Low Cost Lapidary

So… I have a tight budget.

And I’m probably not the only one in the world!

But I really want to get into lapidary – stone carving and polishing – yet the vast majority of the equipment I’ve seen is either expensive, in the US, or both.

No can do. My budget is perhaps £100.

I got to wondering, what can I do with a ton? Expecting the answer to be “not much”.

You can just about get a new rock tumbler and a starter pack of grit and stones with that.

(I’ll admit I got a secondhand one for my birthday, but this blog isn’t about that, although it might get a mention every so often.)

I looked into home built systems on YouTube but so many of them were in the States and, although the ideas were great, I realised I was going to struggle to stick to my budget.

But while I was there, I stumbled across something unexpected.

People carve and polish stones with Dremel rotary tools.

WHAT??? What the actual HELL??? SERIOUSLY???

Oh yes.

Now, Dremels aren’t particularly cheap in the UK, but I did a bit more digging. And according to my research as long as I found one with something called a flex shaft, I should be able to have a go.

A flex shaft is a specific extension that you plug into a power tool, to give you a flexible length to affix your drill bits / grinding tools to.

I have small hands, so I knew I wasn’t going to be able to handle a rotary tool without one – because you can’t hold a rock with one hand to shape it when you need two hands for the power tool itself.

The first example of someone in the UK using a flex shaft, he had it attached to a Parkside bench grinder. Parkside is a made-up brand that Lidl uses for its tools.

But I couldn’t find any on ebay that met the budget I had for the tool. Considering I knew I’d want to buy rocks, and grinding bits, and polish, I could only allot half of my budget to the tool itself.

I checked Lidl’s website, but the DIY and Tools section didn’t mention the bench grinder, or a rotary tool similar to a Dremel, as being currently available.

Not were they upcoming in their future offers when I looked.

What’s a girl to do?

Head off to my nearest decent-sized store to look for something in person, that’s what.

But will I be lucky enough to find one? Tune in next time to find out!

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