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Old 04-19-2017, 09:33 PM   #1
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Busting up a sandstone boulder (18 inch wide by 24 inch tall by 12 inch deep)


I need to figure out the best way to demolish this boulder. Its sitting at the corner of where my koi pond is going and I need to break it up.

I have a DeWalt jackhammer with several bits as well as a Stihl 14 inch gas chopsaw. I think the most effective approach may be to make some vertical cross cuts with the stihl, then use the jackhammer in those cuts. However, its slow going and the jackhammer is just making holes, not cracks. Any tips or suggestions on where to cut? Which bit to use, etc would be appreciated.

Stone is to the back left bottom in this pic:


Here you can see the bit holes that are not creating cracks just holes:



Last edited by homeimproverjoe; 04-19-2017 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 04-19-2017, 09:45 PM   #2
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Re: Busting up a sandstone boulder (18 inch wide by 24 inch tall by 12 inch deep)


Stone cutters drill a series of holes just like you have, the length of the stone.

Then get a few steel wedges, pound a wedge in a hole, move to another hole, pound wedge in, move to new hole, pound wedge in.

back to first wedge, pound it in more , second wedge, pound it in, third wedge pound it in, second wedge, pound it in, first wedge, pound it in.

alternate holes until the stone splits..

it might take time, but it splits in a near straight line from hole to hole.

Might remove more dirt from around the stone to give it room to split.

ED
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Old 04-19-2017, 11:26 PM   #3
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Re: Busting up a sandstone boulder (18 inch wide by 24 inch tall by 12 inch deep)


I'm not sure about sandstone (and if that is sandstone) but with granite I've had good luck whacking it 20 times with a sledge.... let it sit 10 minutes and come back and whack it again.

Not sure exactly why,,, but I think a small fracture sort of needs time to spread....

If it is sandstone, I would think it would drill pretty easy... No..??
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Old 04-20-2017, 07:09 AM   #4
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Re: Busting up a sandstone boulder (18 inch wide by 24 inch tall by 12 inch deep)


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Originally Posted by MTN REMODEL LLC View Post
I'm not sure about sandstone (and if that is sandstone) but with granite I've had good luck whacking it 20 times with a sledge.... let it sit 10 minutes and come back and whack it again.

Not sure exactly why,,, but I think a small fracture sort of needs time to spread....

If it is sandstone, I would think it would drill pretty easy... No..??
It cuts fairly easily with the saw, but it seems much more dense under the jackhammer bit. I think I'm going to try cutting a few fault lines in it with the gas saw (as deep as the 14 inch blade can go), in the shape of an X, then take the jackhammer to the middle of those Xs and see what happens.
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Old 04-20-2017, 07:16 AM   #5
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Re: Busting up a sandstone boulder (18 inch wide by 24 inch tall by 12 inch deep)


What bit are you using in that hammer? Once you split off what you can will there still be part of this stone in your way?

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Old 04-20-2017, 07:32 AM   #6
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Re: Busting up a sandstone boulder (18 inch wide by 24 inch tall by 12 inch deep)


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What bit are you using in that hammer? Once you split off what you can will there still be part of this stone in your way?
Bud
I've used all of them, but looking for knowledge of the technique that works best for each.



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Old 04-20-2017, 05:22 PM   #7
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Re: Busting up a sandstone boulder (18 inch wide by 24 inch tall by 12 inch deep)


I would dig out more dirt from around it. When you make holes/cuts and whack it with wedges, it's got to have room to move. It and the soil have been tight friends for a long time. Also, you don't know how big it is so you may be really trying to hack off a piece rather than splitting it.
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Old 04-20-2017, 05:38 PM   #8
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Re: Busting up a sandstone boulder (18 inch wide by 24 inch tall by 12 inch deep)


It seems like it should be so simple, but your land is complicated. Could your house have been built on a quartz deposit?
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Old 04-21-2017, 07:34 AM   #9
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Re: Busting up a sandstone boulder (18 inch wide by 24 inch tall by 12 inch deep)


Made some progress just taking divots. Took way longer than I wanted to be on the other end of a jackhammer but now I have a new take on the phrase "chipping away at it".



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Old 04-21-2017, 08:25 AM   #10
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Re: Busting up a sandstone boulder (18 inch wide by 24 inch tall by 12 inch deep)


Can you get the 14 inch saw in there?
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Old 04-21-2017, 08:55 AM   #11
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Re: Busting up a sandstone boulder (18 inch wide by 24 inch tall by 12 inch deep)


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Can you get the 14 inch saw in there?
Yes, somewhat, but its bogging down after an inch of depth. The top layer cuts were much easier. The saw went full plunge depth without issue. Apparently this lower section is much more dense.

Would water help with the bogging down issue? Since I'm in a hole, I've only used water once on this rock before standing in a puddle I turned it off.

Last edited by homeimproverjoe; 04-21-2017 at 08:58 AM.
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Old 04-21-2017, 09:16 AM   #12
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Re: Busting up a sandstone boulder (18 inch wide by 24 inch tall by 12 inch deep)


That's looking good, anything worth doing is worth doing right.

The water on the saw blade works as a lubricant, and cooling system, which allows it to cut faster, but sometimes it is not feasible to use.

Is that part of a hidden stone wall from a previous landscaping projecs, that wire in it looks out of place, or is that a root?


ED
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Old 04-21-2017, 09:34 AM   #13
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Re: Busting up a sandstone boulder (18 inch wide by 24 inch tall by 12 inch deep)


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Originally Posted by de-nagorg View Post
That's looking good, anything worth doing is worth doing right.

The water on the saw blade works as a lubricant, and cooling system, which allows it to cut faster, but sometimes it is not feasible to use.

Is that part of a hidden stone wall from a previous landscaping projecs, that wire in it looks out of place, or is that a root?
ED
It's just a root. The area where that root is is actually just cut clay that has concrete dust on it from where I trimmed the patio pour floaters. The stone starts a bit further back along the wall. It's definitely just a rock, a stubborn one at that.

I'm doing this job in fits and starts after work and before sundown. Trying to get the pond dig done before the major excavation work scheduled for next week. I still have some plumbing and electrical to do that I want to be done before dirt gets moving over where I need access. Planning on working long hours this weekend.

I'm looking forward to the overall reshaping of the landscape, but the koi pond project is keeping me motivated for now to keep sweating through it. I call it a "koi" pond but its not really deep enough for koi, so its actually going to be a "goldfish" pond with some lily pads and a gravel bog water feature.

The goldfish actually are more interesting visually than the koi:



Here's where this is going if all goes as planned:


Last edited by homeimproverjoe; 04-21-2017 at 09:42 AM.
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