Does DMS have a stone /rock group? I want to create a simple chess set and a couple other stone related projects.
Also in the past, Katiri @Kati has taught carving stone (soapstone) for use in casting. Not a big stretch to adapt to your purposes
I highly recommend Arlington Gem & Mineral Club if you are interested in rocks. For $65/ year, you can go on some really awesome rock hunting field trips and I believe they have everything needed for lapidary work. I am going to re-join this year so I can take the kids on field trips.
I will have to look into the Arlington group but I live North east of Dallas so that might be a stretch but the price is right.
There is also a Dallas Gem & Mineral club and I believe they have lapidary equipment too. I used to be a member but I never used the equipment.