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Addie
 #1 
I didn't have much time to collect on a recent family vacation, but using Bob Morgan's guidebook, I managed to find a few agates in South Dakota - some Prairie, maybe a Fairburn or two - but now I'm not sure how to cut them for cabbing. Does anyone have any advice or links to articles about the best way to cut with or against exterior banding, for example?

Thanks in advance.

Addie
Mike Streeter
 #2 
Addie,

For cabbing, you'll want to slab the agate perpendicular to (across) the banding for the best results.

Mike
Addie
 #3 
Thanks, Mike!

I think I'll start with one of my not-so-favorites, and get the feel before I go to the good stuff.
Bob Johannes
 #4 
The majority of agates will give the best patterns when sliced across the banding but with some agates with a quartz core, it is sometimes best to cut slices off the stone like cutting slices off an apple. Some of my best patterned and colorful cabs have come from these and you often get much more material to work with than if you had simply sliced it up like a tomato.

Bob Johannes
The Amethyst Rose
Joe D.
 #5 
Addie,

It depends on what you want the slab for. As the others said, the best way is to study the stone and see which cut will give you the best color and also you have to account for cracks and ugly stone attached to the one being cut. Also some times it's better to grind a circular dome type thing on it to see what is just under the surface. I always introduce the stone to the "Genie" first and let my hands be guided by the stone, that is after a vry close inspection of the stone. Then you have to decide on quality or quantity before you start cutting.

To get that "window" affect you ahve to cut across a known color that you want to become windowed on your finished stone. Then you ahve to leave just a "smidgen" of material that acts as a trasparent window to show off the part you want to have all the attention on. This works great when you are working with Quartz that has Mica flows inside it. The Silver and Gold colored Mica looks great when you window cut the Quartz that surrounds it. When you are familiar with certain types of stone from aprticular locations you can be a lot more certain on how to cut a particular stone to open up it's inner beauty. Anybody can cut a pretty stone but only a craftsman or a lucky cabber can reveal the beauty within an ugly looking rock.

Joe D.
Addie
 #6 
Thanks, Mike, Joe & Bob - None of what I collected is obviously amazing from the outside, so I'm hoping I'm going to fall into the "lucky cabber" category. I also picked up a pretty piece of rose quartz that I'm going to try to polish - I've never tried to do anything with quartz before.

Wish me luck!
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