Dave, don’t re-use dop wax. It is not worth the little cost of the
wax. You get your best bond to a stone with FRESH wax. Reheated
wax gets crumbly also. Same for wax that has set around for years.
If the surface of the wax stick is not shinny, it the trash it goes.
The stuff only cost a dollar or so a stick, and a stick will last you
for several hundred stones.
If I am cutting a number of stones at one setting, I will sometimes
take the stone off the dop, and then apply a new layer of wax to the
old wax on the dop and mount a second stone. I will never take a
dop out of the bin that has wax on it and try to reuse the wax on
It is so much fun to see that opal you are polishing out go flying
and break as it hits the floor. All for the 2 cents worth of new wax
that would have prevented it.
One final point, I never use a dop pot, but rather melt the wax
directly from the stick to the dop. A dop pot will evaporate off
the wax over time and after just a while the wax in the pot is no
where as good as the wax straight off the stick.