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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I see there is some discussion of slab fabrication and handling in the tile subforum under flooring, but hope this Kitchen forum is also visited by stone workers.

I have re-fabed various small granite tops using nominally dry tools with small amounts of water outdoors with success.

Now I have procured a large slab (64"x130") of a leather granite to make my first attempt at a larger job.

I plan to purchase a combination fabricating/tilt cart. I believe the brand is Master Splitter. They have a 96x48 and a 96x72 that have casters. It looks like the finish is not galvanized, so I prefer the Groves approach there but haven't found that Groves makes this larger size. A Hercules rollover is kind of interesting, but unless I modified the legs it wouldn't go through a door and it is not height adjustable althout I could weld on leveling feet. (sorry I have links for all those options, but I'm not allowed to post links)

My ideal cart would go through a 3' door (i.e. 35") when tilted. I'm sure the the fixed wheels on a 96 by 72 wide are likely to be too wide for that, although on a 48 I'm hoping it will make it, or perhaps I would modify if necessary. A 96x48 would leave about 17" of length overhang during fabrication. I'm not sure of the depth of the lip but I could fasten 10' 2x4's to the cart to help handle the length. The side overhang would be 8" although in theory it might all end up off one edge unless I could cook up a modification or extension to the bottom lip. In which case I might find having placed wood runners the long way convenient to lift the slab away from the factory lip.

I'm obviously trying to split the difference between a transport/install cart and a fabrication table. This 1000 lbs slab is about the largest and heaviest I anticipate working with, so I feel like these carts that have a rating of 1500 lbs. might do the tric.

Some of these tilt carts I've looked at are actually fitted with longitudinal rollers. The Hercules version appears to have ball style multi directional rollers but that is only a guess from a grainy picture. I haven't found any really detailed online retailing of these units that offers closeup photos of details or spec drawings. What i haven't found, at least on stoneworking sites, are individual steel bars with ball style rollers so I could design the island support with a few channels where I could temporarily install several lines of ball rollers beneath the counter top with some simple height adjustment so the slab could be slid off the cart over the island with good dispersed support and enough height to clear the spread of thinset and then lowered.

I figured I could then use these same channels to install [relatively] low profile steel supports for overhang.

Here I defer to those who have focused on the stone trade as to the lack of this as an existing marketed solution. It appears the favored method remains lifting from above with suction cups. The leather pattern on the slab we are dealing with is not a regular moire, but veined with the color and strata of the rock. I wonder if this would frustrate the efficiency of suction cups or if the softness of the rubber can actually handle this roughness.

The finished size will be about 56" x 130" so that is approx 50.5 sq. ft or about 1000 lbs. according to 18 lbs per sq. ft. figure the wholesaler gave me. I have the space to erect a rolling stage from standard 5' walkway frames so i could roll this over a 54" slab on a cart and use it as a gantry to lift the slab with some rows of vacuum cups and then roll over the island. I haven't taken a micrometer to the deviations in the leathers surface, but as a rule, is this the way to go or is there a method for supporting the slab from underneath with rollers that allow for installation and can then be removed.

There will be one sink cutout although I'm leaning toward making the cutout after the slab is placed so as not to confuse the placement with a weak edge and the hardware aimed at protecting that edge. It looks like the standard protector is rod supports attached with brass clamps. If this is down on the tilt cart it might cause difficulty with the lip support. If it is up, it means I will have to use the lifter on the side with the cutout. Although the cutout is not centered, it is not so far off and that seems to suggest some problem with a single lifting clamp for vertical lifts.

Although it wouldn't be beautiful, I could use a modified wet process such as that I have previously employed outside, using dry tooling with a modest bit of water and a wet dry collector vac to minimize the mess and avoid the problems of doing the sink cutout a head of time. Similar approaches are discussed on a few threads here about modifications to slabs in situ.

Thanks for any thoughts on these proposed approaches and any links to cart retailers or manufacturers and recommendations for ones you have dealt with.

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
more the merrier

Framerman,

thanks for your note. I did search here first so I know there are some helpful folks with experience in stone fabrication somewhere on this forum, but when dealing with a topic that is such a specific specialty, I appreciate the reference to a niche industry forum like that.

I will continue to monitor both sites for ideas.

best,

brian
 

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what exactly is your goal of these carts? i know you want to fabricate on them but to use them for an install as well?

how many guys do you have to carry the slab in? somthing that size we transport on A-Frames to the job site and 3 guys can carry it in. granite's weight is 180lb a cubic foot. in out fab shop we do not use roller carts. we have just plain jane standing steel tables to fabricate on. the hercules carts are made to buy attachments so you can do you edge treatments.

how are you fabricating and routing the edges? are you aware that the polishing pads for the edges are a different product than the pads on a standard polished top?

how are you planning on installing the sink? drop in or undermount? are you reinforcing the front edge where the sink is?

also you are sealing your product with a silicone impregnator before and after you are cutting into the slab correct?
 
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