Mahogany Obsidian & Butterfly Jasper Hearts

Here are a few cabs I turned out this past weekend…

Mahogany Obsidian
Mahogany Obsidian Cabs

Mahogany Obsidian
First were some small ovals and a teardrop cab created from pieces that had broke off a 1/8″ slab of Mahogany Obsidian that I have. The “mahogany” color in the obsidian is due to hematite or limonite (iron oxide) mixed in with the silica, creating blotches or sometimes even flowing waves of the rusty color along with the black obsidian (which is usually made of up of minerals such as magnetite, hornblende, pyroxene, plagioclase and biotite).

As the slab was thin, either low-dome or small cabs are really the only choices I can make out of that material. And, as the slab had already fractured creating several smaller pieces, I used few of the smallest ones and made the cabs pictured above. I included a dime in the picture as a reference to give you an idea of their size.

Butterfly Jasper Hearts
Butterfly Jasper Heart Cabs

Butterfly Jasper Hearts
Above are a couple hearts I cabbed out of some Butterfly Jasper that is mined in Mexico. A pretty rock with brecciated jasper and quartz mixed throughout, the hearts were something Kathy had wanted me to give a shot at trying. I had never cabbed hearts before, though I knew how, so I was eager to give it a try myself. I was pleased that these turned out not bad at all! The top heart is 26x26mm, and the smaller bottom heart is 20x20mm.

One of the things that I had heard on various YouTube videos regarding the CabKing 6″ cabbing machine when I was doing my pre-purchase research was that the wheels were not spaced far enough apart to cab large stones, or work designs such as hearts (where you need to use the edge of the wheel for grinding/polishing the “V” in the heart). Yes, the CabKing 8″ machine spaces the wheels further apart, accommodating those needs quite well, but that does not mean the 6″ machine is not capable of working such material.

So, unless you are needing to frequently work large stones or create hearts and other designs that require working on the edge of the wheels, don’t think that it can’t be done on the 6″ machine (which is also a LOT lower in price than the 8″ machine). The trick? Use the additional wheel spacers supplied with your 6″ machine to take the place of one of the wheels when that extra space is needed.

It will take you a bit longer to work your stones of course, as you will need to swap out wheels to progress through the grits since you are working with just two wheels on an arbor at a time. But, it’s not a hard process to do, and doesn’t take that long, really. In working the obsidian, I forewent the 80-grit wheel and only formed the cabs lightly on the 220-grit wheel to keep any chipping to a minimum, then on to the 280-grit, so the “swapping-out” of wheels was only needed on the other arbor when it came time to cycle through the 600, 1200 and 3000-grit wheels.

If you only find yourself on occasion needing to work with large stones or designs that need more than the default 1/2″ spacing between the wheels as is normal with the 6″ wheel machine, a little swapping around with the wheels and included spacers can get you the room you need. Yes, it takes a little more work, but as these cabs demonstrate, it’s certainly do-able!

Maury Mountain Moss Agate

Here are a several cabochons of Maury Mountain Moss Agate from Oregon that I cabbed this past weekend. The colors in this stone are phenomenal, ranging from reds to yellows and green with some really crazy moss mixed with quartz druzy pockets (or “vugs” as they are often called) here and there.

The slab that these stones came from was a small one of about 3″x4″, but yielded eight nice cabs. One 30x22mm oval with a druzy pocket, two 20x15mm ovals, 24x14mm oval, a round cabochon the size of a nickel, and three free-forms… a 7.4x21mm teardrop, a 9.5×28.5mm kite and a 16.75×30.3mm quadrilateral which also had a druzy pocket.

Maury Mtn. Moss Agate
Maury Mountain Moss Agate Oval and Quadrilateral

The two cabochons above have the pockets of quartz druzy, with the oval having the largest pocket that extends to just the backside of the stone. It’s hard to see in the photos above, but the sparkling crystals in the pockets definitely add dimension and character to the stones.

Maury Mtn. Moss Agate
Maury Mountain Moss Agate Round, Teardrop and Oval

The three cabochons above have some really nice red moss floating in with the translucent quartz. The oval on the right has some nice fortification banding in the translucent milky quartz.

Maury Mtn. Moss Agate
Maury Mountain Moss Agate Ovals and Kite

And the three cabochons above were taken near the edge of the slab. The first oval shows some of the uniqueness in Maury Mountain Moss Agate with the mix of yellows and shades of green along with the red moss.

Overall I was quite pleased with the results, and think I got some really nice cabs out of the small slab with hardly any waste. I still have some small trimmings that I can form into tiny cabs for earrings or stacker rings, so there was very little of the slab that will not be used eventually.

I’m having an absolute blast on the CabKing machine. As the machine is built to use both polishing discs as well as flat laps on either end of the wheels, it’s actually quite versatile for someone on a limited budget. It came with both polishing and flat lap discs, and the 360-grit flat lap diamond disc that it came with is great for flattening rough stone, but eventually I will want to get at least 600, 1200 and perhaps even a 3000 grit flat laps for polishing faces on some of the rocks we have in our rock and mineral collection.

The diamond flat laps run about $34-$43 each, but when you have a natural rock specimen with a polished window on it, the beauty really comes out. I did this to one of the smaller pieces of Turritella Agate that we had, though the face was not perfectly flat in order to bring it to full polish (extremely difficult to get flat faces polished with wheels I understand, and I can see why). But still, the difference between a chunk of rough compared to one with a polished window where the details just shine so clearly (no pun intended) is incredible.