The Rock Hammer

The quickest way to reduce a large rock to smaller pieces is with a rock hammer. As obvious as this sounds, many people slave over their saws when a few quick blows from a rock hammer would do the job. Although hammering rough doesn’t allow precise control over the size pieces you get, it’s much more accurate than the drop-it-off-a-cliff method. If the rock you’re working on has a fracture, you can usually break it along that line.

Cutting a Kerf

Cutting a kerf in the stone will give you greater control. A kerf is a shallow saw cut, usually less than an inch deep. You can create a kerf almost anywhere you need it. Place a chisel or large screwdriver in the kerf and give it a solid blow with the hammer. The rock will split in two under the kerf. While the technique doesn’t always yield a clean, straight split, it works surprisingly well.

Cutting Rough Stones: Saws for Fragile Gems

Hammering is only useful for cabbing material of moderate value. You would never hammer an expensive piece of rough. The loss could amount to a considerable sum of money. Nor would you use this…