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Author Topic: Vintage Rock Saw Acquired- Advice would be appreciated!  (Read 7180 times)

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Kaljaia

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Vintage Rock Saw Acquired- Advice would be appreciated!
« on: July 25, 2016, 09:00:53 AM »

Yesterday, I acquired a rock saw.
It will not be in my possession until end of August, as it's in the care of my parents who picked it up from a friend on their way through eastern Washington yesterday. It's probably (more than) twice my age, but three years ago I saw it running fine. I purchased a cabbing machine with it, of unknown age/quality/order, and though I may have paid more than the machines were worth I know I probably paid less than the owners needed for them (and would have paid more, if they would have accepted it). They were owned by a dear friend and adopted grandfather who used them to cut and polish a thunder egg for me when I was about six years old. He took my brother and I rock hunting in the sagebrush in Eastern Washington every summer for years when we were little. He and his wife are now in their mid-90's and still going strong, if not quite up to working rock anymore! Unfortunately I cannot go to him for help with the machine, as his memory of its use isn't quite what it was.

At this time I don't have make/model info but am working on acquiring it. It's water-cooled but has been on the east side and dry for a very long time. I'll be using it in Eastern Oregon and am not too worried about rust due to the very low humidity here. I would greatly appreciate any advice/knowledge/tips about using this piece of equipment and will post more once I have it with me in August.
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- Erika

I rock hunt in the Antelope/Ashwood area of the John Day river basin in Oregon. 90% of what I post is from this area, from private property where I have permission to hike and collect. The material I find is for personal use only, I do not have landowner permission to sell. Thanks for understanding!

Jhon P

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Re: Vintage Rock Saw Acquired- Advice would be appreciated!
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2016, 01:42:39 PM »

Looks like a lortone drop saw.  There isn't much to go wrong with them. When you get give it a run and see how it goes. 
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irockhound

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Re: Vintage Rock Saw Acquired- Advice would be appreciated!
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2016, 01:57:53 PM »

Jhon is spot on with the lortone, should be a 14" drop, I have the same model.  some tips:  I put small filter around the pickup on the bottom of the oil pump in the back left.  It sits in an almost isolated box in the saw and the crud tends to build up and the pump gets slower.  the filter keeps the crud out of the intake.  Although I didn't do it with my lortone 14" drop I have seen people drill and plumb an outlet line for the oil and let it drain to a sump below the saw and then move the pump from the back left to the top of the oil in the sump which will keep cleaner oil on the cut and the gunk won't clog the the oil feed lines going to the blade.  Keeping it in the saw I have had to clean or replace the feed lines when they get clogged and the oil flow diminishes.

It is a good saw the only thing I dislike is the amount of time you have to hold the blade on the entry cut to keep from having the blade deflect on an uneven surface.  I also added a 2nd higher sheet to the front and sides of the saw to keep the oil spray from getting every where if cutting a larger piece.  I finally just draped a piece of plastic tarp over the blade front and clipped it on with small utility finger clamps and that really stopped the mess.

Overall a solid saw and good workhorse.  It also originally came with a sheet of metal with the blade slit in it that fits the base of the opening at the bottom of the drop forming a table that with the blade fully down allows you to trim material by hand.
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peruano

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Re: Vintage Rock Saw Acquired- Advice would be appreciated!
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2016, 03:58:38 PM »

You just got a good intro to your new saw.  Congratulations.  I've used *but no owned* this model and its worst feature is having to lift the saw out of the tray to clean it.  Depending on what you cut and how hard you work it, I'd use a stiffer blade  (303 vs 301) than I might if it was not a drop saw.  I also like to take a bit of weight (pressure) of the blade as it nears the end of the cut to avoid or reduce the breakoff nib.  Being a saw that only advances when it cuts, it tends to cut very slowly when the blade is dull, and rapidly when the blade is sharp or the rock is soft.  Gravity and friction at play.  Enjoy the saw.  Its not so vintage that you cant buy  a similar one today.  And indeed there is n't much that can go wrong with it that can't be fixed. 
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PhilNM

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Re: Vintage Rock Saw Acquired- Advice would be appreciated!
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2016, 04:14:22 PM »

It is indeed a Lotrone LS-14 Drop Saw. I've refurbed many of them, built a few new ones (Lortone stopped making them about 20 years ago), and used them since the mid 70's. If you want the manual, let me know via PM and I'll email you a copy.
Everyone made some very good points in the posts above, the best being to drill a drain hole and use an external sump. If you do, you'll only have to clean it every year or two, instead of every couple weeks of regular use. Can send you pics of that mod too if you want. They are excellent units, faster than an autofeed, solidly built and last a long time if used properly. If you were closer, I'd give you an hour intro and you'd be set. Easy saw to use.
Here's a YouTube video of one running.  Enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCjc_ZF0dfM
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Slabbercabber

