I have been bitten by the Tagua nut bug. I now have a large supply of
them and after reading all that I can get my hands on and everything
on the web,I am ready ( I think ) to try my hand at it.My question is,
can I use my small 6 inch diamond trim saw to slice them? I read in
one small booklet about the nut,to forget using it because “it would
be a waste of time and the oil in the water would probably discolor
the ivory”. Since I cut turquoise,I don’t use any oil in the water,and
why would it be a waste of time? As always
any help will be greatly appreciated,John Barton
A hacksaw, bandsaw scrollsaw or any other fine tooth wood or meat
cutting saw works easily to cut tagua /palm nuts. The diamond saw
probably will burn them and be very slow by comparison.
The Mendocino Art Center (Mendocino California) is offering, among
their other jewelry and metals classes, a workshop on Tagua Nut this
spring. Check out their website at www.mendocinoartcenter.org Kelly
Mathson, the instructor, is skilled, talented, and very easy to work
It’s effectively a piece of wood. You will find cutting this
material with a diamond blade slow, frustrating, and of poor results.
It will get hot and likely burn, just like trying to use a skilsaw
with a dull blade in wood.
I cut Tagua and the skeletal materials, that is’s a substitute for,
with a fine toothed backsaw, or a bandsaw.
John - I’ve been cutting tagua nuts for some years, and only use
tools which will work with fine-grained hardwoods like ebony. By hand
you can use a coarse jeweler’s saw blade/fine coping saw blade; with
power you can use a Dremel™ or similar jigsaw, or (the very best)
a band saw. Both Harbor Freight and Diamond Tech sell nice small
bandsaws which come with both diamond blades for wet use, and finely
toothed blades for dry use. I would not recommend using any
liquid-bath saw for cutting tagua nuts.
Hello John Barton.
I have not worked tagua nuts but have seen the finished article and
Having used diamond blades for many years I do doubt they are a good
option for sawing these nuts… Diamond blades are constructed for
cutting hard materials that do not give in the path of the cutting
edge, this is why they do not cut your hand, wood or other similar
You could try it John, you may prove me wrong but I believe the tools
usually used for slicing range from bandsaws down though coping and
hack saws. I am confident that you will need to slice with a toothed
saw of some description that cuts a clearance and takes the kerf out
with each cut.
Good luck John, I would love to get my hands on some of those nuts.
Regards, Keith Torckler, New Zealand.
A big thanks to all who responded to my request for info on sawing
the tagua nut. Everyone contributed valuable info.I am new to
lapidary,having just put the equipment into my silver shop,so was
unfamiliar with the limits of the diamond saw blade. Thanks again to
all of you great people on Orchid.John
jb - may i make a suggestion about carving the tagua nut? consider
carving before cutting the nut; you will have a larger & therefore
sturdier area to start & you will not be limited should you have to
change course in mid-ream. another suggestion: before going to the
saw i start the cut with a small cutoff or slit blade on the
flexshaft; a rounded surface needs a notch sometimes to prevent the
initial cut skipping across the convex surface. good luck -
John, I’ve worked with Tagua before and I always cut it on a bandsaw.
My fear would be that the blade on a diamond saw would become clogged
with the paste produced by cutting the nuts with water. This may not
be the case. At any rate it is probably worth experimenting a little
before trying to cut large quanities.