How to dop up an opal ready to be cut

Episode 3 - How to dop up an opal ready to be cut

Extra tips and key points:

- Use a methylated spirit lamp and tweezers to dry the opal which helps get rid of moisture. This ensures the opal sticks better to the dopping wax and avoids the stone coming off when cutting. Use the yellow part of the flame, opals can be brittle and if exposed to excessive heat it can cause the stone to crack. 

- Use green or red wax. Through our experience we find these hold the stones better to the dopping stick than black wax.

- We use dowel for our dopping sticks purchased from our local hardware store. The advantage of this is you can get different size dowel, which allows you to cut varying size opals, while being quite cheap. 

- Dop up on the back of the stone (the side we flattened off) with the front exposed ready to be cut. Ensure when bonding the opal to the wax that the opal is centered to the dowel and flat. If the opal is crooked after the wax sets, it will cause you to cut crooked.

- Don't overheat the wax, as you can see it does get sticky. You want it just starting to drip, but if you do overheat or drip some wax, having a stainless steel sheet ensures you can peel the wax right off and reuse later. 

- Leave the opal and dopping stick to set. If you cut straight away it can cause the opal to come loose and you have to start the process again. We generally leave any where from 1 hour up to 24 hours to fully cure.  


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