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Bob Ritchie - Spheres

This contribution to FOJ is from our newest member, Bob Ritchie. Thanks Bob for sharing this with the group.

Fred Ward


Dear Friends of Jade members:

I am a semi-retired medical researcher and physician who since my teen years has been cutting stone. First cabochons then faceting, but always with the goal of being able to cut and polish spheres. (Go figure!) With the availability of the tools to do the job, three years ago I went for it. Now 220 spheres later the rush of this delight has not diminished one bit. The block the Kirk sent me a year or more ago was THE challenge and I had to be ready to attempt it knowing that it might be a defeat. I have not been disappointed. The piece is a 4.6 inch, 5.4 pound beauty.

Coming from a research environment and finding that amazingly, literally nothing of consequence has been written about the art.  I found the field wide open to investigation. My coach and supplier of machinery and supplies was great in getting me off the ground with his excellent advice. He is an expert. Taking his advice and applying some physical science to it has produced a few contributions worth applying, not to mention a large number of pages of careful notes.

The sphere of Kirk Makepeace's material was managed in the usual way, but over the limit of a 12-inch diamond saw. To cut it required jury-rigging, but fortunately that worked. The 18-sided blank was hand-ground on a diamond wheel then cut to a rough sphere on diamond cups. From there it was diamond grit on PVC from 220-diamond grit through six steps of graded diamond grits. The final step was 100,000-diamond grit on felt for one hour. This protocol had been tried out on several smaller and lesser grade jade spheres with good results. There are several more in the queue.

Bob Ritchie


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Reader Comments (1)

Hello Bob Ritchie,
That's a very impressive piece of BC jade, with an equally impressive polish. Did the material give you any problems with exfoliation (flaking, schistosity,etc.) as you worked it?
Al White
January 20, 2007 | Registered CommenterAlan White

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