Working with wood has caused him to have many wood tools in his shed.
Upon meeting Sara, which coincided with his meeting with Crystals (inevitably) he went on his first rock field trip with the Cape Town Gem Society and: The bug bit!
Needless to say: He is now one of "those"/"us" (you know what I am talking about)
We did a lapidary course at the Gem Society in May 2015 and (again needless to say) he had to built his own table.
We did a trip to Durban in June 2015 to visit the GAIA shop, and upon returning we were equipped with info, collected from friends that do lapidary, Rob and Sheldon, and 5 diamond discs.
I have asked Connie to explain to us a bit on how he built his table and what he use.
Connie's Lapidary Table Journey
My wood cut-off saw was transformed to become a water-operated-rock-cutting-machine.
The available diamond 230mm blade doesn't fit inside and I had to do modifications.
I removed part of the cover and guards and built an aluminium cover big enough to fit the new blade. A spout was also mounted to deliver sufficient water to keep the process cold. To make the 22mm hole fit on the 16mm shaft of the saw, I used a copper plumbing piece to make a washer. It worked perfectly.
I mounted a skill saw on the bottom of the table with a groove for the blade to stick through.
The construction of the sump for the lubrication liquid was a bit of a challenge, I had to keep the lubrication inside and the motor's exhaust wind separate, I had to build an open sump that doesn't spill but lets the air out.
I used 2mm plate and a lot of innovation.
I used a bench grinder and fitted water pipes to the top and outlets at the bottom.
Water supplied by a small fountain pump.
The grinding wheels is too soft currently and I will look for a coarser grit grindstone soon.
I used wax grease on all the shafts at the housing to protect the bearings.
Sanding and Polishing
I used a 1Hp 1400 rpm vintage motor from my old table saw that I had outside to run 2 shafts, with a pulley and fan belt.
The 1 for a 4 inch Stainless steel disc for sanding and a 6 inch stainless steel disc for polishing.
Sanding pads 50 to 10000 grit that mounts with velcro.
Polishing: wooden disc with stretched leather to use with the tin oxide also fixed with velcro.
The steel table with a 6mm top was fitted with flat bar around each activity with drains on the inside that collects water in a aluminium sloping gutter that drops the water and sludge in a separate bucket.
Plastic sidewalls keeps splashing inside the cubicle so that I can do my lapidary work inside my house with no messing.
The trimming saw was too fast and I had to lower the speed with a sewing machine foot pedal. It gets hot after a while but I don't do much continuous trimming at this time.
All electrical wires are connected to easy accessible switch panel, including the neon light that is mounted separate from the table.
Why did I go all this trouble instead of buying the ready made lapidary equipment?
I love to experiment and see if I can make it work with what lies around.
That is part of my creative expression.
I have started experimenting with various pieces of rough crystals that was sitting and waiting for me on the shelf.
It is a never-ending journey of coming to know how to work with different hardness and different rocks. Each one has it's own composition and tells you what you need to do with it!
I love it! It makes me rock!!