Jason Hoffman wrote me recently about a new contraption he is very happy to have on the job.
"Sometimes you’ve just got to go mechanical on your stone. I am a purist and much prefer to use hammers and chisels to shape my walling stone. However, when your quarried sandstone cracks in unexpected ways when you try and shape it, you need to act. When the huge pieces explode when a sledge hammer is used, you need a new tack. When working the stone with hammer and chisels produces more hearting and waste than usable stone, then its time. It’s time to get mechanical.This petrol driven stone cropper is the business. The two hydraulic rams produce 80 tonnes of pressure on the stone, which is gently pressed between the blade and a raised edge on the base. The stone is eased apart rather than cut – big pieces make a satisfying “crack” when they split. As the pressure is so concentrated, the stone doesn’t shatter, and in most cases produces a clean break. And it comes with a tow bar, so you can move it from job to job.I only wish I’d hired this weeks ago!"