Opalized Petrified Wood

I mentioned a couple of days ago that Gale recently acquired some material of a sort I’d never seen previously.  One he was working on when I went up there was opalized petrified wood.

He’d never seen any before, either, so he polished up this piece just to get an idea what he was working with.

He’d just finished cutting this piece and it was a bit oily from the saw.  It’s going to be a beautiful chunk of rock when it’s polished.  Beneath it’s another recent acquisition, zebra agate, formed from river delta bottom mud.  The paisley’s caused by the shells of marine life.  He hasn’t slabbed and polished any of it yet.

This gives you an idea of the size of the chunk he got.  He doesn’t expect to ever see any again, so he’s trying to plan ahead carefully insofar as what he’ll make from it.

Meanwhile he’s keeping three saws working up there slabbing the jewelry quality stone he picked up at the San Antonio Rock and Mineral Show, hmm or maybe it was Austin, a few days back.

I’ve been friends with Gale since 1970.  At the time our circle of friends used to joke Gale was the busiest person any of us had ever met.  Most of them are dead, or faded into history, so I’m the only one left to testify.  He’s still the busiest man I’ve ever known.

Here’s one of the last several remaining of those Siberian Wolf Fang pendants he was working on a while back.

Here’s another of those recent acquisitions just off the saw.

Watching Gale work used to be a hair-raising experience back 30-35 years ago before he lost that finger.  He became a legend for a while by making a fairly detailed chess set out of exotic woods using a radial arm saw, holding each piece between two fingers while he made his cuts with the saw.

I occasionally remind him of this piece of history and he always replies, “That wasn’t what I cut the finger off doing.”

Miracles do happen.

Old Jules


15 responses to “Opalized Petrified Wood

  1. enlightening post amigo (~_~) I have quirk about picking up rocks and have a small collection of some pretty stones, mostly quartz in different colors and shapes and some petrified wood. My wife is good about identifying stones, gems and such, so I liked this very much!


  2. Some gorgeous pieces there. I’ll bet he makes some beautiful jewelry out of some of it and wear out a few saw blades.

    • Hi Momlady: He’s a man who has an amazing capacity to make something pleasing out of the unlikely. But he does go through a lot of tools of every sort. Gracias, Jules

      • Hi Jules,Yep the same thing has been happening in the UK. We had a pettry good reputation for steel here with Sheffield and the Port Talbot plants in South Wales, but the production of tools has meant that India and China are now using the plants we sold to them in the 1980 s to make the steel they are now selling us. It is strange but when India and China, India in particular, used to produce steel in the cottage industry style their tools were both cheap and of pettry good quality, but, as the mass production facilities became available the quality plummeted.I know someone who imported tools made to his spec. from both Indian and Chinese sources. They made great prototypes-using the stainless steel etc but when the orders were shipped they’d use standard. There was something in the fabric of what they believed about it all that just stopped them seeing the long term benefits of keeping the quality instead of losing a few rupees or yen on a single deal.

  3. Morning Jules – That is some very interesting material. Ok then how did your buddy lose his finger.

    • Hi One Fly. Thanks for coming by. He’s told me at least a hundred times, but I honestly can’t recall the answer. Maybe if he ever reads this [he’s got a slow dialup connection too and doesn’t have much patience with the waiting] he’ll explain it. From my perspective he’s cheated those saws out of fingers so many times it all runs together and any of them would do, would have done. Gale used to keep a fancy box with a phony cut-off finger inside he’d pull out and show anytime someone asked about it. I count him lucky it doesn’t have several more inside by now. I’m obliged for your visit. Jules

  4. I enjoyed the photos…it’s amazing what’s been created.

  5. Pingback: What Is Petrified Wood | Rock Hounds

  6. I HAVE A PIECE OF PETRIFIED WOOD 4ft x 2ft wide not very high & mostly gray. A neighbor wants to buy.aproxamitly how much is it worth? Thanks for any help you can give me.

  7. Dear Old Jules: Congratulations for your website, and thank you for sharing. I’m living in South America. Too many years ago, a friends whom were living near of Patagonia gave to my family a piece of petrified wood (just like a cuted log) . Today I’m learning some works that like me: in woods, stones, metals, etc. I want to cut this piece of petrified wood, but I haven’t any water or wet tools to do it. I ask to you: ¿there are any simple method to cut this piece in small thin discs, chunks like “agatas”. I have only diamond disc and angular grinder. Maybe I could to buy diamond wire for use with hacksaw? it is correct? Any advice is welcome. Thank you VM in advance, and I like your stone pieces. When I was young I went to Macchu Pichu and up to now, there are many people whom doesn’t know the wisdom, refinement and intelligence of our originary peoples of the whole America: North, Central and South America. (If you speak Spanish, when you can answer me, I’ll write to you in that language). Get you a big hello from Cordoba Argentina. Good luck and keep doing nice things. Best Regards. Fernando

    • Fernando, Jeanne here. I keep an eye on the blog when Old Jules isn’t checking his messages. He’s out of town at the moment, so I can’t answer for him, but I’ll be sure to let him know you wrote. I’m pretty sure he’s never done the kind of cutting you’re talking about, but I will check. Thanks for writing.

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