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Thread: Slabbing Geodes and Agate...Tile Saw???

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  1. #1

    May 2008
    NorCal
    Ace 250
    72

    Slabbing Geodes and Agate...Tile Saw???

    Was curious to know if cutting into geodes and agates was possible with a standard wet tile saw. Tile saw blades are a diamond blade, so I would assume it would work. Any info is greatly appreciated.

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    Interesting things found so far:3 gold rings, silver ring and silver earring, silver cross pendant, metal arrowhead

  2. #2

    Dec 2007
    Culdesac, Idaho
    745
    51 times

    Re: Slabbing Geodes and Agate...Tile Saw???

    Theoretically it should work fine.

    Just set up some kind of protective sink around it before you start cutting. Given the odd shape of stones, they could shift and catch the blade at an angle and get thrown at high speed across the room.

  3. #3

    Mar 2007
    West "by god" Virginia
    Fishers CZ5 and 1280X
    1,166

    Re: Slabbing Geodes and Agate...Tile Saw???

    I think allen_idaho is right about it being a hazard. It would work great for trimming slabs of gem material after slabbing on a lapidary saw, but you really need a good supply of water during the cutting of agates, especially geodes. Also the lapidary saws have a clamp that is made for stones.

    Do a search online for info on making your own gem cutting equipment, as the brand name units are very expensive for what they actually do.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    us
    Feb 2008
    N. Calif
    Goldmaster V/Sat and MXT
    427
    46 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Slabbing Geodes and Agate...Tile Saw???

    Oh yeah!
    They work fine. Done some cutting with a tile saw myself. Biggest problem is, as mentioned above, a steady holding device. Freehanding will make your hands tired quickly.
    Only other problem is depth of cut. Tile saws are engineered to cut thinner materials. Any rocks larger than 3 or 4 inches wont make it through in one pass.

    H Depot had one on sale last week or so for about 250.00. Not the Diamond pro as in your pic but another quality pro brand (can't remember the name, but the same my tile guys use) and I was thinking the same thing.

    Good luck and post some pics if you slab up some geodes
    Steve


  5. #5

    Sep 2007
    St. Michael, Minnesota
    Garrett Ace 250
    25

    Re: Slabbing Geodes and Agate...Tile Saw???

    My neighbor back in Lino Lakes, Minnesota had a tile saw, and we decided to try it for small agates. Made the kids duck for cover when the stones went flying! I bought a Rock Rascal from Eloxite for the same amount, and have had much better luck. Uses oil as a lubricant, and makes cutting very easy. Just wish I had a larger one, since I have some huge chunks of rock that it won't handle. (It uses a 6" blade.) I use a 2 pound sledge (with safety goggles) and bash them into small enough pieces to work with. Being in one of the largest concentrations of Norse folks in America, I named it "Mighty Mjollnir" - which you'll recognize as the name of Thor's hammer.

  6. #6

    Apr 2006
    Ventura, CA
    LST
    801
    9 times

    Re: Slabbing Geodes and Agate...Tile Saw???

    I picked up a 10" MK at a yard sale for $300. Swapped out the tile blade with a lapidary blade and it works fine for 3 to maybe 4 inch rock. I just freehand it mostly and have had no trouble with rocks getting away from me. Been looking into building a rock vice for it but haven't done it yet. Biggest problem is that water goes everywhere so you have to use it in a place where that won't be a problem. I'm to old and feeble to haul those 20" boulders in from the desert so a 10" is fine for me. I just love what you can find when you cut inside that dirty old rock.

  7. #7

    Dec 2007
    Tierra del Fuego
    Tesoro.Fisher.Garrett
    3,296
    4 times

    Re: Slabbing Geodes and Agate...Tile Saw???

    I'm using my 10" Target Tile-a-matic tray saw for cutting up rocks.

    ...it would be better to have a self feeding rock saw, but they're expensive...

    I think I actually do better holding the rock in my hand than holding it in position on the sliding tray.
    It's certainly quieter this way!

    Have fun,
    rmptr
    I am a pathological liar and a functional illiterate.

  8. #8

    Feb 2008
    978
    7 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Slabbing Geodes and Agate...Tile Saw???

