Sunday, November 13, 2016

Not All Things Stone - Demo Day!

I had the great opportunity to take a break from walling to do some Demo Work! The client had purchased a home 20 some years ago which came with this concrete pad designed for a garage. Of course no garage was ever built so the concrete pillars just became an on going obstacle in and around the space. Limited the best use of the area. 

I started out with the Jack Hammer hitting the wall in the back round all the way around the bottom.. My hope was the wall would just break at the bottom. With a bit of time and a 8 pound sledged it finally fellow over. After realizing no rebar was in the walls. It was time to try my trusted feather and wedge trick.  I started out with my tracing chisel all the way around. Along with the jack hammer chisel hitting the wall where I wanted it to break on back side.  Less wear and tear on the body. Less gas used by the generator for this methane. I drilled several holes every 5 inches using the 3 L x 5/8th W feather - wedge set from Trow & Holden (drill bit) and gave it a few hits with great success. It took less time and energy to use a traditional stone method then it did to use a large jack hammer to do the job of demo work. After all who doesn't love to play with a hammer drill and feather/wedges?!! Once a stone mason always a stone mason. 

Related Blogs/Video:
How To - Wedge and Feathers Voodoo Magic
Video: How To - Wedge and Feathers / Shims - PA Blue Stone Slabs Into Step
Tool - Drill, Wedge & Shims

Next after having a great success with the removal of the corner. The client mentioned how beautiful the corner looked when I had it turned over. He mentioned it would look great in the yard. So with a few PVC pipes we worked as a team and rolled this monster down the hill. Now the concrete corner has a new life being repurposed as yard art. One more great trick of a stone mason. Rollers! You don't need expensive equipment to do simple tasks. One less thing to demolish and truthfully it looks great in its new home! 

Related Blogs:
Tool - BIG Stone Rollers
Tool - Small Stone Rollers
How To - Set Large Steps /Cap Stones W/Magic Wedges

Now thats just ART - look at those sexy drill marks. 

Then it as back to breaking down the large slab. I started with the jack hammer again. With now success within the first 10 mins. I felt it was time to go back to the try and true method of feather and wedging one more time. I needed to make this into sizes I could carry off.  So I started out with jack hammering lines as if I was using my tracer chisel down the stone. Then just spaced out the feather and wedges close to the out side and even distance on the inside. No real method of measurement. I just wanted to see if I was going to have the same success as the corner. 

With a nice clean break I knew I could move on and now demo the full slab using this method. 

The best part of using this technique was it made less mess which meant less work on clean up. Limiting my need to pick up lots of small pieces of concrete blocks. Now I only had a 5 plus those the jack hammer did break off. 

You can see it the photos just how clean this method worked. I had brought with me my cut off saw along with every other possible tool to do this job. When it was all said in done I only needed: 

1- Hammer Drill (SDS PLUS Harbor Freight $80.00)
1-  5/8th Drill bit
1- Set Feather & Wedges 3 x 5/8th
1- Tracer chisel / Or SDS PLUS hammer drill chisel
1- 2 pound hammer
1- Electricity (Home or / small Honda 2000watt generator)

Clean up
1- 5 gallon contractor bucket
1- Dust pan
1- Boom and or Leaf blower

Fuel - 2% mix & Gas

The client remarked how the space had totally changed and he wished he would have had me over 20 years ago to do this job. Now he will be able to have his fire wood dumped right on the concrete pad without having to hand move all the wood from the grass to the pad. Plus it just opens up the space for so many other opportunities. Some times the simplest things can be done to transform out door area. Just open you mind to all the opportunities to create. 

While I don't do much demo work. As a stone mason I'm able to use many of the same principles and methods I use day to day in my stone work to apply them to other services. Being able to see an area change as this one makes me feel alive when I see happiness in the clients I serve. Thank you - Mark J. 


  1. We couldn't be happier with the job. A minimum of mess, very precise work done exactly on schedule. Plus, we have new Yard Art! Thanks, Mark.

  2.'ve moved from just Waller to Stone Mason, eh? Lol! Good job man! You lucked out too, stem walls (properly built ones) have rod in them. Keep it up!

    1. SOOOO you know I always listen to the wise man behind the curtain MS. Yup I've been doing my best to mix it up just like you said. Sure is nice when you have all the right tools to do the job. Your so correct a properly build one would have had rods. I was ready for it. But luckily found non. Just goes to show another example of someone not making smart choices. Good thing this garage was never built. I don't think it would have lasted very long. You should see how the back wall is just falling in. Crazy stuff. The new owners couldn't be been any happier to see this trip hazard go away. Hope the tropical paradise is treating you well. TY for your comment

  3. Fist of all i really thank for your hard working. Its really hard for anyone. This is an fantastic idea to break the wall. Healthy article and nice image sharing.
    Good job!!