Bir Damla Su

 

                                                                              

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Carving an agate flower 

 

Tools

Diamond bits: I use plated diamond bits. They are not as good as sintered or bonded ones but plated diamond bits are  inexpensive. Also  as they wear out I can use them with diamond powder.

I have 40, 80, 150, 240, 400, 600 grit bits in many different shapes. 

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You can turn hard wood and obtain the shapes you want. You can than dip them in diamond slurry. It is cheaper and you can create the shapes you want to use.

I use the wood carving bits during the prepolish stage.

 

 

On the left you see miniature split mandrel and sandpaper strips. Proceed by cutting the sand paper into long and narrow strips. Write the grit size behind them so you don't mix them up.

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If your hands are getting very harsh treatment while carving use wooden dowels to hold your stone. I use anything I get my hands on; broken chair back rods, large screws etc. I use green wax to dop the stones but experts says red wax holds better. It is a personal preference. 

 

 

I use feltbuffs for the final stage of polishing. 

Don't forget polishing will be successful if the scratches on the surface of the stone are completely removed when you finish sanding.

I shape my stones  using a cabbing machine until I am satisfied with the rough shape.   

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Draw the lines you want to follow with a permanent marker.

I used my flex shaft for carving and polishing my flower this time. Normally I use a carving machine. (here)

I carve the stone with diamond bits starting with the coarser grit. I dip the stone in oil (I use baby oil, it is good for my hands and smells good) 

As you progress into finer grit diamond bits your flower takes its shape..

On the back of the flower I marked the petals (left). 

I carved the petals with the carving tool to create a concave shape. (right)

 

This is the shape I reached after using 600 grit diamond bits.

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I drilled a hole to put a wire through to add a setting for a diamond or better some other coloured stone as the seed. The picture on the right is too flu but you can see the hole.

When I think I have the shape I want, I start using sand paper with a miniature split mandrel.  

I start with the coarser paper, I dip the stone in water, then I start the sanding process. Often I need to discard the worn out part of the paper. And I dip the stone in water often. You can dip the sand paper in water but it spray everywhere when turning, so I prefer to dip my stone in water. 

Under a bright light inspect the stone and mark the scratches with a permanent marker.

And finally, you can use diamond or oxide powders whichever you deem appropriate for your stone. But some say the cerium oxide is superior to everything else when polishing quarts etc.  I usually use hard   felt  buffs  and  as  last  step  I  use  leather  buffs.  I mixed a little  diamond powder  with cerium oxide when I  carved this agate. 

The cerium slurry prepared with just the right amount of water and powder and a tablespoon of vinegar works wonders. 

For using diamond bits we dip the stone in oil, for sanding we dip the stone in water. For polishing with felt buffs we use a slurry. If we use diamond powder for the slurry we mix oil, if cerium, aluminium, tin or chrome oxide powder then we use water to make the slurry. 

This is today's drop of water...