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How to Cut River Rock

William Rockwell

River rock is a highly polished finishing stone used in rustic and modern building styles. Installing this material sometimes involves cutting river rock to finish off a project. Because river rock is a very hard material, cutting it requires use of diamond edged blades and a lot of time to finish the rock.

Use straight cuts because these natural rocks have a tendency to chip or break if cut along several axes.

Small Stones

  1. Mark the river rock where you want to cut it using a permanent marker.

  2. Secure the rock in the vice by unscrewing the locking mechanism, placing the rock in the open area with the face to be cut facing up. Lock it in place by tightening the screw mechanism.

  3. Insert the diamond edge cutting blade in the rotary tool.

  4. Cut through the river rock with the rotary blade. Move the blade slowly to avoid chipping the rock. The blade will get hot and there will be sparks. If the blade begins to turn red, stop cutting and allow it to cool. Resume cutting when the blade is cool to the touch.

Large Stones

  1. Mark the large river rock where you want to cut it using a permanent marker.

  2. Set the rock on the table of the brick saw. Secure both ends of the rock beneath the clasps on the saw. The clasps use a screw tightener on the back edge of the brick saw table similar to a vertical vice.

  3. Cut the rock slowly by pulling down the blade handle apparatus. The saw is similar to a chop saw used for cutting wood except that the blades are thicker. The blade will throw off sparks; if it begins to turn red stop cutting. Allow the blade to cool. Once it is cool to the touch you may resume cutting.


You can use a water cooled tile saw but the water might seep into the rock and then boil, causing the stone to fracture.


Wear eye protection and work gloves whenever cutting rock. It may throw shrapnel that could cut soft tissue.