The Mitchelton and Districts Gem Club have just returned from a field trip to Chinchilla where they fossicked for petrified wood etc. As it was a long weekend they had the opportunity to travel to Miles and visit the Miles Historical Museum. Miles is about a thirty minutes drive west from Chinchilla. The historical museum has one of the best Lapidary displays in South East Queensland as well as many other interesting memorabilia.
With petrified wood, most members like to cut the pieces in half and polish the faces for display purposes. A few members make cabochons from the petrified wood and some members just collect smaller pieces and polish them up in a Tumbler.
To polish stones in a tumbler you start off with silicon carbide grit and water in a barrel. The barrels sometimes can go all day and night for weeks, depending on how rough the original stones were when put into the barrel. You just use finer and finer grit and in the end a polish is used – generally tin oxide- to buff up the stones.
The twenty-three members who made the trip all came home with enough material to keep them cutting and polishing for the rest of the year.
We have no more trips planned for this year as the border closure makes it difficult to travel into New South Wales.
The club is operating on a limited membership number who are allowed to visit the workshop at the various sessions. Workshop times are on a Thursday from 9a.m. to noon for cutting and polishing of material and from noon to 3p.m. for Silversmithing.
The clubs areas have sanitising stations set up which members must adhere to and they have found social distancing has not been a problem with the use of their machines in the workshop as they are well spaced apart.
If you would like to have a chat to someone regarding the hobby, do not hesitate to contact John on 3351 1038 or Lloyd on 3351 2093.