Monday, October 22, 2007

How To Cut Rocks (Step Two)

The second step to making a cabochon from raw rock is to use a template and decide which portion of the rock you want to use for your finished masterpiece. This particular template is two-sided which I prefer as I like to make my mark on both sides. I then mark a "b" on the side that is the back with a magnesium wire. That way I don't make any mistakes when I am forming the stone. Sometimes the back and the front can be very similar and as much work as goes into forming these cabochons, I don't want to make a mistake on which side I am working on. Templates com in mm sizes and you can also get squares, hearts, crosses and many more. I am still a beginner so I generally use the medium sized oval. At this point it is time to fire up the trim saw. Make sure that you wear safety glasses at all times because I can guarantee small pieces of rocks are going to chip off and go flying. Basically the idea here is to trim as close to your oval (or square or whatever you choose) as possible without going over the line. There are of course rules for using this kind of equipment safely. Cut slabs only, not chunks or nodules, Cut straight lines only, let the saw do the work, forcing the saw tears out the diamonds (this is bad. The blades are expensive). If saw is running dry add oil (duh, but you'd be surprised), If the you see sparks STOP! your pushing too hard or the saw needs more oil. (see rule number three and four). Clean up after yourself. So to the right is a picture of Ohio flint (beautiful rock by the way. As you can see flint is not necessarily all grey). You can see the magnesium template mark and you can also see that I got a hair too close to the line and also managed to ship a corner off. (What can I say it was my first attempt.) I am saving this for when I have practiced a bit more so I can salvage it because this is one beautiful piece of rock. That pretty much covers step number two. I will post again next week on step number three.


Caelista said...

That rock -is- beautiful and this whole process is so cool. I never knew that "regular" people could get access to the equipment to do something like this.

I'll look forward to seeing the finished product!

Anonymous said...

I am getting ready to buy a large turquois rock cheap and thought on making my own and maybe who knows make a good investment. To me 50 dollars over the price I paid would be good
I am looking foward to reading more on your progress to learn as well. Thank you