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  Author   Comment   Page 1 of 3      1   2   3   Next
dave t.
I've finally got to the end of my 5 gal. can of Almag oil for my rocksaw! FINALLY!
Now can anyone recommend an oil that doesn't smell and does not mist? There is a lot of info doing a 'search' but I'd like to have a first hand report from a happy user.
Thanks, dave t.
Elmer McElreath
Dave T,
I use anti-freeze. I would be interested if anyone has used the
"earth friendly" kind. Ya know, the one that is natural and safe for the envioroment(sp). Good luck on your search. Some use old transmission fluid, automatic, kind.
Hi Dave,

I was told about using the old Transformer oil from the light Co. It is safe to use and is the same thing that Shell Oil sells as Pella Oil. It was posted on the Lapidary site a few years ago. I hope this helps you out buddy. Oh are you and Mary coming to the Get Together this year? KOR Carl in WI
Dale Walker
I've used some of the "enviro-friendly" anti-freeze and have had success with it. I do not cut tons of rocks, but this stuff seems to be OK.

Some of the negatives are it mists up and requires a lot of rinsing to thoroughly clean it out of a pourous specimen.

How about just distilled water? I would try it myself, but the saw is in my garage and exposed to cold weather. What does anyone else say about the distilled water?

Harry Polly

I found a company that supplies diamond saw blades, planer blades, etc, locally. They have a product called diamond saw oil. It is very concentrated, does not mist, leaves no residue to speak of. It mixes 50:1 with water. A friend of maine that worked there at the time gave me about a half gallon. This was enough to do 55 gallons. I have had this for at least 15 years. I also have about 4 gallons of Pella oil, that I will be happy to sell for $8.00/gallon. If anyone is interested, let me know and I will bring it to the get together. I can also contact my friend and see what he has available as to the other oil. I usually mix it up in gallon jugs, strain and reuse. I still probably have enough to do about 5 more gallons.

People, PLEASE BE CAREFUL using ANTIFREEZE and AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION FLUID. Both of these are very hazardous both in the fumes and skin contact. This is like playing Russian Roulette. If using these as lubricants, PLEASE use a respirator and long sleeve shirts with rubber gloves to protect your body and lungs. Have worked in the automotive parts and service for over thirty years. I KNOW how dangerous these chemicals are.

I have seen posts on other boards that tout mineral oil. Don't know about it, but it has got to be safer than the above products.

Why.. Heck(I'm try'n not to use bad 4-letter words much anymore on the board..Otay?)...
Why not use urine... everything else has been used!!!

Yeah.. I'm joking, but just about everything has been used.
Ok, let's anal-lize(oops) the problems with a open mind, or mine. In other words, give it some thought before running your mouth!
I've never owned a rock saw, so some of my ideas may be far one-sided, but I have used a few cutting tools in the last few years and maybe some ideas can be used with the rock saws?

Smell, or bad odor?
Humm? Water doesn't have a bad smell, or bad odor. Why not use plain water?

The thicker the fluid, the heavier the coating that will be on the blade, that will result with more fluid being "thrown-off" a rotating blade... equals more "mist".
Why can't we just run the saw without any fluid?
Oh! We're generating heat and heat will remove the diamond from the blade, which may cost us more money than the material we're cutting! When I was in The Navy, we did cut hardened steel with a band saw that the blade had no teeth, it's called "friction cutting", but that's another subject.
So, we must cool the blade and the material we're cutting? We could use real cold air, CO2, or freon? No, then we would need to vent the dust, have a high dollar system and have the EPA on our rears if we used freon in the open. So, we need to use fluid for the cooling, but how can we cut down on the mist? In many race engines they use what is called an "oil scraper". This is two pieces(sometimes one) of sheet metal that is positioned between the oil pan and the engine block that extends into and around the profile of the crankshaft with very little clearance to prevent oil spray and mist from being carried around by the crankshaft. This link will explain how it works...Click Here
If we could use two fine brushes on both sides of the back part of the blade just above the fluid line it would remove most of the coolant from being turned into mist. wouldn't it? And if we use a small tube just above the cut this would washout any trash from the cut and help to keep the blade and material cooler at the point of cut.

