I had acquired a bunch of recycled glass rock, some call by the made up name “Andara crystal” from an estate sale not too long ago. I wanted to do something with them and didn’t know what, until I walked by a demo display of a high gloss resin in Lowes. They had a display of this resin that had been poured over rocks to make a step. It is strong stuff and is commonly used for bar countertops. I had an idea to use the resin to glue these glass rocks together, and then put it through the sphering process, much like I do with my rocks. I had a 4 inch rubber mold that I used for my first one, then I made a larger mold out of a 6 x 6 inch cardboard box. It was a lot more work than I had expected, but they ended up pretty good. I had to soak them in alcohol to get some of the cerium oxide polish out of the cracks and pits which is just the nature of this material. I will probably make more of these in the future. The orange one was made with common glass beans you can buy at many common stores.
In addition to stone, I really love the look of glass. Its amazing material and can look incredibly beautiful as a sphere. I collect as much of it as I can get and recently purchased over 100 pounds of recycled glass (cullet, slag) chunks (mostly blue and green colored ones but some purple and reds as well) at a great price. As beautiful as it is, it can be difficult to work. I should probably wear gloves when working with it because I always end up slicing a finger tip or something. I had actually made it through the entire process with no injuries on this one…until clean up. Then, I sliced the tip of my finger on a chunk of scrap. No guitar playing for a week or so. But it was worth it. I love how this sphere turned out. The hardest part after cutting it for me is the final polish to remove scratches. I use my custom made leather cups with cerium oxide polish. After running it wet, I let it dry out some and heat up a bit to seal up any scratches. So theres my secret. And here are the pics:
My next stickers: “Shiniest Balls Online”
Is spheremaking is an art, a craft, a mind numbing test of my patience? I like to think, God made the art, and I am just restoring it. Here are a few pics of my latest restorations:
It’s been well established I have some sort of ADD, OCD or some other acronym self diagnosis to be involved with sphere making. I always have to be doing something towards making my dreams of world sphere domination complete. So I combined my love for sphere making, recording audio and pretty much everything Apple makes into one product. Over the past four months I’ve been recording the audio and exhausted all of my business savings on an iphone app called “AtmoSpheres”. The AtmoSpheres app is a multi-track relaxation and meditation tool. It allows you to blend up to four tracks of sound to build your own customized mix. Each mix can be named and saved for later recall as a customized preset. All sounds were recorded by me, either using synthesis or recording live with two to five microphones per recording. Sounds were then mixed down to stereo. You’d be hard pressed to find an app with better quality sounds. The unique sphere based mixer provides one control for volume, stereo panning, play, pause and delete. Simple. It will be submitted to the IOS app store very soon. It is the first app from my Playgrind Publishing Company.
Please check out the video and manual stills, share with your friends, and download the free version when it finally hits the App Store, hopefully within the next couple weeks.
UPDATE: The app has been approved and now available in the Apple App Store here:
Someone asked to see my work space. It’s not pretty but here are some pictures. I carved out about a 1/4 of space in my 2.5 car garage. I have two home made sphere machines, a regular drill press, a Cab King cabbing machine, and a Lortone 10″ rock saw. I really could use a much larger saw as I am forced to cut rock much too large for the saw and chew thru blades like crazy! But I must make due for now. I’m looking at buying a larger saw once I hit the Lotto. I hope you like my dirty internet pictures.
I found this giant rock a month or so back in Lake Michigan near South Haven, MI. I wasn’t sure exactly what it was at first as it had a very greenish hue. The rock was too big for my saw but I cut it anyway and was pleasantly surprised to see a fair amount of Petoskey stone embedded in the otherwise fossil laden matrix. After a very rough cut, I ground it down a bit on my grinding wheel then threw it into the sphere machine. I’m glad it was a soft rock or this thing would have taken forever as out of round as it first was. Once I started this one, I had to see it through til the end. Total time just under 4 hours. Not bad. And boy is it a beauty!. It is about 3.85 inches in diameter. Check it out! I also made a few Jasper pendants.
An online friend hooked me up recently with art glass marble maker, Joe Schlemmer of madmanmarbles.com. Joe is a hell of a guy and invited me over to his glass studio to check out how he makes his art glass marbles. I love glass almost as much as stone, so I jumped at the chance. Joe is about an hour and a half drive from me just south of St. Joe, MI. He took the time to show me all his equipment and glass, then got to work. I had never seen anyone make a marble before and Joe is a real pro. He made two marbles in a little over an hour. It was fascinating for me to see the process. He made two different kind of marbles and each had its own technique. The first one, an implosion, was basically made in halves. He blew a bubble in the glass tubing, decorated the outside, then melted it to collapse inside the bubble. He then added more glass to the outside, decorated that, and then completed the sphere. I am way over simplifying the process here, but that is basically how it was done. The second marble was done quite different and I dare not describe the process as I would probably describe it incorrectly. The marbles had to cool in a kiln for many hours after completion so I did not get to see the finished product that day. Afterwards, Joe took me a couple miles a way to an awesome beach on Lake Michigan where there were plenty of rocks. Check out all the pictures below and see Joe’s work. A week or so after our meet, Joe sent me the implosion marble! How cool is that. You can check out Joe’s marbles at his website here: madmanmarbles.com
I found the rock I made this sphere from in Lake Michigan off the shore of Charlevoix, MI. It is one of my favorite spots to find Petoskey stones but that day I stumbled across this beauty. I haven’t seen one like this before, especially with the greens in it. So if you happen to know what it is made of, please drop me a note or leave a comment. Anyway, I hope you think it is cool as I think it is!
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I have been extremely busy and haven’t had much time for sphering lately, but I did manage to grind out a trifecta of Petoskey stone spheres last week. The three rough stones were given to me by a new friend and fellow rockhound. He specializes in making stone cabinet knobs which are quite stunning using native Michigan Petoskey and Septarian stones. If he had a website, I would link to it, but alas, he does not. He gave me three Petoskey stones, I sphered them and he got first pick. They ranged in size from 1.65 inch to about 2.4 inches in diameter. I kept the remaining two (the smaller ones). They can be found for sale on my Etsy page by clicking here.
I finally got around to making this sphere from the rock depicted in this previous post: http://spheremaker.com/the-most-beautiful-lake-michigan-stone-ever-found/
I was hesitant to make it because the rough rock was so killer looking and I didn’t and still don’t know what it is. I’ve had some knowledgable folks chime in that it may be basalt, chert, calcite, carnelian, and/or garnet. I imagine its tough to identify from pictures alone. It was harder than I thought it would be, but not as hard as say an agate. The crystals fractured like they do when I would sphere a quartz based rock, which I find many in Michigan. I was hoping it would be crystal in the center but it was not. The sphering process ground off a lot of crystal, but I still think it turned out nice. Interesting thing, it had a lot of little slivers of metal within it. Pyrite maybe? Silver? Who knows. One of my favorites I’ve done though. What do you think?