Splitting A Stone
Once the line along which the stone is to be split has been identified and marked, holes are drilled in the stone using a hammer drill equipped with a carbide-tipped bit. (In earlier times, a hand-hammered steel drill would have been used.)
Wedges and shims, also known as pins and feathers, are inserted into the holes with the shims or feathers at right angles to the split line. The wedges are tapped in slowly with a hammer, with 'rest' periods in between tappings, until they split the stone. The 'rest' periods allow the wedges to do their work.
The process can take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours depending on the precision required and the size and character of the stone. It took about an hour to split this large piece of dolomitic limestone, which measured 8'x4'x2' and was unearthed during the excavation of a cellar hole for a new foundation.
Click the thumbnails below to enlarge images.
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