Monday, April 28, 2014

Shiny? Well eventually!

This is my first by request post (and sadly the request didn't even come in to me it came to Lisa...). Apparently a few folks wanted to 'put eyes on' some rocks...

Well, that was easy! By the way some of this may be in the reunion mix. The request actually had a lot to do with "What will we find at the reunion?" There will be some more pics of what you might find, but first the educational part of the program.

Vocabulary: we need some language to talk about here are some terms that you might hear Lisa and I use...

Sean rock:
Basically these are rocks I tend to pick up... some of the common characteristics tend to be greens, reds, yellows. Pattern wise the more Sean rocks you see the better you understand.

Lisa rock:
The one on the left is a Lisa rock... Pink and purple tend to be more common here and patterns that look more like fabric patterns. But it mainly just means the rocks Lisa is more likely to pick up.

The rock on the right is actually both a Sean rock  and a Lisa rock . The real name for this one is a Moss Agate. It has green parts and clear parts and a few are in the mix for the reunion. Possession of these stones may result in favorable trades or hand to hand combat!

Now to make it a bit more confusing...
This is a Lisa rock:

This is a Sean rock:

 Now both of these are petrified wood, so how do you tell them apart?

Here is the Lisa rock on top of the Sean rock:

This time the difference in terminology comes from the fact that Lisa tends to like little things where as I am more likely to pick up the rocks sized as catapult shot... Note I still do pick up small ones, but Lisa really specializes in it.

Ok this next term is important for parents and others that have to deal with a rock hounds...


Sorry no picture for this one...because I'm taking pics of rocks we brought back and the primary characteristic of a leaverite is you see it and say, "Nope, leave it right there."

Ok, educational portion done...Lets see a few fun things you might find at the reunion

This is carnelian... No, not a diamond but this is a really fun red/orange stone that is what kings and queens in Europe would wear as the stone in their signet ring.

This is Fluorite. Definite Sean rock here. Easy and pretty carver. It also glows under a black light. Why is this one cool?

Maybe this slice makes it a bit clearer...

Speaking of clear... this is that last slice held up to a light, with my hand in the picture for scale...

Using my lined paper backdrop again, this is citrine. Most of what you find in the mix will be cutable into a jewelry sized stone! Colors run from pale orange to oxblood (deep orange almost red). There is also a material called ametrine which has purple (amethyst) and orange (citrine) in the same stone, but I'm not aware of any of it in the reunion gravel. 

If this hasn't whetted your appetite...

Our last stone of the day is apatite... as you can see these little fellas are smaller than the citrines (they are also softer stones) but they are cutable none the less, and a color you don't see that often in nature. And yes you might see some at the reunion, but look carefully these little guys can hide!

Well, this has been some of the rocks in the reunion mix, a bit of vocab and a couple of treasures I'm hording for my self...
Next week... is a week away (or is it?)
Two weeks from now... more rocks as we finish the tumbling batch I introduced a few weeks back.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Now for something completely different...

Surprise surprise this weeks post has nothing to do with baking/cooking, setting things on fire, rocks (well, maybe some rocks, but there are other things to deal with...), workshop projects or things we're doing on the house.

Apologies for this post being late. Monday was the funeral for Robert Wood, sign language translator, newly minted PHD, high council man for his stake, and husband and father. He is survived by his wife Emma and their four children. Emma is one of Lisa's best friends here.

This event has me thinking about a number of things. The one I will say now is that if you can witness a three year old girl crying that she wants her daddy, knowing that he's the one in the coffin three feet away, and not be affected by that... well I don't know whether to send you for counseling or shoot you on the spot!

Well, moving on to other things...

We just got word this week that Lisa passed her comps for her doctoral program, she also has one four week class to go before she is done with her coursework! That leaves her with finishing her dissertation and she's a doctor (don't worry I have the head deflator on standby...(actually I doubt I'll need it her last class is on creating and using surveys (Patrick stops to palmface...I used to teach that class! (By the way Lisa and one of her friends in the program think it's fairly ridiculous too (her friend teaches surveys too))))) (now that was a lot of parentheticals!)

I'm not going to discuss her dissertation topic at this point because she is considering changing it from something that will take 2-3 years to something she feels she can complete in one (for the record I do in fact understand what she's talking about (and have actually contributed to it) but I'm going to let her work it out and talk about it because it is her thing).

Also in the news... Lisa is going to an AECT conference in Florida in July. The paper she is working on is actually being workshop-ed there and will be included in published conference proceedings (in other words she is getting a book chapter publication!). Again this is one that she can explain the topic to you.

