DIY Soapstone People Show Your Counters !

enduringMarch 1, 2012

For those who asked about DYI soapstone counters on Angie_DYI 's post (new soapstone in her backyard) inquiring if there has been a post to show DYI counter...

Lets show them.

First counter installed, small one that was very pretty:

Large sink portion with seam down the center that Dorado pre cut for me that was very good! I glued! This is before I had a local fabricator come out and cut my sink hole:

Recent install of several scraps I glued together to complete my "nook". No factory cut seam here but take my word for it, you can't tell the diff with my cut and glue. It is very good. I am proud. I still need to caulk in place and put a tile backsplash to finish it off:

My other short wall area with 2 pieces installed:

Glamour shot with my marble backsplash:

Whats Next?

I've got 30sf of SS remnants that I am going to use in my bathroom remodel, which is just off the kitchen. I will make my own soapstone sink. I've got plenty of material to practice.

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Thanks, I was going to post this query. Love yours!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 10:23AM
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You can see all of our soapstone, including some photos from the cut and drill phase of our DIY, here...

You should be able to view the whole album.

It was easy! (We DIY a LOT of stuff though so we had the tools and the knowledge).


    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 11:02AM
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Mabeldineldine, I posted this because you made the suggestion :)

I hope others contribute and show their process. I can't believe
that I didn't take one picture of me doing this work :( I guess
I was to busy doing the work?

My slabs were purchased and cut to my requested lengths from
Dorado Soapstone. They were factory finished on the surface
and the front edge too. When I ordered the lengths I added
several inches to everything, figuring that there would be dings
on the corners. This extra length would allow me to cut off the
rough areas if needed. There were several dings when the crate
arrived, but overall it was well packed. I had to finish the edge
on my counter to the right of my stove because is has an
exposed side. It was very easy to do. The factory finish was very
smooth and I had to keep improving on my sanding. Several times
since the install I have modified my finish to what I like. I think
I have it at about a 250 grit, or what ever the grit is in the 200
range. The factory finish was much finer. I found that taking it
back down and then going back up to the 250, made everything
moreconsistent and a little more rustic. We are not real cautious but
we are careful. This kitchen is like a thoroughfare to all activities.
It is not a functional plan, but as I keep saying, "its not my kitchen".
Hopefully someday it will be. It would have been helpful to the
overall plan to move some walls, +/or doors. I wished I would
have found GW before I got started on this kitchen. I think I already
had the cabinets and counters on order when I found this site.

My DH helped with some instruction as to tool use and
strategies. But I did all the cutting and layout. He and a few
young nephews did the carrying. I did do the smallest section
myself, the piece to the left of the stove. We had installed a
piece there initially, that was actually the first piece to go in,
but it was not that well cut. So, after more practice with the
bigger pieces, I went back and took the first piece out and used
another piece. This new cut was much improved and was small
enough that I could manage this without any help. I had to point
it out to DH what I had done.

Besides the power circular saw with carbide diamond blade, I found
that large heavy and course files were essential. I used these files
all the time! These files were about 12-14" long and 1.5-2" wide.
One was very aggressive. Nothing wimpy about these files!
Something we have on the farm, don't know what they are used
for, maybe wood.

Oh, and last I can't tell everyone how helpful the Canada Soapstone
site was!! They have YouTube videos with lots of information on
the installation of soapstone.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 11:10AM
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Doggonegardener!!! that is fabulous work and a very cool kitchen! Thanks so much for those pictures.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 11:19AM
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    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 11:37AM
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Enduring and Mabel: I am so grateful you started this thread. It is useful to me right now, as you know! Let's hope we hear from the others (with pictures!).

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 12:03PM
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enduring - do you remember how much Dorado charged for the soapstone, either with or without them precutting? Thanks

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 5:36PM
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LakeGirl, no I don't remember exactaly the cost/sf but it was somewhere around $50. Then shipping was additional. If you mail order like I did, I don't think they will mail a whole slab, only lengths, if I recall.

If you go the mail order route make sure you ask questions and be sure you like every inch of the stone you select because you may get a length from the stone that you aren't happy with. That happened to me. I selected a stone that transitioned into harder stone that I didn't like the looks of, and that part got incorporated into my sink counter. I could tell on the website picture that the slab had a corner that was different than the area that I loved. I didn't even ask about it. I naively thought that the fabricator would cut the lengths out of the parts I liked. Or, let me know if there was a problem with the size of slab not being able to accommodate my needs. To be fair the salesman on the phone tried to suggest another stone that was very quiet with small white veining. I was loving the more dramatic veining of the stone I got. He just said "OK". In this case the customer wasn't right. Now I have learned so much about stone selection, etc from everyone on GW. I would totally make my order more detailed, and ask for exact detailed information. Dorado did a fine job for me, I just expected more hand holding in the process.

In other words really do your homework before ordering.

Now months later I have only small regrets, as there is an upside to that different looking hard section of my counter. The harder area of the stone is where heavy pans and dishes collect, and I never have to worry about banging pans in this spot scratching the surface. I don't worry in other areas either but this is my go to spot for rough, hard working counter use.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 12:08AM
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Dh and I decided to order the slabs prefabricated. All we had to do was install them. It cost about $25 more a square foot to have it all done and saved us enough time that DH decided it was worth it.

Our layout made it very easy to do, as the biggest piece was only 42" long and DH and I could handle that ourselves.

Did that in January 2011. We paid about $1800 total to have it delivered to our door. And about $500 of that was for shipping. We live rural and the nearest fabricator wanted $150 extra for travel for each trip (at least two) to our place so that made the shipping not look so bad.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 6:59AM
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Thanks enduring! We actually already have soapstone installed in our kitchen, and they used Dorado stone. I was wondering if the price we paid with installation was a "good price". What type of soapstone did you actually end up getting? We have minas. We really wanted to DIY, and we tried to order from M. Texiera. I just didn't feel comfortable with the pics they (finally) sent, and the communication. I wimped out on that. What I'd like to see now is the backsplashes you guys went with. I'm stuck!!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 9:42AM
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Doggone: beautiful work! I was just looking through your album. I had forgotten about the beer tower! You rock! (No pun intended).

Doggone's fabrication of hole for beer tower:

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 10:09AM
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I've shared our story bunches of times, but here it is again for any fresh faces around here. We ordered our slabs cut to size from M. Texeira. You can order your stone for installation, cut to fit, cut to size, or whole slabs. Cut to fit means you send them templates or exact sizing and they cut exactly what you need. Cut to size means they send rectangles slightly bigger than your pieces and you cut them to fit. That's what we chose. We cut our pieces ourselves. It was a very dusty process.

We had a bunch of friends help carry the big peninsula piece in. It was 6' x 40" and we needed the additional muscle power. We fed them ribeyes and beer for their work.

Here's the peninsula piece in place. Sorry for the washed out photo. There's a ton of light streaming in from the french doors today.

Here's my main prep area. Our sink run to the right of there, is butcher block.

And my baking center.

The piece that we cut away from the baking center counter became the countertop for our liquor hutch. I designed it after measuring the scrap.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 10:40AM
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I can't decide if this thread is a good idea, or a bad idea.

