Opal Repairs without machinery– in ten steps
If you don’t have any machinery, you can do it by hand this way:
- You have to find a piece of opal that that is not too large so that it can be handled easily and has a fairly flat or domed surface.
- Buy yourself some wet and dry sandpaper from the hardware store. If you need to take a lot of material off to get to the color or to shape it a bit, you will need to get some 220 grit sandpaper. You can attach the sandpaper to a small block of wood by wrapping it around the block and stapling it or nailing it to the back.
- You can make another block of wood using 320 grit sandpaper, then 600 grit, and finally 1200 grit.
- You can then stick some split chrome leather to another block of wood. You might have to ask someone in a shop that repairs leather goods to find out what this is. It’s usually green tough leather, rough on one side.
- You have to get some cerium or tin oxide for the final polish. You can get it from a lapidary (stone cutting) supplier, or someone who has to polish scratches out of glass. People who make headstones for graves also use it and maybe people who do terrazzo polishing of tiles.
- If you want to get a bit more sophisticated you can buy one of those dremmel machines from the hardware store which gives you a whole bunch of little wheels. In this way you can cut the sandpaper and the leather into little discs, and stick them on to rubberized mini discs that come with the machine. You can use the rubber from old bike or tire tubes for this.
- Get some contact cement from the hardware store for all your sticking needs but if you are using a mini disc, first you cement the rubber on to the disc with contact cement, then stick the sandpaper onto the rubber using disc cement which is like contact cement but remains sticky. Remember to allow the contact cement to dry overnight before putting the sandpaper on or it will be too tacky.
- When sticking with contact cement, you put the cement on both sides of whatever you are sticking together and let it dry for about fifteen minutes before pressing the two surfaces together.
- You will have to do it this way when you cement the leather on to the rubber. Then you make slurry with water and cerium oxide and put some on the leather. You can also put some on the opal you are polishing.
- Just experiment until you get the hang of it. Opal repairs without machinery takes a bit of time to get the hang of. Just make sure all fine scratches are out of the opal before you attempt to polish it with cerium. So this is a method you can use to polish an opal with little or no equipment. Of course, if you want to learn how to do it properly, using opal cutting machinery that you can either make yourself, or purchase, please go to here for some advice and a short video. Our opal eBook is now available freely to Opalmine visitors. This gives you over 30 years of experience in mining, cutting, setting, and marketing opal. If you don’t understand some of the comments made here, just leave a message on the blog at opalmine.
Not so difficult if you follow the steps above carefully.
Just take it one step at a time, and leave a message for us here if needed or take a more in-depth look at the subject if you want to learn opal cutting properly here If you have a scratch on your stone which is set in a ring or pendant, you will just have to take it more carefully using smaller pieces of sandpaper and a cloth with cerium oxide. opal repairs without machinery is possible in this situation. Talk to us about it in the contacts form if you need help.
We hope that this article, which is the result of a combined experience of over 40 years in the opal industry from the time when i personally had to learn how to do Opal Repairs without machinery. If you would like to see our new movie on the subject, leave your details in the blog below or fill in the contacts form.