Cutting bricks or blocks cleanly and accurately takes a little practice, but once you have the knack you should be able to chop them in half quickly and easily. There are many occasions when you may need to cut bricks or blocks in half or trim them to fit particular areas of a wall or pier. It is a skill that any serious DIY-er should have and it can help to reduce waste, and therefore money, when you are completing your building projects.
Take the brick that needs cutting and mark the cutting line around the middle of it. Using a bolster and a club hammer, gently score the line around the brick. Now place the brick on sand or grass with the frog (hollow face of the brick) facing down. Place the bolster on the scored line across the back of the brick and hit the bolster hard with the club hammer. When hitting the bolster, tilt the handle slightly towards the waste end of the brick (if there is a waste end).
Cutting a Closer
A closer is a brick cut in half along its length and is used mostly in brick pier construction. Cutting a closer accurately is pretty difficult, but if you want to give it a try, mark and score the brick around the middle (lengthways) with a bolster and then place on a bed of sand or on grass with the frog facing down. Place the bolster on the scored mark and hit it with a club hammer.
In many cases it is easier and just as effective to cut two half bricks in half and butt the two quarters together. As closers are usually embedded inside a pier, the joint will not be visible. Obviously this is not an option if you plan to have the closers showing along their length.
If you have a lot of bricks to cut, it is worth hiring a heavy duty angle grinder to cut them all in one go. This has the benefit of producing far fewer waste ends. As with any power tool, handle the angle grinder carefully and always wear safety goggles and heavy duty gloves.
Cutting Concrete Blocks
You can also cut blocks (solid walling blocks, etc) with a bolster and club hammer, but if you have a lot to cut it might be better to hire a Block Splitter. To cut with a bolster and hammer, mark the cut line and then use the bolster and hammer to carefully score all the way around the block. Once the score line is all the way around, continue to hit the bolster on the score line until the block splits.
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Category: Brick and Stonework