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Is there a way to cut stone without special equipment?

I have some small blocks of granite and marble that were left over from some builder's samples. I was thinking that it might be cool to make some whiskey stones with them, but I don't have any special stone cutting equipment. I don't need them to be perfect cubes or anything, a rough look is alright.

Is this something that I might be able to accomplish using a hammer and chisel or by using a certain type of saw blade? I'd like to get an idea of what might work best before I run out and buy something only to find out it's not going to work like I want it too.

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Kiteman5 years ago
You should be able to cut them with a cold chisel and a "lump" hammer - work your way around the block, chipping a line with the chisel - go around twice lightly, to establish the line of fracture, then go around again more firmly to split it.
The Rambler (author)  Kiteman5 years ago
Hmm, this sounds like the cheapest way to try. I have enough little blocks that I could probably try this one and if it looks too rough I could go pick up an angle grinder or rent a tile saw.
It works on bricks. If you can, use a wide-bladed chisel to keep the cut straight.
The Rambler (author)  Kiteman5 years ago
Yeah, I've seen that method used when installing exterior lighting fixtures to brick houses. I was kind of hoping that would work, I just wasn't sure because of how much softer bricks are compared to granite and marble. I'll make sure I try as wide a chisel as I can find.
I've used the hammer and chisel method to cut various forms of masonry and it works very well. A handy tip is to rest the block you are cutting on a mound of sand or dirt to absorb some of the shock. Even soft ground will do if you have nothing else. It takes a little more work to make your cuts, but you will end up with less unwanted breakage. A few practice runs and you should do fine.
The Rambler (author)  caarntedd5 years ago
Good to know. I'll have to see if I can find some sort of middle ground so it doesn't take forever, but I'm not left with a bunch of useless shards of rock.
rickharris5 years ago
A tile cutting blade with carbide or diamond grit will work given time and lubrication.
The Rambler (author)  rickharris5 years ago
I'll have to look into that.
Did you try it out? I'm headed down this same path and wondered what you learned.
The Rambler (author)  IamSparticus4 years ago
Honestly this kind of fell to the back burner. I haven't tried any of the recommendations. I've cut a couple cubes of stone using a dremel with a cutting tool, but I wouldn't really recommend that way. I just did it because it was something I already had. It's slow going, and it gets hot.
lemonie5 years ago
Granite is hard, you need hard tools to work it with control.
Marble is soft, angle-grind that with water (if the grinder will take it)

L
The Rambler (author)  lemonie5 years ago
Oh, that's good to know. I had thought that marble was hard as well. Maybe I got that impression from the way it's usually polished to that smooth finish.
You've maybe not seen the Mohs scale of hardness? (marble is calcite / dolomite 3-4, granite is mostly quartz & corundum)

L
The Rambler (author)  lemonie5 years ago
No, I had not seen that before. I rarely get into something where the mineral level actually matters, and I have never dealt with any type of stone before. Good information to know, though that scale seems a little strange. A knife blade isn't harder that window glass? I guess it's because it's plate glass, but still...
knife blade vs window glass:
Regular "glass" is quite soft, hardened-steels can be very hard.

*What's interesting is that "plate-glass" has never been produced in very large quantities, I doubt anyone does any more as most window-glass is "float-glass". But the name is still in use...

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The Rambler (author)  lemonie5 years ago
I was referring to the paragraph under the graph on the wiki page. It says that according to the Mohs scale both a knife blade and window glass plate have a hardness of 5.5. Maybe I just don't understand the scale correctly.
Well, it depends upon the knife and how it's been hardened. I'm at the limit of what I know here. But as glass-cutting goes, it's more surface-destruction by extreme-pressure rather than a cut as such. This is continuous-chiseling as opposed to using an angle-grinder.

L
Vyger5 years ago
Chuck Norris cuts stone by looking at it intensely and snarling along the break line. Then he lets the wind from his kick impact it and it shatters in fear of actually being hit.
The Rambler (author)  Vyger5 years ago
Chuck Norris can polish stone with his beard.
Chuck Norris doesn't need to use mortar to lay stone. When he puts things down, they stay the crap where he puts them.
seandogue5 years ago
Chiseling stone can be a bit of a pita, but for a natural look, there's nothing else.

One point I want to stress very much is this

WEAR FULL FACE EYE PROTECTION.

Seriously. a small chip of stone can easily fly into the eye, even when wearing "standard protective glasses. I know because I've been working stone for the past several decades and I guarantee that glasses aren't enough. To the tune of two trips to an eye specialist to remove said chips.
How thick are these samples?

A hammer and rock chisels would work but it'll be very ruff. If they are not too thick you could rend a tile saw for a day.
The Rambler (author)  mpilchfamily5 years ago
Maybe an inch to an inch and a half. I don't mind spending some money, but I prefer to use projects as an excuse to acquire new tools :) as opposed to just renting them. Not that I'm discounting that option.
Then go buy an nice angle grinder and a diamond tile cutting blade and your all set.
The Rambler (author)  mpilchfamily5 years ago
Hmm, after a quick search I found some cheap angle grinders for $20-30, which is a lot less than I would have imagined. I just might have to spring for one.
I know tile saws cool the blade with a water jet. Not sure if that is entirely necessary but it probably extends the life of the blade. Maybe have a garden hose running over the blocks while you cut them if you settle on using an angle grinder.
Yes you need something to lube and cool the saw blade as it cuts. Those diamond tipped blades are not cheap and will last allot longer if you keep them lubed and cool.