Why Use a Slate Cutter?
- Trim large pieces of slate into smaller ones
- Making curved cuts for design or diagonal cuts for hips and valleys
- Consistency of cuts
- Ease of cutting vs a stake and slate hammer
- Produces the chamfered (beveled) edge on a piece slate which is desirable aesthetically on the roof
Factors to Consider When Selecting a Slate Cutter
- How thick is my slate? Handheld cutters are usually limited to thickness of 3/16″. Larger cutters that have handles to pull down on will most likely cut up to 3/8″. Any slate thicker than that will either need to be cut with a diamond saw (and then chamfer the edge with a stake and hammer) or a power slate cutter (see below)
- How many slates will do I have to cut? If there are minimal cuts on thin pieces of slate, you can probably get away with only a handheld slate cutter. However, any job that require dozens of cuts is better suited for a larger, slate cutter. They are easy to transport to the roof and have years of longevity to them. If you have a huge job and need to make hundreds of cuts, it may make sense to look into a power slate cutter.
- What is the weight? – A slate cutter can be taken on the roof and for that reason it should be lightweight. Most smaller cutters only weigh about 3-5 lbs. The heavier, cast iron cutters can weight about 10 lbs and the power slate cutter is around 30 lbs.
- What is my budget? A slate cutter is priced for the rugged nature of the job. Cutters generally last years and only need to replace the blade or punch in rare times. The Stortz 95-A Slate Cutter costs $105 and is the best selling slate cutter because it is the most effective and price considerate. More expensive cutters may be geared to cutting thicker slates.
How to Use a Slate Cutter
- Remember to cut on the back portion of the slate for a proper bevel to lay nicely on the roof
- Add the brackets for stability to the cutter as seen below. The brackets will make curved cuts more challenging
- Secure the cutter to a 2 x 4 for stronger support