Many of you don’t know that one of my loves (obsessions?) revolves around rocks, all rocks, and the equipment that takes a simple rock collection from something that can be stored in a drawer, to something that, at the rate it is going, will require a warehouse big enough to house a small plane. What does my family think of this collection? As with all of the areas of art I have chosen to pursue they are supportive. However, I think that secretly they believe I look around for ones that require the heaviest equipment and materials. Honestly folks, it just happens to work out that way!
I purchased the Frantom 18″ rock saw pictured up top pretty much sight unseen. I know, what was I thinking? I had been searching for another Frantom for quite some time and this one popped up on Craigslist. I took the seller at his word (basically just needed a good cleaning and cosmetic work) and from the photos shown in his ad. I saw a lot of red but figured it was all rock dust. My current saw was full of that reddish stuff from some Australian rocks I had cut.
The price was very good. I told him I would buy it sight-unseen in order to quickly secure it. I’ve never been afraid of a little grunge. You can’t be if cutting rocks is something you want to do.The pictures above, by the way, were taken after a good bit of cleaning had already been done. I choose to believe the seller was so new to lapidary that he didn’t know how bad the saw really was.
When we arrived to pick it up (not a short drive) we just loaded it onto the truck without inspection, since no matter what, I had given my word I would buy it. Once home we began the inspection. What a mess. The sawblade was completely unusable but the motor and carriage worked, (yay!). The lid was badly rusted and corroded around the viewing window (no way I was viewing through that!) and the tape that I thought was just keeping it weatherproof was actually covering up the fact that the metal had been eaten away. The drain was so badly rusted and the threads were so corroded that it was useless. If you have ever emptied a rock saw of several gallons of oily muck, you know how important it is to have a drain that works properly! Luckily the rest of the rust in the tank appeared to have not eaten through the metal from what we could tell.The biggest disappointment however, was that the rock vise was broken. This piece is made of cast metal and not something I could fix myself, nor was it a part that one could easily find.
Luckily I ‘knew a guy’ that I hoped could resurrect the saw. I had purchased some rock from him months before and had seen firsthand his wizardry with equipment. He took on the project for me for a very reasonable price and what you see below is the transition from ugly, decrepit duck to beautiful swan. Of course like many do-over projects the backlash is that now my other Frantom looks like a forlorn soul next to it. Hello Tom?? Have I got another project for you! This time lets paint it RED!