Rock saw room
The strangely satisfying lab
Water-cooled rock saws - one mounted for shorter people, another for taller people, and vacuum-mounated thin section trim saw and grinder (1960's vintage? but they work!)
Cutting hard things with dull blades
Many geologists find breaking rocks precisely with hammers in the field to be very satisfying. There is also a strangely satisfying and wonderful feeling we can get from cutting rocks.
There's the puzzle of choosing how best to cut it to reveal hidden secrets.
There's the anticipation while cutting the rock and focus on feeding it into the blade.
There's the comfortable feeling of doing something with our hands.
There's the exciting big reveal as the two pieces part and we see what's been unseen inside the stone for millions of years.
Then there are the observations, and questions, and hypotheses, and more observations, questions, and hypotheses, and the planning for how to answer our questions.
Kutztown University rock saw room - a playground for students. Like most labs that I manage, it is a shared facility used by many students. As happens in shared facilities, someone needs to fix broken things and clean up after people who do not clean up after themselves. Keeping this room running efficiently is a constant job for me. It's not a high-tech facility like my other labs, but still a fun place to learn about nature!
Two oil-cooled rock saws with automatic feed carriages
Oil vs water
Some saws use water as a coolant and others use oil. We choose the saw we use based on the size and hardness of the sample, and on how we will analyze it after cutting.
Porous = water saw
Nonporous = water saw or small oil saw
Fluid inclusion study = water saw
Porous = 220V water saw
Nonporous = large oil slab saw
Hard samples = large oil slab saw
Thin section billets
Thin section trim saw and grinder