Do it yourself!

Friday, January 16, 2009

How To Do A Simple Edge Profile On Stone

If you are planning to re-do your kitchen or bath and you want to use granite, marble or any of the popular stones used in homes right now, there is a way to make your own simple trim (bullnose) pieces and save a lot of money.

The use of stone in homes today has become very popular. You can hardly enter a new home today without seeing granite counter tops with stone back-splashes or travertine, marble, or slate used somewhere. These materials are very expensive compared to ceramic and porcelain and getting the trim pieces made can cost a small fortune. If you are a do-it-yourselfer there is a way to make your own trim pieces. They may not be quite as fancy as the ones made in a stone fabrication shop but they’ll be much cheaper, plus you will always have that proud feeling of accomplishment that you made them yourself. I’ve made them for many jobs and unless someone is aware of the variety of edge profiles, they’re usually very happy with the most simple option. Actually, they are very nice. There are two ways to accomplish this option on your own, wet or dry.  Doing it dry is the cheapest way, but it produces quite a bit of dust. Wet cost more because you need to purchase a grinder and instead of dust there is a lot water to deal with.
Tools Needed

Steps To Take

  1. It’s best to do the polishing outside or at least in a garage. I have a wood table that I’ve screwed a small vice onto to hold the pieces, but it can be done by just setting something on the piece to hold it in place.  Some of the pieces will be installed in areas where they can be polished after they are put on (like the edge of a tub deck), and the pieces that fit flat against the wall need to be polished before (like trim pieces on a shower or tub surround)  Once you’ve done done this once or twice, you’ll get the hang of making this decision.
  2. The pads come in different grits, just like sandpaper. Usually something like: 50,100, 200, 500, 1000, 1500, 2000, 3000. Start with the 50 grit to shape the edge like you want it. You can go from just knocking the edge off all the way to a full bull nosing. After you get the shape you want start working your way up through the different pads, starting at the lowest, until you’re through. The edge will get a little more polished with each change of pad. The Velcro pad attachment is a must. If you are using the dry system with a high rpm grinder you have to be careful not to hold the pad in one spot to long or it will burn the tile. If that happens, just drop back to a lower grit and clean it up.

It may sound like a lot of trouble and expense to do this but if you end up needing 70 or 80 or even 100 or more bull nosed pieces (which isn’t unreasonable), it would definitely pay to do it yourself. Some fabrication shops charge up to $12.00/ foot to do this and you usually have to wait several days. Most bath tub surrounds take 24 pieces, or close to that, so you can see that that alone could cost more than $200.00. When you get through you will have a grinder and pads for the next time you need it…or if you need to lend it to your neighbor wink The granite below was shaped on a machine but polished in the manner described above. It should give you a good idea of how to do it.

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