How to Cut or Split a Brick

Bricks are a popular building material that comes in handy on a wide variety of home improvement projects. You can use bricks to make patios, fireplaces, barbeques and walkways, among other things. When working with brick there comes a time when you will need to cut or split some to make them fit properly. You do not need a power saw to make the cut. Many years ago, as a mason apprentice, one of the first things I learned was that you can cut a brick with a hammer and a chisel. This is not as hard as it sounds. With a little practice you will be able to make a straight and clean cut every time.

Things Needed

Bricks

Tape measure

Pencil

Mason’s chisel

Square

Mason’s hammer

1) Place the brick flat on level ground. Use a measuring tape to determine where you want to make the cut. Place a pencil mark on the location of the cut. Place a speed square or a carpenter’s square on the cut mark and scroll a line across the brick. Make sure that you can clearly see the line.

2) Place the blade of a mason’s chisel or “brick set” on the line. Hold the chisel vertically straight. Make sure that the blade of the chisel is exactly on the cut line your line.

3) Tap the end of the chisel lightly with a brick hammer to “score” a line across the surface of the brick. Move the chisel along the line as you tap the chisel with the hammer. The blade of the chisel will leave a thin score line on the brick.

4) Hold the blade of the chisel on the score line and strike the end of the chisel with the mason’s hammer. Hit the chisel hard and quick with the hammer. The brick will separate along the score line. It will take a little practice to learn the proper amount of force needed to get a clean cut, but in time you will be cutting bricks like a pro.

References

This Old House:How to Hand Cut a Brick; Jennifer Stimpson

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