Pros: All these installations are spectacular, and I love seeing what other DIYers can achieve! You are my people!

Cons: I want to do this now, not in 3 years after we do the bathroom and blah blah blah.

Soapstone and copper are in my future for sure, just wish it were sooner!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 10:43AM
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enduring-When you talk about playing around with sanding the finish and getting it to where you like it and is more consistent-do you mean you resanded from a rougher grit to a finer one you like? I notice you said, ''taking it back down then going back up to the 250''-could you be more specific? (I know I'm a bit dense here). We have soapstone that we love; we did not DIY it. It is a softer variety, and came finished to a very fine grit-I think they told us 800 or something like that. Interestingly, it's not shiny like farmgirlinky's was before she had Joshua redo it. But it does scratch fairly easily and I kow that is a function of both the softness and the finish. We had to sand one area several months after install because our GC had put cardboard down in the area with blue tape and the tape left marks (we don't oil and we think there was some sort of oil in the tape adhesive). Anyway-long winded question about resanding. You DIY'rs totally rock-I'm so in awe of you guys.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 10:59AM
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Lax: Excellent! We never tire of seeing those pix. (Especially as they were explicitly asked for!)

By my scoring, we are still waiting for mamagoose, oldhousegal, and Casey (sombreuil_mongrel). And perhaps some others that I don't know about?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 2:32PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Angie_DIY, I'm flattered that my tops pass for soapstone, but they are epoxy resin. The process is the same, though, and I've always been very interested in the DIY soapstone threads.

You've all done amazing jobs!

I have a link to an interesting soapstone tile project--I hope it's OK to add it:

Here is a link that might be useful: DIY Soapstone Tile Installation

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 3:33PM
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Yes Mamagoose is being called. I meant to add "and alternative lab counters" to the tile when I first posted. I was totally thinking of Mamagoose's counters when thinking about DIY counters.

Leela4, to be honest I can't remember exactly how the process went when I was sanding the stuff. I did have varying textures that I could feel on my counter that I didn't like after altering this and that with the edges. I don't know if I had to go down to the 100 or 80 grit first or not. I might have because there was an area that was rougher than the rest and needed to be brought into the fold. I just kept telling myself that if I do this conservatively I can't screw it up because the stone is thick. But if you keep going over and over one spot you will create a divot that will always be there. Keep going over everything equally, like you would sand a fine piece of wood. Same concept.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 3:36PM
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Mamagoose, I certainly recalled your slabs were epoxy resin when I called for you. Nonetheless, I absolutely include you in this thread!

I read that Ikeafans tile countertop project when in planning, and thought a bit about doing it that way. Seemed like a crazy amount of seams, and I am so impressed by how little those seams showed.

C'mon, mamagoose! Play with us! Show us what you got! (After all, you are my source for DIY runnel info, which I am also planning!)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 4:16PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Well, since you're twisting my arm... ;).

I found a great deal on craigslist for resin lab-tops, that had been salvaged from an old high school, then used in a church fellowship hall. They were $20 each, including the oak bases.

Here are the tops (complete with students' stuck-on chewed gum) stored on the front porch:

I talked my brother into doing the cutting, using his grinder and a diamond blade. I was in charge of templating, sanding and buffing, and finally, installing the tops, and filling the seams. My BIL used his drill press, and one of my diamond hole-saw bits for the faucet holes. We kept most of the cuts on the wall side of the slabs, so that the factory edges were exposed.

The first of the finished tops (in salsa season):

The following pics show the DIY runnels in progress. I used carbide router bits, and a homemade jig to keep the runnels parallel. The jig was thicker on one end, to put a gradual slope on the runnels, for draining. This is a mock-up--I forgot to take pics of the actual slab:

The sink area (I used two-part epoxy putty to fill the seams):

Finished counters--there's a seam in the corner, under the glass jar:

I used a scrap to make a pad for the mixer, so that it doesn't scratch the marble as it's pulled out:

So far the only problem I've noticed is that food cans will leave a 'metal mark', if a hand-held can opener is used. I polish them out with a smooth sanding-sponge, and polish the counter-tops with a soft cloth and a little mineral oil, if I want them to look nice for company.

***NOTE***If you are cutting or sanding epoxy resin, be sure to work outside and wear a dust mask and eye protection. I kept a shop vac outside the back door, and vacuumed off all loose dust before entering the house each time.

Here are a couple of links for info on cutting epoxy resin tops:

ehow-How to cut an epoxy resin countertop

Another ehow link

Here is a link that might be useful: DIY Runnels album with more info.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 9:19PM
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Yay! Thanks, mamagoose. They are beauts. You did an unbelievable job with the polishing. Not to mention the seams and runnels, too.

Wow, I never noticed your faucet before. (Guess I was too busy looking at the counters.) It is gorgeous.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 10:24PM
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Thanks MG, amazing work indeed. Your kitchen is beautiful and full of character.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 10:33PM
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enduring, thanks for starting this thread. Love your counters and I'm looking forward to seeing your upcoming bath project.

doggonegardener, Wow! What a huge undertaking. We were close to needing marriage counseling(before I fixed it with the infamous lax method.) I can't even imagine taking on the entire house at once.

macybaby, love, love, love your slabs! The picture in my head was the classic black & white, but the next time we do a kitchen, I may have to look at some of the wilder slabs. You and remodelfla have really inspired me.

mamagoose, I drool over your resin tops each time I see them. Your runnel jig is so clever, and has been filed away for my next time.

I forgot to mention how many times I watched the Canadian Soapstone videos to build up my courage, and a big thank you for the soapstone DIYers who came before who helped DH see that we really could do them ourselves.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 8:08AM
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I too, want to thank you for this thread I keep coming
back and even showed DH.
We never thought of Soapstone DIY. Honestly, I have
heard but until seeing this thread had no idea it could
really work and be gorgoeus too.

Oh and MAMAGOOSE, that dog sleeping under the saw is
adorable. I love how relaxed despite all the obvious
activity. The true sign of a happy, healthy, and loved

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 2:19PM
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LAX, I can't believe you actually said "the next time I do a kitchen." I can't imagine ever leaving the one you have! I am so awed by these gorgeous counters and kitchens. Mamagoose, now I'll need to DIY the runnels in my DIY soapstone counter.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 3:07PM
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Lax, that picture of you(?) is adorable all soaped up. I love your kitchen and your cat accommodations (in your hutch), so useful. I have always liked seeing your tile job on your backsplash, the rhythm of the lights and darks is just right. Oh, and the SS is perfect. Thanks so much for posting again.

All of you, thanks for all the input to these great DIYers!

And DIYers, if you have more projects, bring 'em on.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 3:28PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Thank you all! Angie, thank you--the faucets were bought on ebay for really bargain-basement prices. LOL, one was listed as having minor scratches, from a show-room display. I touched it up with two colors of my daughter's bronze nail polish!