Humm? Why can't we use water with a small amount of water soluble oil to help prevent rust(most saws aren't stainless...yet!)?

Now what'a ya say!?

dave t.
Kinda what I thought, as they say, if it was easy everyone would do it.

Thanks for the offers folks, still looking for a completely satisfied user and a product that will meet my needs.
We cut mostly agate on a pretty frequent basis. Water based won't cut it. Used it for about 6 months, but just cannot keep it in the saw without rusting the blade. (The inhibitors arn't perfect.) I must have the UGLIEST blade in the country!! But it still keeps tickin' with all the abuse it takes.

Hey Wa9ne, as I recall all the power equipment in the machine shop of the plant I worked in used a 'special' oil in their band and hacksaw sumps that had an 'anti-mist'. Any idea what that could have been?

I fully understand now, why most rocksaws are located outside. It's amazing how much agate must be cut in order to find unique pieces. Not unlike that famous box of chocolates.
Tom K
I've tried a few different types of oil that others have recommended and found most unsatisfactory for one reason or another.
I finally settled for mineral oil which was suggested to me by Jay Loch.There is almost no mist and it is VERY friendly to your skin.It also is easy to get off the slabs after cutting by just putting them in Kitty Litter or Speedy Dry,etc.

The first mineral oil I bought was very expensive and too thick but I did find a type that I am using now and really like it.

Mineral Oil web site

I know that we all want to be able to cut as cheep as possible but using anti freeze and transmission oil is not a good way to do it.
I've used Pella and Almag and wasn't happy with either of them.I can get the used (refined) transformer for almost nothing but it's the same thing as Pella.

As for water it's another no no.Big time rust,insufficient cooling of the blade/rock.

I have toyed with the idea of using the same coolant that is used in machining operations but when I worked as a machinery repairman it really did a job on my hands.We had a gismo that we looked through to tell if the ratio of water/coolant was right and usually the machine operators added way too much coolant which made my skin boil!I had less skin irritation when the ratio was correct but it still burned my hands.

I've tried using different types of rubber gloves and found the ones used for working in petroleum products lasted the longest but were a REAL pain in the butt.

Using mineral oil actually makes my hands soft.

I don't know of the adverse effects of using mineral oil and if someone does please let us know.

Tom K

Dave T.,

Most of the shops I've been in used oils from DoALL in their saws. Click Here Don't know if they have any that would do for cutting rock?


I'm sure water even with a rust inhibitor would be a problem with a carbon steel saw!
I can't understand why the saw companies don't have a tube at the cut to help in cooling and to wash away cuttings that would make a smoother cut? You wouldn't have any heat if they did and a better cut. With the bottom of the blade also in the coolant it should be about as good as you could do without running under water totally!
Al O
Hello All,

Electrical transformer oil came up. You don't want the stuff. It is full of carcinogens.
Let me see, is it pcp's pcb's or just wich pc, I don't remember.

Al O

Hi Al O,
It's PCB's. It's not been used much after the 70's.
Donna N
Ive used several different oils over the years.....and I run my saws only outside in a shed now due to rebellion of the lungs inside. Have used Pella, then Almag, then tried the anti-freeze that is used in motorhomes which left me with more problems in lungs, then back to Almag and now Iam using a mineral oil that they use for irrigation systems called Citation 90 which runs about $8. a gal. No discoloring, nice cutting, about the best I know of until I hear otherwise. Any comments of this product folks? They say we can cook in it....
safe to eat.......but curious what others have to say. Our supplier here sells it in 5 gal containers at $40. Anyone for french fried stone slab?
Just a note... It's a good idea to check the MSDS(Material Safety Data Sheets) for any hazards or health problems when working around different type chemicals and other materials.

This is the report on the Citation 90 that Donna is using...
Click Here
Seems to be rather safe?

