Locally effective substitute for dopping wax?


I’m getting ready practice making cabs from agate and jasper but it
seems that dopping wax is hard to get around here. I have heard that
some people are using cyanoacrylate glue instead. How well does that

Thanks in advance
Andrew Jonathan Fine

Very well indeed. I gave up on wax (except for faceting) years ago.
Be sure to clamp the stone to the dop for at least an hour, use gap
filling CA glue and dissolve it off the dop with acetone when you’re

For me it holds much more reliably than wax.


Andrew, there are many ‘glues’ that you can use for cabbing. An old
favorite was Duco cement mixed with baking powder to thicken it.
These days, if not dopping wax, people use epoxy (take 12 hours to
cure at least) or crazy glue. Removal can be done with gentle heat
or acetone.

Be careful not to glue you fingers and have very good ventilation!!
Cheers from Don in SOFL.

I use cyanoacrylate glue all the time for gluing stones on the dop
stick. I get the CA Special-T brand because it has a thicker
viscosity. I put a good sized blob on the back of the stone then set
the dop stick, in my case 3/8" wooden dowels, in the glue then spray
with an accelerator to set the glue. I leave the standing cab down
dop stick up to dry overnight before cutting. I have a cake pan full
of sand that I use to level uneven stones while dopping. Then once
the cutting’s done I have a 1-gallon ice cream bucket with a lid that
has about two inches of acetone in the bottom that I drop the stones
and dops in. Then the next day the dops are floating on the top and
the stones are in the bottom of the bucket. I use rubber gloves to
retrieve the dop sticks and stones because dipping one’s hand into
acetone when you have the tiny cuts in your hands inherent to this
trade can be a painful experience.

Rick Copeland

Using wine corks for dop sticks works great, at least for cabs
larger than the cork. CA is also used to attach them.

Theresa Bright

We are still talking about cabbing here, right? I sent a reply to
this question the other day but have further comment now. Depending
on the size and kind of stones you are cabbing, why are you dopping
them at all?? I haven’t dopped more than 5 stones in the past couple
of years but cut hundreds! Learn to cut without dopping. You will
save loooots of time and quite a bit of effort too. When I say ‘size
and kind of stones’ I mean, I cut everything down to 10x8mm by hand,
Smaller than that or stones that must be exactly cut to shape and
size for an inlay job or special order, I might use a stick.
Everything else, but especially free forms, I cut simply by holding
them in my hands. Yeah, I grind away lots of fingernails that way,
but believe me, by holding the stone one gets a totally different
feel for how the stone acts on the wheel, where its touching the
wheel, how its cutting, etc. etc. Result is a faster more accurate
cut and a much more enjoyable experience. I also teach all my
students to cut free hand and I rarely see one of them dop after
they learn how to do it. Just my 2 cents!

Cheers from Don in SOFL.

Devcon 5-minute Epoxy works very well and can be cured to working
hardness by 10 minutes in a 170 degree kitchen oven. To remove the
cab from the dop, place it in the freezer for a few minutes and it
will come right off.


My favorite is a 5-minute epoxy. It actually takes about 2 hours to
cure to a state that I will depend on, but it makes a good bond. It
can be removed from a metal dop with heat, or it will soften and
release by soaking it in acetone.

Steve McQueen
Gems Evermore