As I have said, I met Randy on eBay when I bought a very nice cab from him. It turned out we are from the same area. After many emails and meets on a forum for all things rock, we met in person, at the local rock club. I was disappointed to learn that the last day to learn cabbing with the group was the day after the meet. I had to be in another city with the grandkids to attend the rare event of an open house at a particle accelerator-- I rarely miss a chance to explore anything science related. So, sadly I had to miss the cabbing. But, not to worry, Randy stepped in and offered to teach my husband and I. I almost literally jumped at the chance. Randy is known to be a great cabber and a very genuine all around nice guy. I'd be hard pressed to find such a great teacher!
The following Sunday, finally rolled around. I had spent the week eagerly anticipating the day. I felt pretty confident about it, but the saws did cause me some anxiety- this coming from someone who has actually used the jaws of life to peel open a car!! LOL!
We pulled up to Randy's house. Randy introduced us to his wife, daughter, puppy and snakes. We felt right at home and very welcome. I was relieved to feel so relaxed right off the bat. (As I've said before, I'm pretty shy and not a great people person. Hey, at least I know my faults, right?) We chatted for awhile and saw some of the cabs and jewelry he had been working on. He is an OUTSTANDING wrapper. I very much like his style, which few do well, but when done well is the definition of delicate beauty. You can see some of his work here.
Randy, like all good rock junkies, has quite a stash of rocks. That was our next destination. He told me he had a lot, but I wasn't prepared for the motherload he had. Have you seen the movie, "Borat"? I felt like Borat going through the cheese aisle. What is this? And that? And this? This? My eye caught something interesting with every movement. They were everywhere! Oddly, one of my favorites was a plain white agate. I had never seen one before, but it was a clean, bright white agate, not quartz like, at all. But, he had some much coveted and lovely Victoria stone, too. That stuff is the bomb!
After being so horribly teased by all those rocks, I was ready to cut some up. So, we talked about tools and safety issues and I picked a slab (a thin slice) of Outback Jasper from Australia, which I had never seen before.It is really nice patterning and contrast.
First, we used a template to outline on the slab, with marker, the cab to be cut. I tried to pick 3 different looking patterns in the slab. One pattern was pretty cool, but ended up being sanded out. (Note to self...)
We then followed Randy to the saw used to rough out the cab. It is lubricated and kept cool by a basin of water. This is the one that I imagined would take off my fingers. However, the saw blade is safe to touch while running. I mean, you shouldn't do it, but if you were to accidentally bump it, you probably wouldn't lose a finger. I was a bit intimidated, nonetheless. I cut one and then the second was much easier. My husband jumped right in and had no reservations. He did a great job! Mine were so-so. But, the final forming wasn't done at this stage, anyway. (I would have inserted a picture here had I brought my camera.)
Our last destination was the cabbing machine. The one we used is called the Genie. There are 6 wheels and one on the end for final polishing with diamond paste. The idea is to work the cab shape down the grades of grit wheels to a final polish. This is the machine that I want to buy, there are others, but I am thinking this is the way to go.
The cabbing machine makes quick work of the job. I discovered that I will have to keep short nails to do this. I also learned that the wheels take off skin. Nothing too serious, though. It's also messy as it is done with wet wheels and a constant spray of water. I'm not made of sugar, so I won't melt.
I found out that doming a cab is way harder than it looks. My husband's cab has a nice dome. One of mine is rather flat and one is low, but domed. I also discovered a partially healed fracture in one of mine. I don't mind, though. It is my favorite one and I will be making it into a pendant to be proudly worn as my first cab.
Randy was an excellent teacher throughout the day. He was charming, informative, patient and interesting as hell. When we left, we were invited to come back, which we will be doing. Having been properly introduced to cabbing, I am now hopelessly addicted. I could have written all day about the adventure, but in deference to brevity, I'll just conclude with some pictures of our proud accomplishments.
|The first two are mine, my husband's is last.|
|See the nice shine and bezels? :)|
|My favorite with a small fracture line.|
|My husband's- see his nice dome?|