The Mitchelton & Districts Gem Club will re-open their clubrooms on Thursday January 14th in 2021.
After closing the workshop in December, members were busy cleaning and repairing the lapidary machinery ready for the new year. 90% of the equipment has diamond-based wheels and saw blades which have a short life when used under club conditions.
The diamond saws run in a mineral oil, which is used to reduce the heat when cutting a rock, which has to be replaced every few months. The oil which is taken out is left to settle over a period of months and 80% can be used again once the rock residue has settled.
Two types of diamond wheels are used in the workshop, hard and soft diamond wheels. Hard diamond wheels, once worn down, are no longer usable. These wheels have a life of about twelve months. The soft diamond wheels have a backing of sponge rubber and an outer belt which is impregnated with various grades of diamond. These wheels generally last about twelve months but can have the outer belt replaced with fresh diamond, so their cost of replacement is generally about half of the original cost.
Other equipment used has a longer life, such as a ‘flat lap’. This is a round steel plate which rotates slowly and is used to grind down flat surfaces with various grades of silicon carbide grits. Then there are two eight inch leather polishing discs used for polishing cabochons and flat surfaces, etc.
The upstairs area has had a facelift over the Christmas break, too. Walls have been repainted and the wooden floor re-sanded and estapoled. To do this all the furniture was moved to one end of the room then moved back to the other.
The fresh new look welcomes new members who may wish to join the club. You can come along any Thursday morning between 9am and midday or on a Saturday afternoon from 1pm to 3pm to have a look around and see if you would like to join the club. Here is hoping that conditions for organising field trips to collect cutting materials will improve in 2021!
If you require more information about the Mitchelton and Districts Gem Club, please contact John on 3351 1038 or Llyod on 3351 2093.