I'm working on some writing too, unfortunately the last piece I had approved was a disciplinary council results letter that while impressing my bishop with its quality is not something I can really talk about (note I'm the Ward Clerk not the one who was 'standing tall before the man').

Well, that's about all of that for now... so lets look at something pretty!

These are some sapphires Lisa and I found in some gravel from Montana  (for scale purposes I'm using college ruled lined paper for a back drop). Note that these are Natural Sapphires that have not been treated in any way. Planning on sending the center one in for heat treating and cutting there is a 70% chance of getting the color of the one on the left and a 30% chance for a 'cornflower' blue stone!

People ask me why I love tourmalines... well...

Just for reference these are the most common colors of tourmies but not all of them by any stretch of the imagination. These in particular are also a bit small for cutting into polished stones so I'm going to be doing something more artistic with them.

Also tourmies getting into cut and polish size stones now. The center one is a serious purple which you can just barely see in the picture.

This is an end on view of the big one from that last pic so you can see the crystal structure. Colors in tourmalines can change along the length of the stone or through the width so in addition to a ridiculous number of colors you can have any combination of colors in any direction!

Well, that's it for today folks!
Tune in next week when we... actually your guess is as good as mine at this point!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Early post!

Ok, I know I usually post on Mondays (and we will have some stuff to talk about next Monday), but I wanted to get this out of the way...

For any one who has ever said "that bites"

Sometimes it does, even when your huntin' rocks!

Um lets see... "I've always wanted to write something that has a bite to it...."

(I really need another prop in there for this one...) "some times you have to fight tooth and nail for what you want..."

<insert annoying pun here>

Lets look at that again...

Those are real sharks teeth we found in some gem gravel... and real amethyst, real citrine, real rose quartz, a couple real tourmies... sadly that's not real's real pyrite!

Remember sometimes life bites, but sometimes there is an opportunity there too, like a chance to bite life back with it's own teeth!

Have a great Easter (and lets try to get the puns out of our systems by Monday, because there are serious things to talk about (Honest I can be serious for two maybe even three whole minutes!!!))

Monday, April 14, 2014

Fire and pickles?

Back when I took over the blog I started out with working on rocket stoves and at last report I had accidentally turned my favorite design into a mini charcoal cooker... well, that experience was do at least in part to me being impatient and not loading it well. So this week I'm picking it up again with the goal of learning to load it better (and as part of an ongoing struggle to learn patience...). This time I started with smaller sticks and no bigger stuff (again) and the new lighters I found. It started quickly and then I waited (and waited and waited (several whole minutes at least)) and then...
sideways fire achieved!. I started loading in some wood that was a bit bigger and almost put it out. I added some more small stuff with the medium in and it picked right back up. Over time I added more of each and it kept going pretty well. I added the largest couple of pieces (1-2 inches in diameter) and almost killed it again, but again more small stuff brought it back. There were some wind gusts and it seemed to go out a couple of times but each time it would bounce back with at most some more small material for help.

I have heard rumors of these things getting 'iron banging' hot. I tried testing this with a piece of rebar I wanted to use for a project.
No luck on getting it hot enough to pound out, but it definitely got hot enough I needed my gloves to hold it.

It more or less stayed running over an hour, still taking more attention than I would like, not getting as hot as I would like, but better than before. I finally ended up putting it out with water resulting in lots and lots of steam.

Analysis from this test:
1. feed small material first and build up.

2. never assume it's out unless you've doused it very well.

3. it definitely gets hot enough to generate steam and you can probably cook on it (though that will wait for another test...)

4. I still have tinkering and learning to do (and hope to get it hotter))

But wait there's more!
when you are working with metal sometimes you need to take the oxidation off the surface  a standard tool for doing this for jewelry and small sculpture is pickle. Pickle is an acid compound that is usually kept in a slightly warmed bath. It's a really useful and nice thing, sort of. The problem is most pickles used today are pool ph- (sodium bio-sulfate), sulfuric acid or similar products; these are not chemicals that you want loose in your home, around your kids or pets, or in less than highly controlled conditions... not to mention they are not exactly what you would call eco friendly.

So, I spent a little time looking for a less difficult to store, easy to obtain and a bit friendlier solution. One solution that is testing out nicely is a vinegar and salt mixture. My start mixture for testing is two tablespoons of salt to one cup of vinegar (my online research yielded a wide range of mixes and several arguments on the subject.

