Q. regarding splitting ret. wall bricks

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by JimLewis, Mar 28, 2002.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,842

    We've been building a big retaining wall this week - one of the bigger ones we've built before.

    My foreman is bitching about his arms and wrists hurting from splitting the bricks. For this wall, we are using Manor Stone from home depot. Don't knock me for it - it's what the client wanted. Anyway, we always end up splitting 4-5 for every level of the wall to get a good fit.

    Currently, he's been doing it by hand with a pick or a mallet and wedge. There must be a better, inexpensive, way to do this. Any ideas?
     
  2. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Posts: 1,625

    It's not inexpensive, but if your going to do walls you need a splitter, check with a rental yard if they carry them.
     
  3. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 1,277

    There is a better way, just not less expensive (unless you count labor over the course of a few years).

    Probst/Pave Tech and Brick Stop both make paver and block splitters. I got a steal, picking mine up for $500. You should expect to pay $800 or more.

    But it only takes a few seconds to split a block.

    Either that or tell your foreman to leave his skirt at home tomorrow!! :eek:
     
  4. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Posts: 1,625

    I just re-read your post Jim, are you cutting the wall units so they fit together better side by side? If thats so rent a gas powered cut off saw with a diamond blade. With it you can trim the units sides for a close fit and not have any broken peices.
     
  5. SCL

    SCL LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 543

    There goes Stone again. Rub it in, rub it in:rolleyes:
     
  6. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 1,277

  7. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,842

    LOL I love it! In fact, that's what I told him this morning.

    The way I usually say it is, "Oh, are you coming down with a case of pussitus?"

    But in reality, I think he did have a legit. complaint. It's hard to split those by hand over and over all day.

    Anyway, he said yesterday he figured out something that made it a lot easier - if you soak the block in water for a little bit, it's much easier to cut using regular tools. He said once one of our crew members showed him that, it was much easier on him.
     
  8. yardmonkey

    yardmonkey LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 340

    A couple of people have told me that you can get a special blade that will fit into a regular circular saw (or maybe even a miter saw / chop saw). I think it has a diamond-coated edge. As I understand it, this is not meant to cut clean through the block, but after making a cut all around the block, it should split cleanly and easily. Have not yet tried it. Will be having my first experience at splittling Windsor blocks today. I may decide to get such a blade after I first try the hammer and chisel method. I have the impression that this is a commonly available item, rather than something you would have to order. Anyone have experience with this? Better than hammer and chisel?
     
  9. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 1,277

    Jim,

    Just before I got that splitter I'd tell my guys the same thing. :p Actually, the water idea is not something I've ever heard of before. I wonder what it is about the water that makes them split easier - the added weight, maybe? Or possibly just the tiniest bit of lubrication between molecules. It's interesting.


    YM, if you're going to be in the biz for awhile, pony up the cash for a cutoff saw like a Partner, Stihl, etc. Those little blades will destroy a circular saw in no time, because those saws weren't made to handle the fine concrete dust they generate. Plus, the blades will wear out quick. But don't use the saw to start cuts on block!

    But most importantly, when you split the block, there will be these little uneven smooth spots along every edge of the split block where you cut. For me, that looks like a flaw. If you have a 2# hammer and cold chisel, score all the way around the block, 2 good hammer blows at each chisel location, overlapping chisel locations by 1/2" or so with each move. Then set the block so that the force from the hammer blows along the side you're hitting travel through the longest part of the desired split. Alternate from that side to the opposite side every minute or so (if needed) until it pops. Then you have a consistent look with the rest of the block.
     
  10. SCL

    SCL LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 543

    Good advice from Stone. If you decide to use the saw thing, think about using a 4.5" grinder with a diamond blade. Faster RPM, grinders are sealed better, blades are cheaper. Haven't heard about the water thing, maybe if you hold your mouth just right and buy this snake oil,,, hmmm;)
     

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