Old 03-20-2011, 06:32 PM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 66
Default Questions for a new build

Hey guys...going to be getting started in a couple of weeks but I could use some help before I do.

1) Do I have to use stardard block for my base or could I use the thinner 6x8x16?...maybe even the 4x8x16.

2) I have not been able to find any 8x8x8 block in my area which means Im going to have to cut some stardard block. Being that I have no masonry experience, what is the best way to do that?

3) Im a little worried about having to "shave" the blocks that touch the angle iron. Does aanyone know of a way thaat I could keep them whole and still have aa level hearth?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

Last edited by Cdubs; 03-20-2011 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 03-20-2011, 07:52 PM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Posts: 95
Default Re: Questions for a new build

Splitting a standard 8x8x16 block will likely be the easiest cut that you will make. First, you need to buy block that is designed to be cut. Your local masonry supply store can point you in the right direction. To cut the block in half, you use a chisel. You can find many youtube videos that show you how it is done. Not a lot of work. The blocks break in two pretty easily.

My problem was that I need several blocks that were odd sizes. While breaking a block in two (i.e. two 8x8x8 pieces) is easy, it is a lot harder to use a chisel to cut other dimensions. When I was doing the research to figure out how to cut the odd sizes, I saw a lot of recommendations to use my skill saw with a diamond blade. I tried this option and it worked. However, I always felt like I was going to cut off a limb or do myself other bodily harm. Cutting block with a skill saw is not for the novice. At least in my opinion.

What I ultimately did was purchase a wet saw that had the ability to cut not only the fire brick but also concrete block. The old saying that "it is all about the right tool" really applies here. Once you have the right wet saw, you can cut any of the masonry needed in this project.

As you read this blog, it seems like the wet saw sold by Harbor Tools is one of the favorites. It is definitely sold at a great price. I personally decided to purchase the MK Diamond BX-4, which is light weight and designed to cut cement block and fire brick.

As to shaving the block to install the angle iron, invest in an angle grinder with a diamond blade. This will make the needed cuts.

What I suggest are ways to tackle this project with the least amount of stress. With that said, I went through some sticker shock at the cost of some of these tools. Believe me I tried all kinds of ways to avoid having to buy these tools. However, in the end, wanting to keep all of my fingers, I decided to spend some money. As you read this forum you will find people that have made all the needed cuts with inexpensive angle grinders, tile wet saws, and skill saws. While it is clear that these inexpensive options will work, you definitely raise your stress level when using them.
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Old 03-20-2011, 07:58 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Vancouver Island
Posts: 1,374
Default Re: Questions for a new build

Lots of these tool can be bought inexpensively used (craglist etc).

After your project is complete, re sell them. Often for what you paid.

Using the right tool is not only faster and easier, it is often a lot safer.
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Old 03-20-2011, 08:24 PM
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Default Re: Questions for a new build

Originally Posted by Cdubs View Post

3) Im a little worried about having to "shave" the blocks that touch the angle iron.
Use an angle grinder - the cut doesn't need to be perfect. When you are purchasing the Harbor Freight wet saw, pick one up for 20 bucks. They are cheap tools but they will get the build done.
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