In this follow-up post to our cabbing machine guide, we will be looking at the best lapidary saw to take you through the complete jewelry-making process from cutting rough rock into slabs to trimming slabs to make cabochons, or cabs as they are often referred to, used in all types of jewelry from necklaces, to earrings, bracelets, and rings, etc.
And if you’re more interested in cutting geodes to reveal their exquisite interiors or you want to cut slabs or cut rocks for other creative projects, don’t worry, this guide has that covered too. We will help you choose the best lapidary saw to take you through the whole process.
|Editor’s Award||Brand||Click Image to Read Review|
|Best Lapidary Slab Saw||Hi-Tech Diamond 10″ Lapidary Slab Saw|
|Best Lapidary Trim Saw||Hi-Tech Diamond 6″ Lapidary Trim Saw|
|Best Mini Trim Saw||Hi-Tech Diamond 4″/5″ Lapidary Trim Saw|
|Budget Option||Mini Table Jewelry Saw with Polishing Lathe|
|Other Worthy Mention||SKIL 3540-02 7-Inch Wet Tile Saw|
Click below to jump to each topic in this guide.
- Best Lapidary Slab Saw
- Best Lapidary Trim Saw
- Best Mini Trim Saw
- Budget Option
- Other Worthy Mention
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Other Lapidary Saws We’ve Reviewed
Lapidary Saws Reveiwed
Best Lapidary Slab Saw: Hi-Tech Diamond 10″ Lapidary Slab Saw
Best Lapidary Slab Saw
The 10″ Diamond Lapidary saw is the perfect piece of equipment to cut small geodes, or to cut rock into slabs to make cabochons.
Though technically you can trim with this saw, it’s specifically made for cutting larger pieces of rock.
With a speed of 1,725rpm, the 1/3 hp motor is powerful enough to make large cuts with ease.
It comes complete with two 10″ blades but it’ll accept any 10″ blade that has a 5/8″ arbor. The 10-inch blade means that you can slab larger rocks and minerals up to 3-3/4″ high.
The green blade it comes with is a notched rim saw blade. This type of blade has diamond grit pressed into the edge of a solid steel core.
Basically, its thicker kerfs and sturdy core make it suitable for more heavy-duty lapidary cutting and you can slab agates, jades, and geodes, etc.
The Red blade uses sintered technology which means it has a longer life span compared to the notched rim saw blades the reason being that diamonds will always be exposed to the rock even as the blade wears away. Because it’s got a fine rim, this makes it more suitable for cutting and trimming rocks such as quartz, topaz, large pieces of glass, and fine agates.
Just to be clear, the lapidary saws I am comparing are suitable for jewelry making, so if you want to cut anything larger, this guide is not for you, and you will need a bigger saw.
The blade is kept wet by means of a coolant reservoir that holds 32-ounces of water which is conveniently located in the base of the machine. The blade sits in the water reservoir so it stays wet as it turns. It also captures and utilizes the excess water from the blade’s spray shield. We found clean-up to be an easy process too – the reservoir has a plug to drain the dirty water when you’re done.
Included with this model is a saw vise attachment (though there’s a cheaper option to buy one without). This keeps your hands well away from the blade. The vise grips and secures the rock or mineral for you while you manually feed it into the machine.
This American made saw is made from unbreakable, cross-linked polyethylene, and the saw housing is rustproof and resistant to impact. It comes with a one-year manufacturer warranty.
What We Like:
- Powerful Enough to Make Large Cuts with Ease | It comes with a 10″ green, notched diamond saw blade for slabbing large rocks and minerals up to 3-3/4″ high and a 10″ red sintered diamond saw blade, for cutting large pieces of glass, topaz, quartz, and fine agates.
- Works with Either Water or Oil | Though water is recommended for easier cleanup if you are used to working with oil you can do so with this machine.
- Saw Vise Attachment Included | Though you can choose to buy this machine without a saw vise attachment, it’s not only a good safety feature, for some people it helps to make more precise cuts as it grips the rock firmly while you manually guide it through the machine.
Check the latest price for the Hi-Tech Diamond 10″ Lapidary Slab Saw on Amazon.
