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  1. #1
    Senior Member jayne's Avatar
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    Clearing up the dings, dents, and cracks

    I have several German handmade marbles that have been used for what they were made for, and they have lots of dings, dents, cracks, chips, etc. I would love to be able to see the cores and swirls better. I am not really looking to repair them. I just want to make it easier to see through. Is there such a solution to this problem?

    Also, has anyone ever heard of cutting a marble in half? I am not sure how one would go about doing that, but I have to wonder if I could slice into some of the really bad ones and polish the flat side.

    Would the stuff they use to repair cracked windshields clear up the cracks?

    Thanks for any suggestions you can give.
    Jayne

  2. #2
    Senior Member 1mibs's Avatar
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    Re: Clearing up the dings, dents, and cracks

    Interesting thought about cutting in half and polishing the one side with a lapidary wheel or something, but you might be surprised what the 'guts' look like...usually not as pretty as the original pattern from pole to pole on a handmade German marble.

    Quickest solution to see the core on a beat up German marble is submerse it in water.

    I've heard some people use mineral oil in a jar for a long-term way of viewing the marble(s) if they don't want to go with a permanent polishing/re-heating.

  3. #3
    Senior Member jayne's Avatar
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    Re: Clearing up the dings, dents, and cracks

    Quote Originally Posted by 1mibs View Post
    Interesting thought about cutting in half and polishing the one side with a lapidary wheel or something, but you might be surprised what the 'guts' look like...usually not as pretty as the original pattern from pole to pole on a handmade German marble.

    Quickest solution to see the core on a beat up German marble is submerse it in water.

    I've heard some people use mineral oil in a jar for a long-term way of viewing the marble(s) if they don't want to go with a permanent polishing/re-heating.
    Thanks! I'll try to water thing for sure. I have a Dremel rotary tool that I rarely use, but it has some polishing pads, so I might just see if I can experiment with making a couple look better. They might look like golf balls when I am done, if I can even figure out how to hold them while I buff them.

    Jayne

  4. #4
    Senior Member That Girl's Avatar
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    Re: Clearing up the dings, dents, and cracks

    I've seen awesome stuff done liquid polymer floor wax. The water soluble kind. So if you want to undo it you can.


    I don't personally know what that is, but I've seen the results of someone who used it.

  5. #5
    Administrator Pete's Avatar
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    Re: Clearing up the dings, dents, and cracks

    Quote Originally Posted by jayne View Post
    Thanks! I'll try to water thing for sure. I have a Dremel rotary tool that I rarely use, but it has some polishing pads, so I might just see if I can experiment with making a couple look better. They might look like golf balls when I am done, if I can even figure out how to hold them while I buff them.

    Jayne
    That reminds of something Larry Castle said when I asked him how he held marbles to a lapidary wheel while hand-polishing: Pain is a Good Teacher!

    Have you heard of "buffing?" it's polishing, but you don't grind so deep. To polish a marble mint you must polish at least as far as the deepest chip. when you buff, you grind just enough to clean up all the shallow "pocket wear" and scratches, them jump to the polish step. This doesn't create a "polished mint" marble, there will still be the deeper chips, but the remainder of the surface will be like-new, enabling a clear view of the core.

    For a reversible solution, dunk in water, mineral oil or glycerin.

    Another trick I learned but rarely shared last people be dishonest about it is Opticon? Opticon

  6. #6
    Administrator Pete's Avatar
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    Re: Clearing up the dings, dents, and cracks

    Opticon is a "glue"that jeweler so use to "fix" cracked gemstones. It works especially well on Aggies, but improves the appearance of any moon. You soak overnight in Opticon, then wipe excess from surface before baking it in an oven. Then you buff the surface with a lapidary wheel to remove any excess Opticon. I've done this to Aggies with many moons and no chips (common for Aggies) and they were absolutely indistinguishable from mint! It does nothing for chips. Opticon is not easy to find and I won't tell where I got it. Amazing stuff though. Tried it on a bunch of dug Akro Superman corks and they looked better but not perfect. Still, I could not tell they had been repaired - I wouldn't know what to look for.

