Thursday, November 10, 2011

How To - Wedge and Feathers Voodoo Magic

For the last month I have been waiting for my local stone yard to get back to me with stones for steps. With the first snow to hit the ground. Time was running out. Time to come up with game plan # ? where to find stone steps.... I looked and looked. Nothing was jumping out. I was loosing sleep. Then my local stone yard suggested these sexy large PA Blue Slabs. Took about a 15 minutes to think about the concept. The great thing was I had my hammer drill and all tools in the car to shape some ties stones I was buying. So why not?!

This is how I made my steps using a age old technique still used my many today. In 12 minutes start to finish I could make one step. Call the Presses!

Spacing for drilling should range based on type of stone and harness. I started out with  4"inch holes then moved as far out as 7". A good role is between 4-6" spacing. You can do straight lines or even curves (so I've read) This was my first time! I don't have any idea what I'm doing. I'm just having fun! That's what life is all about. Learning right?

Drill (5/8 carbide mason) Holes for wedge and feathers to be placed. I drill my holes 3 inches deep to match the wedges I'm using ( come in different sizes to match drill and depth.) I used my drill to help clean out most of the extra stone dust. A leaf blower or a hose might have been nice too. Running the drill in and out of the holes twice seemed to do the job. 

Placed them into the stone. Notice the feathers/shims are placed in the direction you would like the stone to split-out. I taped each one with a 2 pound hammer twice moved to the next. Some suggest giving the stone time to breath once you do a full row. Such as a minute or so. I couldn't wait so I just hammered away. ha ha. You don't want to beat them. Just tap each slow and equally. Not a Race. (bonus tools- keep a magnet tool handy just in case you drop a feather/shim down into a hole. Helps to fish them out. When you use the correct sizes with correct depths you really shouldn't have any problem if you do drop one. But just in case..) 

VOODOO MAGIC made easy!!! Even a caveman can do it. 

From one large slab to 3 steps. The stones I was working with sizes ranged from 3-5'ft long with a thickness of 4-6" inchs

4 Large PA Blue Stones Slabs made into 9 steps for the job I'm working on. 

I couldn't have asked for a better out come with the stone I choose. Great treads, easy to work with in weight. Since most steps range around 12" deep tread with 7-8" height. Building with these are a breeze. Plus PA blue stone is like sand stone easy to shape if needed. Not extremely heavy. Kind of breaks where you want it 80% time.

Lots of thanks goes out to all my DRY Stone Collective guys and a big thanks to Russ Borrowed Ground

Also my local stone Yard Badolato Stone Supply in Cockeysville MD. Chris you're the man!

To read more check out my earlier blog 

Tool - Drill, Wedge & Shims

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