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Mary
 #1 
Hello all!
We have been hunting geodes for a while now and have built up quite the collection...although we are getting better at breaking them with hand tools, we would like to start cutting them along with a lot of large agates we found on our last adventure. We are looking into used tile/stone cutting type table saws...any advice on what to look for? We are on a budget so [wink]
Bob Harman
 #2 
MARY,    I will assume that you are in the Midwest as your previous posting suggested that.

You should be using the terminology "opening" geodes as this is preferred over "cutting" them. If the opened geode happens to be of hi quality, "cutting" it open might diminish its value as most experienced collectors like seeing only natural edges rather than saw or cut edges.
For very ordinary quartz geodes how they are opened won't matter much.

Opening geodes with the time and true method of hammering them until they break is still, by far, the most common method. Experience will let you improve your technique, but a lot will be badly broken as you gain that experience.
Geodes that are large with a thick rind and solid or only having a small central cavity will pose your biggest challenge no matter how you try to open them.
Any type of saw blade, including tile saw blades, will be stressed to the max with these geodes. What I have done is to put small (about 1/4" deep) notches in 2 or 3 or 4 places around the geode where you want it to break, then using a chisel into the notches, tap the chisel with the hammer until it opens; they usually open well with virtually no saw marks.

The next best way to open most round or oval geodes is using a chain type pipe cutter. These are not cheap, but used ones can commonly be bought at rock shows or on line. If you go to a rock show near you watch to see one in use as someone virtually always has one at the show.  

As to specifically tile saws, I do not know of anyone using these to open geodes , even on smaller thin walled examples.   Their only use that I have seen is for putting the notches in larger geodes.

Finally, I will remind all who view this posting that you might be able to tell if a geode is hollow or largely to completely solid by its heft (weight). But you cannot tell anything about the orientation of any secondary crystals within the geode cavity. Opening the geode by any method may yield a great specimen or a badly broken example if the opening happens to be right thru the crystals breaking them. AND WEAR SAFETY GLASSES when using any saw to open the geode.      BOB


fossilman
 #3 
I break all my Geodes that are hollowed,but cut the ones that are solid cored....Like the ones that are from Kentucky..
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