Cutting bricks by hand is a useful skill that can come in handy when you need to create customized shapes or sizes of bricks without paying for specialized services. Whether you’re building a new patio or repairing a crumbling wall, knowing how to cut bricks by hand might be a cost-effective way to get the job done – but only if you’re willing to spend your time on it and have some basic expertise with it.
In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why you’d want to cut bricks by hand, the tools needed for the task, a detailed tutorial on how to cut bricks by hand, as well as the alternative methods used by hardscaping professionals.
How to cut bricks by hand: Is it possible?
Yes, it is possible to cut bricks by hand. While power tools are a common way to mold pavers to your liking – technology is a bliss – hand tools can also be used by perfectionists. Some people prefer to do this themselves because it allows for custom shapes and sizes that can’t be achieved with power tools, which are also not as affordable as hand tools – making them a more cost-effective option for some.
Aside from that, there are several reasons why you might want to cut bricks by hand. Here are some of the most common:
- Price: As mentioned, hand tools are more affordable than power tools – and if you’re working on a DIY project, you probably don’t want to spend a lot of money on technical services.
- Control: From a broad perspective, learning how to cut bricks by hand will give you more control over the cutting process. This means that you can take your time and ensure that the cut is precise, which can be important when you’re working on a project that requires accuracy.
Tools needed for cutting bricks by hand
Before you start, you’ll need to make sure you have the right tools for the job. Here are the things you’ll need (you can find these at your nearest hardware store):
- Brick hammer: A brick hammer is a specialized hammer that has a chisel-shaped end, which is used to chip away at the brick to create a cut.
- Chisel: A chisel is a sharp tool with a flat end that is used to create a precise cut.
- Safety glasses: Safety glasses are important when cutting any kind of stone because they will protect your eyes and face from flying debris.
- Dust mask: For similar reasons, a dust mask is also important when cutting bricks by hand, protecting you from inhaling brick dust.
How to cut bricks by hand: step by step
Now that you have the right tools, it’s time to learn how to cut bricks by hand the right way. Just remember to always wear protective gear – and be extra careful when handling these tools. If it’s your first time doing this without professional help, don’t overwork, and make sure to have help from someone in case anything goes wrong.
That said, here’s a step-by-step guide you can follow:
Step 1: Measure and Mark the Bricks
To start, you’ll need to measure and mark the brick where you want to make the cut. Use a pencil and a ruler to draw a straight line where you want the cut to be, making sure the line is straight and clear so that you can follow it easily when you start cutting.
Step 2: Score the Brick
Once you have marked the brick, use a chisel to score along the line. The chisel should be placed at a 90-degree angle to the brick surface, and the cutting edge should be facing the marked line. Tap the chisel lightly with a hammer to create a shallow groove along the line. As you may imagine, this will help guide the brick when you make the cut and prevent it from cracking or breaking in the wrong place.
Step 3: Make the Cut
With the brick scored you can now cut it. Hold the brick firmly with one hand and position the brick hammer at a 45-degree angle to the scored line. Strike the chisel end of the brick hammer with a hammer to make the cut. The force of the hammer should be directed along the line, and the angle of the brick hammer will help to split the brick along the scored groove. You may need to strike the brick hammer several times to make a clean, straight cut.
Step 4: Refine the Cut
After making the cut, you may need to refine the edge to make it smooth and even. Use the chisel to trim away any excess material or rough edges, and to shape the cut to your desired size and shape. This is especially important if you are cutting bricks for a specific pattern or design, as the edges need to be smooth and straight to fit together properly.
After that, you should be all done!
Of course, it’s worth noting that learning how to cut bricks by hand can be a labor-intensive process, especially if you have many pavers to handle. It’s important to take frequent breaks and to use proper lifting techniques to avoid injury – considering it can create a lot of dust, which can also be hazardous to your health if inhaled. Therefore, make sure to wear a dust mask and safety glasses while at it, and work in a well-ventilated area if possible.
Alternative methods with hardscaping professionals
DIY techniques are not always the best option – and all the complex logistics speak for themselves. For larger projects and designs, hardscaping professionals often use power tools to cut bricks, and for a good reason. Some of the most common machines include angle grinders, wet saws, and masonry saws, which can cut through bricks quickly and easily, something useful when working on very large projects instead of a simple backyard patio.
Speaking from experience, we always recommend getting professional assistance.
Read as well: How to Cut Pavers Without a Paver Compactor
Over 12 years in the hardscape business, our team has dealt with many homeowners in many different situations – and we know how tricky the whole installation process can be, let alone the manufacturing. As we said, we always recommend hiring a professional in your area whom you can trust, so that they assist you with planning from the very beginning.
That said, if you happen to be around our area of activity, the Sarasota and Manatee counties, in Florida, why not give us a call to help you out? We can take your dream outdoor steps off the paper!
You can contact us any time for a free estimate of our services! Call us right now at 941-773-3098 or email us at email@example.com. We would be more than happy to help you with any hardscape needs you might have – including supply, installation, and maintenance services.