Cutting stone

Eaglecliff

Eaglecliff

Registered
19 Jul 2010
1,156
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Derby, England
In order to build my raised trackwork I can, and from time to time do, cut rockery stone (usually local sandstone of varying consistencies) using a bolster (cold chisel for cutting house bricks) and a one-and-a-half pound hammer. This is fine for rough work but does not guarantee a precise edge with sufficient accuracy when necessary. I am wondering if my very heavy angle grinder would do the trick, or is there a type of handsaw or hacksaw blade which would not be blunted within the first few stokes?
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
23,822
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Tamworth, Staffs.
You can use an angle grinder..

Holding the stone for cutting can be a problem. - Nearly every builder 'just puts his boot on the rock' but that is not really the way to do it..

If you are cutting smaller rocks, and not too many of them:

 
daveyb

daveyb

badger tickling, sheep worrying
25 Oct 2009
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nr st andews scotch land
reciprocating saw with brick blade,,, expensive but great
 
Eaglecliff

Eaglecliff

Registered
19 Jul 2010
1,156
6
Derby, England
You can use an angle grinder..

Holding the stone for cutting can be a problem. - Nearly every builder 'just puts his boot on the rock' but that is not really the way to do it..

If you are cutting smaller rocks, and not too many of them:

Hi Phil,
I’ll see what B&Q - or Screwfix - have to offer. Holding my angle grinder is tricky, but I do wear steel-capped boots...
P.S. By LNWR to London yesterday from Tamworth... scruffy train, no refreshments, no staff on board, return journey delayed by attempted suicide at Northampton...
 
Eaglecliff

Eaglecliff

Registered
19 Jul 2010
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Derby, England
reciprocating saw with brick blade,,, expensive but great
Sounds fun... but the outlay may not be justified given the modest amount of work needing to be done.
 
Alexander0654

Alexander0654

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26 Dec 2009
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Schoeneck, France
You can get Hacksaw blades which cut stone. Called Abberfile ( spelling ? ) They are round not flat. Used to cut shapes in tiles and bricks .
 
JimmyB

JimmyB

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23 Feb 2018
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Abrafile, also known as rod saw blades, but it waould take some time to cut. This morning I cut through slate about 30mm thick and 200mm long with a 41/2" stone cutter and still took over 15 mins with a blade change, some rocks are very hard when cutting!!
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Hi Phil,
I’ll see what B&Q - or Screwfix - have to offer. Holding my angle grinder is tricky, but I do wear steel-capped boots...
P.S. By LNWR to London yesterday from Tamworth... scruffy train, no refreshments, no staff on board, return journey delayed by attempted suicide at Northampton...
I would think that using a Saw would be a much harder and protracted job that using an Angle Grinder, however these things need to be treated with great care and the use of a Mask, Safety Goggles and Ear Muffs obligatory if you value yourself.
 
idlemarvel

idlemarvel

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13 Jul 2015
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Ascot
I agree with JonD using an angle grinder is likely to be quickest. But take utmost safety precautions, steel boots, goggles, face mask and if possible to somehow get a spray of water over your work to keep dust down and keep the blade cool. I think someone in this forum told me of a blade overheating and shattering which doesn't bear thinking about. Don't stand on the stone you are cutting, half bury it in sharp sand or similar or wedge it in an old pallet. You don't want it moving while you are cutting it. However if you can bear sawing do that, using a hand held angle grinder is a last resort.
 
P

phils2um

Phil S
11 Sep 2015
361
130
Ann Arbor, Michigan
I use a 7-1/4" wet/dry diamond blade similar to what Greg shows in a Skil-Saw. I cut the concrete wall stones I've been using on my RR with it when I need a special shape. I also have a 4" angle grinder blade I've used for "finer" cuts.

Diamond blades - 1.jpg Diamond blades - 1 _1_.jpg

The Skil-Saw will not cut completely through the blocks I'm using. I cut two sides then tap the block with a hammer. The remaining web that's a bit less than two inches thick breaks easily and fairly cleanly.

The blades were not that expensive. I got the 7-1/4" blade at Harbor Freight, a inexpensive mostly made in China tool outlet in the US for less than $15. The angle grinder blade was purchased at Home Depot and cost about $10.

(The GOOP in the Skil-Saw photo is left from re-gluing the soles of my golf shoes which started to give me a lot of lip. It worked great.)
 
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Eaglecliff

Eaglecliff

Registered
19 Jul 2010
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Derby, England
Thanks everyone. I’ll grit my teeth (sorry, old rock-climbers’ joke) and see what I can do. Fortunately I’m hoping not to have to do very much, just create a couple of straight edges here and there.
 
ge_rik

ge_rik

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24 Oct 2009
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I suppose it depends on the type of sandstone, but I have found I can cleave our local sandstone with a hammer and brick bolster, in a similar way that quarrymen split slate. The results aren't always predictable, but I usually get two or three sandstone blocks for the price of one, particularly when I want to use them for cladding.

Rik
 
Eaglecliff

Eaglecliff

Registered
19 Jul 2010
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Derby, England
Indeed. Over the years I’ve acquired various types of the stuff, which was very popular for garden rockeries a few decades ago. I’ve just had one block (not a right angle, straight edge or flat surface to it) which split beautifully into three slices, and another which was a very fragile consistency, just turned into lumps and a lot of coarse grit. (oh, Derbyshire’s gritstone edges - happy days! Only ever fell off once - from dolomitic limestone, dreadful stuff - a piece broke off in my hand as I put my weight on it and I dropped about a yard, landed standing upright - threw the lump away, started again. Can’t do it any more, my insurers expressly forbid it...)
 
Perry

Perry

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24 Nov 2017
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Heights of High Wycombe
Dig a suitably sized hole, so that the rock doesn't rock. Carefully water mist the lower half of the blade whilst cutting because drifting dust does upset neighbours. However, only with large grinder; the 4.5" grinder is too small for water mist. A cardboard box with clingfilm on top gives a view of the cut & traps most dust. As always, take great care.
 
Eaglecliff

Eaglecliff

Registered
19 Jul 2010
1,156
6
Derby, England
Dig a suitably sized hole, so that the rock doesn't rock. Carefully water mist the lower half of the blade whilst cutting because drifting dust does upset neighbours. However, only with large grinder; the 4.5" grinder is too small for water mist. A cardboard box with clingfilm on top gives a view of the cut & traps most dust. As always, take great care.
Sounds complicated... so far, managed with bolster and hammer...