Step 3: Make the Sink Cutout

make the sink cutout
Photo: Wendell T. Webber
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Measure in from the end of the cabinets to determine the positioning of the sink and transfer those measurements to the slab. Make sure there are at least 3 inches left between the cutout and the edge of the stone. Mark the location of the sink cutout (and any other necessary cutouts, such as for a stove top) on masking tape stuck to the surface of the stone.

Using a drill/driver fitted with a 2-inch diamond hole saw, make holes inside each of the four corners of the cutout.

With the aid of a helper, lift the soapstone onto sawhorses. For support, clamp 2x4s underneath the stone in front of and behind the cutout outline. Using a jigsaw fitted with a metal-cutting blade, cut the stone along your marks on the two short sides of the layout.

If you are installing an undermount sink, which leaves the edges of the cutout exposed, smooth them over using a random-orbit sander fitted first with 100-grit paper, then with 220-grit paper.

TIP: After you've made a small groove with the hole saw, stop cutting and wedge an ice cube inside the saw to cool the blade and keep dust down as you drill.
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    Tools List

    • four-foot level
      4-foot level

    • bar clamps
      Bar Clamps and Spring Clamps

    • hammer
      Hammer

    • drill
      Drill/driver fitted with 2-inch diamond hole saw

    • straightedge guide
      Straighedge

    • circular saw
      Circular saw fitted with diamond blade

    • jigsaw
      Jigsaw fitted with metal-cutting blade

    • random orbit sander
      Random-orbit sander with 100-grit and 220-grit paper

    • angle grinder
      Grinder fitted with diamond blade

    • putty knife
      Putty Knife

    • single edge razor
      Razor Blade

    • caulk gun
      Caulk Gun

    Shopping List

    1. Soapstone. For the best price, buy directly from an importer (most soapstone comes from Brazil or India). You can find them online, and many will send you samples to help you select the right color. Plan ahead, giving yourself as much as six weeks for delivery time.

    2. Shims to level cabinets.

    3. 2x4s to support the slab when cutting it and act as a brace.

    4. 2½-Inch Deck Screws to hold cabinets level and flush to each other.

    5. Masking Tape for protecting the stone as you cut out for sinks and other fixtures.

    6. Painter's Tape for protecting the stone as you create the joints.

    7. 1/4-by-1½-Inch Carriage Bolts to brace an undermount sink.

    8. Undermount Clips to hold an undermount sink in place. Most new sinks come with the clips, or are available at plumbing-supply stores.

    9. Polyester/Acrylic Stone Seam Adhesive (available through stone suppliers) to form an invisible bond between two slabs. This is a two-part product that has to be mixed before use.

    10. Kitchen and Bath Sealant to secure the sink to the stone. Look for a 100 percent silicone product.

    11. Denatured Alcohol to clean the stone.

    12. Mineral Oil to finish and seal the stone.