Most importantly, turquoise with backing is stronger and more durable than turquoise with no backing. In addition, this turquoise receives a flat surface for mounting the turquoise into a mounting or bezel.
Most noteworthy, below is a photograph of a block of mostly Bisbee Turquoise. In addition, this particular group of “preforms” has Devcon© steel reinforced putty as the backing. A “pre-form” is a slice of the material which is ready for cabbing.
Incidentally, Devcon© has a short shelf life. Consequently, a good alternative for stone cutters is J.B. Weld ©. J.B. Weld is available at most hardware stores or automotive supply stores. It is considerably less expensive than Devcon©. More importantly, J.B. Weld© has a longer shelf life.
Devcon© fuses to turquoise through the following process: First of all, you cover a sheet of plate glass or plexiglass, with wax paper. Secondly, you tape the wax paper down to the glass in order to provide a smooth surface. Thirdly, you mix Devcon © steel epoxy, using the 2 part epoxy and hardener in the kit. Next, Devcon © is spread on the wax paper as a thin film.
Next, you “butter the back” of the turquoise slabs and place them on the wax paper. If possible, thin lines are drawn between the stones to aid in separating the stones. Consequently, this is only after the epoxy cures for 24 hours. Next, you clean up the stones and shape them on the cabbing machine. Most noteworthy, the backing allows a flat surface to easily apply a doping stick. Consequently, it is important that a respirator mask is worn when grinding and shaping the stones. Devcon© dust can be dangerous, if you inhale it.
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