    I cut a lot of meteorite material with my rock saw and when it gets jammed the blade stops. It has a rubber belt from the motor to the blade. A tile saw probably will not stop and you could have problems. Best to get a rock saw for rocks and leave the tile saw for tile.
    pippinwhitepaws likes this.

  9. #9

    Jan 2014
    1
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by cerF View Post
    Was curious to know if cutting into geodes and agates was possible with a standard wet tile saw. Tile saw blades are a diamond blade, so I would assume it would work. Any info is greatly appreciated.
    A good tile saw works fine and is much cheaper. I accept that the cut depth tends to be low - 35mm or so.
    First check in the seller's shop that the blade runs true.The problem is the stone carrier since a static clamp is obviously no use. I experimented with various complex designs without coming up with anything that could handle most shapes. The solution however is simple. A thin rectangular metal plate - say 1mm thick which will run along the tile guide. [make sure that this is parallel to the blade]. Simply fix your stone to this using car body filler compound, in the position and orientation desired. With a little practice you can get a cut virtually free of blade marks which a few minutes on a 120 diamond lap will be flat and true. Gloves, googles and an RCD make good sense. Good luck!

    Oh, and to get it off the plate, an hour or so in a plastic bag with caustic paint remover will do the trick.

    DJH

  10. #10
    donald peterson

    Jan 2013
    somewhere between flagstaff, preskit
    Whites prism III
    4,541
    1913 times
    Relic Hunting
    launching rocks, trimming fingers, burning the stone, material lost to the thickness of the blade....all come with a tile saw...

    one can build a self feeding rock saw for not much money...the blade being the most expensive portion of the project...

    I have a rock saw I found at a yard sale...20 bucks...with a pile of worn blades...an old Hillquest...can cut, facet, or polish dependent upon the attachment.
    ...10 inch blade.

  11. #11
    us
    Dec 2012
    lower hudson valley, N.Y.
    safari, ATPro, infinium, old Garrett BFO, Excal
    1,066
    475 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Hey serF,I see you're in northern CA. There are always used slab saws available on craigslist in Oregon. Or look around for a local rock club, often members have or know of someone who has a nice used one for sale. There are a lot of gem shows out your way and they are great places to get good used lapidary gear. Tile saws work OK as trim saws, but not so good as slab saws. I bought a nice 10" Barranca on ebay for around $300 with a fine condition blade and power feed. Mind you, a 10" blade will only slab material up to about 3&1/2" thick. To do thicker material you will need to get a bigger saw and the price goes up with size. I got lucky and got a Highland Park 14" on ebay for $425 plus $150 shipping. A rock saw with a good vise and feed is a necessity if you wish to make nice slabs with little to no blade marks on the finished slab.
    Ya won't find nuthin' if ya don't hunt

  12. #12
    us
    Dec 2009
    pisgah forest, n.c.
    minelab e-trac and t-2 se
    1,624
    32 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Honorable Mentions (1)
    it will work if used with caution. you will, as mentioned are limited to size of geodes it will cut. some glue a wood block on the end of the geode and clamp it down for cutting. others make a wood box and encase the geode in plaster of paris and after dry, remove wood, clamp down and slice away. I myself have 3 lapidary saws, 14' 16" and an 18".

  13. #13

    Mar 2012
    Costa Mesa
    Gold Bug, Ace 250, Google Earth
    377
    115 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    My club uses mineral oil for the cuts instead of water on the slab saws. Should we use mineral oil when using a tile saw at home??

  14. #14
    us
    Dec 2009
    pisgah forest, n.c.
    minelab e-trac and t-2 se
    1,624
    32 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Honorable Mentions (1)
    I use mineral oil. I have no experience with tile saws. my saws are all covered so no oily spray that I think you would get with the tile saws.

  15. #15
    us
    Dec 2012
    lower hudson valley, N.Y.
    safari, ATPro, infinium, old Garrett BFO, Excal
    1,066
    475 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by MrLee View Post
    My club uses mineral oil for the cuts instead of water on the slab saws. Should we use mineral oil when using a tile saw at home??
    You will get a huge amount of messy spray with a tile saw as mentioned. Another reason why they suck as slab saws. Water as a lubricant will work, but on larger slabs it doesn't do as well as oils. I use ATF in my 14" saw, and it works well, and I have many gallons of low mileage used stuff I got free working as a mechanic.
    Ya won't find nuthin' if ya don't hunt

 

 

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