Stone carving some rings with a rotary tool

Howdy, I’ve been wanting to do some minor stone carving for a while now, and found some nice stones on holiday that I was going to carve into rings and a couple necklaces.

I bought a hand-use rotary tool and some diamond encrusted heads. I also ordered a dust mask with full face protection. I was wondering if anyone had any advice on / experience with carving rocks about the size of small apricots or particularly ambitious grapes into jewellery?

My understanding is that the main things that are needed are a clamp and a glass of water, and I could do the rough cutting outside if more water is needed to not get water anywhere inside the workshop. Would that be ok, or does anyone have any other thoughts/advice on it?

Many thanks,

Shouldn’t be a problem, just as long as you clean up the dirt produced by cutting stones is aggressively nasty to other tools

Jo, what area in the space should be used for this? @asander1, can we consider getting a submersible pump so have water coolant and dust suppression? (£30 or so, plus some plastic tubing, bucket and tray). If water is used properly, dust could be kept to a minimum. Could stone engraving/carving like that be an activity that could be done in the spray booth perhaps when we get that? (as I understand it, the booth is planned to be used for sandblasting etc). There are some members interested in stonework, particularly as we might be able to get a free supply of marble offcuts from kitchen and bathroom fitters.

there’s a pump up spray bottle kicking about.

if you’re going wet battery tools or 110v

sink messy roon ?

Sink in messy room seems best place for now. Pump up spray bottle isn’t really suitable. Need to have continuous stream of water over the cutting area that can lock off in position and have both hands for the work.

Awesome, I really appreciate the input guys! I’m also happy to help put together whatever zone for stone-cutting is desired (I saw in another thread that some other people are interested in stone-cutting as well). @joeatkin2 @dannz are either of you going to be around tomorrow on Sunday?

I’m not in on Sunday, but great if you can help set that up - I’m one of those people interested in that! AFAIK, the washroom area at the end of the messy room doesn’t yet have running water or plumbing, and the drain in the sink might just spill onto the floor. In the meantime, as a Number 8 wire solution, something might be rigged up like a gravity fed IV drip, using a large plastic milk container or the like and some tubing and bulldog clip to clamp the tube - adjust the flow using shims. It just needs a dribble or constant drip. There are some light stands and a mic stand in the sofa area if there’s no other way of mounting the feed bottle (please keep them clean). A roller brush paint tray or similar is good to work on and to collect the water. The stonework I’ve done has been with larger pieces, so I’m not sure what’s best for holding something like that or what’s available in the space that’s suitable for clamping. There’s a large heavy vice which could perhaps be used (?). I think you may be best clamping the tool with a set up a bit like the one shown below, but I think Joe or someone should check the setup for safety. I’d recommend getting proficient with soft stone before trying much harder stone. Alabaster is great to work with, can cut and carve very easily (but don’t mix with water). Marble offcuts would be best (and can be free). For cutting, I’ve found diamond wire is best if doing it by hand. I used to use handles, but now I prefer holding it with cut proof gloves. Otherwise there are diamond rotary saw blades, angle grinders etc. With the rotary tool, make sure speed is suited to the kind of stone and type of work and bit. In case it’s of any interest, stone can also be etched using the laser cutter/engraver.

Joe, how about if using the rotary tool with a long flexi-shaft? - tool motor unit mounted up and away from water, motor unit can even be in a plastic splashproof enclosure. Water is really just a dribble. It won’t get onto the electrical parts.

i have been bitten by 240 volt tools when working wet so many times I wouldn’t recommend it

I can see there’s a risk of someone with wet hands handling the tool to change speeds :boom:
Definitely wouldn’t recommend that.


I’m happy to put something self-contained together, e.g. the bottle and water pump idea, I saw a video where they did something similar that seemed quite cool

Could we use a medium sized plastic box so plenty of room, e.g. if someone wants to cut something a bit larger? But I guess the upside of something smaller is that it’s easier to change out the water. I’m happy to buy the fish tank pump and already have the rotary tool, do you guys know if anyone has a plastic box / rubber tubing laying around they could donate?

I tried the sink in the mess room, and it does have running water and the plumbing is set up :raised_hands: However, I’m not sure how to get the clamps set up there to keep the stone stable under the faucet.

Bit of a jank setup, but it works :rofl:


Good to know that! That also makes it easier, at least for now while we can use that area. Water pressure from the tap is more than enough. Just need to attach tubing to the tap. It’s very low pressure, so cheap jank way is old rubber glove an No8 wire. If there’s a filter on the outflow of the tray, water can just go down the drain, if @joeatkin2 is ok with that.

I’ve not done anything with such small pieces, so I don’t know. @platinumnqueen22 - any thoughts on the best way for that?