Lapidary Rock Saw Revival

Pin It

Frantom Saw Before

Frantom Ugly Duck

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!

Frantom Rock Saw After

Frantom Saw Revival

Rockhound at Heart….Again

Pin It

septarian nodule pair

This is a repeat post, in a sense, but I never get tired of looking at this picture. There is no denying I am a rockhound at heart and could spend hours going over my rather large rock pile. They don’t need to be made into adornments for me to delight in each and every one of them.

Though there are many of my special items on assorted shelves and random drawers that my family will puzzle over when I am gone I don’t think there is any denying that these are cool. There are, however, many items they will discover that I held dear and exclaim “mom always was a little weird, wasn’t she?”

These are two halves of a septarian nodule that I had purchased sometime ago to use for cabochons. I doubt I will ever have the heart to cut and grind on them unless I find some I like better to take their place on my cabinet. Hopefully I will be able to find some that were already broken. Once you start down that grinding path there really is no going back! For now this pair is still perfectly intact and functioning quite well as dust collectors on my findings cabinet.

It is amazing to me to think what it took to form these unique patterns. On the outside they look like plain flattish round stones, a shape something like you might use to skip stones on a lake. Years ago I could have walked by a pile of these and never given them a second look, not realizing what a treasure of design they held inside. Look what I would have missed!