Due to the size of our rock saw which has a blade diameter of 200mm or 8 inches we can’t cut very large rough rock slabs. Then take into account the vice on the saw and the size of the slabs reduces by about another 10mm or so. Even though using the vice decreases the overall size of the slabs it does provide accuracy for cutting to set thickness. I have tried doing this by eye, but it has never worked accurately for me!
Recently while cutting up some rough Lapis and Unakite into sizes suitable for tumbling stock. I noticed there were some decent chunks that would fit in the saw vice nicely. So I set these to one side for later, after I had finished the task in hand.
First of all I fixed piece Unakite into the vice and did one cut to give me a flat face. Then I set the vice to give me a cut of about 5 to 6 mm depth as best could, and cut a slab. I repeated the process as accurately as I could a couple of more times with this piece of stone. In the end we got 4 small rough rock slabs from it.
Small Rough Rock Slabs cut from Tumbling Rough
The stock of Lapis Lazuli that we have as tumbling rough also had some pieces that would fit in the vice too. So some of that got slabbed as well.
Next job is to make some wooden blocks of varying thickness that will be placed against one edge of the saw bed. Then when the stone in the vice is butted up against the wood it will give an accurate measure of cut depth.
These rough rock slabs will be on average 3.5cm x 3.5cm, so will be good enough for small to medium cabochons. They should also be ideal for those who have small trim saws or rotary tools with diamond cut off discs.
There is also a batch of Blue Tiger Eye waiting to be cut once I have made those wooden blocks I mentioned. So you can expect to see these small rough rock slabs appear in the Rough Rock Shop in the near future.
Update 7 January 2019: a selection of these small Rough Rock Slabs have now been listed in the shop, you can find them here: https://roughrockshop.co.uk/small-rough-rock-slabs