Gladly Forming “Family” Around Rockhounding

Hank Cobb, surrounded by various items of Covington Engineering machinery, stands before a cart loaded with samples of stone he cut.

By Antoinette Rahn

Hank Cobb
Yucaipa Valley Gem and Mineral Society
(Mr. Cobb is an artist featured in the Tools of the Trade special section sponsored by Covington Engineering)

Hank Cobb’s interest in rockhounding and lapidary work may very well run in his blood. With several family members from various generations demonstrating an interest in hunting for rocks, Cobb’s in good rockhounding company within his own family. Yet, his interests extend into a couple additional “families,” including the Yucaipa Valley Gem and Mineral Society (YVGMS) and the community of Covington Engineering customers.

For years, Cobb has managed the maintenance of the equipment in the YVGMS’ workshop. As a long-time member of the Society, which was established in 1962, he is described in an article published by The Yucaipa & Calimesa News Mirror, “as a beloved fixture” of the Society’s workshop. And Cobb couldn’t be more pleased for that to be the case, surrounded by Covington Engineering equipment he regularly uses, helping others learn to use the machinery, and participating and witnessing fascinating creativity involving geological treasures.

Equipped to Achieve

Although it may be hard for some people to understand, the Covington Engineering-brand equipment in the workshop is as much a part of the achievements, experiences, and connections made in the YVGMS workshop as the people involved. For many years, as Cobb explained, having Covington Engineering located in Redlands, California, made for an easy and natural connection for the YVGMS, located in Yucaipa, and just 15 miles from Covington’s (previous) production operation and office, Cobb said.

One of the best views in the shop, which Cobb enjoys regularly, of a large petrified piece on the 30-inch Covington saw just after being cut in half.

“(They) always helped us when we had questions. Covington manufactures good equipment and supplies that always meet our needs,” he said.

While his family lineage is steeped in rockhounding, it was during Cobb’s years in the newspaper business when he met many rockhounds to whom he wasn’t related.

“I lived in Blythe, California, after I was discharged from the Marine Corps in 1956,” Cobb said. “I worked at The Palo Verde Valley Times newspaper for seven years, and I got to know many old rockhounds while living in the little town of Palo Verde.”

These friendships and early rockhounding experiences helped set Cobb on the path to becoming a member of the YVGMS and evolving in his rockhounding interest and lapidary skills. One area of lapidary work he’s been most prolific is the creation of spheres. Cobb has made many spheres over the years, both on his own and as part of the YVGMS. Through much of that, Covington Engineering equipment has been part of the journey.

Among the Covington equipment available for member use in the YVGMS workshop is a 16-inch combo saw, 24-inch and 30-inch slab saws, a heavy-duty grinder, two water diamond drills, and a glass lap, among other supplies.

“(The Society) makes a lot of spheres, all sizes, and different materials,” Cobb said. “We use Diamond Cutter Cups from Covington Engineering.”

In addition to a bounty of spheres, Cobb also enjoys making silver and stone jewelry, most of which he gives to his “kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids,” he said.

As Cobb explained, the lapidary hobby keeps the YVGMS club busy, and as the one who carefully and gladly maintains the equipment in the workshop, Cobb wouldn’t have it any other way.

For More Information

Hank Cobb is a familiar face in the workshop of the
Yucaipa Valley Gem and Mineral Society (YVGMS):


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