There are a few alternatives you can choose to trim slate if you don’t have a slater’s axe. Some of these are specialised tools, specifically designed to work with slate; others are more general-purpose tools.
Slater’s hammers are similar to slater’s axes, with a sharp edge on the handle and a spike for punching holes. Like a slater’s axe, they need to be used with a bench iron, sometimes called a slater’s anvil, or a similar solid surface.
Slate guillotines are mounted on benches to cut slate. They also usually have a holing punch.For more information see What is a slate guillotine? for our guide to Roofer’s and Slater’s tools.
Slate and punch cutters
Slate and punch cutters are hand-held, shear-like tools. They also have a punch for producing holes, but they are more limited with regard to the thickness of tile they can cut than most other slate cutters.For more information see: What is a slate punch and cutter? in our guide to Roofer’s and Slater’s tools.
For heavy duty cutting of slate, you can use an angle grinder.
A more common tool is a trowel. With a bench iron, brick, or similar solid surface, you can use a trowel to chip away bits of slate.
Another, more general tool, which most people own, is a claw hammer. The slate tiles can be put between the parts of the claw and bits snapped off to trim it to size.