Tennessee Paint Rock Agate - Dave Timpany

Okay, I salvaged some pictures from a bad camera, incorporated some old pictures of my Tennessee Paint Rock Agate prospect, and added some new ones for this report.

The following is a typical Tennessee county road leading to the river. Just ahead it is time to change over to 4WD.

This is the end of the County Road. Normal water hight in river. After heavy rains this area is flooded.

View across the river of limestone bluffs. This was during normal spring flow. On 7/24/08 it was bone dry. Underground caves allow the flow to continue along its way.

Notice gravel by tire. Agate can be found in this, but it is low grade and any high quality is very limited due to color being diluted in the river over it's years of washing down to this level.

This is the river bed now. Heavy equipment made this path, but deep water with swift currant restricts 4WD passage during normal runoff.

With the river bed dry guess I didn't need the kyack. Needed to take it off anyway.

Trail I'm following is full of water when river is at normal stage.

Could this be a 'clue'? This is the second marker I've found by accident. The first was in the Kilbourn Hole, New Mexico.

This is what I'm after!! Looks like the rocksaw is going to get another workout.

Rough found on 7/24/08 trip. Lots of mustard color with black up there. Ideal pieces are with the red. This area also produced a creamy color with red spots and streaks.

After washing and sorting, the larger slab possibilities are slabbed in my 10 saw.

The various slabs are 'rough' rotary tumbled in different sized barrels according to their size. I generally use SC 60/80 for a few days just to knock off the edges. Then it is sorted for the next process, retaining some of the really rough pieces to regrind several times more according to their need. A lot of the material makes it to my 'dump' pile. Just like anything else, the final product is very limited in respect to what you start out with.

Now on to the vibrator tub. At this point I use SC 120/220 for about four days to bring the agate smoother and allow the colors to start coming through. After (about) four days it is again sorted to determine if it needs further processing or can go on to the next step.

After the SC120/220 grit and vary selective discernment to see what goes on up the ladder, you need to vibe tumble with water and 20 Mule Team Borax for several hours to clean out any remaining grit remaining. From there I generally go to a SC 600 grit for about four days. Then another critical inspection to see if it needs to move along to the next step or go back a step or two for further conditioning. If you move along you will find a lot less material than you started. At this point I rewash with the Borax again and then move the material to my smaller 4# vibe tumbler barrel with a Polish. This barrel is solely designated for polish only!!! I use Raybright A for this agate. At least 4 days, but again, close scrutiny is needed to determine the next step. At which if I am satisfied with the polish I rinse and simply tumble in water for several hours to 'burnish' finish.

The larger slabs coming from the rotary tumblers will not fit into the 10# vibe tub. So from there they will go thru the flat lap.

The flat lap is used for larger flat pieces such as geode halves or slabs that have weights attached to hold them down. It is a messy machine and under 'perfect' conditions does not make a mess. LOL, LOL. Dream on. Soo, the ol' lampshade attached with light bungees contains the mess.

This is my PILE of junk that can be anybody's resource. After being into lapidary you will soon discover the lower priced machinery just won't last. If you can afford it after you decide to stay into this game, get the more recommended goodies. Otherwise, retake my rotary tumbler and see that you can make up some good ongoing machines that you can depend on.

Tennessee Paint Rock Agate from my prospect. Wire wrapped with SS by Mary Lane.

Below is one of my Pots of Gold. Awaiting to be cut, shaped, cabbed, free formed, or just plain enjoyed. DO NOT undermine what you come up with! Along the processing way there are plenty of outlets for your Booty. Kids simply love your discards, your driveway becomes a treasure for a newby learning what to look for. Gifts, etc. etc. BUT your final bowl - it is special and awaiting whatever you desire to do with it. Keep in mind. God put these goodies into the earth, hidden from common view, just waiting for His intended to discover and bring it to its full beauty.

Special side light of being aware of what you see out there. Top - spear point of orange and black agate, (Central TN.) Left arrow head white quartz, Clay Co. NC, Black flint, grey flint and flint knife handle, Polk Co. TN.

My special piece, just how beautiful can this Tennessee Agate get?? Not for jewelry, just for lookin'!!

Assorted agate goodies, Tennessee is alive and doing well!!

Just waiting for the right idea to transform them into an object of beauty.

Mixed bag of Tn. Agate from other areas beside my Honey Hole.

Folks, there are 'millions' of acres to be discovered around this great land of ours. Just like those before us, it is up to us to discover the beauty and wealth. Instant gratification is not the answer. The beauty of the discovery is the road traveled to get there.