Craftsman of the Month
Cover of Rock&Gem V1N1 March-April 1971

Jon Klein - July 1999 - Found Serpentine Bowl

The Craftsman of the Month of July is Jon Klein, a member of the Willits Gem and Mineral Club, CA. (He said to mention the club or his fellow club members might strangle him!). Like William Kappele advises in this month's Shop Talk column, Jon can obviously appreciate the natural shapes in the rocks he finds. In this one, he saw a little bowl. Here's his story:

"I found a rounded cobble of green gem serpentine in the Eel River of northern California.

"When I got it home, my first step in shaping the bowl was to sand a flat spot on it to be the base. I used 400-grit sandpaper set on a hard-surfaced, flat countertop."

"Next, I covered the base with Superglue(TM) and stuck it to the flat end of a rounded block of wood. I fit the wooden block into the chuck of a 36-inch Delta wood lathe. I adjusted the speed of the lathe to about 1,000 rmp, and used a square-ended wood scraper to shape the outside. I changed over to a small curved bowl gouge to shape the inside."

"After I made sure that the surface was smooth and free of pits, I sanded it with a hand-held piece of 400-grit sandpaper. Then I went to 600 grit, then 1,500 grit. For the final polish, I used a plain cotton button."

"Next, I pried off the wooden block and polished the base and it was finished."

"Note: Be sure to wear a good dust mask when working serpentine because this material contains asbestos. Also wear eye protection in case your rock explodes. Luckily, mine didn't and I have a pretty little decoration, improving only slightly on Mother Nature's own handiwork."


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