This column outlines a step-by-step project to create a decorative feature on the back of your cabochons using small burrs that mount in a flex shaft. It involves using diamond ball burrs of various grits and homemade wood burrs.
The first step is to select a translucent area on your cab or slab that shows considerable transmission of light and color in the place where you will make the decorative feature. Mark a point with a felt tip pen and start the hole with a small coarse grit 1/8-inch diamond bur. I do the carving in a shallow plastic bowl cut from the bottom of a large plastic bottle with ½-inch of water inside. Dip the piece in the water and grind with the burrs for a few seconds and dip again.
Using a ½-inch diameter coarse burr, continue the grinding by holding the side of the bit in the previously made hole. Continue dipping and grinding for a few seconds. Every few minutes, turn the burr vertically and correct the shape of the hole because when you grind with the side of the burr, it pulls slightly sideways. Ball burrs do not grind very well if you hold them vertically.
As you are grinding the hole, stop and look at the back of the piece under a strong light to see how it appears. If you like how it looks, begin the sanding steps to remove the grinding marks.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Easy Pickins' at Australia's Agate Creek
As a member of a few Australian Facebook fossicking (rockhounding) groups, I had been seeing photos of an amazing variety of cut and polished agates posted by people who had found them at Agate Creek.
Elizabethan Gems; Literal and Literary
MINERALS TO BEWARE OF Myrickite
Some venomous snakes and stinging wasps and bees advertise their dangerous nature with bold red, yellow, and orange colors that seem to say, “Stay away!”
Hell's Canyon Petrified Wood
WHAT TO CUT
Benitoite’s Uncommon Partner
Nafplio Archeological Museum
Bronze Age Jewelry Rival Contemporary Designs
A Different Decoration From the Back
Volcanoes Continue to Capture Headlines
EARTH SCIENCE IN THE NEWS
SMITHSON, SMITHSONITE, AND THE SMITHSONIAN
“PETOSKEY STONE” Michigan's State Stone
Simple STEP STOOL
A fresh approach to a Shaker tradition
As tough as they come
Create a convertible bedroom with cool cabinetry, the right hardware kit, and clear instructions.
FUN with FRIDGE MAGNETS
Have a micro-blast turning precious scrap into useful hangers-on
Dramatic curves from your table saw
Arts & Crafts WALL CLOCK
My mission to create a Craftsman clock on the table saw
IRELAND INVESTIGATES TIKTOK OVER CHILD, CHINA DATA CONCERNS
TikTok is facing two EU data privacy investigations, one into its handling of children’s personal data and another over its data transfers to China.
TESLA BUILDS 1ST STORE ON TRIBAL LAND, DODGES STATE CAR LAWS
Carmaker Tesla has opened a store and repair shop on Native American land for the first time, marking a new approach to its years-long fight to sell cars directly to consumers and cut car dealerships out of the process.
NUCLEAR SUBMARINE DEAL WILL RESHAPE INDO-PACIFIC RELATIONS
The U.S., Britain and Australia have announced they’re forming a new security alliance that will help equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines. The alliance will see a reshaping of relations in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. Here’s what it might mean for various players:
INTERNET FUNDING RULE COULD FAVOR RURAL AREAS OVER CITIES
Cities and urban counties across the U.S. are raising concerns that a recent rule from President Joe Biden’s administration could preclude them from tapping into $350 billion of coronavirus relief aid to expand high-speed internet connections.