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How to Cut Stone for Natural Stone Walls

This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook demonstrates how to get the right-shaped stones for hardscaping projects using a variety of tools.

In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook demonstrates how to cut and shape stones for hardscaping projects with different tools.

How to Cut Stone With a Circular Saw Or Angle Grinder

  • Begin by using an electric rotary hammer and masonry bit to drill holes spaced 4 inches apart across the stone face.
  • Insert a steel wedge and pair of steel feathers (shims) into each hole.
  • Use a hammer to alternately tap each wedge into the hole.
  • Continue to lightly tap each wedge until the stone cracks in two.

How to Cut Stone With a Hand Tracer

  • Set the tracer on top of the stone and tap it with the hammer. Move the tracer down an inch or so and strike it again.
  • Continue in this fashion until you've a cut line across the stone.
  • Move the hand tracer back to the beginning and repeat—tap it, move it, tap it, move it—until the stone splits in two.

How to Cut Stone With a Stone Buster Hammer

  • Set the buster on top of the stone, then strike it sharply with a hammer to cut a line across the stone. Repeat until the stone splits.

How to Trim a Stone Tile Edge

  • Hold the carbide handset at an angle to the stone, then strike the handset with a hammer to chip off small pieces of stone.
  • Use a carbide-tipped hand point to chip protrusions and high spots off of a stone face.
  • To smooth and even out the surface of a stone, lightly tap it with a bushing hammer.
  • Continue to tap the stone until achieving the desired level of smoothness.

Tools