My steps for building stripper guides are a bit rustic I'm sure but they work.
- Find agate sheets at a lapidary supply or have them cut. I have gotten some from Einstein’s Emporium on the web. The smaller sizes are thinner usually. Thinner is better I think. I also stop in any lapidary store I pass.
- Get a matched set of core drills 11mm/6.5mm O.D and 13mm/9.5mm they cover most ring sizes. Rio Grande Supply and Kingsley North are my suppliers for these both have web pages.
- Create a jig so you can core out agate from both sides if not I have a tendency to blow out the back side. My jig is a 4x6 piece of Plexiglas with a 1/8 piece of butyl rubber cover into which I have drilled two holes with brass tubing to match the diameter of the inner core. The tubing is just high enough to grab the hole for centering. I set this up on the drill press and core the inside and then the outside diameters use plenty of liquid. I use a solution for this from Rio Grande. After cutting I shape and buff with diamond burrs tapered point and diamond pastes on toothpicks. I use a set of arbors and cups to hold the stone rings in place that I made. I do all of this on my lathe. Option two is to find out where Darryl Whitehead is getting rings made…….
- I bezel the rings with nickel silver 1/8” flat bezel stock (Metalworks.com) by soldering with soft silver solder. Turn the bezel over the stone with a bezel pusher. Rio Grande sells them. Or talk to Hal Bacon he has another way to do this.
- Form the wire for the cage flat out and solder with stay bright solder on what will become the feet. I use 16 and 18 gauge Nickel silver wire from Metalworks. Visualize the cage flat out and create some form of a bending jig to match it.
- Bend up the sides of the cage around a drill rod I use ¼ an 3/8 inch to form the arch.
- Press in the agate ring and carefully solder the wire to the bezel with stay bright solder. I use a heat sink like yellow ochre if you are afraid of cracking the agate. It happens.
- Dremel the feet into shape flatten the bottom of the feet with sandpaper and buff the works.
Now, if any of this makes sense good luck.
Joe Arguello’s Web page has photos of some of the tools and materials necessary. (Dave Rinker)