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June 2010
in this issue
-- Our Product Line.
-- Fathers' Day
-- Franklin Faceters Frolic
-- We're on FACEBOOK!
-- New Representatives...
-- Tom Mitchell
-- Lou McAllister


To all of you in the Ultra Tec family.

Our Product Line.

Product Index

Fathers' Day
DAD on mast I Googled "Fathers' Day" to see just what is its exact date. I learned something - it's on June 20 - well, that's what it is in the USA, and in 8 other countries, but not everywhere. In 20 countries it's some other date. And in some countries, those deserving Dads have no Fathers' Day at all.

Well, that doesn't stop me from saying - for Dads everywhere--on Father's Day in particular, or whenever, THE RIGHT GIFT FOR DAD - IS A DAD! Dad will thank you with every angle that he sets - with every facet!

One Dad wrote:

I just purchased and installed the Digital Angle Dial for my Ultra Tec faceting machine. It was very easy to install and calibrate. I just cut and polished a synthetic sapphire in 1/3 the time it has been taking me. I really like how easy it is to set the angle and then when I come back to polish I know for a fact it is exactly at the same angle that I cut it at. This new add-on has really made a huge difference in my faceting.

Click for More Info

Someone wrote to us asking about lessons for Concave faceting. Now, I always think that lessons are good, whatever it is that you are learning, but there are many skills for which the best teacher is DOING IT. And Concave faceting is one of those things - after all, the person who ventures into it is already a faceter, and the same principles that apply to flat faceting apply to concave faceting too. It's like - if someone who is a good cook desires to try cooking, say, Italian food, would that person need lessons? Well, I think that lessons wouldn't hurt, but more important is a having a few good recipes, and a few words of guidance from a good chef, and then, DOING IT.

Dalan Hargrave Good news! -- DALAN HARGRAVE, one of the best chefs out there, a prize-winning lapidary artist we all admire, is writing a book on the subject - specifically an instruction book. It's planned for release within a few months. Now that's cookin'!



Franklin Faceters Frolic
At the Franklin Faceters Frolic in July (Click on Image for Program) Dalan Hargrave will be talking about Concave and Fantasy cutting on Ultra Tec equipment.

Last month we had a section of the SomeTimes with this very same title - "Polishing Advice". And, with this issue, the leadoff paragraph deserves repeating: "If you made a list of the first 10 subjects of concern to faceters - amateurs and professionals alike - the number 1 subject would be "polishing". For that matter, probably numbers 2, 3, and 4, would also be polishing. I think if you ask 10 faceters, you'll get 7 "best ways" -- none of them "wrong", and none of them "the absolutely right way" but all of them worth considering. You will find a technique that feels best and works best for you - but even when you think you've got "IT", keep your antenna working".

Last issue, the advice was from Brad Amos. This time, it's from gemologist Allen B.Smith a master gem cutter from Grand Junction Colorado. It's interesting to note that both of these faceters - Amos and Smith - became interested in photographing their gemstones and have written articles about that subject (you can look in our Library).

Here's what Allen had to say about polishing:

I have been faceting for thirty years and have a drawer full of polishing laps I almost never use. I find myself returning to two basic types of polishing laps that work well for me. These are Corian, one charged with cerium oxide for quartz and beryl and the other charged with Linde A for almost everything else except corundum and CZ. The other lap is the Batt lap. One side is for Linde A for polishing tourmaline, garnet, Peridot and topaz. The other side is for use with 50k diamond for corundum, Chrysoberyl and CZ.

CORIAN: Mine are scored. They can be scored with a 1-1.5 inch section of fine hacksaw blade. Mine is glued to a dop for a very even score. The lap can also be scored with a razor blade from the center to the edge. Scoring will raise a burr at the edge of the cut. We'll fix that shortly. After the lap is washed, put it back on the machine and at slow speed apply a slury of polish making sure it covers the whole lap and fills the grooves. Once the lap is dry I apply a tablespoon or so of paste floor wax near the center of the lap and mix in a little dry polish. With a finger and the machine on slow speed spread the wax to cover the lap. Carefully scrape off most of the excess with a razor blade. Now take a dopped cab of agate or something and while the machine is still running work the cab back and forth across the lap until all the little burrs are pressed out. Remove any excess of polish with a terry cloth.

