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How can I cut a turquoise nugget or other beads in half?

I have some large turquoise nuggets and other beads that I’d like to cut in half. How can I do this without a saw? Will using a cut off disk & water in flex shaft or rotary tool and using a ring clamp to hold them work? Ideas and suggestions welcome.

You could use diamond cutting disks for your dremel or fordem and slow water drip.

Thanks!

~ Wendy

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How big are they? Depending on the size, you could hot glue or even super glue them to the head of a nail to give you a handle. Then very carefully do your cut with a diamond cut off disc. Assuming that you are using a flexshaft, chuck the flexshaft into a vise and push the stone through hanging on to the nail pushing the stone with your thumb. You will likely need a water drip. That could be as simple as a small squeeze bottle. You will also likely need a second pair of hands to run the water drip. The trick is to keep your cut going straight, because as soon as it isn’t you may bind the disc and crack the stone. Use as thin a disc as you can to keep down the loss of material in the saw kerf. If you do use superglue on a nail, you should be able to carefully heat the nail until the half attached to it falls off. Make this the less desirable half just in case the heat damages it. Good luck, you will need it…Rob

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The turquoise nuggets are BiG. 1.5-2.0 inches long with similar girth. I have smaller fossils (silicated) I’m hoping to do as well. I intend to bezel set them. Thanks for the great ideas and suggestions. This is helpful. I spent morning researching trim saws but was hoping for more immediate.

thanks for your response. I forgot about these. tT

Visit a meeting of the local gem and mineral society or call the President of such and see if you can’t find a local faceter or lapidary with a saw to help. If you were local to me I’d cut the nuggets as a courtesy. Just remind said person with saw to use water rather than oil as a lubricant, as oil could get into the turquoise and change the color. It’s a very simple matter to change the oil to water in a small trim saw, so it isn’t a great amount of trouble. Some use water as a lube in these anyway.

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That’s pretty big to do it any way other than using a proper trim saw and a vise. I second royjohn’s suggestion. Look for a local rock and mineral club. If you want to purchase lapidary equipment and supplies, start with Kiingsley North.

Good luck…Rob

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Rob, thank you. See my comment to royjohn. You’re in Michigan. I’m in Indiana. I’ll take a look at your store. thanks.

I’ve been a rockhound for 20+ years. Been around a lot of gem and min clubs/societies. Been a officer of a few. Since I moved back to the Midwest, finding lapidaries in the pandemic has been difficult. Finding reputable people has also been a challenge. I’m on 3 rounds of never getting my material back which made me smile to see your comment. Last round I gave up self collected yellow jade and lavendar spurite to a guy that seemed legit and said he’d cut it. He never answered another call in 19 months. A few years ago I gave a guy a peice of gem grade pink tourmaline. I knew him well, worked w/ him in a mineral society. He said he “lost it”. Then year later, he told me it was stolen. I know its just my bad luck (grin). So, I’m gonna do this on my own till the clubs and workshops open again. PS–ive never successfully cut turquoise before so I appreciate your advice. A trim saw seems in my future.

Sorry you have had such bad experiences. Some folks buy tile saws, but the ones I have seen have thick blades, run very fast and a lot of vibration, even if you do change the blade. The faceters trim saws are pretty expensive for what they are. I do see a $65 four inch tile saw at Harbor Freight, but at 5300 rpm, I would wonder about the vibration. Of course, all their stuff is returnable…you’d probably want a thin blade for cutting expensive material, but 4 inch blades are not real expensive. Cutting turquoise does not dull them very fast…

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I am in Central NY, not Michigan. I am just a customer of Kingsley North. They have always treated me well and I am happy to suggest that you consider them…Rob

Do a search on Rock Rascal. They sell a bare unit. You will need to buy a blade and mount the unit on a board with a motor, switch and wiring…Rob

Tina…I’m brand new here to forum…74 years old and carving turquoise for a living 46 years …now pretty much retired. I could show you how to cut them in half using a 2" diamond saw blade on a 3/32 shaft in a flexshaft handpiece…no water needed just a vacuum or fan. Problem is it’s a trick to hold the stone and not cut your finger off! LOL…really got your attention now, don’t I ?! How many do you have to cut? The trick is using your thumb and trigger finger and moving the rest of your fingers into a folded fist so nothing is in direct line with the spinning blade. Others here have given good advice how to put them on dopping sticks to keep out of harms way as well. I can make you a short video of the tools and how to do it if you like. Is there a place on this forum to show videos?
All the best,
Winston

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Winston,
Im humbled by your offer! I would love to see that technique, and from someone so experienced! I saw some of your work online.
I too am new here, so dont know abt video sharing. Ideas anyone? Youtube would b another option. Thank you. Love the sound of your option.

OK Tina, let me get my techno savy wife to help me out here. I’ll talk with the folks at Ganoskin about video as well.
All the best,
Winston

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Well sorry for the delay Tina, been off the bench working on health issues. Will get some photos of tools and where I find them on Ebay and a shot or two of me cutting the stone.

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