Gluing stones on blocks of wood is a simple option for slabbing halves of round rocks or end cuts/heels of quality rock. Gary Olson was kind enough to send in a few notes on how he accomplishes this. “I use regular Elmer’s glue. I spread thick coats of it on both the block of wood and the rock with my fingers so I can feel that both are evenly covered. (Gary is visually blind) Then I position the stone on the block like I want it. I usually leave a little of the stone’s slabbed surface sticking out so I can line the rock up correctly, (parallel) with the blade so it is as straight as I can get it. (Drying time is needed, usually around 24 hours.) No need for clamping the rock on the wood block, just the weight of the rock sitting on the block of wood is all that is needed. (After complete glue drying, and then clamping the block in the rock saw,) I figure out how many slabs I can get and move the vise over counting the number of turns I need to make on the cross feed for the number of slabs I want. I try to work it so my last slab on the block is paper thin, so I don”t waste material and can just throw this block away.” Thank you Gary! We appreciate the lapidary tip! There are a number of ways to utilize end cuts, and this procedure is very economical! If you prefer to have a complete slab (1/4″ or so) remain on the board, to remove the slab you”ll need to place the slab and block of wood in a bucket of water for an extended period of time, (rock slab face down in the water) or use warm water and change water regularly until the slab loosens.
Bill Beebe gives another suggestion for a very economical glue that he uses, Sodium Silicate Solution (water glass). Several quarts purchased many years ago, cost then at just over $2.00 for a quart size bottle, is still in use by us today, due to the long shelf life. Sodium Silicate Solution is advertised on the web at $9.70 for a one quart bottle. Be sure to read the cautions printed on the bottle label, such as: Be careful not to get the Sodium Silicate Solution on your skin, eyes, and or breathe the fumes. As you can see by Bill”s image above, he pencils in the shape of each stone, then pours enough Sodium Silicate Solution on the wood block to cover the area where the slabbed surface of the rock will be placed. Clean the flat sawn rock with denatured alcohol, then place the rock on the board, move or swirl the rock slightly to make sure the surface of the board under the rock is covered with the waterglass, and let set until dry, approximately 24 hours. When dry, be careful of any waterglass that has seeped over the edge of the block, and has now become a type of thin hardened glass. The wood block is now ready to set in the saw and slab your rock. Be sure to align the wood block as parallel as possible with the saw blade. We have found that a used block of wood should not be reused since the wood block contains oil and the water glass will not hold the rock securily. Again please read the safety information listed on the web or your purchased bottle of Sodium Silicate Solution. Now you get rid of those small pieces of quality material and slab them fast by applying more than one rock to a board.