Zebra Stone Woes…

So I wanted to polish Zebra Stone…


Mr A made it look so easy and he only used wet and dry paper to shape and polish the pieces he made last year. But then he has a quality I sadly lack! Patience!

On Sunday morning I started work on the end pieces I had retrieved when the slabs were cut for our rough rock shop. I had done the initial cleaning up on the flat lap and while it was a muddy process they looked great! (I looked like I had been rolling around in puddles during the Delhi Monsoons but that is another story…)

Laid out all the different grades of paper in front of me and started hand polishing. It took ages and I really couldn’t see much change from the work done on the flat lap. Where is this wonderful shine Dave managed? Obviously I had moved them on too quickly from one grade to the other. Start again? I was going to be here all day I guessed!

Then I thought I would put it on the 600 res belt on the cabbing machine. That got rid of some of the rough bits but still no shine! And this stone is so soft that it was disappearing quickly. If I carried on for long I would have no stone left to polish! And was it really supposed to take so long? I guess I was doing this all wrong! But I was determined to polish the stones without any assistance from Mr A!


Seeing I was getting really frustrated he suggested putting it back on the flat lap with the 1200 grit disc, instead of hand polishing on the 1200 wet and dry paper. I tried it, Lots of muddy reddish water everywhere including on me, stones still getting smaller but I was not happy!

At this point a I took a break and thought I should really let him do the polishing and I should stick to making jewellery from the stones he polishes! Since I was still mooching about in the workshop I thought I would have a go at learning how to drill holes in stones. That went reasonably well apart from one drill bit breaking and getting wedged in a piece of moss agate. Oh well!

Dave was working on our Diamond cab machine or The Diamond Geezer as he calls it! Its got oil based diamond pastes in different grits to get stones finished to a mirror like shine. Everything else had failed to give me nice stones so I thought why not? I was sure the stones would get stained with the oil and look completely horrible but these were just end pieces and if it didn’t work it didn’t work. But at least I tried!

You are an idiot Shalini!

These were all end pieces so not the best rough sample to start with, but except for the first one (with the hole) I managed to get rid of most of the pitting on the Zebra stones. And there is a nice shine. And the oil on the Diamond Geezer has not ruined the stones! AND it didn’t take long to do at all! (Which means we can keep the costs down for our customers.)

I guess I started this armed with little knowledge and that is not the easy way to do things. But I didn’t give up and I experimented with different methods till I arrived at the final satisfactory piece. I should have done more research (There is information available on the Internet!) I should have watched Dave carefully when he was polishing the Zebra Stones. And I should have asked him for advise. It would have made life easier. But despite the frustrations I am glad I persevered and found my own way! I feel a sense of achievement and I have found new confidence!

At the risk of using a cliché “Where there is a will, there IS a way!

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    • Mr A
    • 2nd July 2013

    Hi Shalini,

    well you are an obstinate little devil aren’t you, yes I could see the frustration mounting and the sound of defeat in your voice when you were doing these, that was evident when I mentioned putting the stones of dop sticks. But as I well know you are determined and I also know you never give up, and it has paid off, well done!

    • Eve
    • 2nd July 2013

    They look wonderful, I can’t wait to see them all wrapped in wire… 🙂

  1. Thanks 🙂
    Frustrating at times but definitely worth the time and effort. Looking forward to wrapping them soon!

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