Boxer, we rescued her from a trip to the flea-market before she was 6 weeks old. She slept constantly for the first two weeks, while my daughter carried her around in a baby blanket. The dog is afraid of thunder, but she feels safe under my feet (always under my feet). And, since this is a feel-good thread, I'll tell a sleeping dog story:

At one point we had, as part of our menagerie, a lovely rooster, named Duke (Get it? True Grit ;), who was 'put out to pasture.' He had three-inch evil-looking spurs, but he was a sweetheart to everyone/everything except the young rooster, hence his ostracism from the chicken house. Everywhere I, or any of the family went in the yard, two dogs, a cat, and the rooster followed. Whenever I weeded the flower beds, I'd say, 'Look here, Duke,' and he'd run over to get the beetle grubs I found.

One day I glanced out my bathroom window, and could just see the rooster, lying limp in the back yard, wings spread. I thought, 'Oh no, the Brittany (bird dog) has finally snapped, and killed the rooster.' I rushed through the house to do away with the body, before my youngest found him like that. As I looked out the back door, I was greeted with a sight I'll never forget--my daughter was asleep on a bench in the sun. One dog was asleep under the bench, the other dog was asleep under the picnic table. The cat was asleep on the picnic table, and the rooster wasn't dead--he was asleep, 'sunning' himself on the ground, beside the bench. LOL!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 3:37PM
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My Alberene soapstone:

This is one of the hardest soapstones, and I spent many hours honing the surface. Cutting out the sink hole was stressful. It's just about too hard to use carbide router bits to shape the edges; I went through three bits; sparks fly off of the stone when shaping.
But, it doesn't chip, and the only scratches are where I have dragged an aluminum colander across it, and the streak of metal bonds to the stone.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 5:23PM
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Thanks so much for the compliments! mabeldingeldine, that next time is pretty far off yet. We love our home, but do plan on retiring somewhere where property taxes aren't so exorbitant. Still, I'm filing away plenty of ideas for that far off kitchen or maybe a smaller cottage kitchen, should we ever have the funds to have a summer home.

enduring, you're so sweet! Yep, that's me. I had regular work goggles on, but my eyes kept drying out, so I switched to ski goggles because I thought they'd seal out the stone dust better. If I were to do it again, I'd make sure to use a leave in conditioner and wear a hat while shaping the stone. See all that talc in my hair? Very drying. Thanks for the compliment on the backsplash, too. I fell in love with the glass barcode tiles and ordered a dozen. They were so expensive that I pretty much ran through my entire backsplash budget on just those 12 tiles. So I bought boxes of random tile from the Habitat ReStore and an architectural salvage place called ReHouse. I was lucky to find some carrera marble to use in the mix. I cut all of those tiles down to 2" strips and random lengths, then laid them out, grabbing from different piles as I went along.

Casey, I always love seeing your sink! It's always been my favorite solution to the low window situation. Thanks for sharing it again.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 6:03PM
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mamagoose, loved your sleeping rooster story!! I've never had a rooster but I've heard how mean some can be. It's cute that Duke is so tame he'll help you weed your garden. haha. I'm amused at how many pictures on this board that include someone's pet in the shot. Goes to show what social creatures they are. They always want to be close to us.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 7:18PM
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Macybaby - where did you order your prefabricated countertops from? They look great!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 11:36PM
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OK, here are a couple of photos of my DIY Belvedere soapstone, although it wasn't a complete DIY job. I bought the stone from M. Tex in Denver and had it cut to size and runnels fabricated by them as well. As much as I researched that part of it, I just didn't feel confident enough with the router!

With a couple of friends help, we laid it on top of the cabinets, I mixed up some epoxy and installed the pieces behind the sink and stove, and then sanded the seams. I watched the Canadian soapstone videos and read every post on soapstone that I could find on this site. By the time the stone actually came, I felt somewhat confident to try anything. I did find the stone was too polished on arrival, so I took my hand sander to it with 80 and 120 grit, and now it looks and feels like what soapstone should look and feel like.

I've only had the stone installed for the past 4 months, and the kitchen still isn't finished, but I can say that it was the perfect choice for my old house, and I absolutely love it! In fact, most of my friends are now choosing soapstone for their kitchen remodels too, after seeing and feeling mine! LOL!

Here it is newly installed, waiting for the right piece to come for the back of the sink, since they initially sent one too short:

And, here is what it looks like today, in full use.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 11:11PM
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@macybaby, I love your kitchen, you've done a great job. I like the way you did your sink. I had considered that tech. as well, and would do it your way if I ever needed to do another. I cut the hole from my glued together 2 piece slab. I had to get a stone cutter on site to cut it out because 1) I couldn't find a jigsaw blade long enough to cut, 2) my nerves, and 3) my lack of skill with other altnative tools in general. My slab transitioned into a really hard stone at the sink and I was afraid to take it on. Your solution is the way to go. BTW, I like your floor pattern a lot. Your whole kitchen is charming.

@ sombreuil_mongrel, thanks for sharing your counters. That is some nice work with the harder stone. Your window workaround is very clever and your sink area looks perfect. Great job.

@ oldhousegal, what a nice job. Your kitchen is very pretty. Like you, I had the lengths pre cut for shipping. I ended up trimming the lengths and backs of each piece to fit. Your sink with the soapstone is gorgeous. Your treatment behind the stove is beautiful.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 7:05AM
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Your rooster sounds like the sweetest friend ever and
to think he had such a loving retirement. Who doesn't love
a relaxing nap in the sunshine!

you never cease to amaze me with your artistic talent.
First your bathroom and now your soapstone!
When can you come decorate my house??????

GORGEOUS!!!! Who would ever know it was a DIY job.
Simply gorgeous.

How do you do it and still have lacrosse players about?
; )

Love the pattern in your pieces.

Honestly I keep coming back to this site trying to figure
out if I could do this in our masterbathroom.

Thanks again Enduring for this topic.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 7:38AM
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oldhousegal, my heart flutters every time I see your gorgeous sink. Your counters are beautiful, too, but it's hard to pull my eyes away from that sink.

boxerpups, I think it's because we have lacrosse players about, that we have to DIY everything. If not for the equipment, league, travel, and tournament fees, we might have been able to hire a few contractors. ;-) Seriously though, DS1(the 15yo) enjoys helping with demolition and grudgingly helps with construction. DS2(the 7yo) loves to "help," but mostly just gets in the way.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 10:54AM
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OHG, I agree with LAX about your sink!! Love the SS, too.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 12:19PM
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As you know from the other thread, my counters are in progress. However, I hope you don't mind if I post some "progress pics" before I am done!

Here were the slabs as posted in my "Arsenic and Old Lace" thread:

Look, Ma, I am templating!

Picking my favorite parts of the slab. I was able to line up a major vein across a seam by angling the small piece just so:

Small piece completed! (My first one)

Two sections being dry-fit:

In addition to those two small pieces, there will be two large pieces (each about 7 ft. long), joined at the sink. I have cut the outline of one of them, and will do the second tomorrow if the weather holds. Then there is lots of work for the sink cutout and runnels. I'll keep you posted!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 12:45AM
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oh oh oh oh ... this is just about my favoritest reveal post ever. I am so in awe of every single one of you. Gosh golly - so talented! Beautiful to look at: thanks.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 1:06AM
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Ditto! Impressive.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 1:26AM
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Still gorgeous, every one. Angie, that is looking good! I am looking forward to the big reveal.

