I put in about an hour and a half on the rock saw Friday afternoon. The usual clean-up takes 45 minutes to an hour, but I skimped because I was hoping to put in some more time this morning. Given that we're getting close to really warm weather, when even the early morning heats up quickly, there was a good possibility today would be my last chance on the saw until next fall.
BF left for his umpiring gig a few minutes before 6:00 a.m. I was up and out to the studio by 6:20. The mess out there is sooooo discouraging, but I resisted the temptation to start cleaning things. I changed into my rock cutting clothes, grabbed the tray of rocks-to-be-cut and the bowl of kitty litter, and headed to the workshop and the saw.
The weather was cool, with just a touch of a nice breeze. The saw blade was holding out -- I run them until they are completely worn down and won't cut at all -- and I was getting some nice pieces. But after about 90 minutes, I had to quit. The oil was too dirty and I could no longer see the stones well enough to cut even slices.
Just as a regular wood saw creates sawdust, the rock saw creates rock dust, but it gets mixed with the lubricating oil rather than flying into the air. After a while, the mixture of rock dust and oil creates an unholy sludge that has to be scooped out of the tank. I had reached that point, and I knew it was going to take at least another hour and a half to clean it all up.
It was 8:00 when I started. It was 9:55 when I finished. I was in gunk up to my elbows, and I had used almost a whole roll of paper towels. But the saw was all cleaned up, ready to rest over the summer until I'm ready to cut more.
As soon as I got myself cleaned up, I had to run errands. It's not that I'm a hermit or anything, but I really hate having to interrupt the fun stuff to take care of things like buying dog food and paying bills! By the time I was home again, it was lunch time. I fixed a quick sandwich and let the dogs out and put the groceries away and threw in a load of laundry . . . . and now it's 1:30! Where did the day go???
Before I sat down with the laptop, however, I went back over to the studio to take a couple of pictures.
One of the rocks I cut this morning was a chunk of stuff I had picked up at 4th of July Butte west of Phoenix years and years ago. It's part of the massive collection of . . . stuff . . . that fills dozens of plastic boxes in the workshop. I'm pretty good at spotting worthwhile chunks out in the desert, but then comes the issue of finding time to do anything with them. That's what I'm working on.
So I plucked this chunk out of one of the boxes and started slicing it this morning. Only one small end was visible, but it looked like the inside might be a brown moss agate. To my surprise, the first cut revealed a swirl of gold, orange, red, and purple moss in a white agate matrix.
This slice is only about 1 inch by 1 1/2 inches, but it's cut from the small end of the rock, so other slices will be larger. I think I cut three pieces, but this is the only one I've cleaned up and photographed so far. I'll probably trim it out to a "flame" shape before polishing.
And now my laundry is ready for the dryer, I still have inside chores to do, and frankly, I'm ready for a nap!