Dopping is a way to hold your stone while cabbing that helps to ease the cabbing process. Dop wax anda wooden dowel are used to hold your stone while you're working. There are several dop pots available on the market that help make this process very easy. The dop pots are made to heat your way to the correct temp of 150°, and are designed for green dop wax which is the standard for general lapidary work. Inland Dopstation is a nice choice because it provides a bezel edge for heating your stones. Hot dop wax needs a hot stone to adhere well. It takes about 20 minutes for the dop pot to heat the wax to the correct temperature and one minute to heat the stones around its edge. Select an adequate amount of wax for the cab you are dopping and shape the wax with a knife or you fingers to remove ridges of smooth uneven areas. Be advised that hot dop wax will stick to your fingers.
After shaping the wax we like to use a candle to re-melt the surface of the wax that is going to hold the stone. use your knife or fingers to press the wax onto the stone. You want a good seal all the way around. When your cabs are finished, they can be separated from the dop stick by immersion in ice water or by wrapping them in a plastic bag and putting them in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Another dopping method that The Gem Shop has used is super glue and brass or aluminum dops. It is important to make sure that the top of your metal dop is flat. Use one drop of super glue to adhereyour stone to the dopstick. Allow adequate time for your glue to set. you can then use a metal dop holder to hold your dopped stone for working. When your cabs are finished it is necessary to soak the stones in acetone to remove them from the metal dops. Use a container with a tight fitting lid as acetone evaporates quickly. This soaking may take up to 24 hours or more for the stones to loosen. This method is used for cabbing jade or ruby and sapphire cabs which require a lot of heat in the process, more heat than the green dop wax is able to handle.