Trouble splitting flagstones, please help!

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by Garyl53, Jun 6, 2008.

  1. Garyl53

    Garyl53 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    Hi All,
    I have been constructing a couple of small red sandstone walls using some recycled flagstone from a rarely used walkway. The flagstone path was probably installed about 25 yrs ago. Anyway I have used most of the stone that was already cut in various shapes and now I need to use some larger pieces that are about 3ft square to about 3ft X 4ft. My plan was to split these into 8 inch wide sections and use them on the walls. I am not having any success in splitting them without major breaks in the wrong places.
    Here is what I am doing. I use an abrasive blade in a 7" skill saw to score the stone about 1/4 in. deep on all sides. I then rest the stone on the corner of a sharp edged large piece of stone exactly on the score mark. I then use a chisel and handheld sledge to start trying to break the stone along the score line. Starting in the middle and working out to the edges with repeated blows. Instead of the piece breaking along the score marks I am getting perpendicular breaks or the piece is breaking off smaller and thinner pieces. I must be doing something wrong. Any help would be appreciated since I would like to be able to use the existing stone.
    Thanks,
    Gary
     
  2. Supertiger

    Supertiger LawnSite Member
    Posts: 189

    Use one of those large masonry saws 12 to 15" diamond wheel. these use a two stroke engine. you can rent one for the day and cut all the way threw the stone without trying to break threw a score mark.
     
  3. Garyl53

    Garyl53 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    I was thinking about doing that but I would like to have the edges have a rough finish so I thought the way to do that was to break them. Can you cut them with the saw and then chip the edges to create a rough cut look?
    Thanks,
     
  4. skidster32

    skidster32 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 105

    put the cuts in the gaps
     
  5. LawnVet

    LawnVet LawnSite Member
    from SE MI
    Posts: 220

    Sometimes I run into this problem and I have noticed, depending on the material (hardness and consistency), that if I strike hard as opposed to light the breaks are closer to a straight edge. Also, if you score too deep the chisels tend to chip the surface and displace the energy in a less-than-straight direction. Before renting a saw I'd try scoring just below the surface and giving some good hard blows (for pavers it usually only takes around 3 hits or so total) over a softer surface, i.e. lawn.

    Good luck!
     
  6. Garyl53

    Garyl53 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    Thanks for the suggestion. I will be at it today again so I will try that. I also think that the stone has been sitting in some damp clay soil for 25 years so it has caused some of the pieces to separate easily. I hope I can get this to work since I don't really have enough breaks to do to justify renting a saw for the day.
    Thanks,
    Gary
     
  7. Garyl53

    Garyl53 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    Thanks for all the suggestions. I had much better luck today. I changed my technique a bit to just score one side but deeper (3/4 in.). I then scored the ends but not the back of the stone. I laid the stone flat on sand and just hit the the back of the stone along the score line with the edge of the sledge face and voila, good breaks. I was able to break all the stone I needed and finish the wall today.
    Thanks,
    Gary
     
  8. STL Ponds and Waterfalls

    STL Ponds and Waterfalls LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,177

    For future jobs you can also use a probst block splitter if the flag will fit.
     

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