Oldhousegal, that sink! Stunning.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 6:13AM
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Debbi Branka

Mamagoose - your "everyone napping" story brought tears to my eyes! How sweet!

The soapstone projects everyone is sharing are awesome and beautiful! I love looking at your work!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 10:01AM
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Angie! OMG! You are doing such a great job! Please keep posting your progress photos, as I for one, can't wait to see it finished. Is that Belvedere stone? It sure looks a lot like mine. Did you find that it was relatively an easy project, just a bit mind boggling that you could actually cut stone?!

Thank you everyone for your comments on my sink. I am still enjoying it to this day as much as I did the day I got it and it's seeing a lot of use and holding up really well. Now if I can just stop the new kitten from getting on the counter just to watch the sink drain....

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 11:28AM
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You all are so amazing! I have seen mama goose's counters before but not these others. They're all just beautiful. Was it scary to think of cutting into these perfect (and expensive) slabs?

Any heart stopping moments?

doggonegardener, you have some great extras in your kitchen. Love the pull out for the shredder. (Yes, I'm noticing every pull out now.)

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 12:51PM
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Oldhousegal: Thanks (blush). No, the stone is Python from M. Tex. Not quite as hard as Belvedere, I believe. (I got it really cheap!) Even though we bought it sight unseen, I quite like it.

Actually, I am not finding this all that easy. Certainly not the hardest thing I have done, but up there. However, I have the system down pretty well now. I realized that one of the (physically) hardest things was the need to pull the trigger on my saw for long periods. Things got much easier when I did the (probably risky) step of attaching a quick-clamp to the trigger. Then I could use both hands to push and guide the saw. (I am using a straight-edge guide.) Scribing to the walls with a belt sander is pretty easy. Lugging stone around is not!

And yes, Marti, it was scary to make those cuts, especially the ones where there are no "do-overs."

Here is the first of the big slabs:

The sink cutout and runnels still have me daunted, but I will get them done!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 2:13PM
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Angie, it's looking great already! Can't wait to see the runnels!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 3:58PM
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oldhousegal (or anyone in the know, really), how did you know that your soapstone was too polished?

thank you in advance!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 5:15PM
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Mainly because it shone like granite (before I had put oil on it), and I saw so many GW'ers with soapstone that was matte finish, which was what I wanted, and why I wanted SS in the first place. It also scratched like crazy with just sliding a glass across it. I knew then it was way too polished. I have one of the hardest types of stone, and it shouldn't be that easy to scratch it.

When I read about the finish and how others had it 'honed' to make it scratch less, I decided to do that myself. I would have loved to have the expert do it, but alas, I could not convince Joshua to fly to Portland! So, I just sanded it with my orbital sander with 80, then 120 grit if needed. I had to be careful not to linger with the sander though. I think it turned out pretty good, and I no longer get those crazy scratches. I think you can tell from the photo above that it looks like matte stone today. I also don't oil it very often as I like the look of it both ways.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 6:12PM
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One of the best things about getting soapstone - I convinced my DH that some day it would need to be sanded, and I would need that Festool sander with the vacuum, so I might as well get it now - and he agreed!

I have not used it yet, but I have plans . . .

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 6:18PM
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AngieDIY, you are amazing. I know what it's like to cut SS with a dry diamond blade in a skilsaw; I had to do my sink cutout and a few small trims, but not whole CT pieces! Holy S!
I know how to find your house easily: follow the giant plume of dust!!!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 7:22PM
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Angie, this is looking really good! You are doing a fantastic job and I'm looking forward to seeing the pieces all in place. It is incredible how heavy the stone is.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 7:56PM
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Angie, how did you make the curve on the piece? I think you are amazing. It's hard for me to set up a heavy piece of wood to cut.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 8:26PM
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AngieDIY- You are certainly braver than I am! However, before I lost that bravery, I was intent on doing my own runnels, so I did a ton of research on the subject. I'm sure you've already figured it out, but if not, here's a great set up I found online about how to do runnels: The link is a guy who did them completely DIY in his wood top. He also references a jig they sell in the UK, linked here:

I'm not sure if it would make it easier or not, but when I researched that item further on Google, a ton of videos showing how to use it, came up. Now, if you're anything like me and a visual learner, then these are the scoop!

Here is a link that might be useful: DIY Runnels

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 9:20PM
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oldhousegal, thanks for the info!

I just requested a couple samples from M.Tex, including Belvedere, so I was very interested in how you worked your Belvedere counters.

thanks again!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 10:51PM
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Oh, gosh! You people are so very kind! Aliris, hose, mabel, sorry I missed you on my last post. I was just taking a short break and missed your sweet comments. Thank you.

Lax, you are right -- the dust is really astringent! Thanks for the note.

Casey, you are really too kind. You honed your own slabs fer cryin' out loud. I've done nothing to compare to that. And your variety is hard as, uhhh, a rock?
As for the plume of dust, uhhh, yeah: guilty. I tried to collect as much as I could, but it gets all over. Here is the little joke that has been rolling around in my head: I don't know what the inclusions and veins are composed of in my stone. (Plllog said that they are usually quartz.) So all that unknown dust? Clearly, it is "Talcum X."

Enduring, thanks for the encouragement and your constancy.

Marti, I traced the curve I wanted to cut on my thin plywood template, then cut it out with a jig saw. Then I traced the template on the stone with a sharpie. I cut it with a jigsaw using a carbide blade. One key is that I have a really nice jigsaw (a Bosch 1590). It holds the blade really straight no matter what. My BIL recommended it. He said that if he could have only one saw to do all jobs, he would pick that jigsaw. Anyway, the jigsaw cut will not be smooth in the corner. The Canadian Soapstone video shows you that you can clean this up using a flap-wheel sander in your drill. This did not work out so well for me. The dark spots in my stone are much harder than the surrounding talc, so they do not sand so well. It works okay with the belt sander, I guess because of the backing plate, but on a sander with any compliance, the dark spots become bumps. I had to go around the corner using a drum sander or the nose of my belt sander to clean that up. It looks okay now, but I *almost* carved out the curved part too much.

Oldhousegal, thanks a ton for the info and links. No, I hadn't gotten it all figured out yet. I had gotten all the info I intended to get from mamagoose's wonderful previous posts and photo album. It is great to have another source or two! Thank you very much. BTW, there is no evidence to suggest that I am braver than you! You have already done this, and I am just learning.


For future SS DIY types, here is a bit I learned about technique. I had a hard day of it the other day. I started with a cheap diamond blade, but it seemed to require too much effort to push through, and it also left a rough cut.. Based on the Canadian Soapstone videos, I switched to a composite blade. (I must admit that mine was marked as a metal cut-off wheel, as opposed to a masonry blade, but they seemed the same. Perhaps this was a problem....) This blade worked very well at first, cutting pretty quickly and smoothly.

