I recently came across a small shop selling granite remnants for a price that was too good to pass up. After looking through a large selection of pieces, I found one I liked and decided to make a Lazy Susan and trivets for our kitchen table. This Instructable covers how to take the large remnant piece of granite and make these items. The advantage to using granite for these items is that it is extremely durable, looks great, and is fairly easy to work with. These also could make a nice yet low budget Christmas gift for somebody.
Disclaimer: This Instructable involves using power tools and dealing with some materials that can be hazardous to your health if proper safety precautions are not followed. I take no responsibility for what you do with this Instructable or anything that goes wrong if you try it on your own. Do not attempt any Instructable unless you are qualified. This is meant to be a recollection of my process, not a step by step guide to fit all projects. Work at your own risk!
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Step 1: Tools/Materials/Safety Equipment
Below is a list of things I needed to complete this project based on what I used.
Angle grinder powerful enough to do the job - I have a Ryobi 10A grinder that fit the bill perfectly
Diamond cutting wheel for your grinder - Verify that the blade is either a wet cut or dry cut and use it accordingly. I used a dry cut, Skil #79507C but others should work too.
Masonry grinding wheel - I used a Dewalt #DW4524. Diamond grinding cups also work but they are much more expensive ($30+ vs $3).
Clamps - The type is not important as long as I could clamp down the granite while I worked on it.
Utility knife - My advise is to use something cheap or with a replaceable blade as you will probably dull the blade quite a bit.
Permanent marker - Pick a color that shows up against the granite. I used green and red so I could see the lines.
Granite remnant that is large enough to cut all of the pieces from
Felt furniture leg pads
Lazy Susan bearing
Safety Equipment: This is what I used. You may wish to have more to be safe. Only you can decide how much is enough for you.
Long sleeve shirt
Close toe shoes
Respirator - Both particle and fume respirators are necessary
Face shield - This isn't pictured but it makes working with the granite a lot safer.
Step 2: Lay Out Your Design
Using the ruler and permanent marker, I was able to lay out my design on the bottom (non-polished) side of the granite. I wanted to have a line for all cuts. Remember that cutting curves is next to impossible with this type of blade and that I needed to leave some space between the pieces for the thickness of the saw blade and any overshoot while making the cuts.. I was able to lay out an octagon for a Lazy Susan, two square trivets, and a rectangular cutting board/trivet out of my piece. I made sure to be on the lookout for any chips to the granite so that I didn't end up with a damaged piece. I am not going to go into much more detail here as everyone's designs will likely vary based on personal preference.
Step 3: Cut the Granite
Now it is time to put on safety equipment, securely clamp down the granite with the side showing the marked lines up, and mount the diamond cutting wheel in the grinder, making sure it rotates the correct direction. I strongly recommend doing any cutting and sanding outside. It is extremely dusty work and the dust is very fine. It is not something you want to be breathing in or trying to clean up out of a house.
I am not going to give a whole lot of detail about the angle grinder operation because one should be comfortable using one before attempting this Instructable. Remember to just take it slow and steady rather than trying one big cut. To cut the granite, turn on the grinder with the cutting wheel not touching the granite. Slowly lower the cutting wheel into the granite and make a shallow cut following whichever line to cut. At the end of the line, lift the blade out of the granite and move it back to the beginning of the line. Lower it again and keep making deeper cuts a little bit at a time until through the whole piece. Be careful to watch out for falling pieces during the final pass. Also, be sure to have the granite positioned such that it is not going to break before cut the whole way through by supporting both sides of the cut. Repeat the cutting process for every line that has been drawn in order to be left with the desired pieces. I now had everything rough cut. I had the correctly shaped pieces but the edges may be a bit rough and need some shaping and sanding. Remember that cutting blades are not made to be used as grinding wheels so I will now move on to the next step.
Step 4: Final Shaping and Sanding the Granite
Put the masonry grinding wheel into the angle grinder. With nice smooth motions, use it to sand out any rough spots or small shaping problems from the rough cut. The main goal here is to end up with the final finished surface that is going to be sealed. Note that the surface will not look completely polished when done with it but it should start to look shinier than the initial rough cut areas. Work from left to right to ensure the smoothest finish.
Once happy with the smoothness of all sides, I would suggest rounding the corners of all the pieces. This is not a required step if one wishes to leave the corners but I chose to for safety and so they were easier to handle. This can be done by sanding the corners off with the masonry grinding wheel. Keep working at it until one gets the desired shape but be careful of taking off too much material by trying to chase a particular curvature. One should now be left with a piece of granite that is smooth to the touch but has a sanded, almost chalky look to the edge.
Step 5: Apply Sealers
Now that the edges have been sanded to the point one is satisfied that they are smooth enough, it is time to seal the granite to help it repel water. Also, whenever I was done sanding and had applied the granite sealer, the edge still had a bit of a chalky look. The acrylic sealer removes the chalky look and makes the edges blend with the top nicely.
To start this step, I first applied the granite sealer. Follow the instructions on the product purchased. For mine, I had to first clean the granite with rubbing alcohol and let it dry. Next, I had to apply the granite sealer and keep the granite wet with it for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, I was able to wipe all of the excess sealer off and let it cure for a couple of days. I applied the granite sealer to all sides however I focused mainly on the edges and the top. The bottom should not be exposed to any liquid except for cleaning, so I wasn't too worried about it.
After I let the granite sealer dry for a few days, I moved on to the acrylic sealer. The acrylic sealer is only used to improve the look of the edges and bottom. I did not want to get any acrylic sealer on the glossy top surface since it was already shiny and will be exposed to food, heat, etc. That is where the masking tape and paper comes in. I carefully masked off the top surface to prevent over spray from getting on it. One important thing to note here is that I did not want to mask off the rounded corner sanded in earlier. If I did, it would have a different color than the edge and top once the sealer is sprayed. Use the utility knife to trim up the masking tape as necessary to cover the entire top but not the corners. After one has the top surface masked off, apply the acrylic sealer to the sides and bottom per the instructions on the can. I only used one coat because my sealer went on pretty thick, but one may need more depending on the sealer used. In the end, the sprayed edge should have a similar color to the top surface rather than the chalky look from when one started.
Step 6: Use Epoxy to Attach Lazy Susan Bearing
Now that one has all of the pieces sealed, it is time to attach the Lazy Susan bearing. The first step here was to roughen up the corners of the top half of the bearing to help the epoxy to adhere to it. I did this with some scrap sand paper wheels on a Dremel tool, however one can roughen it up however one sees fit. Next, I laid out the bearing in the center of the bottom of the piece of granite that will be made into the Lazy Susan. It is important to get the bearing centered to keep everything balanced. Once one has the bearing laid out and its position marked, mix the epoxy and apply it to the bearing on the surfaces that will be touching the granite. Be careful not to get glue on skin or any other part of the bearing. Once one has the glue applied, place the bearing back on the marks and clamp the bearing to the granite while the epoxy cures. I didn't get any good pictures of this process because my epoxy had a fairly short set time, meaning I had to work fast. One can see a final shot of the bearing glued to the granite in the last picture.
Step 7: Apply Felt Furniture Pads
Finally, apply felt pads to the corners of the granite pieces and the Lazy Susan. The purpose of the felt pads is to prevent any scratches on the surface the granite is sitting on so don't skimp on any of them. They are cheap, so if in doubt, put a couple of extras where they may be needed. The granite should be precision cut, so it is most likely perfectly flat. That means I shouldn't have to worry about it rocking (corny pun intended) no matter how many felt pads put on it.