In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook helps to make long-lasting steps from giant stone slabs.
1. Stretch a mason's line to establish the position and angle of the stone steps.
2. Mark a cut line onto the stone using a tracer chisel and 3-pound sledgehammer.
3. Bore several holes into the stone along the cut line using a pneumatic drill.
4. Place feathers and wedges into the holes, then pound in the wedges to split the stone.
5. Using long steel bars, rotate stone slab up onto its edge.
6. Texture the front edge of the stone using a pneumatic hammer fitted with a four-point carbide-tipped chisel.
7. To cut the step thinner, snap the cut line with a chalk reel, then use a pneumatic diamond cut-off saw to slice down into the stone.
8. Break off the stone from the waste side of the saw kerf using a hammer and chisel.
9. Set stone step into position, allowing a 14-inch-deep tread on the step below.
10. To ensure rain and snow drains from the step, pry up the rear of the slab, then pack stone chips underneath so the step pitches forward slightly.