For this test we are starting with some copper wire that I am annealing (softening) for another project.
Copper oxidizes quickly and so a good pickle is really necessary (when your sterling silver oxidizes, it has a lot more to do with the 7.5% copper than the 92.5% silver).
Here one of the two bundles has been annealed and the other was left untouched for comparison. After I annealed it, the second one was just as black. And then into the pickle!
the pickle here is fogged up do to my bad habit of quenching the metal in the pickle... and after I bring it out...
Here is the copper after a short time in the pickle. It is no longer mirror shiny because of what's happened to it but it is a bright copper color again and so soft you can bend it with a thought.

Test evaluation:
Vinegar and salt does work as a pickle.
It's a lot safer around pets, kids, spouses and so on.
Both components are available at the grocery store or a decently stocked convenience store meaning it is more available (making mixing some up 'on the spot' a lot more doable, and saves on shipping).
It's mild enough you can safely get cooled metal out with your fingers (thus saving the dreaded "somebody used steel tongs in the pickle!" emergency. (that's a whole 'nother post) 
The one thing it's probably not going to do for you is acid etching (not nearly strong enough).

And as for another kind of 'pickle' entirely...
If you're actually living life every once in a while you find yourself with an, "Ok, how did that work" situation (aka Holy #$@#$#@%$#@! What happened there?)

For me one happened on Friday as I was closing the roll down door to the outside shop when... Whoosh Bang!
One of the springs in the door mechanism popped off, passed within a couple inches of my head and slammed into the door.
On further analysis the end of the spring actually snapped off! So a chance for bodily harm passes and a new home repair adventure begins! (Hey I get to play fix the door! That's great, I didn't have any projects to do... oh wait... nuts).

While we're on scary things let me put in a plug for safety equipment...
 This is one of my welding gauntlets after pressing down on the wire (after it had stopped visibly glowing!). Trust me on this folks if you work on hot metal without proper safety gear you will experience "brand awareness". (And wear the safety glasses too).

Well, more food, fire, fun, and shiny things (and hopefully less opportunities for unintended decapitation) next week! See you then.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Rocks (and not the ones in my head this time!)

One of the questions that comes up from time to time is what I do with the rocks that I bring home. That depends on the rock! Some will live in my collection, some will immediately enter the cue for a project, some will remain in a secured location until I figure out what to do with them.

One thing I DO NOT do is faceting, that would be the cutting of clear stones with lots of flat sides (facets) that bounce light around. It looks like this:

Picture from
This takes several thousand dollars worth of special equipment and a certain kind of obsessive compulsive behavior that I don't do. Faceted stones also don't really fit my jewelry style or the historical stuff I like (with a few exceptions) so I don't do it (there are some stones I intend to get faceted but this is one job I won't be doing myself (wait! I can at least do the heat treating part! I mean it's only several thousand degrees Celsius for up to 12 weeks in specially designed high tech equipment... actually, I see the problem never mind...)) 

Ok, now that I have begged the question (and tried to convince myself to get yet another piece of equipment to set things on fire with!!!) what do I do with the stones??? Answer: cab, carve and tumble (not all on the same stone...

