Flex shaft lapidary


Slabbing, Shaping and Polishing Turquoise Cabs Using Foredom Handpiece
By Lee Epperson

This paper will describe the process of slabbing, shaping and
polishing turquoise cabs using Foredom Handpiece and various
grinding discs. Other stone materials require different
polishing methods and will not be covered in this paper…

Complete Story:

I just viewed Lee Epperson’s tutorial on using a fex shaft for
lapidary purposes. Lee has done a great job of sharing his expertise
and I heartily recommend that any of you who have an interest in the
subject should also view it. I have only one reservation and that is
that one should probably think twice about using the technique on the
harder stones inasmuch as you are not using a lubricant/coolant.
Furthermore, using this approach with heat sensitive stones is also
risky. Opal would be especially vulnerable. Diamond abrasives can be
used, but you will not get much life out of diamond accessories which
are used dry. Another consideration is that when using the
unlubricated flex shaft method you are going to create a lot of dust.
When this is the case you had better set up a means of blowing it
away ( a small fan will do nicely ) Otherwise, doing it outdoors with
a breeze will also work nicely. If you are working some of the mildly
poisonous materials you will also need to consider using a
respirator. Malachite, turquoise, abalone and any form of quartz can
be hazardous. ( Quartz is not poisonous, but silicosis can kill you!

Another application of the technique is that of using abrasive
wheels to trim the girdles of cabochons which don’t quite fit in the
bezel cups.

Congratulations, Lee, on a job well done…by the way, that bolo
that you made for the tutorial is a hell of a nice piece ! The
craftsmanship is excellent and the design is great. Keep up the good

Ron Mills, Mills Gem
Co. Los Osos, Ca.