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Lapidary - Learning About Cutting the Rocks in Your Life

A Sliced Rock


Learning About Lapidary

First of all, I grew up all over the state of Minnesota, and one of the places I lived, as a child, was up near where the Thompsonites are found on the shores of Lake Superior.

When I was a kid, my mother had a friend who owned a resort and they cut rocks and sold the cut and polished rocks in their gift shop.

As a child, I found it very interesting. So, now, as an adult, I have learned a few things about lapidary.

Rocks are Hard but Diamond Saws are Tougher

The rocks are very hard. A diamond saw blade will cut the rocks, as it is just a bit harder than the rocks.

With a rock saw, there is the motor, the blade, a fluid for keeping the blade cool, a travelling platform that holds the rock steady as it is cut, and a chain connected to the off switch, so that the motor will turn off as soon as your rock cut is completed. (If you decide to use an old fashioned rock saw)

A tile saw with a diamond blade is apparently better.

Homemade Plans

As I ponder about how to make a rock saw, I watch youtube videos to become more informed.

I have a motor. A utility sink. A couple smooth towel bars, and their mounting hardware. A piece of plywood. Two diamond blades.

Armed with these items, I am designing a wet-cut, covered saw unit. It is almost reinventing the wheel, but, when it is done, it should accomplish what I plan to do.

Cut rocks.

Plus, I have some diamond drill bits to drill holes in the rocks after they are cut to make pendants for necklaces. I also have a rock tumbler for making these cut pieces all smooth and presentable.

Living the Dream

Transporting the plans in my head, to paper, and then - eventually to a physical, serious cutting machine will take some time.

YouTube as My Teacher for the Moment

YouTube is wonderful for learning new things. It's like a virtual school for any subject that you can think of. People, imparting knowledge from personal experience. I find it a great source of personal inspiration.

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From the basics: from the first video, I learn the mechanics of a basic, no frills saw. This person built it right out of the box. The machine and tub seems pretty sturdy, but the rock holder seems to be slightly chintzy. The concept remains the same, whether the quality seems poor or not.

What is important is that your rock sled moves in a straight line. Your rock sled holds the rock so it does not shift during slicing. The first video shows that the operator's blade bent the first time he used it. He blamed it on the washers next to the blade being in the wrong position. Not enough support for the blade. I shudder to think what his next cut was like with a wobbly blade. Like a tire out of balance. I assume he was unable to safely make his next cut.

The second video shows different methods for powering a saw. His children on a bicycle, and the second child, holding the rock with his hands to a blade, with no safety glasses on. I was far more interested in seeing his covered, antique rock saw.

Diamond Blade

My blade is 7 inches across and has a 5/8 inch hole in the center. It states that it can spin up to 8400 rpm. It can be used dry, or in a wet solution.

Agates - Some Cut by my Son - and Vintage Keychain


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