How to Cut Stone & Brick by Hand

A skilled craftsman routinely cuts stone and brick to size with hand tools. Cutting brick and stone by hand gives a cut's finished surface a rough, natural look. Stone and brick cut with a saw has a smooth edge that does match the other sides. Cutting a single oversized stone or brick by hand in the work area takes less time than taking the brick or stone to a saw's cutting area, slicing the material to size and carrying the cut piece back to the work area for a test fit.

Use a bolster chisel to cut the brick or stone.

Layout the cut on the brick or stone's finished surface with a pencil, using a carpenter's square as a straightedge. Always cut brick and stone from the finished surface toward the back side.

Lay the brick or stone on a solid surface with the finished side facing up.

Press a bolster chisel's blade on the pencil mark. A bolster chisel has a wide and thin blade, usually 3-inches wide and about 1/8-inch thick. The blade centers below the bolster chisel's handle.

Create a 1/16- to 1/8-inch-deep mark along pencil line on the stone or brick's finished surface with the bolster chisel and a hammer. Strike the chisel's handle lightly several times until the line completely scores the brick or stone's surface. Pay special attention to a brick's corners.

Center the bolster chisel on the scored mark and strike the chisel's handle sharply. Continue to hit the chisel until the brick or stone snaps.

Trim the brick or stone's cut edge with a cold chisel and hammer, if needed. Hold the cold chisel's blade against the top of the rough cut and strike the chisel with the hammer. Repeat this until the cut edge has the desired finish. A cold chisel has an angled blade the same width as the handle.

Things You Will Need

  • Pencil
  • Carpenter's square
  • Bolster chisel
  • Hammer
  • Cold chisel
  • Safety glasses


  • Always wear safety glasses while cutting brick or stone by hand.

About the Author

Based out of Central Florida, Robert Sylvus has been writing how-to and outdoor sports articles for various online publications since 2008. Sylvus has been a home improvement contractor since 1992. He is a certified HVAC universal technician.

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