Forums Tools and Other Hardware Saw for cutting rough

7 replies, 5 voices Last updated by  Lowjiber 1 week, 4 days ago
Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
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  • #5782

    miketmbt
    Participant
    @miketmbt

    Anyone ever use a tile saw for rock cutting? It doesn’t look much different from the $60 Harbor Freight tile saw.

    #5783

    davidechols
    Participant
    @davidechols

    I used a tile saw for many years. The only problem with using one is wasting rough due to the fact that the blades are much thicker than a dedicated trim saw blade. I would not use a tile saw for trimming expensive rough but it will work fine for relatively cheap lab created rough to get them down to a manageable size. I am now using a Rock Rascal model J with a thin 6″ blade. Tile saw blades are 7″. The rock rascal is about the cheapest option out there and is a good machine. The higher price for trim saws has to do with such a limited market and not worth the effort to manufacturer in large quantities with competition between big companies.

    #5784

    Lowjiber
    Participant
    @Lowjiber

    I haven’t used my tile saw for cutting rough gemstone material. I suppose it would “work” if a thinner diamond-edged blade were installed. However, the flat bed of my tile saw would not lend itself well to the smooth movement of the rough through the blade.

    (I have two saws for cutting gem rough… 6″ & 4″ HI-TECH brand.)

    #5785

    davidechols
    Participant
    @davidechols

    Finding a thin 7″ tile saw blade is the problem with a tile saw machine. There is no markert for a thin blade for the machine. The thinnest one I found for sale is still much thicker than what you can buy for a dedicated trim saw.

    #5786

    flfaceter73
    Participant
    @flfaceter73

    A friend gave me this one which uses a 4 inch blade , i bought some thin asian lapidary blades that have worked fairly well . The motor isnt as powerful as the rock rascals i have next to it in the pic but if i go slowly it does ok.
    These were around $50 at harbor freight tools a while back.

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    #5788

    MSackos
    Participant
    @MSackos

    Mike, I bet many cutters have tried using a tile saw. I tried it when I first started cutting, but as explained by another commenter above, the blade was thick, so I wasted rough. I also had difficulty getting a good straight cut.

    After I could afford it, I picked up an Ameritool trim saw. Works great – I recommend a scintered blade.

    Also – Ultra Tec offers a facet saw adapter. It comes with the .006 blade and an adapter to keep it flat on the machine. This works amazingly well for trimming a Trilliant. You can just dial in the right angle, and in 3 cuts, you have a preform…almost ready to go to the 1200 grit. I demonstrate it in an upcoming video on YouTube in my Gem Cutting Tutorial series. I won’t be out for a while…I’m behind on editing the videos and am swamped with cutting for my wife, Bopie’s store.

    Bottom line: I don’t recommend a tile saw, unless as stated above you are cutting large chunks of inexpensive rough (synthetics, lab created, Smokey Quartz, Clear Quartz, or the like. If the budget is limited, I’d recommend the Ultra Tec facet saw adapter. Then when you have enough budget, a 4″ trim saw. I only have experience w/Ameritool…and love it, but I bet there are many other brands out there that are also excellent. I don’t live near a Faceting Club, but another option would be to use the club’s equipment. I visit the Old Pueblo Lapidary Club in Tucson almost every year during the gem show days, and they are an awesome club with great equipment and super people!

    Wishing you all the best!
    Mike

    #5789

    davidechols
    Participant
    @davidechols

    I did not know about the Harbor Freight 4″ saw. Sounds like a deal to me for someone just starting out. It sounds like if you get a decent blade and it will do the job. I also have the ultra-tec adapter for using a blade on your faceting machine but do not care for it myself. It can be done but not as easy as dedicated trim saw.

    Joining a gem club is a great idea I forgot about. The one in my town has a shop with a bunch of different saws including a trim saw. You will have to plan ahead and do all your trimming at the same time.

    #5790

    Lowjiber
    Participant
    @Lowjiber

    Keep your eyes out at rock swaps. Here’s a cute little 4″ saw that has to be fifty years old. I picked it up at a swap for $40 last spring. A little oil and a new blade made it good-as-new.

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