I picked up about 20 inch-thick light brown odd-shaped paving stones
(which I think are sandstone) from a friend (they were sitting in a pile
when he bought the house long ago).
I want to arrange them in a narrow walkway but I would need to cut them
into desired shapes to fit.
It's a one-time effort - so I wonder 'what' tools you guys would suggest?
Do I score them and break them or saw them with some kind of saw?
Note: I have the typical tools at home - but I've never cut rock before.
Chuck, here are some choices from hard to easier:
1. Cold chisel and hammer. Repeated light taps on a score line. Not
all will break as intended.
2. Fiber wheel on a circular saw. Lots of dust, may require several
blades depending on stone hardness.
3. Dry diamond blade on circular saw or on a grinder. HF tends to have
one for about $10.
4. Wet saw with wet diamond. Can be rented from Home Depot, etc.
If they are sandstone, then they aren't for paving. You can
crumble sandstone in your hands.
Lets guess that they are some sort of paving stone without a lot of
That is an art- if you are looking for 'character over precision,
practice on a few and see how it turns out.
I found out that aged pavers-- the ones that look like brick, but have
some epoxy or something holding them together- are tougher than the
14" fiber blades. I ate 3" of blade and barely scratched the paver.
wicked dusty, still.
Or bought for $60 or so from HF. The diamond blade will last forever.
The 7" one only takes a 2" bite, but I've abused the crap out of mine
for a 1/2dozen years and it still works fine.
On Mon, 16 Jan 2012 15:57:57 -0500, Jim Elbrecht wrote:
Hmmm... I'll take a picture in the light tomorrow and post that picture.
I actually don't know 'what' they are. I assumed they were sandstone
(they're light brown) and I assumed they were for walkways and wall
They don't have much of a grain though. And they seem to peel off in very
thin layers (but they're an inch thick and the peeling is only about
1/32" thick or so).
I'm not sure what a paving stone is actually, so, I'll say they're a flat
light brown sandy-feeling stone about an inch thick with not much of a
The fact that It has thin layers that peel qualifies it as sedimentary rock.
The four most common ones are limestone (it isn't that), sandstone (not all
are friable), siltstone and shale. The difference between the last three has
nothing to do with composition, merely the particle size of the material.
Yours sounds like shale.
Shale is primarily compacted mud...clay plus some minerals. If the shale
were metamorphosed, it would be slate.
On Tue, 17 Jan 2012 17:38:37 +0000 (UTC), Chuck Banshee
I'd call them shale-- or bluestone [even though they're brown]- but
I'll bow to whatever dadiOH says.
I'd make the round hole with a decent hole cutter-- go slow and use
lots of water. [the fiber disks are like saw blades-- you make
straight cuts with them, not circles]
If you think you might *ever* do anything with stones, tiles, or
pavers, again- get the $60 wet saw from HF. 10 times quicker than
any dry blade and dust free.
My second choice would be a wet/dry diamond blade for a sacrificial
circular saw. I've got a 40 yr old B&D whose bearing were
screeching before I started using a dry stone blade with it. It is
still running, but I don't know why.
Still not possible to ID it but it looks more like silt/sandstone than
shale. If you want to know, break off a BB sized piece and chew it up...if
it isn't gritty; it is shale; if it is a little bit gritty; siltstone; very
gritty, sandstone. Note that I am not being facetious, geologists in the
field often do the same.
Now that was interesting!
His brown (sand?) stone looks exactly the same as mine.
The scoring was trivial! He took his rock chisel and simply scratched a
line. Just one line. That was it. It wasn't even a complete line. I'm
amazed that 'thin' scratched line did anything!
I wonder if that will work for circles (to make the sprinkler head fit)?
On Tue, 17 Jan 2012 19:57:22 +0000 (UTC), Chuck Banshee
The "scoring" was just to mark a straight line.
Could have used a pencil.
It was hammering the chisel that did the work.
And notice the rough edges after the break-off.
So don't expect clean edges with this method.
Good question! :)
The sprinkler (and the pipe to the left) need to be protected so I was
figuring I'd lay the flagstones along that wall as a walkway.
When complete, the sprinkler would be within two inches of the edge of
the flagstone, and it would be sprinkling the grass.
I was wondering what to score these inch-thick rock slabs with? I can
easily buy a four inch or six inch-wide chisel (I think).
But do you score rock (sandstone) with a utility knife?
I have never heard of a 'fiber wheel'. I'll look that up.
Of course, I have a basic circular saw ... so I was thinking about a
diamond blade (like what they use on paving bricks) ... but I'll have to
look up a 'fiber wheel'.
Given I already have the circular saw, this seems to be the simplest
Might be overkill for just 20 of these paving stones.
I'd TRY a masonry blade in an angle grinder. I've used same to cut ceramic
tile. Sandstone is a lot softer.
Be sure to wear ear, eye, nose, and throat protection. Douse all open
flames. Wear gloves and make sure the outlet is grounded.
You can buy masonery blades for a circular saw too. Around $5. Buy
several, they dont last long. Wear eye/ear protection with these too.
I cut across a 10' driveway once. 4" thick concrete. Think I used 3
blades. Saw did not go to the full depth of 4", but good enough to
break off the rest with a sledge.
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