Ken, Respectively…the water irrigation system on lapidary
machines has nothing to do with protecting the cutter! Water is
essential to stone cutting (especially with modern diamond wheels) to
clean the swarf from both the stone and the wheel which would
otherwise become clogged and stop cutting. The water also cools both
stone and wheel from the very high friction caused by the abrasive
When I began cutting nearly 30 years ago, there was little to-do
about such things as being poisoned by dust from various stones etc.
We didn’t lick malachite because it tasted bad…not because it was
dangerous. Same with hemetite and others. Sea shells and coral
smelled terrible when ground…a vicious iodine/bromine
smell…after all that is much of what they contain. Today, people
suck down coral calcium tablets like they are going out of style.
Even with water, cutting some of those stones will cause some mist
that still contains the evil vapors. I guess over the last quarter
century I have breathed my share. Stangely, my doctor has told me on
more than one occasion that I have the lungs of a 30 year old (less
than half my age). My blood is clear, blood pressure is
excellent…now if I could only get my arteries a bit
cleaner…but then thats probably from all the great pork fat I
used to eat with home made bread as a kid!
I do not mean one should not protect themselves from the harm of
these materials, but once again, I find it difficult to cut stones
wearing a bonnet, a respirator, rubber gloves, and wadders! Know
what? I’m not going to do it either. I love to cut too much for all
that. I am now well past retirement age and aiming for the best part
of my life. On the other hand, if I don’t make it…I have already
had a wonderful, action packed life!!
Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2