Slabbing Saw Recommendations

Can anyone recommend a good stone slabbing saw which can slice a
stone up to six inches thick? I have access to a variety of
excellent field stones (jade, jasper, agate etc) which could be cut
into small tiles for mosaics, including stained glass arrangements
for the transparent and translucent stones.


For that size material you will need an 18" saw or larger. And you
will find that cutting the agates is very hard on those very
expensive diamond blades. I hope you want those little pieces REAL
bad, because they just got expensive. One of the reasons for the
dearth of good agate materials at the shows these days is the
exorbitant cost of cutting the material. Sad, really.


Dear PtP,

There are many considerations involved in acquiring a slabbing saw.
The cost thereof will go through the roof as it gets bigger.
Probably the best combination of economy and capacity is acheived
with the 12 or 14 inch saws. These sizes are capable of cutting four
and a half to five inch slices and will operate with fractional
horsepower motors. Most saws come with screw or hydraulic feeds, but
a better option can be found in the old weighted pulley types which
can be adjusted to feed at variable rates in order to compensate for
blade types, rock size and hardness, coolant type and condition and
smoothness of cut.Blade selection is also critical. Thin blades will
deform easily and are more prone to jamming and deformation. Thicker
blades will give you a smoother cut, but if you are cutting pricey
materials, a thick blade will have a wide kerf and you will loose
material. If you are buying a used saw it is important to determine
the condition of the bearings. There should be no wobble or
resistance. Alignment of the blade with the vise carriage is very
important. Misalignment can be disastrous ! The type of blade is
also a critical consideration. Continuously sintered blades are the
best and sintered segemented blades are also very good. Plated blades
are essentially a waste of money except for smaller blades that are
used in trimming valuable small materials with a trim saw. The
coolant is another critical consideration. Never use a water based
coolant inasmuch as the resultant rust will become problematic…
furthermore, water coolants are not near as effective as oil. The old
standby is diesel mixed with kerosene, but a safer type would be any
of the commercial cutting oils such as Almag (sp.?) Remember also
that cutting oil must be replaced periodically inasmuch as it will
carrry sediments which can result in premature wear of the blade and
diminished cutting efficiency. By the same token, never underestimate
the noxiousness of cleaning the oil sump. A better method of dealing
with this problem is to set up a series of sumps which precipitate
the sediment and return the clarified oil to the saw. Dirty oil
and/or sediment should ALWAYS be taken to the Hazmat station !

Ron Mills, Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, Ca.


Some excellent comments from others here on slab saw

I have 9 saws, I think, from 4" on up to 5 feet. the three largest
are 18" and 24" rotary diamond saws, the largest ( and slowest, and
ugliest) is a 5’ long drag saw.

With the larger saws, it is almost a necessity to either become a
machinist for maintenance, or know a machine shop.

where are you located? perhaps we can work some kind of trade.

Mark Zirinsky, Denver, CO USA