Splitting Stone

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by greens1, Nov 27, 2001.

  1. greens1

    greens1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 352

    I am doing a split field stone retaining wall, in the past I have simply used a chisle and hammer to split the stone.

    I was wondering if anyone knows of an easier, faster , way of splitting field stone.

    Jim L
  2. ScotLawn

    ScotLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 309

    a small air compressor and air hammer with a chisel bit. I've used that many times for concrete pavers.

    WEAR SAFTEY GLASSES. It's a must with this setup.
  3. diginahole

    diginahole LawnSite Member
    Posts: 249

    Never actually done it but granite can be split with feather and wedge. First you drill a series of holes along the line you want and insert 2 thin wedges and one heavier one in between in each hole. Lightly tap each wedge in succesion until the stone splits. Ive seen it on TV but never tried it, looked impressive and much easier than pounding away with a chisel.
  4. MLI

    MLI LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ma
    Posts: 464

    dig is correct...ive used the method above time consuming, but effective!
  5. ianc

    ianc LawnSite Member
    Posts: 49

    I suppose your talking about splitting handling size pieces - the wedges/feathers is too time consuming.

    I get acess to the stones at the local quarry - they cant process them becaues of thier size.

    fieldstone split easier in the winter that summer

    1) roll the rock off the pile
    2) split stone on the ground - look for a bead or grain on the stone.
    3) get the loader to scoop them up to load truck
  6. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 1,277

    Greens - haven't heard from you in awhile - good to hear from you.

    Unfortunately, kind wishes is about all I can offer. I have had some success with cutoff saws, but it was to cut a little bit off a few stones, not building a whole wall.

    Maybe you could make a 4-sided box out of 2x6's, with notches to slide to hold each stone, then go at it with an air hammer, or maybe a hammer drill. The box will hold it steady while you work.
  7. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,073


    not sure exactly what you are doing, but I assume you are spitting the stones to create flat, clean faces to use on the wall.

    If so, then I can't see any other way but the old hammer and chisel.

    Drilling will create marks ruing the face, as will the saw. A air chisel may work, but usually is hard to get it to split exactly where you want it.

    If you are just splitting stone to make them smaller, and not using the split face on the wall, then a small cut with a cut off and then a few hits with the chisel would be a good way to go.

    All I know is split field stone walls are a lot of work, and there still are 'old timers' doing it the same way you are know. Maybe I'm a traditionalist, but hand splitting seems like the only real solution still.

  8. SCL

    SCL LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 543

    Hey Jeff,
    What about using one of these fancy guilotine splitters like you and I have? Just an idea:)
  9. greens1

    greens1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 352

    First I want to thank everyone for the replys.

    I have been taking advatage of the excellent weather to put in 15 hr days.

    I am splitting stone between 10 lbs and 100 lbs.

    I use a hammer drill and wedge system for the larger boulders. After I split the stone the edges are featherd to give it a dimentional finish, this also eliminates any drill marks.

    My main focus is stones between 60 and 30 lbs. I have tried air hammers, but they don't work as well as a few good chisel strikes.

    I like the guilotine idea, how would you hold the stone in place and what would the guilotine weigh?

    If nothing else, setting up a guilotine in someones yard would probably ensure they paid on time. LOL

    I am also doing a indoor waterfall as part of the project, I posted this in the watergarden forum, I would appreciate any feedback if you want to take a look.

    Jim L

    SCAPEASAURUSREX LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 835

    hammer and chisel seem to be the most common, along with a masons hammer on the smaller pieces, BUT I have sometimes on stones that I want a certain way , I will score them with an angle grinder with a diamond blade in it, just about an 8th of an inch or so,, and then wack away with the hammer and chisel , seems to produce straigher splits... And a few light chips with a masons hammer get s rid of the marks from the saw....

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