Have you ever looked at a stone wall and noticed the beautiful lines running vertically along some of the large stones? These clever lines are caused by the traditional method of cutting stone, known as feather and wedge.

It’s a very simple idea and the tools are even simpler. Each set contains three parts, the wedge (also known as the plug) and two feathers (also referred to as shims). The feathers fit on the sides of the plug, and the three pieces are placed into a pre-drilled hole to begin the process.

To begin, the stone needs to be quickly examined to discover the direction of the grain, and look for any obvious blemishes which most likely cause an issue when splitting. Once the stone has been looked over, and decided where you would like to split it, a line is marked out or lightly scored on the surface.

Several holes are then drilled into the line at equal distances to place the feather and wedges. Once these are in place, you begin to hammer or strike these feather and wedges in sequence. Allowing a rest period as the wedges tighten in the stone. As the wedges are hammered further into the stone, you will see a crack appear and the stone will split through.

A labor and time intensive process rewards the laborer with beautifully cut stone. This old method has been proven to exist or various methods of it, since the days of the Ancient Egyptians, and can be found throughout history.

This feather and wedge method is used by Crane Hill to cut stone when building walls with on-site field stone. If you are looking to enhance your property with a field stone wall, contact Crane Hill Contracting. We invite you to scroll through our stonewall gallery to take a look at our work.


Feather and Wedge | Crane Hill Contracting