November 2014 Meeting Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting of Shenandoah Valley Gem and Mineral Society
November 10th, 2014

The meeting was called to order by Club President, Dean Hostetter. Twenty club members and guests were in attendance.

Old Business/New Business:
* Mike Pabst agreed to be nominated as the new Club President for 2015; the current vice president, treasurer and secretary agreed to continue to serve for 2015.

*Pending JMU Mineral Museum field trip is set for February 7th 2015. More details to follow.

*Thanks to the efforts of Jack Glenn, Dean Hostetter and Scott Gregory the new cabochon-making machine (a Diamond Pacific Titan) was ordered for the rock shop. Delivery is expected the 3rd week of November. All members should be pleased as this is a hefty ¾ hp machine with 8” with plenty of power to grind and polish most everything.

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Program Report:
“COAL – MINES & MYTHS” presented by Club member, Deborah Grimm.

Deborah presented details from her behind-the-scenes tour of several mines in southwest Virginia (coal class offered to Virginia educators).

Everything you need to know about coal from mining to processing to potential uses; highlighted by great first hand photos and coal samples.

Some little known facts:
(1) All Coal in VA is
(2) Mining can run 24 hours per day.
(3) Each large dump truck costs $1M.
(4) Coal takes 300 M years to form and started before the dinosaurs.
(5) 39% of electricity comes from coal in the US.
(6) Sorry, but you can’t find diamonds in coal.

Coal is washed and tested for carbon, sulfur and iron and processed/sold according to content.

Virginia has the cleanest coal processing plant in the US with 0% percent mercury emission.

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Notes from The Rock Shop, November 2014:

The Rock Shop was open for its monthly session on Saturday, November 15th, 2014. We had six members participate, and Leo provided his usual excellent guidance and mentoring. Three new members were first-time shop visitors to our shop and had a chance to try their hand working rocks with the club's equipment.

Shop regular Charles wrestled a large
unakite “boulder” into the 24” rock saw to cut it down to some more ‘bite-sized’ pieces. Shayna spent her time processing some ruby-in-zoisite cabs and worked up some rough she collected on the Willis Mountain field trip. Charles also worked on some preforms and Jack worked with our first-time visitors Janet and Anna in their initial cab-making experiments. Larry had some unakite and Kentucky agate he wanted to saw up, and had some interesting jade “grapes” from an estate sale he checked into ‘repurposing’. John took advantage of the rock saws to cut some quartz and chert he had collected and polished some feldspar he obtained from the Pulaski fault in Staunton.

As mentioned above, the club has ordered a second cabbing machine to ease congestion at the Genie and give more members opportunities to shape their stones into cabochons. The unit that was decided upon is a Diamond Pacific Titan!
Details include:

  • 3⁄4 HP 115/230V industrially-rated motor on 16" x 42" Formica baseboard
  • Double pump Spra-Mist coolant system
  • Cast aluminum quick-change hoods & pans
  • One 80 grit & one 220 grit 7-5⁄8" x 2" Galaxy metal-bond diamond grinding wheels
  • Four 7-5⁄8" x 2" Nova resin-bond diamond sanding & polishing wheels (one each 280, 600, 1200 and 3,000 grit)
  • Two 24" flex-stem lamps
  • One 5-1⁄2" 14,000 grit Diamond Nova Disc
  • Special disc geyser for Diamond Nova Disks
  • Cabochon-making rest
  • Set of two splash guards
  • Sample bottle of Water Aid
  • Manual & safety goggles

The unit has been delivered and we hope to have it set up very soon.

The Frantom unit that has been our second cabbing machine previously may be repurposed as a “polishing machine” with felt and cerium belts on the two available expandable drums and other polishing wheels installed in place of the silicon carbide grinding wheels. Stay tuned for further developments!

The next Rock Shop date is Saturday, December 13th 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM. The facility is open to all members and free to use (but we ask for a contribution to the Repairs and Supplies Tip Jar on the central bench if you can make one)


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December meeting: Monday, December 8th at 6:00 PM
Waynesboro Church of the Brethren
364 Bridge Road
Lower parking lot—Side Door entrance!

Program: Christmas dinner!

Refreshments: See menu at the link above

Volunteers for Refreshments, 2014:
February: Calvin and Katherine Phillips
March: Debbie Grimm
May: Feather Stein
June: Jilly Weigel and Jack Glenn
July: N/A - Club Picnic
November: Eleanor Matano
December: N/A - Club Christmas Dinner

Bob Helt, Secretary

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Club Officers and Staff 2014
President – Dean Hostetter
Vice President – Leo Cloutier
Show Co-Chairs – Dean Hostetter and all Club members
Educational Outreach -- Linda Corwin, Bob Helt
Secretary/Newsletter -- Bob Helt (
Field Trip Coordinator - Dean Hostetter (
Treasurer – Scott Gregory
Web Site Coordinator – Jack Glenn

Club web site:
Club Facebook page:
Club email:

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