You can run a search on Google using the product name and type material with the letters "MSDS" and it should bring up a report.
jay bates
I have tried numerous things in my saws, but have concluded for slab saws, you need either the commercial brands of oil like Pella or Almag or mineral oil that is now cheaper and more benign. I would not use transformer oil for fear of getting some of the old oils with PCBs. I got poisoned from using regular antifreeze. I think the RV versions of antifreeze do not lubricate as well as the oils and there are mist problems. Cooking oil congeals, although it is pretty cheap on sale and readily available. Water based coolant additives are not for large saws and the blades will rust. None of the lapidary shops I am familiar with use water based coolant in any of their saws, only for diamond wheels. Kersosene and diesel fuel are a fire hazard and smell. AT the present I would recommend mineral oil for all saws.
jay bates
Both Lortone and Covington sell and recommend mineral oil for their large saws. Covington is selling mineral oil for $50 per 5 gallons.

Automatic transmission fluid is mostly a blend of mineral oils and seems fairly benign according to the toxicity reports. However it costs more than mineral oil and since it is not made specifically for lapidary saws or prolonged human exposure, I would avoid it.

The saw manufacturers know their products and it is wise to follow their recommendations.
Donna N
Thanks Wayne...great site to check our all present chemicals out in. This was the info I needed that confirms the use of Citation for no more ugly stains on my pretties! One other thing while on the topic of sawing........put that fire extinquisher where it is easy to grab in your shop, shed or home. Being prepared is better than crying after and saying I should have......shoulds never count. Fire Extinquishers look ugly to the eye of the decorator but if you ever have had a fire they look like No. 9's or Gold sitting/hanging there.
Also check out what kind they are, their uses.........I keep
A B C extinguishers...covering trash/paper, liquids, and electrical fires. One sits by my saw, another by kitchen stove, another by bed, etc. Have your extinquishers checked periodically...and at same time check your smoke alarm batteries at least once a year. My dog, Cinnamon, pushed me out of bed squeeling in a fire and saved my life........Fire chief said in another 4-5 min I would have been dead for sure from smoke alone........and my alarm did not go off.........guess why? Dead battery! So Iam saying this all with hindsight.....we all can get careless until we almost burn our butts up. Sermon over!
dave t.
Well, it looks like mineral oil for me. The MSDA sheets are indeed a blessing. Everyone's comments pretty well said it all, been there, done it, and paid my dues. Back when I started there wasn't as much info out there as there is now, as well as the internet is a lot better than then as well.

Hey Donna, where do you get your Citation 90 from? Can ya get it in one gallon containers instead of 5 gal. at a time? Of course with shipping I'll need to get it local if possible, just wondering where to start looking.

Thanks everyone!! dave t.
There is only one stone that absolutely so be cut with water based saws and that's Turquoise. Any oil, even mineral oil will change the color of the stone and ruin it. Even then, with the small size of raw Turquoise stones, we only use the water (no added wettners or lubricants) in a trim saw set aside for soft rocks like Turquoise only. I've yet to find a piece of Turquopise to large for the trim saw. (Phosphosiderite cuts well in water too). And every time we use the saw, we empty, clean and hand dry everything before we put it away. The blades used for these valuable stones are very thin to avoid wasting material, and very expensive. So we take care of them with a zero rust policy. Most everything else, especially anything with any hardness at all, even alabaster and other "mud" stones, is cut in a mineral oil saw.

Hope this helps!
Donna N
Not knowing your location I would suggest you go in and ask contact with them for locations where it is distributed close to you. A friend put me on to this product and we got it thru Condon Oil Company in a local town. They supply the irrigation boys in the surrounding counties west of here in the sand country. Otherwise you can call Condon Oil Co (920) 748 3186 where we got ours and ask them. Hope this helps and Good Luck.
I haven't even bought any oil yet for my saws for I still have a lot from when I bought my shop. The 8" saw is using a hydraulic jack oil and the 4" I have some that I have to mix 5:1 and man it sure does small bad on the hands for a week when you use that saw. Thanks for the tips too. KOSawing Carl in WI
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