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I stumbled upon this site and haven't been able to sleep for two days! Lots of great information here.

I just moved to Mesa AZ and have never really been out rockhounding (once to Wiley Well) or prospecting. I was hoping someone here wouldn't mind me tagging along on one of their trips so I can get my feet wet. After seeing the post about the rattlers I definately don't want to venture out solo yet. Also, I got some cool fire agate pieces from Wiley Well that I was hoping someone here can give me advice as to how to proceed in cleaning/polishing them. I have been working them with my dremel w/ diamond blades and bits (120 - 600 grit) I've already ruined a couple of pieces but grinding too deep. Any advice from someone with experience would be greatly appreciated. The link to my photos is below. Thanks and keep up the great posts.

Mike

http://photobucket.com/fireagate

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Welcome to the forums Mike ,

I think you will like it here , a good bunch of guys.

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I sent you a PM.... check your inbox at top right....see ya .

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Great links Steve; I have been to both sites. The piece pictured above was taken wet and I will need to polish it. I was wondering what type of polishing paste I should use and what type of bit would be best (rubber, leather, wood, cloth, etc.)? I am still sanding some of the lessor pieces before I try anything with the nicer ones. Also, I have heard that you can use a mild acid solution to help remove the calcite. Is this true and what acid would be best?

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Hey Mike – It is still a little to hot for me but shot me a PM when it cools down a bit and we can go do some digging. There are also several good local rockhound and lapidary clubs around the valley.

The Leaverites is the best local rockhound club

http://www.azleaverite.org

Mineralogical Society of Arizona

http://www.mineralog...etyarizona.org/

Maricopa Lapidary Society

No website but meetings are held at 6:45pm the first Monday of each month at Devonshire Senior Center,

2802 E. Devonshire, Phoenix, AZ. Except July there is no meeting, and holidays the meeting is the second Monday.

Lapidary / Gemstone Community Forum; is a good place to gain rock/lapidary knowledge and ask questions

http://gemstone.smff...hp?action=forum

I have cut a bit of fire agate but am by far an expert. It looks like you are doing a good job for just learning. I use diamond paste up to 50,000 mesh with bamboo or bristle cup brushes for the dremel or foredoom. Cerium oxide is also a good polish but I would take it to 8,000 mesh diamond paste before going to an oxide. If you have any questions that i can help with send me a PM and I will give you my cell phone number.

Casey

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Sweet, thanks for the advice Casey. I've been wanting to join a club but wasn't sure which one(s). Do you know anything about AJRGC or AAGP? I will shoot you a PM with my contact info. I’m game whenever you want head out.

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If I lived closer I would join the Apache Junction Rock and Gem Club but it is too far to drive just to use their shop. I don’t know anything about the Arizona Association of Gold Prospectors but several people on here are members and can probably answer your questions. I do a lot more rockhounding then gold prospecting even when I do go out looking for gold I always end up with more rocks.

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Steve

Also, I have heard that you can use a mild acid solution to help remove the calcite. Is this true and what acid would be best?

Acids will remove calcite but not recommended unless really needed. Mild acid solutions can take forever to remove matrix. Depends on how much you have. If you're referring to the fire agate in matrix as shown in your photo, I would leave it alone. Nice specimen piece.

Steve

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