Construction 11: Slate cutting

14/01/12 | ۩ |

The slate I found has been previously cut in bars of different thickness. The bigger ones are about 1 or 2-cm thick (0.40/0.80-inch).
When I picked up slate and marble from that trash container near Staglieno cemetery, I still didn't know how I'd be able to cut them. For this reason I've chosen the smaller and "travel friendly" bars, as I had to carry them to Spain within my suitcase. Slate is not very common in Andalusia and I could not do without my native stone.

Once I bought the Dremel tool and its accessories, I made some cutting test with the diamond wheel, and you can see the result in the following pictures.

Due to the small size of the bars, the cutting task is not very hard and will not force the motor. Difficulty depends mainly from the direction of layers inside the stone itself. It is advisable to follow the natural stratification of layers to avoid breaking stones with irregular shapes.

Cutting slate that way necessarily generates a lot of dust and making this job inside home would be a foolish act, unless you have a special room. Better working in an open space, terrace or garden.
It's also important to handle the tool with care and to save eyes from flakes with a pair of protective glasses. A mask could be useful too, although I rarely use it .


The electric tool is not the only way to cut slate. You can always use the traditional pincers and cut stone following its layers. Then you can polish it and put the finishing touches to make stone bricks or other architectural element.

In the pictures below you can see the hand cutting of stones for the basement pillars and corbels for the cellar vaults.



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