Cutting Flagstone

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Sasquatch52, Nov 10, 2005.

  1. Sasquatch52

    Sasquatch52 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    Hey guys, just a quick question. I am building a flagstone patio, walk way leading up to steps and a large water fall at my house. I would like to get into this type of work so im doing it at my home first. My question is, how do you get semi-nice cuts for the flagstone. I tried doing some today, but no luck. The dang pieces kept breaking off where i didnt want them to break. I have a 2.5 inch mason chizel (sorry for the spelling, looong day!) and a mason hammer with a pointy end on the other end. Both of them do didley squat :angry:

    Please help. Thanks
  2. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    Use a 4" makita or any other brand grinder/ sidecutter remove the guard (and be careful) use a diamond blade and you can cut circles if you want. Cut about 1/2-2/3 through the stone and tap with hammer to complete the break. Wear a mask lots of dust. You can make them fit like puzzle pieces if you want, makes for a more custom finished look keep the grout lines the same size.
  3. MarcusLndscp

    MarcusLndscp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    The grinder will help you quite a bit with your problems as stated. Using hammers and chisels solely requires first a knowledge of the stone you are using. Every type of stone breaks different from the next and you need to learn how to get it to break the way you want's not impossible. It takes time, experience and in the beginning a lot of patience. Also, different chisels are used for different things not all perform the same task. The same goes for hammers and what part of the hammer you are using. If you have a free moment take scrap rock from your project and just start trying to break it where you want it using different techniques. It's not the easiest thing to describe how to break rocks where you want them to....more of a hands on learning experience. Any more questions please ask
  4. desertrat

    desertrat LawnSite Member
    Messages: 86

    Hammer and chisel is the way I do it. It takes a while to get it right, but it looks so much better. If you cut it with a saw, my opinion is that you end up with tile. I also don't like flagstone that has exactly 1" gaps, I like the gaps to vary and look natural. If you are doing a walkway, I wouldn't cut anything, just buy smaller pieces and fit them in. Keep it natural and jagged with flagstone, or just pour concrete. When I do a walkway, I leave a 6"-10" gap inbetween the flagstone and fill the gap with decorative rock. If you want a natural material cut straight perfect, pour a slab and lay travertine tile.
  5. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    Agreed ......the whole idea of flag is to make it look as natural as possible and only cut if you have to,
    to make a certain piece fit a certain spot
  6. randallwise

    randallwise LawnSite Member
    Messages: 46

    Take a look at our recent flagstone job...

    The only stones we cut were for the steps so we could have nice straignt edges. Everything else is a tedious process of fitting together to get the joint gaps desired. If you like a bigger joint, it takes less time. For me, we wanted 1-2" gaps, so it was like a big jigsaw puzzle.

  7. randallwise

    randallwise LawnSite Member
    Messages: 46

    Look at the job we just finished...

    The entire job is like a big jigsaw puzzle. Tedious process of making the stone fit together w/out cutting. The only pieces cut were those used on the edge of the steps for a nice straight edge. We only scored w/ a cuttoff saw and then chipped the piece off w/ a mason chisel.

    Hope this helps.


Share This Page