Cabbing or cutting cabochons is where you are cutting smooth domed or flat topped stones usually out of translucent or opaque material (but you can do clear stuff too) and sometimes composite/and or multilayer materials. They look like this:
Thanks to again for the pictures.
These can be cut on flat laps (like a record player but different), on arbors with grinding wheels, on sand paper in various configurations, and leather buffs. These fit my style a lot more than faceted stuff.
Carving, well it's like carving wood (but completely different (unless it's petrified wood!)), or bone, or soap,or <insert material here>.  A lot of times it is done with material that has faults that need to be cut out or other factors that would make it tricky or unsuitable for faceting or cabbing. It is also done with material that you want to preserve something about that would be lost by other cutting methods.
The stone on the left in this picture is orange calcite. It is a great carving stone but a bit too soft for most jewelry purposes so you wouldn't usually cut a cab out of it. The one on the right is sodalite (a blue softer material) on the top end and quartz (good old cut it all day, it's pretty bullet proof to work with quartz) in the rest of the piece. You could cut it in two pieces and make perfectly respectable cabs out of the two materials, but it is really cooler with the two parts attached. The two parts are different hardnesses so it would be a pain  to try to cut a cab out of it and maintain both materials (the sodalite would wear down a lot faster...), but if you're carving you can cope with that issue and make something cool out of the whole piece. (you may be seeing these stones again later as finished pieces, but as of this date/time they are sitting on one of my benches in the official "what should I do with this" section)
Last (we can argue about least later) comes tumbling. Tumbling is the most 'naturalistic' and simple ways of polishing stones. Note that I say 'naturalistic' and simple, not easy (though it pretty much is) or unskilled. There is some knowledge and skill needed to do it well, just not as much as the other methods. 
Tumbling is comparatively cheap tools wise and an easy way in. Tumbled stones also fit with some of my style which has a lot of ancient/primitive/nativistic elements, minimal in actual hands on time per piece and as a bonus is a good way to use up little bits of material that you trim off or are otherwise not useing for other projects (and I like to use as much of my material as possible). Your tumbler can also serve as a metal cleaner/polisher (as many reloaders know). For these reasons combined you will almost always find a tumbler running in my shop (actually I'm looking at buying a second one, but more on that later).
I put 'naturalistic' in quotes, because the action really does mimic natural action but it's hard to call something using electric motors and formulated abrasives natural (it would be closer using wind or water power, but still not quite there...). Basically a tumbler mimics how a river or stream rounds off and polishes a stone (but you can get a better polish because you are using a controlled process with human decision making and planned steps). The best way to understand tumbling is to follow the process, so we will do that in this and an up coming post (two posts because I wanted to start this now, but at 10 days per step (my usual for good old quartz family stones) it won't exactly be finished by dinner time (or even breakfast).
So here we go...
 This charming little engine of destruction is my tumbler, currently loaded with one 3lb and one 1.5lb barrel. the picture below shows the drive rollers without barrels on.
 Mine is a Lortone 3 1.5 meaning it is set up to run with and comes with 3 1.5lb size barrels. It uses essentially the same parts as the Lortone 33b which runs two 3lb barrels  (same motor, same rollers, same belts, as far as I can tell the only difference is the barrels). I also have two 3lb barrels from an old Harbor Freight tumbler that I wore the motor out on (but the barrels are fine!). I use a 3lb barrel for the first (coarse) step and the other for metal polishing. I got the 3 1.5 this time because the coarse step is the most aggressive and results in a fair amount of material loss, moving to the smaller barrel means I don't have to wait through two coarse loads to make a medium load. 
The other reason I went with the 3 1.5 is that I now have a barrel for each step of the polishing process. Cleaning your barrels is important (and even more so if you're using just one barrel) a bit of grit or broken stone from a more coarse environment can ruin a finer level run (and cause you to have to rerun a load at that level or even worse backtrack...). I am ADHD not obsessive compulsive, so running one barrel for each step means I don't have to stress over getting every little bit of grit out (and it's what the professionals do...). 

More to say about tumblers but lets save that for part two. On to the rock!
Here is the load we will be tumbling. It is a mix of chunks, pieces of slabs, and other small bits. You want things of similar hardness (this is good old quarts family (jasper, agate, jasp-agate, crystalline quartz...)) and a mix of sizes.
You want the rock to come 2/3 to 3/4 of the way up the barrel. Now, most of the instructions  you read will say to add the grit (abrasives) then the water. As you can see above I actually do this backwards; the reason being I've found that if I add grit then water more of the grit gets stuck at the bottom of the barrel and doesn't get used. If I add water first I get a better usage of the grit. So, for our load it's fill the water up to just under the top of the stones and then add four tablespoons of course grit.

The first go round is the coarsest grit. I use a 60/90 'split' grit that has pieces between 60 and 90 mesh it's cheaper and a little more aggressive than the 'straight' 80 that some people suggest. You can also use a 40/70 or a straight 30 grit if you want to be really aggressive, but most of the time you don't need it if you choose good rough.

Now it's time to put on your lid (2 parts) screw it down and put the barrel on the machine. At this point there are two mantenancy things to think about: 1) start the rollers before you put the barrel on, this prevents start up shock/strain to the belt and helps you not break them; 2) the 3lb and 1.5lb designations are the total weight of what goes into the barrels, i.e. a 3lb is meant to handle 3lb of stone, and grit, and water, if you are having belt breakage issues you may want to weigh your barrels to make sure they aren't over loaded. While we're at it remember I said fill 2/3 - 3/4 full... the 4 TBS of grit didn't fill the rest and it's not supposed to, we need a little open space for everything to roll around right (and not too much space either). Load it on to the rollers and see you in ten days... but wait, it's best to pick up the barrel and shake it once a day, and if you're doing material you haven't worked with before, even to open the barrel every couple of days to check the action and look for any gas build up (trust me coming back to discover that the end of your barrel has blown out can ruin your day (and your equipment...))

