Friday, 20 April 2018

Closed For a Few Days

Just a brief post to let you know that we will be closed from the end of today- Friday the 20th- to the beginning of Friday the 27th of April but to make your visit worthwhile, here's a pic of a beautiful piece of Bay of Fundy flame agate.

Here it is lit from the front to show the patterning and great little sparkling druzy in the centre. And here it is backlit to show the patterning and translucency.

Pretty amazing stuff, huh? I have 5 nice sized pieces to play with.

Also, for anyone interested, there is a really nice article on us in the Business Section of the on-line version of the Digby Courier. Check it out! It will appear in print next week.
Hope to see you soon!

Monday, 16 April 2018

Hi-Tech Slant Lap On The Way

Well, I finally pulled the trigger.

Since I got my 6 inch flat lap, I have had so much fun that I have been wondering if I should get a bigger one. They are not cheap and I AM 72 years old but I have been dieting and doing my exercises so chances are pretty good that I can get a year or two at least out of it. Besides, Vickie has told me that if I croak, she will just give it to Raul, our pool boy. Waaaiiit a minute- we don't have a pool!

Anyway, the deed is done and I have ordered the Hi-Tech 8 inch Slant Lap (basically a flat lap turned on its side a bit). Here's what it looks like.

With this machine, I can do everything from fairly coarse grinding (180 grit) to fine (I bought an extra 8,000 grit plate) and then polish with the polishing lap and any polish I care to use (probably a mix of cerium and tin oxide).

Don't know yet whether I will sell my 6 inch flat lap or have it set up at a specific grit to speed things up. If I don't sell it, I will probably sell my Lortone combination trim saw/ grinder or Rock Rascal trim saw/grinder. So if you are interested in some really good used equipment, let me know.

It is still quite cold here (about freezing) but warmer weather has to come soon! Stay tuned for some really great rock pics!


Thursday, 12 April 2018

Rock Shop Back in High Gear

Yesterday, I spent about 5 hours in the shop. I got the tumbler going and managed to cut some slabs into shapes that I will do a final forming on later today. I have several beautiful pieces of moss agate and this one even has a druzy as well.

The black lines are where "The Artist Who MUST be obeyed" wants me to work to. It will take about two weeks to finish this and then I will post pics. The colours and patterns are so rich and vivid that I know this is going to be a really exceptional piece.
I was also able to glue two smaller pieces to wood so they can be cut and I just had to cut a piece Vickie found recently. Here's how it looked on the outside:

When you see conchoidal fractures like that you know you are dealing with high quality stuff so I was interested to see the patterning in the direction I wanted to cut and here it is:

There is a lot of hematite in this stone but it is still like glass on the surface so it should take a really good polish.
The yarn shipment arrived yesterday and we are in the process of labeling it so it will be on the shelves by the weekend for all you addicts (you know who you are!)
Hope to see you soon!

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Perfection is Boring

My goal is not to create perfect, beautiful pieces.

My goal is to create interesting, even unusual pieces.

To that end, I often use stones that have cracks and pits as long as I am sure there is no lack of integrity or "fatal flaw" that will cause the stone to break. That is why also, from time to time you can see tool marks in my wire and it may not be absolutely straight.

But I have one rule- Don't work with boring rock!

My two latest pieces bear this out. Both stones are local and both have pits and cracks. But both are super interesting. The first is a piece that packs a lot into its 4 cms of length.

As you can see, it has a crack and I have left two natural edges but it has beautiful green, copper and yellow colouring, areas of clear quartz, fortification agate and brecciated (broken) jasper. I have used an abstract copper wrap with a reddish copper ball to pick up the colour and I can assure you that the person who buys it will spend a lot of time looking at it!

The second piece is also very interesting.

