Hello all. New member with new member questions..go figure lol
I am a beginner lapidary and looking for what I hope will be an inexpensive and effective means to stabilize stone before cutting and shaping it.
My first foray into the process failed due to a complete lack of forethought on my part and my inability to find solid information on how to correctly stabilize stone.
My understanding of the process:
Clean the material to be stabilized.
In a bowl or vacuum chamber pour enough acetone to fully immerse the stone.
Dissolve "an amount" of Epoxy 330 in the acetone. (Epoxy 330 is used for its hardness, ability to be polished, and it dries crystal clear)
Close the vacuum chamber and turn on the pump.
When the acetone boils, turn off the pump.
Wait "a few minutes" and turn on the pump until the acetone boils, turn off the pump.
Watch the pump to make sure no oil is pulled into the vacuum chamber.
Bleed off the vacuum as required.
Wait "a few more minutes" then bleed off the vacuum and remove the stone to dry.
I purchased an inexpensive vacuum chamber and pump off ebay to give the process a try. I had mixed results with it. I expect the results were due to not enough epoxy or not enough time under a vacuum.
Issues I ran into were:
Oil pulled into vacuum chamber contaminating the epoxy.
Cheap vane style vacuum with plastic inerds. The acetone vapor melted it.
My question(s) are; What equipment do I really need to be able to stabilize stone without ruining the equipment used, and; does anyone know a good ratio for Epoxy to Acetone for the stabilization process?
I would like to keep my total expenses around $500.00 USD but can go a little higher if needed.
Thanks in advance!