How To Make A Rock Lamp
With the right tools and a little drilling know-how, you can create a rock lamp with an agate or jasper base, an oil lamp, and a glass lantern.
1 Minute Read
I recently saw a rock lamp and thought I'd try my hand at making one. It's a rock with a 1.5″ diameter hole drilled into it about 1″ deep. A small glass oil lamp sits in it. There is also a circle cut around the hole about 1/8″ wide and 1″ deep where a glass sleeve or lantern goes.
What tools do I need to make a rock lamp like this?
Use A Core Drill
Holes like the one cut into the rock lamp you saw are cut with a core drill. If you can't find one, you can make one out of a piece of tubing. Weld a cross piece on top and a small rod that will fit into your drill press.
How To Drill Holes Into Rock
To drill the hole:
- First, place the stone under water or create a dam around where you'll be cutting and fill it with water.
- Next, sprinkle some coarse silicon carbide under the bit. This is what actually does the cutting.
- Go at it slow and easy.
- When the cutting action slows, add more abrasive.
If you don't want to cut the hole all the way through the rock, you can knock out the core. Put a screwdriver in the space created by the core drill and tap it towards the plug. It should come out without too much pressure. If you use this technique, make sure there is a lot of material under the plug. If the bottom is too thin, you may knock the plug out the bottom, rather than freeing it.
Also, be aware that you might chip the top, where the screwdriver rests when pushing it against the plug. Plan on sanding this area after drilling.
Choosing A Base For Your Rock Lamp
Your success will depend on the kind of rock you are drilling. You didn't mention what type of material was used in the rock lamp that inspired you. However, I know agate and jasper (with a hardness of 6.5 to 7) can handle this kind of cutting well. I haven't tried this with softer rocks or those with granular texture.
Donald Clark, CSM IMG
International Gem Society
Agate Value, Price, and Jewelry Information
Jasper Value, Price, and Jewelry Information
Agate Buying Guide
“Genesis And Classification Of Agates And Jaspers: A New Theory” Book Review
What is the Best Lap for Polishing Sapphire?
Seven Famous Pearls and Their Histories
Opal Stones and Gems: Value, Price, and Jewelry Information
Seven Stunning but Delicate Engagement Ring Stones
When you join the IGS community, you get trusted diamond & gemstone information when you need it.
Get started with the International Gem Society’s free guide to gemstone identification. Join our weekly newsletter & get a free copy of the Gem ID Checklist!