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Discussion Starter #1
I scored a piece of laboratory tabletop that I’m using for console table I’m making and could use some help identifying what type of stone it is and how I go about restoring it. The top has some significant scratches and I was hoping to sand out; although, I’ve read online that some lab tops were made of fireslate or transite and may contain asbestos. Anyone have any experience with this material? Appreciate the feedback.
 

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Kinda hard to tell without the touchy feely but it looks like soft stone slate from the pic.
 

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Looks like the soapstone that our countertops are made of - also popular for lab benches because it is a little soft and can be sanded/worked better
than most stones, but is pretty inert to chemicals and very heat resistant.
 

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Soapstone is the most likely candidate, though modern tops are as likely to be made of a composite or resin.

Even if it doesn't contain any asbestos, silicates aren't much better for your lungs. Stone finishing is usually done wet, which keeps the dust from becoming airborne.

I like the idea of repurposing old materials, but remember that lab counter tops are designed to be acid and heat resistant. They're not designed to look nice. I've worked around labs for a good chunk of my professional career. In the 1970s, the stone tops often received a coat of black paint to make them look nice.

Al
 

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I was thinking soapstone at first but generally it takes a smoother finish if worked with tools or abrasives. I would have expected the top at least would have looked darker and less gritty from the processing after sawing. Soapstone usually polishes very easily.
I may well be wrong though...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Anyone have any thoughts on removing the scratches? I was thinking on wet sanding to keep the dust down.
 

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I think I would get an estimate from some local stone/granite countertop places before I'd try it myself.
 

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Try a wet da sanding?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all of your thoughts and tips. Wrapped up my project repurposing an old lab tabletop into a side hall/console table. Ended up wetsanding the slate (soft) by hand with varying grits, 320-600. Left some of the scratches intact for character and a nod to the top’s formal life.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I did seal it with a matte finish stone sealer to prevent beverage rings, etc. Thanks
 
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