How To Cut Petrified Wood
Unless you're experienced and familiar with the hobby of collecting petrified wood, you might be surprised to learn that large pieces can weigh hundreds or even thousands of pounds! As you can expect, this is simply too bulky to use for most conventional crafts and projects; therefore, it must be cut down first. If you have a large piece of petrified wood that needs cutting, keep reading and we'll walk you through the necessary steps. It's not extremely difficult, but it does require that you have some basic knowledge on how to cut petrified wood and rocks in general.
First and foremost, it's important to remember that petrified wood is no longer organic wood at all. As you may already know, petrified wood is made from fallen trees or logs that have been submerged in mineral-rich water where its organic contents were slowly replaced with minerals over time; so instead of a small stump consisting of lightweight wood, it's now weighed down by minerals. Not only do these minerals make the wood heavier, but it also makes it more difficult to cut. You simply can't take an axe or hacksaw to a piece of petrified wood and expect it to cut through.
What You'll Need To Cut Petrified Wood
As stated above, you'll need more than just an axe or hacksaw if you want to cut petrified wood. So, just how in the world are you supposed to cut through quartz and other strong minerals found in petrified wood? While there are a couple different methods, the easiest and most effective is to use a diamond-tipped wet saw. Of course these machines don't come cheap, but it's well worth the investment if you have a lot of petrified wood that needs cutting.
If you aren't familiar with using a wet saw, you should educate and familiarize yourself on the basics first. You can always spend half an hour or so reading through the 100+ page instruction book, or you can watch someone who already knows how to use it. Joining a rock and gem club will allow you to see first-hand just how these machines are used, so you should try to join one if you haven't used a wet saw before.
If you don't have the necessary fund to invest in a new diamond-tipped wet saw, you may be able to find one for use in a local rock and gem club. Check in the newspapers and search online forums to see if there are any rock and gem clubs around your city. Typically, they charge a small fee for membership which allows you to use their equipment. In addition to being able to use a high-quality saw without purchasing it, joining one of these clubs will also allow you to meet others who are interested in petrified wood.
Cutting Petrified Wood
When you're ready to start cutting your petrified wood, you'll need to sit down at a comfortable area where you can easily maneuver the saw around it. I know you're probably eager to get started, but you have to first make sure to protect yourself by using a dust mask. Depending on what minerals are in the petrified wood, breathing them in can be quite dangerous. In fact, dust produced by cutting quartz petrified wood can lead to silicosis when breathed in, which is something no one wants to experience. For this reason, it's recommended that you only cut petrified wood using a wet saw and while wearing a dust mask.
Even though using a wet saw has a somewhat steep learning curve, it's really not all that hard once you get the hang of it. Depending on the type of saw you're using, it usually consists of adding water to your petrified wood and slowly cutting into it by guiding the saw through it. The trick to cutting petrified wood is to go slow and not force it through; otherwise, you could end up splitting it. Take your time and focus on one area at a time. If the blade isn't going through, don't try to force it, but instead back up and try again.