Best Lapidary Trim Saw: Hi-Tech Diamond 6″ Lapidary Trim Saw
Best Lapidary Trim Saw
The Hi-Tech Diamond 6″ saw is the perfect lapidary saw for trimming pre-cut slabs to make cabochon preforms or to trim facet rough up to 1-3/4″ thick.
It’s compact and lightweight so it won’t take up much worktop space but it’s also rustproof and impact-resistant so it’s built to last.
It’s powerful too. It has a 1/4 HP motor which delivers a variable speed of between 800rpm and 3,400rpm depending on how fast you want it to go.
Like the 10 inch version, it comes with two saw blades for cutting different materials. The first is a silver notched diamond saw blade which is designed for cutting rocks and minerals including turquoise, aqua, garnet, corundum, emerald, and ruby. The second blade is a red sintered diamond saw blade designed to cut glass, topaz, quartz, and fine agates.
The coolant reservoir is similar to our previous choice being built into the base of the saw directly under the blade. It can hold up to 16 ounces of water and keeps the blade wet as it spins. The blade’s spray shield also serves to continually drip water on to the blade.
The saw table is removable and has an ample surface area of 15-1/2″ by 9″ wide.
The trim saw we have featured comes with a vise attachment. This is a valuable tool that keeps your hands away from the blade and helps to make precise cuts, though you can, if you prefer, buy a cheaper version with no vise attachment.
Either way, both saws come with an adjustable rip fence that clips into the saw table allowing you to accurately cut straight lines in stones or glass.
What We Like:
- Includes Two Saw Blades, Perfect for Trimming | This model comes with a silver notched diamond saw blade for cutting rocks and minerals and a red sintered diamond saw blade for cutting glass, topaz, quartz, and fine agates.
- Good Construction | It’s made from unbreakable, cross-linked polyethylene, and the saw housing is rustproof and resistant to impact.
- Works with Either Water or Oil | Again, although water is recommended for easier cleanup if you prefer to use oil you can do so with this machine.
Check the latest price for the Hi-Tech Diamond 6″ Lapidary Trim Saw on Amazon.
Best Mini Trim Saw: Hi-Tech Diamond 4″/5″ Lapidary Trim Saw
Best Mini Trim Saw
Though the smaller 4″ and 5″ blades don’t allow for larger cuts, this little trim saw may be all you need.
It has a powerful 1/4 hp, heavy-duty, ball-bearing motor that offers a variable speed, from 800rpm to 3,400rpm depending on how fast you want to cut, (that’s as powerful as the 6″ one we’ve just looked at) and it’s perfect for those that work with cabochon preforms, minerals, and glass, or those who want to trim smaller faceting rough.
With the slim 4″ silver notched diamond saw blade you can cut rocks such as turquoise, aqua, garnet, corundum, emerald, and ruby to a maximum height of 1-inch very precisely with virtually no wastage. But there is also an additional 5-inch diamond blade included, allowing for a maximum cutting height of 1 1/2 inches.
The coolant reservoir holds 8 ounces of water and keeps the blade wet as it spins. This model also includes a spray shield that cuts down on mess and also helps to keep the blade wet by dripping water on it while the machine is running.
Though obviously the saw table area is smaller on this mini trim saw, you would only be using it to cut smaller material anyway and you still get a surface area of 7-1/2 inches by 4-3/4 inches to work with.
What We Like:
- Compact but Well-Made | It’s made from lightweight, rustproof, impact-resistant material.
- Includes Two Fine Saw Blades in Different Sizes | The 4″ silver notched diamond saw blade cuts rock up to 1 inch in height and the 5″ blade can cut up to 11/2 inches. Additionally, the fine blades allow for more precise cuts with virtually no wastage.
- One-Year Warranty | All Hi-Tech Diamond Lapidary saws come with a one-year warranty.
Check the latest price for the Hi-Tech Diamond 4″/5″ Lapidary Trim Saw on Amazon.
Budget Option: Mini Table Jewelry Saw with Polishing Lathe
This improved, third-generation TM-2 mini table saw is our budget option and it’s more than just a trim saw, it’s a buffer, grinder, carving tool, and sander too so you get a lot for your money.
This multi-functional lapidary machine has a powerful motor of (just under) 1/2 horsepower and it comes with two blades that can cut and trim rocks as well as aluminum, chrome, precious metal, jade, wood, and plastic up to 30 mm (1.1811 inches) thick.