Let me interject that, in both cases, I used a straightedge guide. A problem developed with the composite blade. The cut would tend to wander away from the straightedge guide. Early in the day, this was not a problem, but later in the day, I was unable to bring it back to the line. Eventually I gathered that the face of the composite blade became polished smooth and would not remove the material needed to get back on line. (I couldn't really just re-direct the saw because of the straightedge guide.) I put a lot of strain on everything, overheating the saw and perhaps ruining the bearings. (Maybe I get to buy a decent saw now!! Macybaby and I think alike!) I switched back to the diamond blade, which has a segmented rim with teeth on the face, and the problem went away.

As I mentioned earlier, one key was to violate safety procedures and clamp the saw trigger closed. Another key was patience. With the saw trigger clamped, I was in no distress. I could use both hands to push and guide the saw. I hooked my elbow into my stomach/rib cage so that I could use the big muscles to move the saw, instead of my puny arms. As I was not in distress, it did not really matter how long the cut took -- I could take it nice and easy, just cutting slowly and steadily. It took me about 15 minutes to make a 7 foot cut, but it was not hard work. (The other day, using my arms and holding the trigger, it was brutal work to cut just a few feet.) Also, the cut was smooth; I suspect the rough cut edge observed the other day was due to stopping and starting the saw and moving it around while pushing hard on it.

Sorry this has gotten so long. Thanks again for everyone's interest, and I will keep you updated (a little more laconically!).

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 12:40AM
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Not too long at all. I love learning this, though I may never have a use for it. I think your curve looks perfect, though I realize you have a better view. I bet no one else will ever notice.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 1:45AM
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Angie, the curve looks perfect to me. I had forgot to mention before how we handled our inside curves. I took a hole saw(the big circle things for your drill) to the inside corner than used the jigsaw or circular saw to make the straight cuts toward the hole. IIRC, we used a 2 1/4" radius hole saw.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 8:22AM
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Lax: that is what I am intending to do for the sink cutouts. I bought a 6-3/8" dia. carbide hole saw meant for cutting the holes for recessed lights. It is a perfect match for the corners of my sink template!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 9:19AM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Another strong woman with power tools!! Angie, thanks for the progress pics and info. Everything looks great--with your DIY attitude, I'm sure you can handle the runnels, or anything else that comes along. Are you using the scraps to make 'ice' cubes? Ooooooh, and trivets, and paper weights, and door stops, and ...

deb52899, :)

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 12:06PM
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Angie, thanks for the post about the method, very useful info there. I am a long time DIYer but have never used a circular saw! Table saw, chop saw, jig saw, bandsaw, I'm a veteran, but circular saw... time pull up my big girl panties and DO IT.

Enduring, Mamagoode, Angie, Macybaby, tell me what tools (type/brand) you have. Macy I've never hears of the Festool sander, some details?

We won't be doing this very soon, we've got a big x-country road trip planned for the summer, but 2013 is a blank soapstone!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 12:30PM
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*Angie, great descriptions of your process. Thanks a lot. Question: What jigsaw blade are you using? Is it a 4" blade? Where did you get your blade? I need one that I can use for my jigsaw. So far I haven't been able to use my jigsaw because I can't find a long blade :/

*Mabeldingeldine, I have a Dewalt circular saw that I did my main straight cuts, using a blade I got at Lowes. It is for cutting dry, I think it is a carbide blade or maybe a diamond blade, I can't remember. You will need a strong drill and proper hole bits, for cutting the faucet holes. I haven't had the chance to do this yet as I mention below. My next project will be a bathroom remodel and I will need to drill the stone for my faucet, so I will find out the tricks to that step soon.

I have a Festool jigsaw that I bought to do the sink hole but that didn't happen cause I couldn't find a long blade in my area. I couldn't find one on the internet either. I tried to find the one that the Canadian Soapstone folks recommended but no luck there either. Next time around I would probably piece together my sink opening, like Oldhousegal did. The stone makes such nice seams they are really a non issue, visually. I suppose if you have a really busy stone there might be issues matching the veining. As I have mentioned before, on other post, I had paid a marble fabricator to come out and cut my sink hole. I also had him drill my faucet hole. It was not the ideal situation for him because my stone was in place and I was not going to allow moving it off of the cabinets. They had to work in place. But I had an over mount sink so it didn't have to be perfect. If I had an undermount sink the slab would have needed to be lifted and cut.

I had a range of very large files that I would use to take off some of the edge if I didn't want to get the saw out. I loved doing the file work. The stone works very easy.

I hand sanded my stone. I bought a palm sander but It left wiggly marks on the stone. Since I have such small counters it was easy to hand sand everything.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 4:17PM
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Mabel: I am amazed (and envious) at the saws you have used, but never a circular saw! For me, it was just the opposite. My father had a circular saw and saber saw (jigsaw), but nothing else. That was all I knew. I have gradually acquired other saws, but I am fearful of, for example, my table saw. I guess it is what you are used to! I now have a reciprocating saw (Dewalt), miter saw (Hitachi), jigsaw (Bosch), and table saw (cheap ol' Skil Saw, I think). That brings me to your question about brands. For the last 20 years, my circular saw has been a Craftsman (you can see it in the picture above). Tomorrow, it may be something better! I basically wore out the bearings by abusing it the way I did with the composite blade. I really overcooked the bearings, and the blade is now loosey-goosey. (Sorry, mamagoose!) Mea culpa.

Here is my take on tool brands. (I hope this inflames no religious wars!) In my book there are about 5 levels of power tools. There is the (1) really cheapo stuff (i.e., Harbor Freight's offerings or the like), there is (2) low-end consumer grade (Ryobi, Skil, Black and Decker), (3) high-end consumer (Hitachi, Dewalt, Porter Cable, Makita, Bosch), (4) contractor grade (Milwaukee, Hilti, and some high-end offerings from the makers listed under #3), and (5) fine specialty grade (Festool, Fein). I try to only buy from list #3 or 4 in the wisdom of my old age. (Broke too many from #1 and 2, trying to be cheap. I sometimes buy used, high-quality tools from ebay or Craigslist.)

Enduring, my jigsaw blade is a Bosch carbide 30 grit (T130RF1) that I bought at Lowe's. It is only about 2.25" long. Why do you need a 4 " blade? I also bought a Lenox diamond blade, but decided to use the carbide Bosch one instead.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 5:44PM
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Another woman who loves her power tools and, oh, I so agree with you Angie on your tool list!

As for cutting out your faucet holes, I found my Bosch Hammerdrill combined with a diamond tile hole saw (got at Lowes for about $15) was a breeze. I recently added a counter mounted soap dispenser and had to cut the soapstone after it was installed. Piece. Of. Cake. Took all of 2 minutes to cut through the soapstone and the cut was absolutely perfect. As for shaving off a bit of the edge of the stone, my Fein Multimaster handled the task like a pro. Of course my soapstone came with an extra piece or two, and I've put plenty of holes in those to practice!

For those of you looking to buy tools for your projects, I recommend I cannot afford to buy new, high quality tools, so I buy new to me, reconditioned, high quality tools from this company. My hammerdrill was $99 and is a great tool to use. It handled a 6 inch hole saw through the old growth lumber on my house quite easily. I also bought a DeWalt cordless nailer from them, 2 sanders, and my Fein. Never had a problem with any of my tools purchased there.

