2023-2-5: Recutting a Lake superior agate

As you may recall from my more recent adventures, I recently received a jar of tumbled Lake Superior Agates from a friend.  These were found when she was a child, tumbled and enjoyed.  I took one and made a thank you pendant for her, and have since cut another!  These are always hard to cut in to because I worry that they might look better as-is, or I'll turn it in to a pile of rock dust.  As they say, no guts no glory! (or at least Jack Hoffman from season 1 of Gold Rush Alaska thought so!)

Here's my victim.  A few fractures, but it's hard to find a Lake Superior Agate without them.  I'm hoping to capture some of those contrasting lines.

Here's the back.  Not as much going on with this side.

This is the rock cut.  I was really hoping those white bands would go all the way through.  This is still pretty good looking.  (like me!)

I'm going to try to use as much of the rock as possible so I grabbed one of my favorite shapes.  This is drawn on the back and I'll actually be grinding from the other side.

Rough shape complete.  Time to dop up!

I got it on the dop stick and started grinding.  This is a side view.  I've been having some trouble with the doming lately and this one was particularly odd because the shape of the top of the rock wasn't the typical flat slab - it was a natural contour of the stone.

Here's the front view after the first cut.

220 grit rough doming complete.  The white crystal part is a little softer so special care needs to be taken to maintain the shape.

Another side view after the dome is nearly complete.  A little high on one side but I'll go back and fix that.

280 grit complete.  I wonder where these were found.  Many can be found in people's landscaping rock around town... just be sure to ask first.

The other thing that's nice about these is how hard they are.  They start taking a polish after the 600 grit.

And even better after the 1200 grit wheel.

Looking pretty good after the 3000 grit.

Let's get this polished with some aluminum oxide.

That really brings out the mirror polish in the rock.  You can almost see my whole shop in the reflection!  

The sign of a good polish is seeing the two individual florescent lights in the reflection.  🥹

I hope you enjoyed that, and I plan to make a few more of these as I work through the jar of rocks.  I showed it to our beloved Jeffrey and he had quite a few things to say about our adventure.  I captured a picture of his critique...

As always, send me a note if you see something you like!