We offer instruction in the Lapidary Shop at the new HGMS Education Center, 7901 Bailey Cove Road SE, Huntsville.  Our certified instructors are Bill Friday, Michael Cape, James Yack, Bruce Kowalczyk, and Anthony Zwilling with Karen Cale temporarily hosting the shop on Tuesday mornings.  Click shop schedule to see when the shop is open.

Lapidary Shop

by Bill Friday

The Education Center Lapidary Shop features an enviable array of rock saws, grinding machines, and polishing equipment.  Certification training is required for HGMS members to use the shop equipment.  Any certified HGMS member may use the shop when it’s open.  Lapidary training is available to any 18+ HGMS member who requests it.  Special training times can be arranged by request to Bill Friday.

All maintenance is provided by a crew of dedicated volunteers.  Oil becomes thick with sludge from the rock kerf, saws and wheels gradually wear out and must be replaced, and disabled equipment must be repaired or replaced.  The Annual Auction generally pays for shop maintenance so there is currently no usage or training fee.

Almost all of the lapidary shop equipment was purchased new in 2016, with four Highland Park 14” diamond blade slab saws and ten double-wheel arbors with diamond surfaces, from 80/220 grit for grinding, 280/600 grit for sanding, and 3000/14,000 for polishing.  Two 6” trim saws and the manual 10” slab saws are older and still serviceable but will soon be replaced.  On some busy evenings, there are up to a dozen participants, though usually fewer, most of whom can find an empty machine of some sort to use in pursuit of the creation of genuine treasures.  It should be added that the fellowship of swapping stories, swapping rocks, and admiring each other’s skills and accomplishments is a significant part of the attraction.

Click shop schedule to see when the shop is open.