Lapiday page one: All about
tumbling and sawing rough rocks !
In these pictures I have lots of small nodules glued to the board as well as some nodules that are fairly
large.    The bigger nodules have been glued on with the epoxy since they are very heavy.

Note that on the photo on the left that I have very many peices glued on.  I also used both sides of the
board.  Once I cut the rocks on one side I can take out of the vise and turn over to get the ones on the
reverse side.   This uses the wood more efficiently and saves space and time when cutting.
One other advantage to glueing to a board is that instead of individually  locking the single  pieces in a
vise and making cuts, you save time by locking in only once and making a full cut across the many
stones and using the material very efficiently.  
To saw small rocks , you'll need to glue them to a board. This is good for items too small to fit in
the vise, for small rocks when you want to cut all of it at once without re-chucking, and for heel
or end cuts.    My saw's vise can hold a rock 4" tall x 7" long , so I cut up a scrap piece of
standard  2x4" lumber so that it just fits in the vise.  In this case the wood is actually already
almost 4" tall so it was just cut 6 1/2" long.

It is best to use wood glue , in this case , Elmer's wood glue that can be found at Wal-mart for
$2.50.   The  only disadvantage to using wood glue is that it takes 4 to 7 days to properly cure.

Once you have slabbed out the rocks right down to the wood , you can just throw the wood into
a bucket of water and a week later the glue dissolves and you get your wood back plus the
heel or end cut that was on the board.  You may want this end cut for cabbing , or tumbling.  In
any case , you only need water and you have salvaged your wood with no hazardous
If you are in a hurry ( or have a large heavy stone ) you can use 5 minute epoxy.  This is a lot
more expensive  to use but it cures in 24 hours instead of 4 days to a week.

The drawback to using the epoxy is that the rock is permanently stuck to the board so if you
want your end cut or your wood to re-use , you'll have to use a strong, dangerous chemical
that you'll have to dispose of later.
Best thing to do is just discard the wood and the adhering end cut , but if you just gotta have
them back  you can soak the wood in acetone.
You'll get your end cut back and a smelly peice of wood to re-use and you'll have used acetone
to dispose of .

You could also try to freeze the epoxied wood and trying to snap or pry the rock off.
You'd have to be pretty desparate to try that , but if you find yourself in a desparate situation.....
Go to the main DIG FOR CRYSTALS site   
or just close this page.....
We currently have a brand new lortone 12"  
rock saw for slabbing.  We'll slab your rocks
on halves , or can slab them for a fee.......
Jackson, Georgia 30233
Local visit or thru the mail !
this agate was found at my pay to dig location in paint rock valley
Alabama Paint Rock agate glued to
a board with Elmers wood glue.  
i have used both sides of the wood.  Cut one side then flip over to cut the opposite side.
Bigger nodules held on with epoxy
elmers wood glue or 5 minute epoxy used to glue the rocks.
There's an alternate method that is not as popular today as it was in the past :
rocks can also be set in cement or plaster of paris.
I can't see any advantages to this method over glueing.
The disadvantages are that you can't see the rock in the carton to judge the thickness of your cuts
because the rocks settle in different planes.
In this method a wax paper milk carton or orange juice carton is used.
Not only do you have to get the cartons, the cement or plaster of paris is much more expensive than
My most recent saw purchase has been a new lortone 12 inch slab saw.  This has an automatic feed with auto shut-off.
This has a clamp type vise and this is ideal for using wood blocks.  I'll cover the other type of rock vises later.
For lubrication we use mineral oil from tractor supply.  It is usually under $12 per gallon.  It's in the horse section as a
laxative !   This is a very safe and nearly food grade mineral oil.   Good for the skin , and not bad for the belly.    
When you raise the hood after making a cut,  there is an oil mist ( as with any type oil ) and you dont want to inhale
any type of oil mist or else you may get " chemical pnuemonia ".  Therefore I keep a small fan blowing toward the saw
so that when the hood is raised the mist quickly dissipates.  
Lortone insists that oil be used with this machine , and with any saw over 8 inches you should be using oil and not
water with an additive.  Some people that are concerned about the mist use an anti-misting agent such as Bardahl
No-smoke.  The use of
"Bardahl No -Smoke" might be good in a 30 year old ford or other automotive applications ,
but has no place as an anti-mist agent in a lapidary saw which has fairly close human contact.   Therefore we
recommend  straight mineral oil as the only safe and practical saw oil.
Lapidary slabbbing and cutting
If you have "good" rough rocks
that you want me to cut for you on
halves , just email me