The Art of Stone Polishing: Why Dowels Are Essential

As an professional lapidary artist, I often receive inquiries about my technique of attaching stones to dowels. It's a fascinating aspect of the stone polishing process that plays a crucial role in achieving stunning gemstone results. In this blog post, I'll delve into the reasons behind this practice and shed light on the benefits it offers.

Even Shaping and Polishing: One of the primary reasons for affixing gemstones to dowels is to ensure their even shaping and polishing from every side. By securing the stone on a dowel, it gains greater mobility and flexibility when it comes into contact with the polishing wheel or lap. This freedom of movement allows for uniform shaping and polishing, resulting in a beautifully finished gemstone.

Minimizing Accidents: In addition to promoting even shaping and polishing, using dowels also helps reduce the risk of accidents. When handling gemstones without dowels, there is a chance of dropping them or inadvertently touching the rotating polishing wheel with our fingers. Such accidents can cause damage to the stone or pose a risk to our safety. However, by securing the stones on dowels, we create a stable and controlled environment, minimizing the likelihood of mishaps.

Choosing the Right Attachment Material: The choice of attachment material is crucial when using dowels to secure gemstones. In my case, I prefer using cabbing wax to glue my opals onto the dowels. However, different lapidary artists may opt for alternative varieties of wax or glues based on personal preferences, the type of gemstones being cut, and their level of experience. It's important to consider factors such as adhesion strength, durability, and ease of use when selecting the appropriate attachment material.