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5 Simple Steps on How to Cut Pavers with Hammer & Chisel

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Working with rock and stone pavers can be rewarding once you’ve completed your goals. However, if you are planning on installing any pavers to make a pathway or simply decorate your yard, then you’ll need to know how to cut pavers with a hammer and chisel. Cutting pavers with a hammer and chisel, once you learn how to do it correctly, can give you the results you want. Once you get those results, you’ll be able to spend hours of time with your family enjoying your yard.

To cut pavers with a hammer and chisel, you’ll need to:

  • Get your safety gear
  • Measure your pathway or area
  • Get your chisel ready
  • Use your brick-set chisel
  • Hammer away at the pavers

Since there isn’t much information available on the Internet today covering how to modify stone pavers with a hammer and chisel, we created this article to help you. Below we’ll cover how you can cut and shape stone and rock pavers with a hammer and chisel.

cutting pavers with hammer and chisel
Cutting pavers with hammer and chisel

If you are interested in checking out the best chisel and hammer you can find them by clicking here and here (Amazon links).

Cutting, Shaping, and Modifying Stone and Rock Pavers with a Hammer and Chisel

If you plan on working with rock and stone pavers, then you’ll need to plan to modify them similarly, but you’ll also need to know how to shape them. When it comes to shaping rock stones, two different types of stones are usually used:

  • Level bedded stone, like sandstone and slate
  • Irregular bedded stone, like granite and basalt

Depending on what type of stone or rock pavers you are working with when you want to shape and cut them, you’ll need to know that they work differently.

First, level bedded stone breaks more easily into plates or flat sheets. So, if you want a plated look, then utilizing a bedded stone would be your best option.

Sedimentary stones will also be level bedded as well as different kinds of metamorphic stones. On the other hand, igneous stones, which are made from lava cooling, are usually irregular bedded stones.

So, they won’t form a natural look of a plate. However, they do have grains that you can use to help them break apart.

All types of stone and rock are strong when it comes to compression, but their tension is weak. Most rock and stone are also weak when it comes to using bending and twisting forces because rock and stone can be quite brittle.

When you need to chisel a stone, knowing how to take advantage of a stone or rock’s weaknesses can help you break and shape the stone better. Once you understand how different types of stone and rock break, you can learn to shape them more easily.

You can use a hammer and chisel to shape and break soft stone and rock pavers like brick and concrete. Doing things this way may feel a bit old-fashioned.

Still, it’s an incredibly successful technique, and that’s why we still work with rock this way, even with how much technology we now have available.

If you don’t have electrical power at your worksite, then you’ll have to use this technique, so now is the time to learn how to do it correctly.

BTW: Do you want to know more about rock and mineral identification? The books listed below are the best ones you can find on the internet (Amazon links):

Get Your Safety Gear On

First, you’ll need to grab your safety goggles because this technique will create small chips or rocks that will fly up and hit you in the face and eyes.

When working with stone and rock pavers, it’s also a good idea to wear gloves as well. Stone and rock avers can do a lot of damage to your hands and skin when your fingers continually touch them. So, this time, take the extra step of using safety gloves, too.

TIP: Safety is always the most important. Check out my safety tips not only for rockhounding and tips for the best safety equipment in these articles:
PRO Tips for Beginner & Experienced Rockhounds + Safety Tips
Recommended Safety Equipment for Rockhounding: Stay Safe!

Measure Your Area’s Layout

Before you get chiseling, you’ll need to measure the area of your sidewalk or patio area and assess the layout. You’ll need to know where to place a smaller paver.

Once you assess that, transfer that paver’s measurement to the paver. You’ll want to mark the line you want to cut clearly with a pencil. Next, mark the following areas of the paver:

  • Front
  • Back
  • Sides

You want the cutline that you make to go all the way around the paver. That’s because you’re going to need to score all four sides of the paver before you can cleanly cut it.

Get Your Chisel Ready

Now you’ll need to get ready to set up your paver and chisel.

  • To do that, grab the paver and place it in a flat area. The ground or a piece of plywood on two sawhorses would also work well.
  • For this to work, you’ll need to get a cold chisel, which is a tiny chisel made of hardened still that features a sharp blade.
  • Using your cold chisel, place it on your pencil line. Gently tap the end of the chisel with your hammer.
  • While tapping your chisel, you’ll see the chisel scoring a grooved area into the paver. As that occurs, you’ll need to position the chisel along that mark and tap your chisel until your groove is at least one-sixteenth of an inch deep.
  • You should ensure that the groove is one-sixteenth of an inch deep around the paver.

You may need to complete the scoring process on your paver more than a few times. That’s because the harder the paver, the more time and effort you’ll need to put into scoring it.

When you are trying to score a rock or stone paver, remember you don’t want to power hit the chisel with the hammer. The force you want to use should only tap because if you hit the paver with too much force, you may wind up chipping it.

Get Your Brick-Set Chisel

For this next step, you’ll need to swap to a brick-set chisel. A brick-set chisel features a wider blade and also has a larger area for your hammer at the end of it for striking the chisel more powerfully.

Once you’ve got the correct chisel, you’ll need to set your stone or rock paver flat on the ground after you are done scoring it.

Then, in the center of the groove, position your brick-set chisel at a vertical angle. Using that wider striking area, hit the chisel strongly with your hammer. Once you do that, your paver should break into two different pieces.

If it fails to split, then grab your cold chisel again, and score around the cutline. Then, repeat the step above using your brick-set chisel again. You may need to repeat this process a couple of times before your rock or stone paver splits.

Chip Away

Keep in mind that you only need to do this step if it appears necessary. If you see uneven orbits of the center of the paver that look like they are sticking out, you should slightly chip away at them with a brick-set chisel and a hammer.

The goal here is to try to make things look as even as possible. After you’ve accomplished that, you can position your cut stone or rock paver into your walkway’s layout.

TIP: I wrote a similar article like this one on how to cut rocks with a hammer and chisel. I think you could also find it helpful so feel free to read it here:
Step-by-Step: How to Cut Rocks with Hammer and Chisel

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the steps you need to use to modify stone or rock pavers with a hammer and chisel, you can start measuring your area and get started with your work.

Once you’ve created the look you want with your pavers, you’ll get more enjoyment out of your yard. So, get ready to enjoy some enjoyable days on your patio or in your garden, glancing over your new walkway.

TIP: If you are looking for a new hammer or chisel, make sure you read my article about recommended equipment for rockhounding here:
Recommended Rock Hammers, Picks, Chisels & Bars For Rockhounding