Using Feathers and Wedges to Remove a 1000 Pound Piece from the Original Block / by Mike McCarthy

 A set of feathers and wedges

A set of feathers and wedges

Force is an amazing thing! That force is the basic principle applied when using Feathers and Wedges to split stone. The three piece tool set applies force by hammering the tapered wedge between two feathers that have the opposite taper. Simply drill a hole, insert the feathers and pound in the wedge. The force will literally split the stone in a linear 

 The feathers and wedges inserted in the drill holes.

The feathers and wedges inserted in the drill holes.

 

Now for the trick. For those who have used the feathers and wedges, you will probably agree that trying to cut a square or rectangle out of a larger block while maintaining a 90 degree cut from the larger block is difficult. Most of the time it will break in a 1/4 moon shape as opposed to the 90 degree break. That is why I am so happy with the break I got tonight. It broke just the way I planned!

 The split rock moved out with a pry bar a little to give room for the slings.

The split rock moved out with a pry bar a little to give room for the slings.

 The block removed with a gantry crane.

The block removed with a gantry crane.

 The block sitting on another cut clock.

The block sitting on another cut clock.

I over drilled the vertical surface so that there was much less holding it in place. I also used a 3' drill bit to drill the majority of the way through the block. I then went to the other side and did the same thing there. While I was drilling, I started applying the feathers and wedges without pounding them in too hard. This allowed a longer period of force to be applied to the stone, I gradually moved along the drill holes to apply more and more force without working too fast. It worked!