" I have just completed a huge flag walk/patio combo with 1/4" gaps using 5 different colors of flagstone. I am a rock lover and have mucho experience selecting, cutting, leveling, repairing broken stones, laying, etc. once all the edge rocks were in place, I created a pattern out of chipboard, marking first w/pencil then w/marksalot markers the stone pattern. Each stone in the pattern was markes as to direction and adjacent stone numbers. The pattern was cut using metal shears that take 1/4" out, creating the PERFECT gap between stones. All stones were cut, then laid following the numbers. I would be glad to share my experiences with you.
I have worked flagstone from quarrying to splitting. Your site should mention how flagstone is made from a big rock with 4 people (or more) sitting around splitting it with chisels. When I first came to New Mexico, I made friends with "rock dogs" as they are known here. They are poor mexican americans who look to the local natural rescources for income. In the summer they work rocks, in the cold months they sell wood. I was one of 4 guys working NM flag and we produced 400-500 sq' per day. I did it for the knowledge I knew I'd need to do up my yard.
As far as tools (other than the custom pick-tools I sent you a picture of), I find that the Makita 9015A right angle grinder is excellent when used with a 7" diamond blade (solid, no cuts in the blade, Home Depot, $15) for cutting flagstone. It's light, very accurate, and ahas a clutch type brake that slows the blade when you release the switch. In spite of safety precautions, I remove the guard because I can't see with it in place. If a segmented blade is used, it WILL break and send shrapnel! The solid blades (I've gone thru hundreds) have NEVER lost metal. I also use a real respirator - not a paper mask, eye protection (glasses + full-sided safety glasses and even a full-face shield sometimes) and of course gloves (the best are Atlas which are available at Home Depot). These gloves fit so well you can pick up a dime!
I sent you some pix of my work and flagstone installation pictures yesterday (I only work for myself). Hope you liked them.
Max Todd Santa Fe 800 497-4075.
Check out these gaps! I needed to make tools to pull and drop the stones for leveling and included a picture of the tools (made from an angle setting tool- I added the wood to make a better grip)."
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