Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  


Welcome new members & old from the Lapidary/Gemstone Community Forum. Please join up. You will be approved after spam check & you must manually activate your acct with the link in your email

Congratulations to ToTheSummit and his Condor Cab!

Another cabochon contest coming soon!

Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Startup Equip Questions  (Read 680 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 13
Startup Equip Questions
« on: June 15, 2017, 06:54:37 AM »

  Hey everyone.
  It's amateur night again. :-)

  I am just starting up in lapidary.  Getting ready to sell my beloved "Bunny" (a 4 seat Polaris OHV) to move that money into lapidary.

  I am a intermediate level treasure hunter--just now getting into rocks and minerals--with some small smelting and casting experience.  Hoping to also do the metals part of this and WHO KNOWS...maybe one day move up into the making of fine jewelry.

  Been having to do a lot of reading around just to find some intelligent questions to ask...

  From what I can tell, the first thing I need to get is a Trim/Slab saw. 
  Was looking at the Covington 16" saw. (With Power Feed and the drop-in table for trim sawing).  Of course this is horribly expensive.  But finding that thing used--or ANY thing used--has been terribly dry.

  I have limited space to work in, and a 120v limitation on power. (unless I add a generator).  Was eyeballing the 16" saw, because I am not going to have room for multiple saws.  The 16" would allow me to cut some slabs and geodes--and it's double duty as a trim saw would serve well.  And, as I recall, it's the largest saw I can get that will run on 120v.
  If anyone would like to weigh in on this line of thought I would be most grateful.

  The next thing would be a cabbing wheel, and a cheap grider for rough shaping.  Snall drill press.
  Flat Lap for smoothing the back of cabs?

  Am I missing anything?  Does anyone know a good source of used equipment they could turn me on to?  I am Washington state.

  Thanks for any input!




  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 820
Re: Startup Equip Questions
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2017, 07:12:06 AM »


You will need it to go rockhounding later.

The way I did it was tumblers, then dremel stone working, then bought a tile saw, then old Poly type arbors and then lapidary slab saws, then drills, flat laps, vibe tumblers etc.

Man I tell you this is a addictive no holds barred hobby!##

Anyway used equipment ain't near the price of a Polaris.



  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 12
Re: Startup Equip Questions
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2017, 08:45:08 AM »

Hi Dave,

some thoughts:

I'm guessing you've been out collecting and have bigger chunks or rocks around?   I bought a 16" used saw first because I was really into cutting Coconut geodes. If you don't need to cut bigger stuff then you can probably get away with a smaller trim saw to start.    I suspect there are a lot of used 10" saws around in Washington.

are you working in your shop or house?  16" Covington going to use oil?.   probably not going to be your best trim saw.   Great for cutting slabs etc.

Do you have any local lapidary clubs that have shared equipment so you can try out some tools?

the order of the other tools depends on what you want to work on project wise.   Drill press isn't as essential - diamond bits and dremel or foredom will suffice for drilling small holes....

cabochons can be done with a number of tools and everyone has their favorites.   If you like cabbing that's where most of your initial money might go.

I agree with Orrum,  don't sell the rock hounding vehicle to buy equipment ..... 'cause this hobby is addictive and you will want to go collect more.

Have a great time and post some pictures when you finish some projects.





  • Retired Zoologist
  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 295
Re: Startup Equip Questions
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2017, 05:27:30 AM »

I would hesitate to try to combine trim and slabbing into the same saw.  A small trim saw should be easy to find, or adapt from a tile saw. I can cut small rocks with my slab saw, but I can't trim slabs with it very easily.  A lapidary grinder with one or more expand wheels saves on space compared to many wheels combinations of nova wheels.  The size of the slab saw depends of the size of the stuff you want to cut, but many of us make it with 12" or 16" saws and I doubt you would have to have 220V for bigger saws.  I know of 24" saws that run on 120V.  Building up a lapidary shop is an adventure unto itself unless you throw the family legacy at it.  Good luck. 
Combining a love of bikes (pedal and otherwise) with hiking, hounding, lapidary, and the great outdoors


  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 50
Re: Startup Equip Questions
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2017, 11:04:16 AM »

Howdy and welcome to the world of lapidary. I would not start with a combination slab/trim saw either. Even though I have an old Lortone 10" slab/trim saw. I cannot imagine trimming slabs in that oily mess of an environment. Take your time and find a used 6" trim saw and a lapidary cabbing unit. Look around and join the nearest gem and mineral club.There are as many ways to start into this hobby as there are people in it. Contact Tony Funk @  He may be able to steer you in the right direction. Good Luck!  Bob
Pages: [1]   Go Up

Page created in 0.081 seconds with 35 queries.