Dopping with Superglue

by Rob Meredith

Here’s how I do it.

When I glue the first dop on I put a piece of tissue (facial tissue, bathroom tissue, whatever) between the dop and the stone. This aids (or so I believe) transpirational pull when it comes time to remove the dop.

After gluing both dops to the stone for the transfer, I then wrap the end of the dop I want to remove (where it contacts the stone) with small strips of tissue paper and soak the tissue in acetone (drip it on with an eyedropper) this keeps the acetone in contact with the strip between the stone and the dop and wicks the acetone in to the glue. I soak this for 10 to 15 minutes then pick up the stone in one hand and the dop to remove in the other and just pop the dop off (at least when it goes right that’s what I do). I then clean up the removed dop and the crown with a Q-tip soaked in acetone.

Lately I have found that wedging a hobby knife in between the joint allows removal fairly easily as well.

I have found that v dops and cone dops sometimes don’t cover enough of the pavilion surface and therefore I sometimes have to build a cast with a heat sensitive epoxy putty to increase the surface area and get the glue to stick. To do this I mix up the putty/epoxy goo and put it on the end of the v dop, I then put a piece of tissue between the pavilion and the epoxy and force the v dop against the pavilion to make the cast.

I use Devcon 10 minute copper colored epoxy that comes as a sort of play-dough for building this “cast”

I pull the v dop away and remove the tissue paper, let the putty dry and then glue the pavilion with another piece of tissue between the putty and the pavilion.

This tissue aids removal of the stone after the crown is cut. When the stone is off and admired just heat the putty (as it is heat sensitive) and it will break apart and come off the dop leaving a clean dop (well, it does take a bit of elbow grease to get it clean, but….) Keep in mind during the transfer that after the glue has been exposed to the acetone, if and when the acetone disappears (it evaporates fast) the glue will get hard again quickly.

Clean everything with acetone before you dop (stone and dop and don’t touch the tissue-use forceps) as body oils will cause the glue not to stick.

Complicated I know, but it will work and it requires no heat what-so-ever.

It’s important to keep in mind, that all dop techniques, just like polishing techniques are to some extent self-evolved. It may require quite a bit of experimentation to figure out what works best for you. I recently heard from a friend who attaches the crown with a decent size piece of epoxy and then just cuts through the epoxy with the saw to transfer. Be creative and don’t give up. Read, ask questions, experiment, keep an open mind and you will eventually evolve a technique that works reliably for you.

Transferring with Superglue

by Blaise HarperThere was the question posed on how to transfer from one dop to another using superglue both times. It is really very simple and the process can be repeated time after time without failure.

First use a dripping wet paper towel and wrap it around the dop you want saved to the stone and wrap it on this dop and then winding around the stone so it covers also the complete stone and end just before in would touch the dop to be removed. Then use the mini-torch such as the one you can get at the Rock Peddler. Aim the torch flame about 1/2 inch from the stone directly onto the dop and angle the flame so it angles away from the stone. At the same time have a tweezer in your hand that has constant pressure on the dop to be removed. When the heat has broken down superglue enough it will lose it’s strength and you will find yourself holding the detached dop with your tweezers.

Immediately turn off the flame and then quickly wrap the remaining wet paper towel around the part of the stone that the dop was attached to. This, if followed precisely, will give you the desired result every time. I dop Mexican fire opal this way and have never lost an opal to heat yet. I’ve tried most of the dopping mediums and hands down this is the best way provided your technique is correct.

Transferring with Superglue

by DianneI have found the following technique almost always successful:

1. Soak the stone and first dop in acetone for 20 to 30 minutes. It won’t fall off in that amount of time.

2. Transfer as usual. Always use accellerant.

3. Immediately after the transfer, with the stone and dops in the transfer block, remove all possible softened, gooey superglue from the first dop using a scalpel. Be careful: it’s possible to chip a stone this way (or gouge a finger).

4. Let it set up overnight, or at least for several hours.

5. Remove the first dop with a light tap or a torch as described by several other people. Because the soaking session has weakened the first glue joint, this will be easy. Often the dop just falls off.

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