Stone has been used as a construction material for centuries. It is present in nature in a variety of densities and hardnesses. Stone has to be split to conform to a certain shape and size requirements before it can be used to build roofs, walls, and floors. Stones are split using manual and automatic power tools. Manual stone tools have been around for eons, splitting stones such as granite, marble, limestone, and sandstone. Power tools are commonly used in industries to split larger blocks of stone to shape.
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A chisel is a metal tool used to cut marble, wood, and soft stones. A hammer or a mallet is used to apply force on one end of the chisel to drive it into the material to be cut. Stone cutting chisels use a brick bolster to cut. The bolster is a flat, wide blade welded at the end of a metal handle. Chisels come in various sizes, lengths, and blade widths. Blade widths range from 4 mm to 60 mm or more, depending on the density of stone that is to be split. Typical stone chisels include the tooth chisel, pitching chisel, and spoon chisel. A tooth chisel is used to split soft stones. Pitching chisels, or chippers, are used for splitting stones from large blocks. Spoon chisels are equipped with cutting edges on both sides and are typically employed by stone sculptures.
Stone splitting hammers are available in a variety of weights and sizes. Common types of hammers used in stone splitting include the solid tooth bush hammer, cutter’s hand hammer, carbide bull set hammer, carbide tipped bull set hammer, mash hammer (or stone mason's hammer), and the stone buster hammer. A solid tooth bush hammer is used to split soft stone, such as marble or limestone. A cutter’s hand hammer is used on other stone cutting tools, such as wedges and tracers, to drive more force into the stone that is to be cut. A carbide bull set hammer has two cutting edges and is operated by two people. A carbide-tipped bull set hammer is used in the same way as a carbide bull set hammer, the only difference being that it is used on a block of polished stone. A mash hammer is used to strike stone directly to split it.
A grinder is the most common power tool used to split stone. Grinders fitted with diamond-edged blades are used to split granite and other hard stones. Softer stones are split using regular grinding discs and carbide masonry cutting. Grinders are typically employed to make parallel cuts in a piece of stone, which are then split apart using a chisel and a hammer.