  7. #7
    Senior Member jayne's Avatar
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    Re: Clearing up the dings, dents, and cracks

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    Opticon is a "glue"that jeweler so use to "fix" cracked gemstones. It works especially well on Aggies, but improves the appearance of any moon. You soak overnight in Opticon, then wipe excess from surface before baking it in an oven. Then you buff the surface with a lapidary wheel to remove any excess Opticon. I've done this to Aggies with many moons and no chips (common for Aggies) and they were absolutely indistinguishable from mint! It does nothing for chips. Opticon is not easy to find and I won't tell where I got it. Amazing stuff though. Tried it on a bunch of dug Akro Superman corks and they looked better but not perfect. Still, I could not tell they had been repaired - I wouldn't know what to look for.
    Thanks, Pete! I would like to try it on some of my handmades. I have a couple that are about to fall apart. Most folks would probably trash them, but they were some of the first that got me interested in collecting.

    I have a huge grinder that I guess I could get a buffing wheel for. I wonder if my Dremel would work? It might be hard to keep things well rounded, as the buffing pad is smaller. I guess it can't hurt to try.

  8. #8
    Senior Member That Girl's Avatar
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    Re: Clearing up the dings, dents, and cracks

    Does opticon react under blacklight?

  9. #9
    Administrator Pete's Avatar
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    Re: Clearing up the dings, dents, and cracks

    Good question, I never tried but Bob Block did say to me once that a black light can be used to detect repairs using polymer. Not sure how you'd use polymer to repair a marble, but the theory behind using a black light to detect repair is that some things that are not visible under regular light may be detectable using a black light.

    OK, I'll spill the beans. I bought out a lapidary supply house a while ago to acquire the loupes and mineral marbles they had, and they hooked me up with Opticon. Not sure if I still have it, I'd have to look.

    There is an old smithsonian magazine with an article about marbles. I checked the following issue on a hunch and found letters to the editor about the article. One guy talked about "fixing" his Aggies by letting them soak in his mom's lard bucket overnight. iI thought that was the neatest thing. I guess the lard makes it's way into cracks and moon just as Opticon does. aPparently the lard is a temporary fix, Opticon gets into cracks and moons, then baking it hardens the Opticon so it doesn't work it's way out. Buffing the marble removes any hardened Opticon from the surface.

    I also tried running near mint marbles through a rock tumbler. It doesn't work. Chips are smoothed out, but remain. The best looking repair I have found is polishing, but the downside is the marble is made smaller. This is less of a problem with sulphides - they usually have a thick enough casing around the embedment that the polish will not come close to the figure. The Pontil will be removed though.

    The next type that is best suited for polishing is German handmades with a core (you don't want to polish clambroths, Indians, or other handmades with surface decoration), but if you polish too deeply you will do what's called "opening up the pontils," which is one of the ways you can tell a marble has been polished.

    You can also polish machine-Mades but since you are removing glass over the entire surface of the marble, the look of the marble can change drastically. You basically remove the surface you had been familiar with, and expose a layer of glass just beneath the surface that may or may not be as eye-appealing than the glass you removed. Polishing machine-Mades is a **** shoot...sometimes the polish results in a less visually appealing marble, sometimes it comes out even better.

  10. #10
    Senior Member That Girl's Avatar
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    Re: Clearing up the dings, dents, and cracks

    Good info.

    And fun callback to the days of lard.

    I've seen some amazing results with polymer.

  11. #11
    Senior Member jayne's Avatar
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    Re: Clearing up the dings, dents, and cracks

    Thanks for the info, Pete. I may have to purchase a bottle and see what it can do to my really cracked up handmades. I think I might have a few machine-mades that I could try (and wouldn't cry too much if they didn't come out). Maybe I need to see if I can polish them first (to remove the Opticon). If I can't hold the marble well enough, then there's no need for the first step.

    Wonder what would happen if you dropped them into a vat of clear glass and made a paperweight out of them? If you could put pressure on them, you might fill in the cracks.

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