Natural stones are one of the most common materials that architects, contractors and almost all people choose to use in their constructional, renovations or even interior design projects. Based on various applications that the stones need to deliver, they have to be available in different shapes and sizes. Even on some project the customer may need a custom made or specific shape to be made.
In order to get the best results, you must gain more information about the type of natural stone that you want. Knowing the main type of your preferable natural stone can help you to know the possibilities of different cuts, shapes and sizes that you want to have. knowing how to cut natural stones, specially sandstone would also help you make your own sandstone easier.
Different types of natural stones
Basically based on the formation process of any natural stone, they can only be in one of the three main rock groups: igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic.
Igneous rocks are made through the process in which them magma or lava is cooled down and solidified. Sedimentary sandstone rocks take many years to shape. They are formed out of precipitation of minerals over time which you can see it in their appearances as they are in many layers. The last category are Metamorphic rocks. as their name gives it away, Metamorphic rocks are the result of different process on some existing rocks in which their shape and texture will change by different element such as heat, pressure or the reactive fluids in which they change.
Most Popular natural stones
From each category that we mentioned, there are certain types that are more famous and suitable for constructional, renovations or design project applications. For example, from igneous rocks you must have heard of granite and basalt or in the sedimentary group you must know sandstone and limestone and lastly from metamorphic rocks you should have seen slate and marble stone. Here in this article, our main concern is to discuss the cutting process and different steps to shape one of the most common variety of sedimentary rocks which is sandstones.
Sandstone and ways to cut it
As we mentioned, sandstone is a sedimentary rock with a relatively soft texture. Its strength and roughness is a bit lower than marble stone or granite. It is composed out of different little particulates that are glued together with mud.
Sandstone is made out of mixture of sand, minerals and rock grains that have been mixed together with mud over time. It has amazing color ranges such as tan, orange, brown and pink. Its availability and beautiful appearance has made it to be a common material for constructional projects. Sandstone is mined in a quarries all over the world and it can be bought in slabs or bricks. There are two different common ways to cut these slabs or bricks: the first one is with hammer and chisel and the second approach is with a slab saw which is a more accurate way to cut your stone.
1. Rock Preparation
Before you begin cutting your sandstone slab you must mark the piece by drawing a cutting line with a pencil on its surface. If you want to cut a sandstone brick, you must draw the lines on all four sides of your piece. The next step is to carefully inspect your sandstone slab; you should look for any cracks that might be on your stone. These small gaps in can result in an uneven break line or even cause to shatter your slab in unexpected and unpleasant areas. Cutting and breaking a stone slab in a precise shape and the way you want it to be, is not an easy task. You should be patient and careful.
2. Cutting Surface
Before cutting your stone, you should prepare the surface that you want to lay your slab on it. This surface must be soft so you can cut it on a surface covered with things like soil and cement. By laying soil under your slab, it will help absorbing the hammering shocks and your slab won’t be harmed.
By cutting sandstone slabs on a flexible and soft surface, you can increase your chances to exact cuts while reducing the risk of breaking and shattering of any material below the slab. If you use hard and solid surfaces such as bricks, it can result in the bottom surface shattering or being damaged.
3. Hammer and Chisel Technique
If you want to use the chisel to cut your sandstone, at first you should draw the cutting lines on your slab to have more accurate cuts; then you should slightly tap the chisel with the stone hammer alongside the cutting lines that you draw before. This may take long but you should be gentle and tap the chisel instead of applying forceful blows on it.
You should gently hit the chisel once or twice before going down the cutting lines. The first chiseling marks will not cut the stone; they just scratch its surface which will create a proper foundation for the final break. You should resume tapping on all sides to weaken the breaking point. When the chiseling is done, you should only use the hammer and just exert a little bit of more force; by the hitting’s your slab will break on the lines. If you firmly hold one side of you slab down and not flipping it over, the sandstone will break into two pieces that you wanted. If you follow the instructions, the sandstone slab should break with just two or three solid taps.
Note that if you want more accurate cuts, you should use the slab saw method instead of a hammer and chisel one.
Steps to cutting Sandstone with a chisel
- Step 1:
wear your safety gear. Mark the cutting line with a pencil on surface of your stone that you wish to cut it off.
- Step 2:
Place the tip of the chisel where you want to start the cut. Do not forget to keep the chisel slightly leaning towards the larger mass of the stone. If you keep it perpendicular to the slab, it will chip the stone and not break it.
Continue on tapping the end of the chisel with the hammer across the cutting line. If you want to cut a piece off a large block, you should tap the chisel around all sides.
- Step 3:
After that you have left scratch marks on the cut line, use a rock hammer and forcefully hit the top of the chisel on the scratched lines. You should apply more force than just tapping the chisel. keep this going and the stone should break apart exactly from you cut line.
Cutting with a slab saw
When you want to use a saw, the saw blade must be thicker than your natural stone pieces.
The exact and common way for this method is to attach a diamond tipped blade on your circular saw. If your stone is not tine enough, you should use a carbide tipped chisel or hammer. In this technique after you have picked your blade; for more accuracy, you should use it to cut on the exact lines that you have marked earlier. This method is the best way to cut sandstone in projects that need more precision. In this way, it is easy to create different tile shapes from sandstone slab.
This technique is delicate and in some ways dangerous, we recommend you to hire a professional to do it for you.
Steps to cutting Sandstone with a circular saw
Steps to cutting Sandstone with a circular saw
- Step 1:
Safety always comes first; so for your safety, you should check that the circular saw is unplugged and then pull back the safety guard and unleash and reveal the blade.
- Step 2:
On the center of the blade, you should fasten the blade changing tool to the bolt; then you should hold the blade still with your other hand while loosening the nut. Take both of them off -the nut and old blade-.
- Step 3:
now you have to place the diamond tipped blade on the saw; then you should screw the nut back on.
- Step 4:
Put your safety mask on. before start cutting spray some water on the slabs surface, this will prevent dust on the stone from flying up.
- Step 5:
Turn on your Saw and start cutting alongside the lines you draw earlier. Do not rush, go slow and steady which will avoid jamming the saw. also try not to overwork the saw, take breaks every few minutes, this will prevent overheating and damaging the saw.
Safety Precautions; Be careful!
when you want to cut the stone slabs, do not forget to wear protective goggles to protect the eyes. By applying hammer and chisel or saw, many small fragments or projectiles can spread from the cut and harm you.
If you want to use a slab saw, you should be more careful and use more protection with a dust mask and protective headphones for the throat and ears as well.
Do not forget that the sandstones dust can be highly hazardous to your health; so we advise you to always wear a dust mask when you want to cut sandstone slabs.
Here at Unikastone we aim to please our customers. If you check our gallery you can see that we have various sandstone models. You can purchase them online and use them in your projects. For more information and consultation, contact us.