Hi Folks My son the rockhound, age 16, has recently taken a few
courses in lapidary and is totally hooked. Wants a trim saw for
Christmas. Now, I do some metalsmithing but I’m not very up to speed
on trim saws. Someone recommended the Genie, someone else the Pixie.
I’m clueless, although I 'm pretty sure those 4-inchers won’t work
well. I’m looking to stay below 400 dollars. Any suggestions?
Hi Folks My son the rockhound, age 16, has recently taken a few
Dianne, Get him a “Rock Rascal”. Comes complete with motor and
blade. You can get complete lapidary supplies from Louis at Iron’s
Lapidary. Call him at 602-242-8393. He also has a website but I do
not know the URL.
If you’re just looking for a trim saw, the Genie & Pixie are not
what you want. They’re both multi wheel grinders. (Genie 8", Pixie
4"). Their new cost is at least double your $400 budget.
A trim saw is typically a motor with a 4"-6" thin diamond
impregnated/plated blade. Think ofd it as the lapidaries equivalent
of a carpenters table saw. In most trim saws the blade is lubricated
with water or oil to help keep the rock dust cleared from the cut &
to cool the blade. Trim saws usually run below $150 new.
Now, I do some metalsmithing but I'm not very up to speed on trim saws. Someone recommended the Genie, someone else the Pixie.
The Genie and Pixie are both cabbing machines, not trim saws. Trim
saws cut the basic shape (preform) out of slabs of rock. Cabbing
machines do the grinding and polishing of the preform. I have a
Pixie, which is an all diamond system of 4" wheels, and I love it.
But I have space limitations and it’s a small, compact machine (like
a slightly oversize sewing machine). Otherwise I’d probably prefer a
Genie (6" wheels) because of its greater versatility. If your son is
serious, I’d suggest the Genie.
Both of these machines, however, sell new for over $400. Check the
classifieds of Lapidary Journal for the best deals on new machines.
You could also consider a used machine. There are online sites for
these which I’m sure someone can tip you to. Good luck.
I would recommend the Genie. It is nice machine for making
cabachons. There is an optional trim saw attachment for the Genie. The
Pixie has no saw. However, you will not be able to stay below $400
unless you find a used unit. The Genie lists for $1525 and the saw
attachment is an extra $223
An interesting alternative to a conventional trim saw (6 - 10"
blade) is a diamond band saw. They run about $400 new. One advantage
it provides is the ability to make curved cuts, giving better yield
(reduced waste) from your slabs and it reduces the amount of grinding
that needs to be done to the preform. It has also gotten me into the
practice of buying slabs, rather than whole rocks.
This does create some limitations, but also means I get only the
best materials because I’m shopping slabs, not the whole rock. I have
none of the annoying end pieces left from slabbing operations, and no
big saw taking up space. In fact, a couple weeks ago I gave my 10"
saw to my brother-in-law on a long term loan. I do have a 6" saw I
use for fine rough and mini-slabbing operations, but it doesn’t have
A great place to shop online for used lapidary equipment is Bob’s
Rock Shop classified ads. You can also place a “wanted"
advertisement… and I can tell you, it really does work! That’s
where I got my used Genie (6” grinder), with all new wheels and lots
of extras, for $750. The seller had upgraded to the Titan (8"
EBay is also a great place to shop for rough slabs, when you can’t
get your “fix” from rock and gem shows! Search, by Seller, on
"firstname.lastname@example.org". He’s always got some awesome stuff, and he’s a
pleasure to deal with. Standard disclaimer… just a satisfied
All the best,
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)
Hi. As a couple others have stated, the Gene and Pixie are cab
units, not saws. There are several saws on the market and as one
other has suggested, the Rock Rascal is a very good choice. It has
a ball bearing arbor which will with care last for a very long time.
They DO NOT come with a motor or blade unless the store is putting
together a package for you. The good news is that you can stay well
below the $400 limit for one. The Saw itself sells for right at
$100. A good blade will run you another $30 to $50, depending on
which one you chouse. I would recommend a 0.025" thick that can be
used with a water as a coolant. The Pariah is a good one. A 1/4 hp
motor is need to drive the saw and you can find them at a lot of
garage sales for under $10. A new one will cost around $90. Add a
pulley on the motor, $5.00 and a belt $5.00, a power cord and
switch, another $10. and a piece of sink cutout from a kitchen shop,
usually free, a few screws from the junk drawer and you are off the
hook with a well built unit, all new parts, for around $250. That
leaves room in the budget for some rocks to cut.
I recommend using water as a coolant. It is less toxic than other
coolants and the cost is nothing. It is also easier to clean up
after. IT will rust the saw though if you don’t prevent it. When
assembling the saw, use and anti seize compound on all screws and on
the arbor shaft. Then make sure you drain down the sump and spin
dry the blade after every use.
Following these simple steps, the saw should last long enough for
your son to hand it down to his grand kids.
If you need help obtaining one, contact me off line.
I would recomend that you consider the Cabmate unit from:
This is a very nice inexpensive ( costs are in the tooling)
introductory and portable system.
This is an excelent distributor who carries a very wide range of
equipment that will include introdctory and portable tools that will
serve your purpose. Jesse
The absolute best prices on trim saws is at:
And they have pictures!!! And they are cheaper than the dealer at
I highly recommend the HiTech saw. Its self contained, and I have
both the 4" and the 6". I like the 6" much better, you can always
put a 4" blade on it, but the table is soooo much bigger that’s its
worth the extra few buck… The vice comes/fits only the 6"’,
good for cutting straight pieces for Intarsia, or if you want to cut
Love and God Bless
Diane - If you’re actually looking for a cabbing unit, I would highly
recommend the All-You-Need by Ameritool. Especially for a 16-year
old. They’re perfectly within your budget, whereas the Genie is a
couple thousand. Make sure you get the newer All-You-Need with a
metal base - it sits a little lower and is more comfortable. Looks
better, too. I’d also recommend the 8-inch versus the 6-inch. My
husband uses it and it’s a superb unit for the price. If you live in
San Francisco you’re welcome to contact me directly - I’d be happy to
show it to you so you can see what it is, and also get you the name
of the local dealer. ~kara
“Barwood, Henry L” you asked about a trim saw for your facet
machine. I think all you need is a motor shaft adaptor Available at
your local friendly ACE hardware store or lapidary, these come in a
variety of shaft and thread sizes. what you will need to get the rite
one is the shaft size of your machine, The direction it turns and the
hole size of the blade, because the adaptor fits over your motor
shaft and is usualy secured with set screws, the adaptor shaft is
threaded either left or right handed so that as it rotates it tends
to tighten rather than loosen the nut securing the flanges to the
blade. then you need a blade. 4", 6", 8", X how thick? Go to Lapidary
store. OR Someone else wanted a Trim Saw for a child, Who at this
time in life is absolutely sure that this is what is wanted. I will
ask you to go to your computer and look up the nearest HOME DEPOT at
http://www.homedepot.com and look up tile Saw they have one that
makes a great trim saw for under $100.00 with motor, tank, tilt,
blade,[too thick for facet rough thats expensive] however it willuse
a thin blade very nicely. They also have the entire line of MK
Diamond Industrial Diamond saws which can use lapidary blades. CHECK
it OUT. Thanks Art http://graphics.hotmail.com/emwink.gif