How to find your own Obi-Wan (Don)

by laurie jane kern on April 5, 2009

If you read the comments from my first few posts (or if you have not) , some of the comments have been about wanting to learn to make cabs.

So in this post let me give you my idea’s on how to find an Obi-Wan Don and if you can not find an Obi-Wan at least you can find some place where you can learn.

I live in Riverside County in Southern California. That is just north of San Diego County. Where I live there is not a club, but just south of the county line is Fallbrook and they have a great club. Actually it is the Fallbrook Gem & Mineral Society (FGMS) and they have been around for over 50 years.

We, the e-man and I, joined FGMS over 6 years ago and have been very active in the club. BUT the club does not have a lapidary workshop, though we do have many members who do! More about this conundrum further down.

For most of the time we were members I only collected specimens and had not fallen in love with agates, thus I had no desire to search for anyone who could teach me. It was late 2007 that my agate madness began, and it was soon after that when I found the small flat lap, which I could use at home.

The lap setup I bought was from Inland Crafts The Swap-Top – not only can it do lapidary grinding but this kit also has a saw conversion. I made the Plinth on this setup. But then I found I had agates that where to big to fit on the wheel. Whats a girl to do?

I joined another club that has a complete workshop. This is the Palomar Gem and Mineral Club and their shop is in an old strip mall but it has lots of equipment. The club gives classes during the week, at night and on weekends. They also have open workshop other weeknights as well as most weekends. The workshop stewards are there not only to open the shop and collect the use fee ($5.00 for 4 hours) but to answer questions and to give some instruction. See open workshop is not a class but if you ask “HOW DO I MAKE A CAB?” – they will point you at a piece of equipment and tell you what to do. As you do each step it is your job to ask questions and if so instructed, do it over, continue doing what you are working on cause you are not done, or go to the next step.

Oh! and don’t forget to talk to the other members who are there using the shop. This is what I call the “SHARE AND ENJOY” part. I have seen some amazing things being done and it is another way to learn as everyone is very willing to explain what they are doing. This is partly how I found out the Palomar club also has silver workshops and faceting classes. Me bad! as I was lax in going to website and looking at the classes the club offered, cause initially I was only interested in using the shop.

It was during a open session that someone mentioned that Obi-Wan had moved to near where I live and had joined the FGMS. BTW, Don, though not called Obi-Wan at the Palomar club, was known as being a master cabber and was past president.  I had to find him at the next FGMS meeting, which I did and the rest is well, HISTORY!! (Part One to be exact).

So, in conclusion here is what I suggest:
1) Join a club that has a lapidary workshop and take classes!
2) Just joining the club will also give you access to the equipment on open shop days.
3) If no clubs in your area have a workshop, find another member who has a setup and ask to be taught. Trust me these “old guys” love teaching!
4) Consider getting a small setup for you home so you can make cabs when YOU want.

laurie jane kern

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