The only tool I've bought at Harbor Freight was a $45 tile saw, combined with a $12 diamond blade, it did my entire kitchen, pieces of my friends soapstone (long story there!), and my other friends kitchen tile. Best buy in tools yet!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 9:03PM
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*Angie, I don't know, I thought I needed a 4" blade...maybe I made it up...I think I tried the shorter one but it didn't cut through entirely if I remember correctly. I will definitely try the jigsaw again with my remnants. I've got to find out what I did wrong last time with the shorter blade :) Thanks for the info, it is encouraging.

*Oldhousegal, Thanks for the tool internet site. I will take a look. I might need a palm nailer.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 9:19PM
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Angie, I think I've never used a circular saw because the old saws are so heavy. My dad had an aluminum casing skil saw, and DH had a good quality circular saw from his carpenter dad, also very heavy, and in need of new bushings, so it would spark and skip on start up and freaked me out!

I grew up working on prejects with my dad, and once on my own, took woodworking classes at adult ed to lean skills and make things- that gave me a lot of confidence. We've added tools as projects demanded. When we replaced our deck we bought a chop saw and wondered why we waited so long! To think I cut enough shiplap siding to cover a 15' wall with a hand saw....

Oldhousegal, thanks for that link! I will definitely be exploring that. I agree with Angie that is makes the most sense to buy the best tool you can afford. I am still using the Milwaulke palm sander my dad gave me 20+ years ago and I love it! We inherited some tools from DH's dad which have come in exceptionally handy. Good tools give you the confidence you need to do the job. And GW is a powerful tool!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 2:36PM
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Okay, major progress has been made, and it is time for a photo-heavy update! (Sorry, dial-up users.)

My jig for cutting the runnels:

gives us this: (We have runnels!)
I even designed my many-$ soapstone to fit my $20 drain rack. Sheesh. Tail wag the dog much? :-)

I lined up some nice young men to carry the slabs. (I helped, too. Probably did not heft my fair share!) Here the slabs are in the kitchen, but they overlap just a hair. Need to cut some off:

Let's build a "booth" to try (operative word : try) to contain the dust.
This is how I planned to pull the slabs together to minimize the seam:

and here is the resultant seam (before epoxying):

I was really happy with this. Unfortunately, I ran into a problem when doing the actual epoxy. I did a practice piece, and I carefully followed the directions (even using a scale to weigh out the two parts of the epoxy). However, the working time was very short. It was supposed to be 5 to 7 minutes, but it became gelid after just a couple of minutes. I really did not have enough time to slather it on the slabs and pull the joint tight before it began to set up. Consequently, the seam is thicker than it ought to be:

It is not as bad as it appears here, as the goop had spread out over the sides a bit. (I used masking tape to limit where the epoxy would touch the stone.)

Now time to make the sink cutout. You have to support the stone when cutting so that the weight of the stone does not break off the part you are trying to cut. I followed doggonegardner's advice and did all my cutting on foam insulation:

Hmmm, but what is supporting the foam? Let's just say that it is an undocumented use for the Sink Setter!
First I cut out the sink corners. The sink I used had corners with diameters of almost exactly 6-3/8", which is the same size, fortuitously, as the carbide hole saw available for installing recessed light cans:

This was a breeze, by the way. It took maybe 30 seconds per hole. I thought I may have to pull out my high-torque 1/2" drill (my cement mixer), but the little guy had no trouble.

I then connected the tangents to the corners using a circular saw, and the cutout was completed:

Next, I cleaned up the inside edges with a belt sander. I used the nose of the belt sander for inside the corners. Let me tell you that, despite the containment booth, the dust got everywhere in the first floor. I spent lots of time cleaning that up.
Next, I routed the perimeter of the sink with a 1/4" roundover bit, and eased the front edge with a 1/8" roundover bit:

Finally, I installed the sink and caulked it before mating it to the countertop with the Sink Setter.

I still have some work to do. I need to glue one more seam, between the big piece to the left of the sink and a small piece (14" wide) to the right of the range. First, though, I have to make the small slab about 1/8" thinner so that it mates up with the large piece. (My slabs were remnants and so the thicknesses did not match.)

So far, I am loving the stone!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 1:09AM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Angie_DIY, Great job!! I'm so impressed--you are an inspiration. Those seams? Pffft. They are fine, and soon you won't even notice them. All you'll notice is the beautiful stone and those wonderful runnels. I can't wait to see everything finished.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 10:27AM
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Angie, your problem with the seam was the clamp, those ones won't get super tight if you've got to squeeze something like epoxy. Bar camps are the only thing you can get tight enough.

BTW- we have an assortment of pressure clamps, and have found the Irwin are the worst at staying tight and holding pressure. I know it won't help you now, but maybe it will help someone else in the future.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 10:48AM
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Thanks, Mamagoose!

Macybaby: That is a shame, because I do have a set of Pony pipe clamps. Drat. Oh, well, the seam is not that bad.

There have been so many things on this project that I managed to do a decent job on, but that I know I could do much better if I had it to do over again. And, yes, I have been doing practice steps on most of the things I have done. Of course, I realized this sad fact going into the project, but it still bugs me a bit. (Not enough to want to do another kitchen yet!)

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 11:25AM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Angie, I didn't want to sound too gushy before, but what the heck! You have done an amazing job (as have all the other soapstone DIYers on this thread.)

The sheer physical exertion of procuring and moving those heavy pieces of stone, gathering all the tools, planning, prepping, cleaning and then second-guessing yourself is exhausting! There will always be small regrets, especially if this is a first-time experience for you.

In the last pics, the seams aren't as noticeable, and if you're planning on oiling, I'm betting they'll almost disappear when the SS darkens. You should be so proud of yourself--you are very resourceful! Just enjoy the gorgeous counters and don't worry about the little bobbles that only you will notice, and as I said before, pretty soon you won't even think about them. (Remember I wanted longer runnels, but didn't know that I should have decreased the router speed? I use the [short] runnels all the time--they work great, and I'm happy to have them at all.)

Don't beat yourself up--when you post pics of the finished counters, be ready to take a bow!!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 1:21PM
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OMG! When I saw "hand holds" on the stone, I went "what did she design into her counters?" Then I saw they were very cleaver clamp holes! What a wonderful sink job you did. Thanks for posting.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 1:26PM
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Mamagoose: Thanks for the support. I apologize -- I did not mean to sound like I was unhappy or disappointed in myself. I am thrilled with how they turned out! I am so thrilled that there are soapstone countertops in my little kitchen that I could sing! This was a major milestone that I had been dreading.

if you're planning on oiling, I'm betting they'll almost disappear when the SS darkens.
We are as yet undecided on whether to oil. One thought I had, after it was too late, was that I should have used JB Weld for the seams! The advantage of the stuff I got (from M. Teixeira) is that it cures really hard, harder than normal epoxy. This allows you to shape it like stone. But JB Weld also cures very hard, and it is gray, AND it take a long time to set up. It would have worked out better for me, provided I leave the countertops unoiled. If oiled, the black is better, I agree.

