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Best method for cutting small stones? Answered

I figured I would create a bit of an imitation to the whiskey stones sold at think geek. I found a few stones which were large enough to create suitable cubes, and had a nice color to them. However, I ran into a problem when I finally got up to cutting them. My dremel tool provided minimal results, Even with solid carbide tips. So, I asked around and the only other suggestion I recieved was to use a diamond tipped table saw. The problem as you probably know is that that would be overkill, and probably ineffective, as I would have a hard time holding down a 2 inch stone. Your help is appreciated, thanks in advance.

* note - I have no idea exactly what type of stone I'm using, but I know that it is relatively soft.



Best Answer 8 years ago

Forget the dremel.  If you're trying to cut enough to sell then you need a better tool.  Go to home depot or equal and look at the tile saws.  These saws should run about $100 and will cut most soft to medium stones.  They are made to cut floor and wall ceramic tile.  They will work very well for what you want.  You can get much better blades for them that will last longer for harder stones.  Get one of the water cooled blades and it will last much longer.

The ones for around $100 bucks are going to be either a 4" or 7" blade, which will work alright for small pieces. For a 2" cube (finished size) you're going to want at least a 10" blade, which will set you back quite a bit more. Smaller cubes would be fine with the smaller saws.
Also consider buying some dop wax at the lapidary shop to make a dop stick to hold your stones when cutting and polishing.
Finally, I'd recommend finding out what kind of stone it is before putting it in your drink.

Go one step simpler-get a coarse (180 grit or so) diamond impregnated sharpening stone (a cheep one at harbor freight is something like $5) and hand grind back and forth for 10 min or so-keep it wet so the mud doesn't clog the diamonds.

Depending on where you live, there may be a local lapidary club. Here in San Diego, we have one that will let you use their tools, cutters, polishers..... Normally you have to join and attend an orientation to ensure you can safely use their tools. After which, you can start working with your own stone. Often they will also have classes and periodic craft shows.

you can get diamond wheels for your dremel tool ( kind of like the metal cutting discs for dremel) but I would think that a diamond tile saw would be good in the way that it would keep cuts square.  If there is a "rock shop" around you they may have a diamond saw and could cut it for you.   They would have blades more suited to cutting stones (thin kerf).  hope this helps you out

Yup. Definitely the best bet is to find a rock shop or a local lapidary hobbyist who is willing to let you use their slab saw. Second best is to rent a wet tile saw with a diamond blade for a day.
Then polish until your arms fall off.