Fortunately for us this post is going up on day 10! So we can see how step one came out and do step two. First a couple of important safety notes... Realize this is messy stuff, don't do this in your kitchen (really if you or your spouse or parent or anyone else who lives with you cares at all about the house don't do it in the kitchen, it would be bad). Realize that the waste material we will be pouring our is a lot like thin cement and will have the same effect on your pipes, so pour it out somewhere other than your plumbing (this is part of why I say don't do this in the kitchen. Your spouse, parent, child, or plumber will murder you). Remember that cleanliness while next to impossible is vital. We will be cleaning out and wiping up everything, bad things happen to you, your rocks, other projects in your work space and the universe in general if you don't (remember you don't have to be completely OCD if you have multiple barrels but still clean them). One tip is to get two or three cafeteria style trays to work on, it contains things and makes clean up easier.

 And we pull the barrel, bring it to our work spot and open it! For the record I'm hearing the full sound track from a video where scenes from House MD are melded with the song "I am a scientist" (this video ) while I do this...

 Er, um, when did we add the chocolate milk? Usually the liquid is grey/silver at this step so something odd happened (note that at the polish step this may be a perfectly acceptable color depending on your polish). So we will drain/strain and examine the stones.
Btw make sure you clean out that barrel! a couple of smaller stones typically try to hide out there. The good news is we got good grit breakdown. 
Remember when I said don't put the water down the sink? I meant it. It is ok to pause at this point and admire the rocks, then pour them out on some paper towels and trouble shoot. we are looking for the brown water culprit, but also other 'trouble stones'
This picture shows two kinds of trouble. First to the back we see two stones that just haven't smoothed out enough  (probably wanted that extra coarse grit...) give them another run in the rough, if they don't clear up we'll deal with it then. The front pile is a completely different problem these are fractured bits from rocks. these will absolutely kill any polish, so we have to find them and the rocks they came from and get them out.
Here we have two broken/ badly fractured stones, the other broken ones seem to have completely become shrapnel (this is why I like to have one or two big ones in the coarse grind, they encourage the breakers to fall apart early). The one in two pieces also shows some areas wearing faster than others (softer stone) this can be hard to spot before hand. Now we decide the fate of these stones, and I'm going to toss them aside into my "pretty fish tank rock" bucket and not try to re tumble.
Then we have this pretty but problematic fellow... he's a softer stone that while cool needs to be with things of it's own hardness (and recognizing the material he's the brown water culprit).

Now that we have filtered all those out, the survivors go into our 1.5lb barrel marked for medium grit.
And surprise surprise they all fit. Most of our material loss was at the first stage and the load will not get too much smaller, but in the next post we will discuss what happens if it gets below our 3/4-2/3 range. Add water and our medium grit (I use a 220 grit). Put the lid on, tighten it down and send it spinning.

The rock has to complete the medium, fine and polish steps so we will pick this thread up again in a month.

We have yet to have any response on names for the starter or shop made tools... those are still open...
Just sayin'
sniff sniff...

No idea what we're going to do next time... the weather is supposed to be highs in the 60's (even up to 70) and the lows above freezing! And with  no rain! Maybe we'll set some stuff on fire... that is where this all started...


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

You made a what???

(Note: this one is out a day late for a classic reason. I like to have Lisa look over these things before I post them, unfortunately her editing pass was delayed. Lisa's editing was delayed due to a Monday night class in which the  group assigned to report on group work could not work as a group (got that?) resulting in them giving three separate presentations.)

Ok one of the points to today's post is to encourage feedback. Feedback is a good and sometimes fun thing (not to mention me being a little jealous of Lisa's comments when I haven't gotten any comments yet). I know a couple people have opted to email me because they didn't want to (or couldn't) comment, and I'd like to encourage those too, so if you can't or don't want to comment email me at

Anyway to encourage comments/emails... I realized that I really haven't named my sourdough starter and at least in the online community, names for your starter seem to be really, really important so... I am announcing the official Adventures of Patrick and Lisa Shameless Plug to Get Comments Name that Starter Contest! That's right, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls (and any in laws, out laws, or other readers of this blog that for some reason don't fit into one or more of those categories) comment or send an email with a name for my sourdough starter. We'll choose the one that we like best (or the one that strikes us as funny) and name the starter (Note for those of you going to the Layne family reunion: we are planning on making sourdough biscuits as part of the breakfast for our day so you may actually have to eat your words (I'm just saying...)). If your name is chosen will you get a prize? Possibly, probably, (I haven't gotten that far in thinking this through yet!) at a minimum you will get glory (or infamy) in this blog when your name is announced, you might also get a prize (and it may be featured in this or an up coming post). Please have your comments/emails in by May 4, 2014 and the announcement of the winner should happen by May 12 (I'm actually hopping for May 10th (just in case some happy or suicidal person chooses to name it for their mother!))

