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Unread 02-07-2007, 02:17 AM   #1
puckschmuck
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Cleaning up grout line edges of granite "slab"

Hiya.

I've done a poor man's granite semi-slab. Basically, it's a couple of slabs cut into large 36"x25" sections and one other slab cut so as to wedge it around a range built into an island. The end result is a sort of hybrid tile/slab countertop that will end up coming in at around $750 for a "tile" counter with only 6 grout lines.

After the cuts, everything seems to fit rather nicely and looks good. But I have one lingering issue: One side of each "tile" has a rough cut edge. I've heard hand polishing is almost barbaric in the amount of work involved... but if all I'm doing is polishing a chamfer type edge along the top corner of each cut, will it really be that big a deal - timewise?

If you're curious why I took this route:

1) Contracting out wa$ out of the que$tion. Get a new countertop in an old kitchen or an extra 200 sq feet on the addition including a new kitchen and find a creative way to get a "slab" countertop. Corners had to be cut somewhere.
2) Full slab work would have been nice but it is beyond my DIY capabilities
3) With the "L" shape and dimensions of the main counter, the 36" cuts actually fit the design quite well.
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Unread 02-07-2007, 08:32 AM   #2
Jerry L A Tile
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Hey Puck, sounds like you haven't installed these yet , right? If not you could cut each rough edge with a diamond blade with a rented bridge saw or rail saw as long as you got length to spare. If not you'll need to sand these down. Are these 2 or 3 centimeters thick? I would still treat these slabs as a slab install and butt the joints together with epoxy instead of grout. After you trim the rough edges butt the two ajoining slabs together as they will lay on the counter and take a rail saw and clamp it to the slabs and pull it through the seam backwards. This apparently creates a very straight and tight butt joint. Looked good on the video I seen. Leme see if I can find that video for ya Ok looks like they took that video off that had what I just described to ya. It was the blue ripper Jr. they used to demonstrate that technic. Anyway, here is a link to the bigger saw and might give you at least an idea what a rail saw is if ya didn't know:http://www.blueripper.com/index.php?main_page=page_2

Quote:
I've heard hand polishing is almost barbaric in the amount of work involved... but if all I'm doing is polishing a chamfer type edge along the top corner of each cut, will it really be that big a deal - timewise?
As far as I know about the profiling the the poor mans way, you gonna need an angle grinder with a profile attachment to acieve a chamfered edge. If you really don't need the chamfer leave the straght edge flat and just polish that with an assortment of diamond sanding pads of different grits. Free handing a profiled edge (chamfer) will prolly look just like that, free handed. BTW, a guy named deffusco sells a pretty decent set of DIY DVD's on granite fabrication. He does every part of fabbing a counter top with his angle grinder with different attachments. Pretty good stuff. Hope this helps a little.

Oh yeah, you need to make sure your butt edges are level to each other (no lippage). This is normally done with wooden shims from below. Of course that is on cabinets with no wood installed on top of the cabinets. If you got wood on top, I don't know what you'd do? After everything is aligned you just glue the stones in place with an adhesive on the bottom. "Disclaimer" I'm NOT a pro so take it or leave it
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Unread 02-07-2007, 03:12 PM   #3
puckschmuck
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The Blue Ripper looks awesome. But actually the cuts are already made.

I MacGyvered a slab cutter out of a borrowed basic Lowe's table saw, some 2x4's, a box of rubber casters and some scrap T6 aluminum I had laying around. Cost = about $40 and a couple hours to assemble it. Seriously! The cuts came out quite nice. Not absolutely perfect but very close. That was the impetus for not butting the joints and after we laid them out on the counter it actually looked good aesthetically, too. As long as I can clean up the edges where they'll be exposed we'll be very happy with the final product/cost.

I'll try to get some pics when I'm done.

I'll probably just look into renting a wet grinder. Does HD's rental area usually have these? Any idea on daily/hourly rates?
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Unread 02-08-2007, 01:32 AM   #4
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Hey Puck would really appreciate the pics when your done. I got my own counter coming up as well I really don't think you need the wet grinder, just use a mask and take the stones outside in a well ventilated area. You can prolly rent the angle grinder but I don't think you'll find the disk's for rent?? You can buy velcro backed diamond disk's that are wet/dry rated and just have the wife holdin' the hose over the stone while you grind if ya want it wet. Since you are trying to save money I think your best bet is to stay with a flat edge with no chamfer. A chamfer would require another tool you'd just have to buy, or you could set up a saw using your T-6 angle as a guide to miter the top corner off of each slab then polish? Just a thought. When your done polishing your profile I'd throw all the uneveness to the back by the wall and cover with a back splash or you can even cut the drywall and scoot the stone under it and then use a bead of caulk.
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Unread 03-06-2007, 07:34 PM   #5
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Well, it's been a month but things are coming together. It's taking a while cuz between work and having to watch my son by myself on the weekends (wife works Sat/Sun) I don't get much time.

Anyway, I got some low budget polishing pads from ebay and they worked just fine. Here's the kicker, I didn't even bother with an angle grinder, just got a $3 arbor bit and hooked it up to the old drill. I practiced on a scrap piece using the dripping hose thing and even did the chamfering. It's not what I'd call 100% professional but then I've seen plenty of so-called "pro" work that was worse than I could do. All it takes is patience and a steady hand. We're pretty happy with the result. I should have some pics in about a week.... including my MacGyver slab cutter.

Like I said, I'm cheap.
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Unread 03-06-2007, 08:13 PM   #6
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Hahahaha, great news Puck. Can't wait to see all those pics. It's amazing what a person can achieve when they have the "want to". Thx for the update bro.
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