November 3, 2019 at 3:48 am #5782
Anyone ever use a tile saw for rock cutting? It doesn’t look much different from the $60 Harbor Freight tile saw.November 3, 2019 at 12:26 pm #5783
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.November 3, 2019 at 12:28 pm #5784
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.)November 3, 2019 at 12:34 pm #5785
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.November 4, 2019 at 4:45 pm #5786
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.November 4, 2019 at 11:35 pm #5788
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!
MikeNovember 5, 2019 at 12:07 pm #5789
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.November 5, 2019 at 3:56 pm #5790
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.February 23, 2020 at 3:44 pm #6218
I am just following up on my previous post on this topic. Wow, I posted months ago in November, I really got behind during the holidays… and during the Tucson show…er…shows!
I have posted the video where I demonstrate using the Ultra Tec Facet Saw kit as an option to consider for trimming rough. The YouTube video is “Gem Cutting Tutorial – Faceting a Madeira Citrine with a Trillian Design”. I used this facet saw to cut the first set of instructions to form a point on the pavilion rather than using a lap. Saving lap life and giving me a few ‘trim’ pieces for future use. What are your thoughts on this option?
One correction from the video. In the video I give my opinion that the facet saw should work on pretty much any faceting machine. In discussing this accessary with Joe Rubin of Ultra Tec, Joe noted the following for me: “A detail – on your Madeira Citrine video you show the use of the facet-saw – and you comment that it can be used on other faceting machines. Now, most “other “ machines have a small Platen size (like 2”) – too small to offer adequate support for the 6” blade. Ultra Tec has a 4” Platen – so, only 1 inch of blade extends – stiff enough to not to bend and “wander off” as would happen with a small Plate.”
I certainly would like to know if any other cutters routinely use the facet saw and especially if any non-Ultra Tec owners have had success with this, or some other type of facet saw?
MikeFebruary 24, 2020 at 2:54 pm #6219
@MSackos… Thanks much for the video demonstrating the saw attachment for the Ultra Tec machines. I have a new machine (VL) arriving this week and will definitely be ordering the attachment today. Next time I talk to Joe, I’ll recommend you for a sales rep. LOL
JohnMarch 9, 2020 at 3:22 pm #6251
Good confirmation for me that a thin blade is the best. I have an old simple saw with a 4″ blade. I have cut many piece by just holding the stone somewhat loosely and rocking it back and forth. You can feel the tendency to bind. Almost never does. Almost. The stone flew off and the blade bent slightly, but I messed with it and I still use the blade. Question is, for me, what to do with cuts that are, say, more than 1.5 cm. It is hard to have that “safe” feeling when the cut gets too deep. Any suggestions?March 15, 2020 at 5:37 pm #6252
mike, i’m mike too, been faceting for 54 yrs and making connections on and off U.S.F.G. all over the world with new-be’s and long-timers. nadine at this yrs tuscon show won her first award, 13 yr old girl, one of my students. ya trim saw work is always needed. i have and do use the saw setup on my ultra tec’s and works great. but too i needed more freedom of movement. even though i have an old gemstone industries 4″ and a lortone 6″ i ended up making my own which can use 4 or 6 inch. made it out of plexi-glass plastic and made an arbor for it and can make the arbors. i get my saw blades from china and 4″er’s cost me $1.79 each for notched or $9 for sintered 6″ just under $4, sintered $9-19 depending who you catch ebay. theres a lot of older machines out there that there is no parts for so been making them when i can for those whom need them.October 4, 2021 at 10:22 pm #8152
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