It comes with two mandrels that spin at between 0-10000 revolutions per minute and accommodate the included 4-1/4 inches buffing wheels, though it’s worth noting, it is also capable of taking buffer or grinding wheels up to 7-inches – you can even use two different grits at the same time.
Most notably, however, it comes with a highly useful, detachable and flexible, 42.5-inch multifunctional tool, suitable for a wide variety of projects or finely detailed work.
What We Like:
- Can Be Used as a Wet or Dry Sander | Depending on which is more suitable for the project you are working on.
- Angle adjustable Ruler | Its angle-adjustable ruler allows you to cut at precise angles with ease.
- Multifunctional Tool | This machine can cut, polish, grind, and carve – cutting down on the need for additional tools to complete a project.
Buying Factors to Consider:
This is a good little machine and very affordable but it’s Chinese made and so does lack comprehensive instructions. That means it may take a little practice and some trial and error to get the most out of it.
Check the latest price for the Mini Table Jewelry Saw with Polishing Lathe on Amazon.
Other Worth Mention: SKIL 3540-02 7-Inch Wet Tile Saw
Other Worth Mention
Though this wet tile saw isn’t marketed for the lapidarist, when used with a good diamond lapidary blade it’s ideal for cutting rocks and minerals such as agates and quartz up to a couple of inches in thickness.
It features an adjustable rip fence with a miter gauge to allow for accurate straight or mitered cuts and it also has a bevel angle range of between 0-45 degrees.
Its stainless steel saw table is corrosion resistant and the saw blade is kept cool by the water reservoir that sits underneath the deck.
What We Like:
- Multi-Purpose Saw | This is a good option for those who would prefer a general use wet tile saw that’s suitable for a range of tile cutting or other DIY projects but that can be adapted to cut rocks for jewelry making, etc.
Check the latest price for the SKIL 3540-02 7-Inch Wet Tile Saw on Amazon.
Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is a lapidary saw?
A lapidary saw is specifically designed to cut rocks or gemstones into slices or shapes for making jewelry. The cut rocks can then be made into cabochons or faceted stones. They can also be used for cutting geodes.
What is the difference between a slab saw and a trim saw?
Slab saws tend to have larger thicker blades than trim saws. They are ideal for cutting larger rough rock pieces into 1/8″-1/4″ slabs for cabochon making or to cut geodes, for example.
Trim saws, on the other hand, have fine blades. This allows them to cut into slabs close to a pre-drawn out cabochon shape with great accuracy and leaving very little waste.
How do you use a lapidary saw?
Line up your slab or rough against the rip fence, or use your saw vise attachment or alternatively just hold the rock firmly with both hands, one on each side of the blade.
Make sure the (diamond) saw blade is continually fed with water or oil and manually guide the material in.
Go slowly and let the blade do the work for you. That way you will get a clean smooth cut every time and avoid any chips or accidents.
What type of blade do I need to cut rocks?
Whether you are cutting rough rock into slabs or trimming slabs to make preform cabochons, you will need to use a diamond-tipped cutting blade.
Notched diamond saw blades are ideal for cutting rough rocks into slabs and sintered diamond saw blades, are more suitable for cutting large pieces of glass, topaz, quartz, and fine agate, for example.
Other Lapidary Saws to Consider:
These are the products that didn’t quite make our top picks, but they’re still pretty good so you might like to take a look:
4″ Diameter Mini Jeweler’s Saw
This is a super affordable mini lapidary saw that can cut to a depth of 3/4 of an inch.
- It doesn’t require water but does come with a diamond blade that can be used for some stone and ceramic cutting.
- Suitable for cutting silver or aluminum etc.
- Includes a blade guard and an eye shield for safety.
Rock Polishing Buffer Bench Lathe & Polisher Machine Set with Mini Table Saw
You will need to buy a separate diamond lapidary saw blade for this machine.
- Accommodates a 6-inch cutting blade.
- Variable speed of 500~7000rpm.
- Multifunctional for jewelry/rock polishing and buffing as well as cutting.
7-Speed Adjustable Gem Jade Cutting Carving Polishing Milling Machine
Another good multifunctional machine.
- Output speed of between 1600-3300RPM.
- Mini saw with 4″ blade for a cutting depth of 1 inch.
- Great for jade cutting and carving and gemstone polishing.