Second point: Talk about one of my favorite topics creativity. (Don't worry I'm not going for the big preach here and there will be pretty pictures). When we're talking about creativity  there are a lot of definitions or ideas 'out of the box' thinking, novel behavior, seeing/discovering things. For my purposes right now, creativity is finding uses for things that are positive (i.e. solving a problem, enhancing your environment, or in some way creating or increasing value) or creating something new.

Example the first...

I mentioned out of the box thinking, well what about empty box thinking... beyond the typical store stuff in it and recycle it answers how can this lowly piece of packaging help out in the workshop?

Well, lets take a look at one real use answer: I needed a way to glue some caps on tumbled stones. Problem 1: the glue needed is epoxy and there is no way to be sure it won't ooze around the fingers of the cap to touch the workbench or what ever else I lay them on so I need to keep the top off the ground. Problem 2: except for one,  none of the stones are going to stand up on their own. Problem 2a: since the shapes are random and sizes vary standardized things like soda caps and ice trays failed to do the job. 


At the moment, that box has become a very useful tool in keeping some of my projects from being permanent residents of the workshop. A little tape and a sharp craft knife and I have a custom tray for holding the stones.

Example the second...
We picked up some Mandarin oranges at a case lot sale last month. Problem we both missed the fact that the oranges were packed in juice not syrup (and not particularly sweet juice at that); we don't want to use them in some of the standard recipes because they are more acidic and could create problems for jello and so on...

Solution (sort of): orange chocolate biscuits. This is one that didn't really work right out of the gate but did answer some questions and is leading to new ideas... the oranges brought a lot of liquid to the party and some extra acidity meaning they didn't act quite like the usual versions of the recipe:

As you can see they ended up flatter, and browned faster than intended (yes that lead to burning...); they also didn't taste as great as I'd hoped. But, this one has signaled that I can probably deal with some other wetter ingredients than I had done (just not as wet as the oranges) and led me to ask "how do I get more orange flavor in there?" which leads me to dealing with some of the flavorants at my favorite spice places and thinking about using orange zest. True the recipe itself goes down as a 'mission failed' but it leads me to asking new questions that will lead to better/new things in the future (I hope) and thse things would not have come up if I had not tried for a creative use of our fairly useless oranges.

example three...wait what is that?
Actually there is no third example. Instead I'm going for the audience participation thing. I have a real love for 'shop made' problem solvers; these are things that people have made or modified to do what they do and run the gamut from things that people piece together for their hobby (often so they don't have to buy one or to make it do something people say it can't), to household items that get modified to solve problems, to items used in real live professional shops and businesses (artists, farmers, construction types do these things all the time and really should get more respect for it!). So, what are some of the things that YOU have built to solve problems? Comment or send an email. Like I say I like this stuff and will be talking about shop made stuff again (note: if you email you can specify whether you are willing to let me mention your stuff in a post (you can also send pictures) if you comment I'm going to assume you're ok with it being mentioned since you're the one who mentioned it in the blog).

Ok, two more teasers and another picture of our box...

This is a collection of stone that we will be following through a couple of linked posts in the near future (split between a couple of posts because the total process time is about 40 days (though the hands on time is considerably less). I'm doing these to answer some questions people have had about  what I do with some of the stones I get (and potential questions about what to do with stones that will come from the up coming Layne reunion.  

Speaking of the reunion:

These particular stones are in the mix of stuff that will be going up to the reunion. They are (from left to right) obsidian, moss agate, mookaite jasper (fairly new out of Australia), gold stone (its a synthetic, but it's cool enough I wanted to throw a piece in), another cool but unnamed jasper, and chrysocolla (a bit softer and more of a pain in the #%$$#%@#$@ to work with some times but I have seen it in some very cool and very real antique scabbards, knives and swords... (note on the note: in checking the spelling on this I realized one of my favorite sources has it marked out of stock... which is making me want to order some of their bags of random tumbling rough in hopes of getting more. Somebody stop me, or at least call my bank and tell them I need another safe deposit box!)