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Backing is necessary for both stabilizing the stone and providing a flat surface for mounting the stone in a setting. Above is a block of mostly Bisbee Turquoise, which has been freshly backed in epoxy. I use Devcon Steel Putty to back my turquoise.
The process is as follows:
- A sheet of plate glass is covered with wax paper and taped down to provide a smooth surface.
- Devcon steel putty is mixed, using the 2 part epoxy and hardener.
- Devcon is spread on the wax paper as a thin film.
- The slabbed turquoise is “buttered on the back” and then placed on the thin film
- If possible, thin lines are drawn between the stones to aid in separating the stones after the Devcon cures for 24 hours.
- The stones are then cleaned up and shaped on the cabbing machine. A respirator mask is worn when grinding and shaping the stones, as the Devcon dust is dangerous if inhaled.
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