Enduring: thanks! The holes were also useful during moving time, too! The real useful part, however, was removing part of the sink cutout at the seam. This (a) made the seaming process less demanding, and (b) made the installation easier; we could put the slab down, with the "arms" interdigitated. (I guess if I use the word "interdigitated," I should say "with the fingers interdigitated, huh?) Then, after the stone was resting on the counter, we could maneuver it the last little bit. (Or would have been able to if it were not 1/8" too long!)

BTW, notice that the circular saw you see in the picture is no longer my old Craftsman, but a new Porter Cable. Cannot say I am real upset that I ruined the old one! ;-)

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 2:39PM
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Angie, your GW name should be Amazing Angie! That is amazing work. I would be in a total panic over attempting a sink cutout like that! And the runnels!! So superfabulous.

Thanks for taking the time to document this process with photos. I owe you big time, as I know I will be referring to this again and again when I do my counters. You let me know the next time you come to Maine!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 3:41PM
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WOW!!!!!! Amazing job! The clamp holes were such a smart idea, and the runnels look fantastic! Really incredible! I'm so looking forward to seeing more!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 6:37PM
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WOW! Absolutely WOW! I am so impressed by both the fantastic job you did and by your taking the time to photograph it for everyone to see, as well as your creative clamping holes- sheer ss genious!

It looks amazing, and those seems will seem to disappear after you oil it. I no longer oil my stone, but I don't notice the seams as much anymore.

You are one smart, and talented gal!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 8:19PM
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    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 8:50PM
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GAH! Just about the time I talk myself out of soapstone this thread pops back up and my heart goes thumpity thump...

Gotta sign myself up for some extra shifts if it's gonna happen...

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 9:38PM
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I'm bumping this thread so that hopefully others will see & read it. BTW, I am going to be building my SS sink this month! I hope all goes like I have dreamed and drawn.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 8:28AM
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I working on talking DH into cutting runnels in our soapstone. I'm sure tired of using a grungy dish rack base.

Don't you think runnels would be perfect here? It was made so anything that drips off the edge goes right into the sink.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 9:01AM
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Macybaby, do you think that the runnels will land on your sink ledge instead of into the sink? It looks like it could :(

BTW, nice herringbone floor.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 9:29AM
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Macybaby- I agree with enduring, the runnels there look like they would drip onto your sink edge. Does water currently make it into the sink? It's always hard to tell in a photo....

Not sure if any engineers on this thread, but perhaps if you really put an angle on the last inch or so of the runnel, it would give the water a bit of a boost to make it to the sink?

Otherwise, I would put a bead of clear silicone on the sink edge to prevent the water from running toward the front of the sink and down your cabinets.

I do love my runnels though, and encourage anyone who wants them to go for it!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 11:51AM
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If you really cut the counter so that drips off the edge go into the sink, then Yes! Runnels would be great there! (I have to say I agree with the others' impression that the drips would hit the sink ledge. But you are there in person and we are in internet-land!)

Wait! I think I can convince myself you are correct, even from this picture. We can see the inside surface of the sink, but we cannot see the outer edge of the soapstone. The soapstone must be farther to the right than the sink edge.

if you really put an angle on the last inch or so of the runnel, it would give the water a bit of a boost to make it to the sink?

I don't think so. The surface energy (surface tension) of water is too high; unless we are talking about a rivulet, it will just stick to the counter.

If it does become a problem, how would you feel about putting a wedged piece of soapstone on your sink ledge?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 12:08PM
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To make sure water doesn't flow down the forward (sink) edge of the SS and then run backwards under the slab towards the cab side, you could cut a drip groove like one does for window sills. You could also bevel the underside so it's got a slightly upward slant (from edge towards the cab) on the space between the edge and drip groove to further encourage the water to drip off smartly, rather than cling to itself and flow where you don't want it.

Do you have any scraps you can play around with to test various edge/runnel/reverse slant/drip groove options. I'm sure there is one solution that will work without allowing water to hit the sink edge nor allowing it to run back to the cab and down that side.



    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 12:42PM
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Enduring: How did you make out with your soapstone sink project?

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 11:08PM
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Angie, just saw this update question. I am getting REAL close to starting the sink. I have the bathroom walls partially redone, the plumbing rough-ins in place. Now today I'm calling the carpenter, who will make the cabinet, and ask that he stop by. He needs to see what I've been up to and I want his input on my sink building plans. I will make the sink before he builds.

I am SCARED. My DH, just says "oh, don't worry, we'll just get some more stone if you need it" He is a very sweet man. But I have enough stone remnants to make several mistakes I think.

I've got my hand drawings of the joints that I want to make. It will be a simple 10" deep box, 18x18" with a 10" high backsplash that extends across the cabinet. The sink will sit in the cabinet offset to one side, to optimize counter space on the 36" base. I watched a sink building YouTube video that Bucks County Soapstone has on their website. It took a lot of "stop and start" activity while watching so I could draw their procedure.

I have a plan, now its time to start. I will definitely keep GW posted on this project.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 4:04PM
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You go, girl! Make us proud! I had contemplated making one, but decided against it. I did not see the Bucks County Soapstone video. I had figured on using a rabbet and dado type joint -- I will have to look to see what they use.

I am hoping to update this thread with my finished counters some day. I just wanted to mention to you that I DID use JB Weld for my last seam. It is gray and takes hours to firm up completely, giving one plenty of time to position things just so. (Of course, they need to be clamped for hours, then, too.) Hardens rock hard. You may think about it. What epoxy are you planning to use?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 5:22PM
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Angie can't wait to see your kitchen. You've been so instrumental in helping others, I've really appreciated all you've contributed to this forum.

The joints I'm going to make are rabbet type and are shown on the video. While I had a stretch of solitary time to myself last spring, I drew up a detailed construction plan that was an "exploded" perspective rendition. It was accurate except for the sides. I needed that video to help me clarify the sides.

I don't remember what epoxy I used for my counters. It had a clear color though, and has been great for the counters. I have some left so will take a look, I think I remember the box stating that it can be used on stone. I will keep my eye open for the JB Weld brand. Thanks for the recommendation.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bucks County Soapstone Hand Built Sinks (video)

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 1:27PM
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I found this thread while googling, and I'm dredging it up because I think it is AMAZING.

Here's the main thing (among several) that I love so much about it: it shows a very high-end countertop material in "regular" kitchens. I love soapstone - I think it's beautiful and understated, unlike polished black granite. And yet, it often costs much more per square foot, putting it in a luxury category. I've really wanted it for my somewhat "country" kitchen in rural NH, but my husband is concerned about upgrading beyond the market. (Frankly most people around here have laminate counters and are not seeking or expecting luxury finishes when buying houses.)

