Saturday, September 08, 2007

How Do I Polish My Petrified Wood Rounds?

We have about 12 pieces of petrified wood that are 3" thick and up to 11" around that we want to polish. What type of equipment would we need to do this job? We don't want to spend too much for a one time project. We just want to polish the pieces we have to give as gifts.

Thanks for any advice or help.


Hi Bobbie,

Lapidary work (cutting and polishing rock) requires some specialized equipment. Petrified wood is essentially agate. Agate is a hard material that requires silicon carbide or diamond abrasives to cut and polish. I’ve listed some options for you below. Another approach may be to take your pieces to your local rock shop and have them cut and polish for you. That would save the investment in the equipment. I hope this helps!

There are three ways to polish your petrified wood:

Cut a face, and then flat-lap. For an 11” diameter you’d probably need a 24” saw. That would be a tight fit, since you have to subtract the arbor diameter from the blade size and then divide in two for the size of rock you can actually cut with the saw. Peculiarities of the rock can also affect how well it will fit in the vice (bumps, jags, etc.).

Here is a link to saws:

Here is a link to flat or vibra-laps:

Break up the wood and then tumble it, although that seems like a shame for such nice size pieces.

Here is a link to rock hammers:

Here is a link to rock tumblers:

Hand polish using a grinding/polishing combination unit. The belt sander might be the best tool for this size stone.

Here is a link to grinders & polishers:

Rockpick Legend Co.

1 comment:

  1. Anita,

    I have inherited some EXTREMELY large pieces, approximately 8 inches in diameter, and 4.5' in length, and I would like to take one of them and use it for knife/gun handles to give to various members of the family. Can you please gmail me at



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