrasive and so hold them against
the workpiece so they do some good). (I append a review of a
useful book). In India they are able to drill through about 1cm
or quartz in about 20 minutes using a bow drill, a copper or
wooden drill bit and an appropriate abrasive slurry while
Use water to keep the stone and tool cool (both can be damaged
buy sudden heat). Either work barely under water, use a running
drip on the cutting area, work on a sponge which you can press on
thus welling water up onto the cutting area etc.
A Review of 'Lapidary Carving for Creative Jewelry'
by Henry Hunt.
Lewton-Brain =A9 1994
This book is an expert and concise introduction to the world of
carving gem materials. You could actually do it if you studied
the book carefully. It offers an insight into this world, tickles
you with hints of new techniques and is a solid grounding in the
thinking required for working these materials into carved shapes.
The table of contents is clear and readable, lots of white space
and good headings so that if one were fishing for specifics one
could easily find them. The book however lacks an index for quick
searches. It begins with a comment that so much has happened in
recent years that it could not be covered in this volume and so
this is a re-issue of a good text first printed in 1980. It was
felt it was important to get the current out again
until a new all encompassing picture and book could
be published. It is promised soon. If it is an improvement on
this one it will be a major work for this field.
The text is lucid and easy to read as it is split into two
columns on the page. A deep understanding of light and its
relationship to gem materials and cutting is given in the first
chapter. The bent is not drily scientific but instead the warm
voice of experience. The black and white photographs are good and
suffice for broad but due to their high contrast
suffer in the subtle details discussed in the text, and the same
is true throughout the book.
A good case is made that in practice hardness is not a great
consideration in choosing materials for use in jewelry. The text
is sprinkled with little bits of experience and hard won
which gem materials do this or that: descriptions of
their nature. Carving materials are discussed in terms of ease of
use and applicability.
This is a really knowledgeable text. It is obviously condensed
with almost every sentence loaded with Areas
apparently successfully addressed include carving principles,
tool making, surface options, drilling and piercing, all manner
of specific shapes and problems in carving and then chapters on
specific materials from the carvers point of view. The stones
described in detail include all the commonly cut materials as
well as synthetic materials.
If you are interested in knowing how to carve gem materials with
a minimum of fuss and specialized equipment this one is for you.
It is loaded with cutter's tricks and cheap ways to make
effective tools including ones own silicon carbide cutting tools.
I've never seen a book before that goes through the home version
of industrial firing procedures necessary to make professional
gem carving tools. Henry Hunt is obviously a master cutter,
someone who understands his material and how to work it. Despite
an initial dry feel and rough quality photographs this is an
excellent book for someone who wants to know about this field
whether a collector, goldsmith or lapidary.
If we were rating it like a movie show on T.V. out of 8 stars
this would be a six and a half having lost one star due to the
photos. The cover of this book has a strong, a little naive
graphic look to it with a 'southwest feel'.
There is a very good safety warning page at the front of the
book with an 'additional safety disclaimer' in a grey box. It is
a truly sad commentary that as an author one is really concerned
about being sued for wrongfully applied Unlike other
fields like medicine or science in jewelry greed sometimes seems
to be uppermost and authors have in the past been successfully
sued by readers who misused the given. It irritates
me that some of us 'mess our own nest' as metalsmiths and stop
the flow by suing people for their publications.
The book is published by GeoScience Press which publishes among
other books John Sinkakas's extraordinary volume 'Gemstone and
Mineral Data Book' which should be in every serious metalsmiths
Lapidary Carving for Creative Jewelry, by Henry Hunt, Geoscience
Press, Inc, ISBN 0-945005-10-5
Box 1624, Ste M, Calgary,
Alberta, T2P 2L7, Canada
Tel: 403-263-3955 Fax: 403-283-9053
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