View Full Version : Cutting pavers - lay soldier row before or after cutting

06-02-2000, 04:53 PM
Hello,<p>With other conversations going on, I wanted to try to get on some 'level' ground here and see how you guys lay your walks/patios out.<p>When I do a job, I usually do this.<p>After base prep, I get the base leveled perfectly where I want it and then set up my edging on top of the base. I do it this way because I can get the edging to be exactly where I want it (very picky about the curves and layout). After that, I set my pipes inbetween the edging and screed a inch of stone dust. works good because I can cut a 2x4 to fit perfectly between edging. This usually leaves about a inch of edging still for the the paver to catch on.<p>Next, I lay the solder row along the side of the edging, then snap my string line, and then lay my pattern in between. <p>When I get all the pavers in that will fit without cutting, I then begin to do my cutting. I do this by handmarking each brick and cutting it with tub saw to fit along the edges between the pattern and the soldier course. <p>This basically describes my method. <p>Am I nuts for doing it this way. I've tried other ways, but just don't seem to be as happy with overall results. <p>Just seeing how you guys do it.<p>steveair

06-02-2000, 05:27 PM
Steve it works great if you have that option of using your own edging but some times we have poured concrete as our edge, have not found a concrete guy to pour a straight edge yet :-) most times we just screen out our 1&quot; of sandcenter up our pavers and run the pattern wild. then cut the pavers with a hand saw so the border fits they are marked with a paver marker from Probst/Pave Tech. <p>----------<br>paul<br>

06-04-2000, 03:03 PM
I don't want to get into a debate about sand in base prep, so I won't respond to that part of your post. But I will say that when it comes to cutting straight lines and curves, I'm much happier now that I 'let the pattern go wild' as Lanelle put it in another post, then mark the whole walk, and buzz through it with a 12&quot; Partner. As Paul had said in another post, you're cutting multiple brick at the same time. What this does is assures you have a smooth transition from one cut brick to the next. When you mark and cut each one, you might cut one just a hair to the left of your mark, the next just a hair to the right, and you're left with a jagged line of cuts when you're done. This way you're guaranteed a smooth line. It's light years faster (just did a 120 sq ft walk on Friday, 3' wide, very curvy. Cut 97% of cuts in 10 minutes. The other 3% were cut using the 2 tub saws, done in 10-15 minutes). I used to do it the way you mention, too. Working alone a 400 sqft patio would take me a full day, if not a little more. Going back to speed vs waste, waste is much higher this way - we burned up 20 sq ft of brick in waste. However, the time we saved more than paid for the brick, and allowed us to move on to another project faster, and start making money there.

09-08-2001, 09:29 PM
OK,, dumb newbie strikes again! I can see the speed benefit of cutting wth a quickie saw. How do you get the bricks to stay in place so you can cut them? On first look it would appear to me that the bricks would have to set on top of the edging and would tend to bind and move as you cut.

Second dumb question: Mention was made of soldier courses. Could you explain that term? What I think this is is the outer row on each side being set with the short end to the edging and parallel with each other. Curves would result in tapered gaps between bricks. Is this correct? The pattern would be centered between the soldier courses?

Again, how do you hold the bricks in place to cut along the soldier course?

Something just hit me as I was reading another post, I was assuming that edging all had the inner flat that the bricks rest on. Apparently there is another style that has no inner lip so it could be installed after the pavers were installed and cut?

So much to learn,, and just when I thought I knew it all. :confused:

09-08-2001, 09:44 PM
Alan you bricks are tight you mark them then score line with the saw about 1/8" deep not using alot of pressure, then go back over them finishing the cut. we like to make multiple passes not using a lot of pressure this keeps the blade cool and prolongs it's life.

09-08-2001, 09:46 PM
Edging that is L-shaped can be turned 'in' or 'out'. The benefit to turning the L 'out' is being able to install it last and also the spike heads don't sit high under the pavers. Some edging is triangle shaped, so placement is obvious. Just be certain to get one that is flexible enough for your curves but rigid enough not to deform along the top edge before you set it in place. Keeping it out of the hot sun helps.

09-08-2001, 10:42 PM
Steveair... try the method tha Stonhenge explained ..you will be amazed at time saved...you may be able to use some of the waste for other cuts that you can't do with this method.

Allan... soldier course is the border course. The saw may bind when you get to a tight curve so you take those bricks out and cut them seperately... they are already "scored" as Paul explained so your mark will be perfect. Yes your soldier course on a curve will have tampered gaps...you can cut these also if needed.

Paul... I am interested in the marker you spoke of ...more info please.. I also agree that you should not put pressure on the saw...I let the weight of the saw do the work.

Lanelle ....curious...have you ever used the L shaped edging any other way but "out".

09-08-2001, 11:55 PM
Kris here's the link http://www.pavetech.com/newtools/quckdraw.shtm

09-09-2001, 04:37 AM
Like I've said before, you don't see much of a soldier row being used anywhere around these parts. We just run the pattern from curb to the other boarder or boarder to boarder. Its actually a lot more time consuming because you have no choice but to pull the bricks and cut one by one in a tub saw.

Lannelle, Paul, Stone, and Steve will tell you how long it took to get me to realize how they could cut it with a hand saw!! I couldn't visualize it because I was used to not using a soldier row. I still remember how good it felt to figure it out after Paul had to send me pictures!! :)

They still haven't let me use any kind of flexible edging yet. Still have to install concrete boarders (for now) but I'm going to try again in the spring!

