Lapidary work is a fun and exciting hobby that involves cutting and polishing rocks, stones, and gems, turning them into jewelry pieces, as well as other forms of decorative adornments. This beautiful hobby has become an interest to many people all over the world. Some people have even decided to make it into a profession. With this in mind, getting the right lapidary equipment should be given close attention. Where else to get them but from online sources?
Getting lapidary equipment can turn out to be expensive. For this reason, it is recommended to start slowly, adding things along the way. If you consider yourself as a beginner, you may want to get some lessons from local clubs, shops, or even from an extension program in college. Several classes offer to make lapidary equipment available, allowing for use as you take the course.
Afterwards, you can start getting your own equipment as you continue learning what interests you the most, and determine what equipment you really need as you complete your lapidary projects. As your love for your hobby continues to grow, you can then work on adding new equipment and tools.
Lapidary Equipment to Get
When it comes to lapidary equipment, here are some that you may want to add to your list:
- Rock Tumblers
One of the initial purchases that you may want to consider includes getting a rock tumbler. This equipment easily turns play rocks of gray into colorful and attractive polished stones. You can find a huge variety of tumblers that are currently available. These options work at various speeds, with the different types of rocks and stones in different amounts.
Some prefer getting smaller tumblers, as they are not that expensive compared with the bigger ones. They are also ideal for a hobbyist and beginners. Some models are adjustable, with the capacity to accommodate various sizes of barrels. As stones tumble gently, they will be gently cleaned using your personal choice of polish or grit, resulting to different types of styles for the effects.
- Drills, Wheels, Discs and Saws
To enjoy your hobby even further, you can also add some varieties of drills, wheels, discs and saws. They are used in cutting and designing polished stones. They can be turned into a wide range of jewelry items such as rings or pendants. They can also be shaped into precious gems, cabochons or cameos. Creating a beautiful piece may take some time for practice, but the more that you work at it, giving it time, the better you can expect to get.
- Saws/Saw Blades
Saw blades are available in different thicknesses, sizes, and “kerfs”. The latter refers to the width of the line which is cut right through the stone. It is typically wider compared to the thickness of the blade because of abrasion. As a general rule of thumb, you can match the thickness of the blade to the kind of stone that you are planning to cut. Generally, hard stones require a thicker blade that is sturdy enough not to break easily. High quality gemstones also benefit from using a thinner blade in order to make sure of a well-used kerf.
Two types of saw blades are used in lapidary – trim saws and slab saws.
- Trim Saw
The purpose of a trim saw is to trim or cut slabs into usable bits that are referred to as “preforms”. They can also be used in trimming pieces of stone which can be used for intarsia, inlay, and others. It is worth to know that trim saws cut only straight lines. In order to create a curved line, a succession of overlapping straight cuts and refine the curves with the use of a grinding wheel.
- Slab Saw
A slab saw is used in cutting medium to large rough rock pieces, turning them into manageable sizes that are referred to as “slabs”. In order to create evenly cut slices on the rough, these slab saws use a feed system. This is done by using an adjustable clamp to secure the rock, keeping it sturdy and straight into the machine. Bigger slabs may take several hours to cut, which is why using an automatic feed is almost essential for larger saws.
- Other Equipment
There are also several other tools of the trade that can be purchased from several sources online, as well as from actual stores. Among these other tools include jewelry mounts, templates, clasps, raw materials and display boards. If you are even interested in exploring the field even more, you can also get chisels, picks, as well as gold pans for your projects.
Lapidary has become interesting to people of different background. With the availability of the internet these days, several groups discuss and talk about these subjects, including clubs which hold regular meetings. One thing amazing about these clubs is that they invite speakers who are well knowledgeable about this field. You can even avail of some tutorials and other educational products such as books and videos, offering all the information that you need to start creating your very own lapidary projects.