I call this piece Lapis Lignum Polaris because it is actually a piece of petrified wood (lapis lignum) with a little surprise at about 11 o'clock- a small, shiny Polaris (north star) which is actually a cube of pyrite (fools gold) that itself has been broken by pressure at some point and the crack filled with silicate. I have used a wire wrap designed by me to showcase this unusual 4.5 cm stone- cracks, pits and all! Another interesting feature is that you can plainly see remnants of the wood cell structure that has been replaced by several different silicate varieties. Again, the new owner is going to really want to study this piece.

I am back in the shop! Tumbler is tumbling and I will be doing a lot of cutting with the trim saw and glue a couple of other pieces to wooden blocks so they can be cut tomorrow.

Expecting a yarn shipment today so we will have new colours on the shelf before the weekend.

Hope to see you soon!

Sunday, 8 April 2018

The Boss of The Moss

For a brief period in my life, I was a golf professional. I wasn't very good- hence the adjective "brief" and even though I haven't played for close to a decade, I still follow the game. This is Masters Sunday, a special day for all golfers, as it is the culmination of the Masters Golf Tournament from Augusta Georgia. In honour of this, and since my latest piece features a really nice local moss agate, I am naming it "The Boss of the Moss" after one of the best putters ever- Loren Roberts- who was so good that in 1985, a fellow competitor gave him that nickname (one I think is the best ever).

This stone was found virtually across the street and was originally round. After I had run it through the tumbler, the deal is I show all the rocks to Vickie (She who MUST be Obeyed!) and she takes the ones she wants for jewelry. This one she asked me to cut in half and drill and so of course, it got cut and drilled. We then used a balled copper wire to do a cool "funky wrap"at the top and put it on a waxed cotton cord with a copper clasp and now it is, with apologies to Mr. Roberts, The Boss of the Moss.
When viewed with light behind, a very interesting pattern shows up. A lot of people think that moss agates are green in white but, in truth, they can be many colours as long as the patterning is organic.

All in all, a very interesting local stone.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Back on The Bench

The nice rockhounding weather of the past few days left yesterday afternoon. In fact, last night we had high winds, snow, freezing rain, ice pellets and finally rain. Then this morning, we were back to wet snow.
It was time to move indoors and finish some pieces and what better stone to work on than a piece from Brazil! I felt warmer just touching the stone (heh,heh)- a nice piece of crazy lace jasper.
For the last few days, I have been experimenting with a totally new (at least to us) technique for setting stones using only copper wire and after a few failures, it worked!

If the stone looks familiar, it is because I did a similar piece with a different setting a few months back. Remember this:

As I said, the setting is unique, and allows me to use finer wire (in this case 20 gauge) and still have the stone snugly and firmly set. I took a picture of the back and if anyone reading the blog is interested, if you ask nicely I will send it to you via email.

On the yarn front, sales have been pretty brisk over the last week or so but we are expecting a large shipment early next week so the shelves will be fully stocked and with some new colours!

Cheers and hope to see you soon!

Friday, 6 April 2018

Another Nice Piece of Bay of Fundy Agate

It is really cold here today but Vickie, the lady with The Agate Eye, was not to be deterred. She managed to come home with this beauty!

The patterning was so amazing that I had to cut it and here is the thin end section.

The rest of the cut stone looks like this.

So now I will glue this face to a piece of 2x4 so I can cut quarter inch slices. Pretty interesting.

Keeping Touch With School Friends
Don't know about you but I really enjoy staying in contact with people I went to school with. One of them, Apryll, lives in the U.S. now and follows my blog and recently she contacted me about a piece she had seen. She is now the proud (I hope!) owner of said piece and was kind enough to send me some pics.
Here's Apryll wearing the piece:

And here's a close up of the piece:

Personally, I think she makes a really nice piece of Mexican Crazy Lace Agate look even better!
I really enjoy making pieces like this but it's really great when I can send one to a friend.

And by the way, some have asked if they can buy stuff they see on the blog and the answer is yes- if you are prepared to pay shipping. And if you don't pay for insurance, your beef is with the post office, not me. I will say that everything I have shipped to date has arrived quickly and undamaged.

Hopefully, later this year we will be selling through the Seawall Fibres website which is "under construction"