Sunday, May 18, 2014

A Flagstone Sandwich

Several of the patio stones are fat and layered like peanut butter sandwiches, such that if you strike one of the them just so with a chisel, the stones will split apart perfectly, like two pieces of bread. Or sometimes the smaller ones just split open if you drop them. It's easy to spot the splitters because there's a dark seam (like peanut butter) along the edge.

The biggest stone of all was one of these splitters, and I was torn about whether to split it or leave it alone. Torn, that is, until I tried to pick it up. Much too heavy for the cart. So I wrestled it to the edge of the pallet and just let it drop onto its edge. The I took my axe, placed it on the peanut butter line and gave it a tap (a smack) with my mini sledge hammer (my favorite tool of all time).

The axe blade sank into the peanut butter a few inches, and I could hear the ancient layers begin to strain and groan and separate. Another tap. But the stone is so big that getting it to split without shattering to pieces would be a miracle. Deep breath, another tap and the seam split open, but one side fared better than the other.

In the photo below, the big stone in the circled in red is the brother and the one below, circled in yellow, is his broken twin sister. The breaks in the bottom stone are OK because they make for neat and even grout lines. But I failed the sister, and I am ashamed for it.

Also, I've finished up the fa├žade for the upper deck. This will make more sense when the top layer of stone is down.

My project leader, Jam, was on hand to supervise. Moments after this photo was taken, he rolled in the dust and was covered in black. Knucklehead.

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