P.S. : I don't want to start the sand / stonedust debate here either, but I can't wait for someone to in another thread. I'd like to go over that one again!

09-09-2001, 10:00 AM
Guido this tool might make it easier on you http://www.pavetech.com/newtools/p_scribe.shtm
It's not going to let you cut the pavers with a hand saw but marking them is going to be easy.

09-09-2001, 10:19 AM
Alan, The brick should NEVER rest on the edging! It should be on the stone base with your 1" of sand on top of the lip. The problem is if your edging is sitting on sand then it can move, not good for lang lasting installs.

09-09-2001, 10:26 AM
Thank-you Paul

That looks like a great tool ! I will look into getting one.

Things like this ..keep me coming back here ! I have never seen that tool... maybe I need to get out to some trade shows;)

Thanks again.

09-09-2001, 11:11 AM
Paul, what I was referring to was wouldn't the brick have to rest on top of the edging BEFORE they were cut if you were going to cut with a quickie saw. They would fall down insdie the edging, like they should, once the cut was made. But they would also be sitting wildly askew while you were trying to cut them and you would end up with all sorts of funny angles (in the verticle) where they were cut if you did it that way.

This is probably one of those things that would be SO easy to demonstrate and yet almost impossible to describe. It's probably a non-issue as, now that Lanelle has explained the edging with no inside, horizontal lip I can see where it would go nicely as long as you could install edging after you did the cutting.

09-09-2001, 11:30 AM
Alan -

Let's say you have the base prepped for a walkway. Clean, flat stone all around. No edge restraint in yet. Then you snap a few chalk lines and lay the field pattern for your walk. You lay it beyond where you know the pattern will go, virtually covering the total base prep. Then you mark the inside of where the soldier course will go on both sides and buzz the cuts with something like a Partner K650 12". Lay the soldier course, install edge restraint, sand and compact (2x). You're done.

Now if you install edge restraint first, you just lay brick right up to the edge restraint, use a tool like Paul showed us to mark the cuts, then buzz-buzz-buzz. Install soldiers, sand and compact (2x). You're done.

If you lay enough brick beyond where the line is that you're cutting, the brick will stay in place as you cut. If you don't you may have to use your feet to keep the brick in place (watch your toes!!).

09-09-2001, 11:53 AM
Originally posted by Alan
Paul, what I was referring to was wouldn't the brick have to rest on top of the edging BEFORE they were cut if you were going to cut with a quickie saw. They would fall down insdie the edging, like they should, once the cut was made. But they would also be sitting wildly askew while you were trying to cut them and you would end up with all sorts of funny angles (in the verticle) where they were cut if you did it that way.

UhhOhh Paul, this was the same picture I had before I figured out what a soldier row was!! Remember you had to send me pics before my hard head would understand!! :)

Alan, They don't run their patter all the way to the edges, they cut out a gap and put a regular rectangle brick in sideways along both sides of the project. Let me try to find some pictures to post.

Be right back! :)

09-09-2001, 11:59 AM
I think this is what your thinking of, right? Pretend my prehistoric concrete edging was the fancy plastic stuff ;) !!

I'll try to find a pic with a soldier row. Be right back again!

09-09-2001, 12:08 PM
Maybe you'll have a better idea now.

09-09-2001, 12:09 PM
same deal here. They cut for these blocks and then lay them in after they cut.

09-09-2001, 12:11 PM
I know most of you old guys (old guys on the forum, not old like "Paul old" ! ;) ) have already seen this link, but maybe it will help Alan and the other guys who haven't seen it yet.

There is some good info here, but a lot of it you should double check because they are still stuck in the old European way of thinking about using concrete to hold your edge in (like they are here!)

Hope this helps!


09-09-2001, 06:47 PM
Up here in Ontario there are just about as many interlock guys as there are Tim Hortons, the last time I saw a tub saw has to be 10 years ago. After we gave up the guillotine we used a tub saw for many years before switching to the gas powered quick-cuts. The time savings was 10 fold both times. I can't wait until someone comes up with a dustless lazer for cutting, I'll be first in line!

09-16-2001, 11:43 PM

A question for those of you who lay your edging first/run the pattern to it/then use a quickdraw to mark the soldier row course.

Are you really happy with the results?

I have tried this a few times and say that I am not. I find that it is just not possible to use the quick saw and cut a line that is dead on accurate enough to make the space between the pattern and the edging perfect for the soldier row to fit in.

What I mean is, you either end up cutting a little to small, and have to squeeze the brick in, or too large and have the brick sit loosely between the edging and pattern.

Just wondering if I am missing a 'trade secret' here on how to do it this way without being disappointed.

I have the quickdraw, and find that it does not follow the edging all that well, or should I say the edging doesn't follow ITSELF to well (gets all bowed and bent where you spike it and around turns) Also, whenever you hit a 'intersection' in the edging, you mark goes astray. I tried marking larger than my soldier paver once, but that was a pain because I had to pull all my edging up and bounce it back in tight against the border.

Now, I always just run my pattern larger than need, mark my line using a piece of edge restraint and a soapstone stick, and then run my cutoff down it. When done cutting, I then lay the soldier course followed by my edging. Techniques that have all been taught to me by no other else than all the fine ladies and gents here at lawnsite.


09-17-2001, 07:27 PM
Steve, Edging does make the differance. We use Pavetech it seems to work better than others (less bowing and moving) but your way of edging last works good too. Most of our jobs have concrete edging a 6"x12" band (12" deep) so it doesn't move much. As far as other edging I have seen some that is too soft for the quick draw. Keep with what works but try a different edging.