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Author Topic: Saw Question...  (Read 1689 times)

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stoneya93

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Saw Question...
« on: November 16, 2016, 06:33:57 PM »

So in the Gem & Mineral club here, slab saws are the norm. But the teacher I learned from in Taos who has been doing lapidary work for 30+ years professionally uses a tile saw to cut all his material, including quartz. I asked my friend who still works with him about it, and he said that tile saws come with diamond blades. My question is...why the slab saw? Why is it necessary? Is it genuinely necessary to cut stones, or is it just to get that perfect cut?

If anyone's familiar with Kingsley North, there's some diamond blades in there specifically for cutting tough stones like agate. Anyone know if I could just fit a tile saw with one of these blades? With the correct sized blade of course...a representative at Kingsley North said they don't recommend it, but honestly it didn't seem like she had any idea about many of my lapidary equipment questions...so I thought I'd ask the experts :thumbs:

Happy Wednesday :glasses9:
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bilquest

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Re: Saw Question...
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2016, 06:49:52 PM »

I wondered the same thing when I was getting into this rock cutting obsession. I even spent a few hundred dollars chasing my hunches. In the end, my tile saw sits dormant and collects dust. Following were my discoveries....

1) tile saws spin much faster than lapidary saws. Result is that a lapidary blade quickly becomes glazed.

2) it's difficult to get accurate cuts on a tile saw. I made some frankenstein guides out of c-clamps and whatnot, still couldn't get even 6mm slabs.

3) The nasty diamond blades that are for tile (I'm looking at you, Harbor Freight) will rip living hell out of (semi) precious rough.

I think a small tile saw works ok for trimming and pre-forms, but as a replacement for the standard lapidary slab saw, I've yet to see a tile saw setup that gets me excited.
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peruano

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Re: Saw Question...
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2016, 05:39:07 AM »

Your question could justify a couple of pages of responses, but I'll try to hit a few high points from my personal perspective.
1. Lapidary saws do operate at slower rpms (because they are cutting thicker material this may help control heat buildup).
2. Lapidary saws (slab saws here in particular) come with a vice allowing uniform thickness cuts, allowing you to start it and walk away for 15 min instead of pushing constantly with your hands (and this allows you to go slow, go uniformly, and not bind the blade).
3.  Lapidary saws can have designs that allow thinner blades, with less hurling of chips, heating of stone etc.
4. Slab saws allow you to have a cover to control mess (and hence use oil instead of water) with all the heat and antirust advantages.
Mostly its precision, durability, convenience, and focused design.
You can make it with a tile saw, but a slab and trim saw will serve you much better.
The analogy from wood working of comparing a hand saw with a table or radial arm saw comes to mind. 
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stoneya93

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Re: Saw Question...
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2016, 11:11:18 AM »

I appreciate the input.

My next question is:
Has anyone used one of these Agate Kutter Barranca Diamond blades with a tile saw?

http://www.kingsleynorth.com/skshop/product.php?id=103437&catID=113

They are on-sale right now through Kingsley North. Now, I have no idea if these are new or not...but if they are, could they be a game changer?

I'm gonna stop myself right there. I know the answer to that is not really. Actually, without ever having used a slab saw, I know the answer to that is no...based on my own research. I know it would still be just about impossible to get those nice, clean cuts. It might not be a bad idea for larger, rough work. But I plan to do smaller, detailed work for the most part. Slab saws are so damn expensive. But, could be entirely worth it. From what you both have said here, from talking to what I consider to be professional lapidary artists at our Gem&Mineral club here, and from what I've read...the slab saw is worth the cash. I don't want to make the same mistake I made getting my first lapidary at a mid-price instead of just paying top dollar for what I eventually had to buy because I ended up needing a better set-up...perhaps I should be a bit more patient with this and continue to work my tail off to save up for a good slab saw. I do want to do lapidary work professionally. I could be cutting stones all day someday.
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stoneya93

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Re: Saw Question...
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2016, 11:27:21 AM »

I should add that I never plan to cut agates, although it could happen. I'm just not as drawn to them right now. I do plan on cutting quartz material, but overall need a saw to cut soapstone (tile saw easy could do this), lapis, lepidolite, serpentine, etc....stones along these hardness levels. I probably will cut quite a bit of quartz. I just haven't yet. But I want to be able to when necessary. I doubt I'll ever have a specimen of garnet or tourmaline that's large enough that I'd want to risk taking it to a huge saw blade.
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Ranger_Dave

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Re: Saw Question...
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2016, 01:42:43 PM »

Maybe some expert here can correct me if I'm wrong, but quartz and agate are the same thing, mostly made up of SiO2, silicon dioxide.
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rocks2dust

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Re: Saw Question...
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2016, 02:30:36 PM »

Maybe some expert here can correct me if I'm wrong
Not going to correct because you are spot-on :wink: The biggest difference is just the size of the crystals: microscopic vs. eye-visible.
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Stonemon

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Re: Saw Question...
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2016, 02:58:53 PM »

Quartz will cut easier and faster than agate however. The fine grain of the agate make it "tougher" than quartz, which is more friable. (brittle)
Charcoal and diamonds are composed of the same element, but their physical characteristics are much different.
Bill
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Bill

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Re: Saw Question...
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2016, 04:52:04 PM »

       Yes, you can cut rock on a tile saw with a cheap and thick blade made in China. I usually use my tile saw to trim fossils and softer stones, like quartz.

   Check the arbor size of the tile saw. Then just see if the blade has the same hole size or get an adapter from a rock shop or on-line. Say "google". 

    I also use my tile saw to trim odd shaped pieces of rough that do not fit my saw vice. Then there are those nasty things like black jasper that foul up your saw oil. The tile saw is messy and does not cut uniform slabs. But it has its place and those thick Chinese blades last a long time... use a lot of water.

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Back

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Re: Saw Question...
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2016, 07:26:25 PM »

Hi Stoney

It all depends on you budget. For 100$ you can cut some small slabs with a cheep tile saw ans a 30$ china diamond blade. Problems have already been listed.

I agree that the saw blade you linked to could be a game changer. I will have to look into the reviews if I can find some. If it works like they say I will try it after the first of the year if not sooner.

The lapidary club is so far away that I dont go there very often. When I do go there I use one of there 12"slab saws and usually cut just cut a few small slabs.

Bless
Shawn
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