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Re: Vintage Rock Saw Acquired- Advice would be appreciated!
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2016, 05:45:01 AM »

I haven't used a drop saw but If you have room in the tray you can make a cascade filter without drilling a hole by putting your pump pickup in a box so that oil must run over the top into the pickup area.  No holes, no filter required.
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vitzitziltecpatl

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Re: Vintage Rock Saw Acquired- Advice would be appreciated!
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2016, 07:36:49 AM »

Happy to see you getting the LS14. Good saw for sure. Ours sits in a plastic washing machine pan with cheap shower curtain hanging from a pvc pipe frame. That catches a fair amount of splattered oil.

One of our club members uses a jack to lift his out for cleaning. That is the biggest hassle with this saw.

Kaljaia

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Re: Vintage Rock Saw Acquired- Advice would be appreciated!
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2016, 08:39:41 AM »

Thank you all for the great advice! I would love to get a copy of the manual, Phil, and a photo of your mod. It sounds like the hassle of cleaning the saw is the only real drawback.

Steve, thanks for the tip about the oil lines and getting gunk in them. I'll follow your advice and put in a filter if there isn't one already.

I was under the impression it was a water-cooled saw but I haven't seen it in action for a few years, so knowing the make/model and that it's oil-cooled is appreciated. Is mineral oil too thick to use? If so, is there an alternate, easy-to-acquire non-toxic alternative? I'll be using it in outdoor public space. (Gotta go buy another rolling cart now, lol) I like the shower curtain idea. I'll see about rigging up something like that on the cart.
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- Erika

I rock hunt in the Antelope/Ashwood area of the John Day river basin in Oregon. 90% of what I post is from this area, from private property where I have permission to hike and collect. The material I find is for personal use only, I do not have landowner permission to sell. Thanks for understanding!

johnjsgems

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Re: Vintage Rock Saw Acquired- Advice would be appreciated!
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2016, 10:27:57 AM »

I had what looked like a home made copy of that saw.  It worked well but I used water soluble coolant and mostly for softer stones and stones subject to oil staining.  I couldn't imagine using oil if it throws coolant to both sides like mine did.  I would think you would have oil misting issue too. 
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Kaljaia

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Re: Vintage Rock Saw Acquired- Advice would be appreciated!
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2016, 01:33:20 PM »

This is the polishing unit that came with the saw. No motor and I am guessing home-made, but not sure. I haven't seen the unit in person in almost twenty years and didn't get a chance to look at it when I was looking at the saw a few years back. I think it'll need some TLC but it's a place to start!

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- Erika

I rock hunt in the Antelope/Ashwood area of the John Day river basin in Oregon. 90% of what I post is from this area, from private property where I have permission to hike and collect. The material I find is for personal use only, I do not have landowner permission to sell. Thanks for understanding!

Stonemon

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Re: Vintage Rock Saw Acquired- Advice would be appreciated!
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2016, 02:08:18 PM »

This looks a lot like an old Lortone SA-8 cabbing/polishing set up I used to have. My experience was it was a solid workhorse.
It has been a while back... maybe 40 years or so!  :dontknow:
Bill
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Bill

vitzitziltecpatl

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Re: Vintage Rock Saw Acquired- Advice would be appreciated!
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2016, 07:30:04 PM »

Oh boy - I'd also love to have a copy of the actual manual for the LS14. Couldn't find one anywhere... .

PhilNM

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Re: Vintage Rock Saw Acquired- Advice would be appreciated!
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2016, 07:51:58 PM »

Lortone LS14 operating manual .   http://www.lortone.com/pdf/LS14_Instructions.pdf

And Mineral oil is perfect!

Will try and get photos of oil set up tomorrow.
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PhilNM

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Re: Vintage Rock Saw Acquired- Advice would be appreciated!
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2016, 07:56:52 PM »

Happy to see you getting the LS14. Good saw for sure. Ours sits in a plastic washing machine pan with cheap shower curtain hanging from a pvc pipe frame. That catches a fair amount of splattered oil.


Can you post pic of your pan/curtain setup? thanks!
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vitzitziltecpatl

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Re: Vintage Rock Saw Acquired- Advice would be appreciated!
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2016, 09:14:18 PM »

Here's the setup for the curtain/pan. Pan came from Lowe's, but has reclaimed enough oil to pay for itself. Cheap shower curtains cut off with excess used for the top.

This frame is mounted to the underside of cabinets, but freestanding frame wouldn't be too difficult to build. Pan has ribs in the bottom to allow oil to move under saw pan, and has a spot molded into it for drain plug. That should allow for external sump hose to be used.

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