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Cutting tufa stone

Hello All,
I’m ordering some tufa stone to do some casting…rings and bracelets. You have to order it and then cut it down to the size(s) you need. I’m getting a piece about 3.2 inches wide…can I cut this in half with a hacksaw or jeweler’s saw to make a mold that is 1.5 inches thick on each side, or is it likely to break apart if I try this? Thx, royjohn

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Gomeowcreations on Youtube has a video on casting with Tufa, if I recall he spoke about how to cut it.

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Thanks for the reference to Gomeowcreations…the video was very instructive, but really did not include anything on cutting blocks of it…I did turn up a video of someone cutting a slice off a massive block of it with a standard wood handsaw, without a lot of care. I think it will be possible to cut the 3.25 inch thick piece in two to make a mold. Some folks advise using 2 inch thick pieces, but I think I can get away with about 1.5 inches. -royjohn

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Just about any kind of saw, even a “wire” saw, will cut tufa. However, be aware that cutting tufa will dull your blade, so you might want to consider a saw that uses replaceable blades. you can also use an
abrasive lapidary, or masonry type blade, in a hand held skill saw, or on a chop saw. Then smooth the
cut with 100-150 grit carbide sanding paper, stuck on any flat surface.

Paul McClain

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I am going to suggest you remember to not breath in the dust created by cutting Tufa with any tool. Wear a mask, vent to the outdoors, cut outdoors, just don’t breath the dust.

Don

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There is an old thread called Casting In Tufa from 1999 with a lot of good information in it. I will try to bring it into the present…Rob

Hey Rob,

Thanks for the additional references…I searched, but didn’t use the word casting…

glad to get this additional info…I’m awaiting the tufa from Thunderbird and a

little after that the fun will begin…hope I can avoid spilling silver on my toesies…

Thanks,

royjohn

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Let us know how it goes…Rob

I’ve ordered tufa from Tbird in the past and was able to saw it into pieces less than two inches thick with a fine bladed hacksaw and had no trouble with the slabs cracking or breaking apart. You’ve probably already tried to do so by now so I hope you’ve had good luck. Btw I’m an instructor of Tufa and most other casting methods at Cowtown Gem, Mineral, and Glass in Fort Worth, Texas.
Paul Smith

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Hi Paul,
The tufa arrived yesterday, so I haven’t had a chance to cut it yet,
but I’ll use either a hacksaw or an old wood hand saw. Hacksaw
sounds better, as you only dull a replaceable blade. Still looking
for an electric melting furnace for this project, but I can cut the stone
and estimate the weight of silver needed while that goes on. I
wish I were in Texas to take a class from you, but I think I can
manage the process, given all the instruction videos I’ve seen.
Should be a fun project. I’ve just finished reading The Art of
Stamping
by Matthieu Cheminee, which was a great read, so
I’m looking forward to working on this. Thx, -royjohn

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I bought The Art Of Stamping a couple months ago. The work is amazing. Don and I have a collection of very old stamps that our father was given or made himself while he was at the Chilocco Indian School. They look a lot like many in the book. I have started to make a few of my own…Rob

Hi Rob,
I guess great minds think alike…LOL…despite the fact that it “stamps” me as an imitator, I like the book’s inclusion of numerous stamp designs and exactly how to make each one, something I did not find in other books on stamping. One could use them as found or use the designs to come up with new ones. While it is fairly expensive as a physical book, I got it for the Kindle for $9.99. The illustrations were in black and white and too small on my Kindle Paperwhite, but in color and large enough on my laptop. There was also a project that illustrated how to make a concha without using a concha die and that was quite illuminating, as I’ve often wondered “how did they do that?” Ditto for the embossing on bracelets, which was shown in other projects. Takes stamping to a whole 'nother level beyond those Etsy pendants with “Love” stamped on them…depending on your interest in history, the numerous profiles of silver artists may be irrelevant or of interest, but the specific instructions and projects are wonderful. I bought a bunch of old steel to make stamps a while ago and I’m rummaging in the garage to find it now… -royjohn

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I have made a few stamps myself. One thing I learned is that the impression can be small but put some heft into the stamp itself. Easier to handle when you are making the stamp, easier to use when you are stamping. Quite often I find myself wondering, how did they do that?

Don

Hi Don,
The size of stamps is puzzling to me…Cheminee suggests about 2.5-3.5 inches long, but I would think 4 to 6 inches would be more manageable myself, to get your hand around it. As far as "how did they do that?..I sometimes look at your stuff and think that…LOL…so it all depends on where you stand. Some stand on the shoulders of giants and see afar…I stand behind giants and can’t see a thing…;>).
-royjohn

Would my class instructions be of any help or do you have it down pretty well from the videos? I could try and scan them and send them.

Paul Smith

Hello Paul,
I would be glad to look at your class notes, if it is easy to scan them.
I think I understand the process pretty well, but it never hurts to review
things again…however, if scanning is difficult, don’t put yourself to a lot
of trouble.
Thx,
-royjohn