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How to Make Stone Cuts with a Power Saw Look Natural

Ask This Old House Mason Mark McCullough explains how stone edges are cut to fit into a wall and how to integrate those cuts seamlessly with the rest of the stone wall.

Mason Mark McCullough shows Host Kevin O’Connor the difference between the traditional way of cutting stone and the modern way. While many tools can be used to easily cut stone today, you often risk losing the character in the process. Mark and Kevin compare an array of old-school hand tools versus modern power saws and grinders that masons often use.

What Tools Do You Use to Cut Stone?

Although Mark prefers to cut using traditional tools, he understands that it takes years of experience to properly cut a stone, not to mention more time. When a stone is cut using a power tool, it creates a manufactured, smooth look. Mark hates that, so he demonstrates how he would use a power tool and what he does after to give some old school character back to the stone.

Steps for Making Stone Cuts:

  1. Start with a tuckpoint grinder with a dust extractor HEPA vacuum attachment.
  2. Cut around the part of the stone you want to take off. Be careful not to go all the way through in order to keep as much roughness as possible.
  3. Use a brick hammer to hit the excess piece off.
  4. Use the hammer to knock down the edges of the stone. This will create a more natural look.

Resources

Mark discussed various techniques for cutting and knocking down edges of stones. The hand tools he used were a variety of chisels that can be found at some home centers and most masonry supply stores.

To cut the stone with the grinder, Mark used a 1775E Tuck Pointing Grinder with a 9 gallon dust extractor HEPA vacuum with automatic cleaning, which are both manufactured by Bosch Tools. Using a grinder with dust collection helps keep silica dust down, which makes the job a lot safer.

Material

  • Stones