Retired Broken Arrow Firefighter Finds New Hobby In Marble Making

Tuesday, August 17th 2010, 5:25 pm
By: News On 6

By Rick Wells, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Marbles is pretty much a kids game. Most adults have long since given it up.

But a retired Broken Arrow firefighter is in to marbles in a big way. Ben Thomas of Coweta doesn't play marbles, he rolls his own. Thomas makes them out of interesting stuff.

"Some out of horn coral, some garnet that I've made; all different types of rock," he said.

Rick Wells, The News On 6: "Do you play marbles?"

Ben Thomas, Marble Maker: "No, my kids told me I lost my marbles and needed to make some more."

He has been at this as a hobby for three years or so and has some beauties.

"This is a piece of petrified wood here; I think it's from Wyoming. I can't actually remember where that piece came from," he said.

But in any case, it probably didn't look much better than any other rock when he started.

"You don't know what it's gonna look like until you cut it open," Thomas said.

He uses a diamond blade saw to get a cube out of a piece of rock, and then he cuts the edges off until it's the right size and then he grinds it into a rough sphere.

The sphere machine uses the constant turning and polishing with a slurry of silicone carbide grit and water to finish it, which can take several hours.

Thomas is a member of the Tulsa Rock and Mineral Society. The organization has a big rock and mineral show in Tahlequah on Friday and Saturday at the Civic Center.