All the pictures I have seen of soapstone counters, until this thread, have been in magazine-ready kitchens (usually paired with the now-ubiquitous white cabinets.) We have oak cabinets, which I have actually grown to really like. We've recently installed hardwood floors throughout the whole downstairs, and I imagine that another understated natural material like soapstone would look great with both the cabinets and floors (while polished black granite would look a bit out of place.) These pictures are really providing inspiration! I think we might go for it.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 2:34PM
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Also - those epoxy resin countertops are amazing! I've thought of that as a less-expensive and more durable option, but my husband thought they'd look "weird." They look wonderful!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 3:03PM
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Great point, lizzie. Soapstone for the masses!

Since this is a DIY thread, I will point out that soapstone was affordable for me, whereas granite may not have been. I was able to save on the SS fabrication costs, whereas I could not have done the fabrication of the granite.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 3:20PM
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Don�t try this at home, Soapstone sink.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 4:05PM
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Don't try this at home, Soapstone sink.

Why not? Did you have trouble putting it together? It looks totally fine to me.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 5:15PM
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Nice work, everyone! I had missed this thread before... I'm always amazed with the vehemence with which DIYers are called out on this forum (generally just shy of saying you'll ruin your house, your life, and any chance at resell), it's refreshing to see some DIY priase!!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 5:22PM
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Angie, it looks like " rggrrgbrg " registered yesterday to post his/her comment about sinks.

And Angie, no, my sink is not started yet :( I am too slow. I am still planning on the fabrication though. I've got some direction from a woodworker at a local woodworking supply store. It was helpful. I am currently installing my slate herringbone floor. The carpenter was over measuring for the cabinets he will build. He will build the stand for my sink when I get that far. I have a self imposed deadline of Christmas.

I know one reason I am slow is that I get nervous about the execution of each project. I've got over the hump of my walls, my electrical heated floor installation, and now my Ditra and Tile. Next will be the freakout about the Laticrete epoxy that I will custom blend (color) for the floor.

THEN its on to that SS SINK.

You have given me so much courage Angie_DIY!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 2:07PM
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Enduring: I totally understand about the need to work up one's nerves for each new project, especially a new kind of one. We haven't done any of these things before; somehow we know we CAN do them, but it isn't clear HOW at the outset. I felt that way about each phase of the project.

One thing I found surprising was how short the "relapse" period is for me. When I recently did the tile in my landing area, it took me surprisingly long to remember all that I had learned in doing the main floor just 6 mos. prior. Once I was underway, I was fine, but it took a mini-talking-myself-up to it stage.

So happy you were able to tackle the electrical heated floors. I probably mentioned all this before, but I found that to be VERY challenging; the need to cover it with thinset, but have everything (including areas with no heater cables) come out to the same thickness -- well, it was tough for me. I did that thinset and Ditra for the whole kitchen in one day, as I felt kinda committed with the wet thinset at each seam. That day was 20 hrs long! Super pleased you were able to get it done.

I found grouting with Spectralock to be fairly straightforward. I did not have much tile-grouting experience before, but I had played with cement/mortar/thinset enough with other projects over the years to get comfortable. I first grouted underneath my cabinets with cementitious grout, so that gave me a little low-stakes experience. In my limited experience, the main thing one has to be careful with for epoxy grout is to watch your timing. Have a clock visible. Take the phone off the hook. Don't get too far ahead. By the end, I was able to (1) mix and apply one mini-unit of Spectralock, (2) perform the initial wash on that area, (3) mix and apply a second unit while the first was drying, (4) perform the initial wash on the second area. (5) perform the second wash on first area, (6) rest, (7) perform the second wash on the second area. I don't recommend trying to have more balls in the air than that!

As for the courage: I completely believe you have the courage. However, I didn't really give any to you; like for the cowardly lion, it was there all along. I just help remind you that you had it! And you have done the same for me. Thanks.

Warmly, A_D

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 2:48PM
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You are great! And thanks for that fine medal, I love it!

Additionally I found your post very helpful in a practical sense. Helps get things in perspective. BTY your small hall is very nice and looks perfectly installed.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 3:05PM
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The medal is a picture of the actual one from the Wizard of Oz! (Courtesy of Wikipedia.)

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 4:49PM
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Angie, that info about the epoxy grout could not come at a better time as I am screwing up my courage to tile a new shower surround and I want to use epoxy grout for mold resistance. That floor is drop dead gorgeous.

Enduring, you totally amaze me with your projects! You can do it!


    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 6:49PM
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mabeldingeldine, thanks, ;)

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 9:02PM
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This thread is worthy of a bump. Thanks @enduring for pointing it out to me.

I will say that it is great to see a bunch of ladies that aren't afraid of power tools.

While everyone here is showing off their lovely DIY soapstone kitchen counters, I'll show off my modest DIY bath vanity countertop.

Well, we redid our small powder room recently along with our kitchen and family room reno. We found a vanity that we liked, off of the Home Depot website. The stain is close to that of the cabinets that went into our kitchen. We didn't particularly like the black granite top that it came with. With our good experience with redoing our fireplace surround and hearth with soapstone, I decided to do a DIY soapstone countertop and backsplash for it.

I got a slab remnant and a 12" tile from M Tex. in Denver. To get the front contour of the counter, I first used my jig saw with a diamond grit blade to do the rough cut. For the finish cut, I built a wood template and clamped that to the slab. I used a guide bushing mounted on the router base, to follow the template to take off that last little bit of material. I then used the router to round over the sides and front edges (top only). For the sink cutout, I started it with a diamond grit hole saw and then used the jig saw. The hole saw was then used to make the holes for the faucet. A belt sander cleaned up the edges and an orbital sander for the top surface, followed by some hand sanding here and there.

The tile was cut into 4" strips, with a tile saw, to make up the backsplash. The outer pieces were shaped with the jig saw to provide some interest. I saw that profile somewhere on the web and just had to do it. A square file helped clean up the corners.

All in all, it was a great little DIY project.

Here's a closer look. We thought about oiling it, like the soapstone around our fireplace, but we are liking the unoiled color.

Here's the earlier fireplace project. I designed and built the surround and mantle. Soapstone tiles are inlaid into the columns and frieze. In the frieze, they are actually raised out of the wood a bit. Soapstone tile around the firebox and a soapstone slab for the hearth. Soapstone will pickup the heat from the fireplace and radiate it into the room well after the fireplace is turned off.

So, now I have to figure out what to do with the piece left over from the sink cutout. Maybe make it into a cheese board. I also have two wedges from the front contour that I can do something with.

Eventually, we will tackle our master bath and I'm sure that soapstone will make it in there somewhere. Maybe the counters or the floors and/or shower pan. Soapstone floor tile would be great with in floor heating.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 1:19AM
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I'm posting my soapstone sink and counters that I did this past winter: I am now making a second sink for my second bathroom remodel.
Last winter project:

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 1:47PM
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@enduring - I do love your vanity. That is some nice joinery that you did on that sink. I assume that you used a router to do that. Is that correct? Did you do a joint to hold the bottom in as well?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 2:14PM
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Yes I used a router. I made the sink like the Buck Co. Soapstone people show on their Youtube video. I started and stopped it over and over to get the details down. I think I linked the video above someplace. Yes, on July 14 2012 it is linked above.

I used a carbide bit from a woodworking store, 5/8" straight.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 2:32PM
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