Tips on Cutting and Preparing Slate

 

Salvaged chalkboard slate offers a beautiful, sustainable and creative alternative to traditional countertop design and other home projects. In addition to being easy to work with, it provides a great story for your next dinner party.

Cutting the Stone

  • Use a solid work surface, so you don't crack the stone or injure yourself
  • Wear a protective mask, and wet the stone's surface as needed
  • Measure twice (or three times, to be safe) and cut once
  • Be patient. You're cutting stone, not butter

Compared to other stones, slate is fairly soft. You can cut it using a circular saw with a diamond blade, or if you want to make curved details, you can even use a jigsaw.

In oder to guide the cut, use a plywood straight-edge and an attached guide for the saw base to run against. The saw glides on top of the straight-edge, which stops just short of the blade. This will also prevent the saw base from scratching the stone.

Sanding
For deep scratches and the removal of surface gunk, use an electric palm or belt sander with wet sand paper and a little water to keep the dust in check. Wipe often to test your progress, and switch to fine grit for finishing. As always, be sure to use proper breathing and safety equipment.

Finishing
Slate is too soft to hold a polish for long, but it can be sealed. We recommend that you use a little mineral oil for the initial shine and then apply tung oil on top. You'll want to keep an eye on the finish. If it starts to fade, simply add another coat.

Other Project Ideas
Slate can be used in other parts of the house, including

  • cheese board
  • wall-hung to-do list
  • shower surround