Noobie buys his first Dragonstones

Big G

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Joined
20 Apr 2020
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London&Thanet
Afternoon all,

I’ve spent a lot of my free time working on cleaning, cutting and scraping away at Ohke stone / Dragonstone. I thought it might be useful to share my observations for anyone thinking of getting some. All of this is just my own conjecture based on nothing more than what I’ve experienced over about 25 hours of manipulating these stones. It’s certainly not definitive and there are numerous authoritative and learned pieces on UKAPS (and elsewhere). Please feel free to take this topic as you see fit, including ignoring it if you wish. Perhaps some of the more experienced here can chip in (if you’ll pardon the pun) i.e. pretty much anybody.

Here goes anyway;

I got an initial 2kg of this rock and quickly realised I would need more for the ideas I had in my head .A further 5kg arrived. Bit of a blast under the hose, bish bash bosh, ready to deploy, was my thinking. I’m sure this is perfectly fine and I would hazard a guess that the clay, in various hues and densities, which appear to make this rock, are harmless, with the good majority of it simply either, in time, dropping to the substrate or being hoovered up in a fine filter media at some point. I have certainly worked on the assumption that the rock is not toxic to flora or fauna since it’s widely favoured in aquascaping.

About 20% of the pieces I received were a grey-green colour and the rest were a mottling of slate grey, grey green and various hues of terracotta. The straight grey-green, on closer inspection appears to be harder, less flaky, more weathered, matured and somehow complete, if you will. Some of it was nicely pock-marked and craggy whilst some of it was less so. This stuff didn’t appear to need much attention at all.

The second sort, which I’ll call red, was vastly different. I would guess from my school age geology that it is most likely a sedimentary rock or possibly metamorphic in nature. I haven’t researched this yet but will do so in due course. The red in the red rock is malleable, easy to chip, gouge and scrape, for the most part. I decided that I would embark on the process of scraping away the red/terracotta coloured material. This usually but not always reveals what appears to be a transitional strata which varies from orange to grey green. It’s harder but still workable. Beyond that, the core, so to speak, appears to be predominantly grey, hard rock.

I initially used cocktail sticks, soaking in water, occasion blasts with a hose, a kitchen sponge, twigs and a fairly blunt modelling knife to work on the stone, finding the modelling knife in combination with the occasional dunk in a bucket of frequently changed water to work best for me. The best balance seemed to be struck with the stones having been submersed for a night then left on newspaper to dry. Not only, in good light, does this reveal the softer material but also the colour differences which act as some sort of guide for me. At a certain moisture level, material to be removed is hard enough not to be just mud, so that it rolls off the main body but soft enough to be worked without being dust.

The more I worked the rock the more I revealed caves and crevices seemingly obeying no prescription other than perhaps some higher form of fractal, speculative mathematics in their shape, depth and level of penetration into the strata.

There is definitely scope for a degree of creativity in deciding where to ‘mine’ to in order to leave, for example, some areas deeply gouged to the grey bone, whilst sculpting or leaving other areas as one sees fit or the individual stone invites. I draw no conclusions as to the merit or otherwise in such an approach as it’s whatever you feel you want to do.

I’ve found the process to have been quite peaceful and rewarding by turns but I can equally see a strong argument for it being an utter, overindulgent, waste of time, if one has other needs and priorities.

In conclusion I would say that Ohke stone/Dragonstone has proven to be a really interesting stone far outstripping my hopes for it, so far. I would speculate that the cragginess lends itself to a particular style of evocative aquascape mood but the amount used, how it is deployed, other hardscaping materials and of course, planting selection will all provide almost endless creative scope in which to use it.

My final observation would be that I’ve found that, depending on which sort of rocks one chooses, it can prove an almost compelling time sink if one lets it work its beguiling charm on you as it has begun to on me. The plants currently sitting in Pyrex dishes of water on my windowsill for the last three weeks, waiting to start their life in the tank, may beg to differ.

Kind regards

Big G
 

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