Lapidary at the Bench

Course Description

About this course

Take ordinary, damaged, or chipped cabochons to extraordinary without the need for a full lapidary studio. Over ten weeks, students will learn to cut, alter, refashion and customize cabochon stones with tools that they probably already have at their benches. Bring your scratched, broken, and badly cut stones to turn them into something new!

Stones can be re-worked to suit specific needs using a flex shaft and hand tools. Demonstrations include methods for reshaping, carving into, and drilling through stones using tools that anyone can find or already has at their bench. Sources for materials and tools will be discussed, and students will also learn about riveting through stones. There will also be the opportunity to cut from a rough slab so that students can have more control over size and shape. 

Meet the Instructor

David Baird

David Baird has been making jewelry for nearly four decades. He received his bachelor's degree at the Evergreen State College, and his MFA from The School of the American Craftsman at Rochester Institute of Technology. He also has a GG (Graduate Gemology certificate) from the GIA.

David sells his work nationally and has taught classes and workshops for at least 30 years around New England including Metalwerx, DeCordova Museum School, and Lexington Arts and Crafts Center. More recently he has been developing specialized jigs to make bench processes easier for his students. The Directed Open Studio courses at Metalwerx are led by David because of his vast knowledge about the many facets of metalworking.

Over the past 15 years, David has expanded his repertoire to include lapidary cabbing and carving. He now devotes his time between two studios, both lapidary and jewelry, taking on commissions by request. His studio is located at the Waltham Mill Buildings, near Metalwerx where still he teaches regularly.

Materials & Tools 

There is $95 materials fee for this course, which is payable upon registration. The materials kits will include:

  • 50-piece Diamond Carver Set - 220 Grit
  • Diamond core drill
  • Diamond disk (saw blade for flex shaft)
  • Diamond paste in grits: 325, 600, 3k, 14k, 50k
  • Solid felt wheels for each of the diamond paste grits
  • Bristle brushes, medium (5) and stiff (5)
  • Sandpaper mix pack - 1/2 sheet each of 220, 320, 400, 600, 1500
  • Super Glue and some other miscellaneous consumables for the process to be used in class
Students should bring 

Students Should Bring:

  • Scratched, broken, and badly cut cabochon stones and 2 - 3 beads that are about 10mm
  • Dust mask
  • Safety glasses
  • Pen and notebook
  • Ultra fine-point Sharpie marker



Materials Cost



David Baird


September 16 -December 16, 2019

Weekly on Monday


10:00 AM -1:00 PM


11 weeks


No Class Dates

September 30

October 14

November 11

Make-up dates 
December 16
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