Slogan of The Month: Dec. 2011

Since we don’t have an official website slogan, I have begun the search. Each month I will feature the best slogan submission for the website and will feature it on a fake tshirt. If you’d like to submit a slogan, please use the contact form. This months winning entry (and only one) comes from a cute blond who happens to reside in the same household as me. Congratulations to my wife, Kerri for this months winning slogan submission!

I love balls

I Love Balls

Identify This Stone!

I found this rock in Lake Michigan in Charlevoix, Michigan. I wish I had taken a picture of what it looked like before I cut it, but did not. Here are some pictures of it after I cut it, after I polished it, and close up. If you know what kind of rock it is, please let me know! I have not been able to identify this one. I have never found anything similar in Michigan before.

Blue Slag Glass Hunting In Muskegon, Michigan

We had some unusually warm and sunny weather the last couple days so I decided to take my crew out (my three kids: ages 6-10) to dig for some blue slag glass. Now, in the past I’ve found a ton of blue slag glass washed up on the shores of Lake Michigan. But I got a tip from a new friend on a spot where they used to dump slag over a hundred years ago in Muskegon, MI. For those who don’t know what slag is. Slag glass is the by-product of the iron ore smelting process. In Michigan the smelting was done all up and down the Lake Michigan lake shore and often the slag, considered garbage at the time was dumped into the lake. That all ended around 1890 or so. Today, this slag glass is prized by beachcombers because of the often beautiful colors and variations found. I have found slag that is black, brown, grey, green, yellow, blue and any of those shades in between. I’ve only found one piece large enough to sphere in the past, and have made quite a few nice pendants out of the glass I’ve found.

We made our way to the spot and as soon as we stepped out of the car, we began to see small pieces of the deep forest green slag. We found quite a few large pieces, probly in the 10-30 pound range buried just below the surface. We found one spot in particular and began to dig with much success. Some of the best pieces were found about a foot down. Once we established a good spot we dug around about a six foot radius and found quite a number of stunning pieces. I took some pictures of some of the better looking ones and even took a bunch of macro shots (made by taking a lense from a disposable camera and putting it over my camera’s lense). I think the shots came out decent enough. One day I’ll invest in a nice camera setup so I can take some real professional looking shots. I think some of those macro shots would make some nice abstract art. Oh, and after we got home…it snowed like crazy! I guess we will wait til next year to hit it again. What a great time.

Hello World

It was a petoskey stone back in the mid 70′s I found that peaked my interest in rocks. I was visiting my Grandfather, who lived on Burt Lake in Indian River, Michigan, a small northern town. I showed my Grandpa (as I called him) and he took it into his workshop. There, he had a polishing wheel of some sort as I recall, and after several minutes of buffing the stone on the wheel, he handed me the polished petoskey. It was my prized possession. The beach of Burt Lake on his property was full of various kinds of stone and I would spend the bulk of my time there, combing the beach for Petoskey and Pudding Stones. These were the only kind of stones I knew at that time.

I grew up in a suburb of Detroit and back home, I did not have any place to look for cool rocks like I had found “up north”. I don’t know what it was about finding rocks back then, but I loved it and that love stuck with me. I think it was the closest thing to treasure hunting I could get to.

Years past and I started my own family. My oldest son, took an interest in fossils and we began collecting them. We would go to Lake Michigan and local streams and hunt for rocks. This renewed my interest in rock hunting and gave me something to share with my son. We found all kinds of rocks of interest and even a few arrowheads. We began researching and trying to identify the specimens we had collected. I decided to buy a rock tumbler and pretty soon had two going at a time. As I became impatient with the length of time to finish a batch of polished rocks, I began to research making marbles online. I ended up buying a Covington Little Sphere machine, along with a 10″saw and grinding wheels from money I made from composing music for a local commercial. They weren’t cheap for a guy with an income like mine, but I had a blast making those little balls of stone. It was a hell of a lot of work and that Covington machine is a serious pain in the ass to run, but the results were pretty darn good. Of course, I wanted to make larger ones after a while and ended up buying a three headed home made machine from a great guy I contacted online. He took the time to explain everything I needed, where to go for supplies and how to cut the sphere pre-forms. He went above and beyond. It was really great and helped me a lot.

So here I am, a few years later since I began. I’m closer to my family and we take a lot of little trips together hunting rocks and hanging out at the beach. I live in a great state full of interesting finds. Where I used to curse the state because of the often terrible weather and cold winters, I now have a much greater appreciation for it.

I love to look at pictures of things I find of interest and plan on posting a ton of pictures. I hope to post interviews with other sphere makers, lapidary artists, and other people and things I find cool and fun. I hope you will enjoy the site!