The device shown in the drawing is a simple but effective brick cutter that works by shearing a brick between a fixed angle iron and a brick chisel. It’s not as fast as breaking bricks with a mason’s hammer, but there will be more accurate cuts and a lot less waste. To make the cutter, file a true edge on the outside corner of a short piece of angle iron and place it on a heavy base, such as a beam offcut, with the oustide corner facing up. Secure the angle by placing the mitered end of a 2x tight against each side.
On one side of the angle, position a 1×6 up on a thick block to act as as guide for the brick chisel. Be sure to set the guide high enough to clear the thickest brick you plan to cut. Adjust its length so that when the bevel side of the brick chisel is held tight against the guide, the point of the chisel is directly over the edge of the angle iron. On the opposite side of the angle, place a support block to cradle the brick.
To use the cutter, place the brick on top of the angle with your mark centered over its edge. Position the chisel on top of the brick, bevel side tight against the guide. One or two blows with a heavy hammer should do the job. For face brick, cut the brick 1/8-in. to the waste side of the mark and clean up the exposed edge with short, controlled paring strokes of the chisel.
—Will Foster, Aberdeen, WA
Edited and illustrated by Charles Miller
From Fine Homebuilding #20