Breaking Big Slates

I have some big slates rescued from a demolition project in my yard. They are about 3' by 4' and about an inch thick. I'd like to re- purpose them but I need them smaller than that size. If I could break that large slate into 4 smaller ones, I'd be thrilled.
How hard is this? What tools would I need? And how would I go about doing this?
Thanks.
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slate isn't that hard. you could score the with a 4" diamond blade in a side grinder, place a 1" dowel on the ground, and drop the score on the dowel. clean up the broken edge with the side the blade.
you could cut all the way through the slate with the blade. it will just take you a bit longer.
wear breathing protection (not a dust mask, but a real air mask rated for small particulates)
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On 4/7/2009 12:40 PM Commish spake thus:

Get ahold of a tile saw (with water spray or bath and a diamond blade). Cuts slate like butter; after all, it's just a soft mudstone.
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i can just see him balancing a 3x4' slab on a tile saw. furthermore, the widest cut he'll get is about 1' off the side; it can't cut the middle of a 3' span unless it's a hand held tile saw. makita makes one of those iirc.
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On 4/7/2009 2:11 PM charlie spake thus:

>

I was thinking of one of the cheapo saws, not the better ones with the sliding table, which would indeed be hard to use with a big slab like that. The small ones have a stationary table and nothing on either side of the blade to obstruct the cut, so you can cut down the middle of a big piece.
All in all, maybe easier to just score and break as others have suggested.
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charlie wrote:

have a suitable saw.
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Charlie, Charlie, Charlie...the slab stays on the ground. You hold the tile saw upside down by the table and use it like a circular saw :-)
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On 4/7/2009 6:46 PM Red Green spake thus:

Sure; just be sure to wear a raincoat and waders.
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wait, if the blade sits in a water bath, how do you keep it wet when you turn the saw upside down? Garden hose?
(if you were kidding, so am I. If not, well, I still am).
jc
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Exactly! Or do it during a thunderstorm.

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Mexican or teenager, chisel, sledge hammer, go
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Marshall Tucker wrote:

That's fceukd it. Having grown up in N Wales and worked with "finished" blocks of slate as a youngster, I know it's fragile stuff. If the OP wants four nice blocks of slate as a result of his endeavours then this must be addressed using a flat bed saw. You might get away with a disc cutter provided that the slate was soundly mounted to do the job.
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Commish wrote:

I'd try a cheap HF angle grinder with a mess of masonry blades. If it doesn't work, you're only out about $30.
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If used for roofing, an edge needn't be too square. Use a pointed rock hammer or hammer and chisel, and knock divots about every 2 inches along your desired cut line. Knock 'em pretty deep, about 1/2 inch, and it'll break off fairly cleanly. Clean up the resultant edge by hangin the slab over a ridgid surface and knapping away. If a square edge is desired, use a big wet saw or a diamond bladed cut-off saw. Tom
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On Tue, 7 Apr 2009 12:40:00 -0700 (PDT), Commish

Howdy,
I'll suggest an approach different from the others you have seen.
(I am in the Northeast US and have learned that bluestone of quality is now quite difficult to obtain. It used to be readily available, and quite cheap. That's no longer true.)
So, this may be way off target, but...
Unless you already know with certainty, I would suggest that you check on the value of the pieces you have.
They may have significant value precisely because they are so large.
If so, describe what you have to a stone worker, and you may be able to trade the pieces you have for new ones, cut to measure.
All the best,
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Kenneth

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If I were to try it, and I havnt, I would score a 1/4" line with a grinder, position a 2x4 or 1" Piece of wood under the score line on grass, lift the slab and drop, and hope for a clean break. then do the small pieces.
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I like the suggestions here - I think I'll have my brother come over. He and I can hold the tile saw upside down by its legs. My wife can hold the hose to keep the saw blade wet.
Thanks for both the serious and humorous suggestions.
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And dont wear shoes, then the electricity wont hurt you as it grounds.
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