You are now ready to polish. I use a little extra polish now and then. This I keep in a 4 ounce plastic bottle with a flip top. I mix a couple of teaspoons of polish a drop of liquid dish soap and fill the bottle with water. Keep 2-3 tumble polished rocks in the slurry for agitation. Just give it a shake and apply a couple of drops while polishing. Use a slow drip from the water tank.

Go to a cabinet shop that handles Corian and have then cut a couple of 8 inch circles with a inch center hole from a piece of inch thick scrap from when they cut the opening for a sink. If you are at all handy you can do it yourself; outside as it is messy with Corian flying everywhere.

BATT LAP: Follow the directions and it polishes rapidly with either Linde A or 50k diamond compound. Do not use too much diamond. For corundum, CZ or Chrysoberyl the polish is excellent with no diamond haze.

THE TRICK IS PREPOLISH! Corundum and CZ have a tendency to pit, "orange Peel" whatever you want to call it even from a 3000 diamond lap. These must be removed or it will take forever to polish the stone.

I use 8000 diamond compound on an old zinc lap as a "pre-polish". I use this after the final cut on a 1200 or 3000 diamond lap. I start on the main facet that is the "pittiest". Keep the diamond compound fairly sloppy and be careful as this is an aggressive "final cut- prepolish". Some directions will cut much faster than other directions, a whole lot faster. Cut until all the little pits are gone and the surface is composed of even 8000 diamond scratches. Use your 10x loupe. Now cut the rest of the mains in opposite pairs until everything is cut to the same depth, mast height, down gauge or light. Cut all the remaining facets to exact meet point. Then go to the Batt lap with 50 k diamond and the final polish is 10-15 seconds per facet. Some directions and the table take a little longer.

It will take a couple of stones before the lap is broken in so it will require frequent recharging. I use a wood match size squirt of diamond compound with a couple of drops of extended liquid. Spread it across the turning lap with a finger and lightly wipe off most of the compound with a tissue. Once the lap is broken you should be able to polish a whole crown or pavilion without recharging. When the polishing slows down and the lap begins to be covered with dark grey cutting residue it is time to clean and recharge. I use a few drops on extender fluid or olive oil that is spread over the whole lap and then wiped thoroughly with a tissue. Occasionally I will have a facet that refuses to take a final polish so I give the lap a very quick squirt of WD- 40 wipe it down and then polish using the lap which appears to be polish free. Works well for the tricky facets.

Now - there are only three things certain in this life: death, taxes and different polishing advice. Stay tuned.

We're on FACEBOOK!
facebook link inage Ultra Tec Faceting is now on FACEBOOK. Take a look at our page for interesting links and updates.

We welcome all our Ultra Tec cousins as FANS -- your, pictures, experineces, comments and suggestions are welcome.

Ultra Tec's FACEBOOK Page

New Representatives...
Introducing our colleagues:

Tom Mitchell
TOM MITCHELL , is active in the local lapidary cub at The Villages, in central Florida.

Tom has this to say:

I have been an amateur geologist since college and have been fascinated by rocks and crystals all my life. Since retirement I have pursued these interests vigorously and over the past several years have amassed a modest collection of gem rough. I had a few of these pieces faceted by someone else, which was way too expensive. So I took up faceting. I love taking a rock and turning it into a thing of beauty, a treasure. I did my research, talked to several other faceters and chose Ultra Tec because it is without doubt the best machine out there.

It's hard to imagine someone more enthusiastic about faceting than Tom Mitchell.

Lou McAllister
LOU MCALLISTER lives in Orange Beach, Alabama.

Twenty six years ago Lou bought an Ultra Tec. He fell in love with it and faceting, and two years later he'd become a faceting "pro", cutting for customers from Georgia to Louisiana. Over the years, he has shared his lapidary skills and knowledge, his experience having included the teaching of faceting, and also carving and cabbing, as a member of Mobile Rock & Gem Society and as a founding member of The Southern Lapidary Guild. Lou is a welcome "new guy" to the Ultra Tec team.

We'll be in touch again soon with the next Sometimes Bulletin.

Bye for now

small ut faceting logo The Ultra Tec Team

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