How to split rocks with a hammer

Updated July 20, 2017

Big projects often require you to split rocks into smaller pieces. This might be for building a dry stone wall or splitting up stones for a rockery. In any case, splitting rocks is a fairly simple process, but care must be taken to avoid injury. Some rocks are harder to split than others, but these steps will help you with whatever type of rock you are trying to split.

Place the rock in an open space and drill a series of holes into the stone along the line you want to split. The holes should be 2 to 3 inches deep.

Place the splitting pins into the holes and bang them in with the club hammer. This will open up a small fissure in the rock.

Place the splitting wedge into the fissure and tap it into place with the club hammer.

Strike the wedge hard with the sledgehammer until the rock splits down the line. You may need to move the wedge to another part of the crack to fully split the rock.

Put the pinch bar into the crack and lever the rock apart.

A smaller rock will need less effort to split: Drill one hole into the rock in the location you want the rock to split.

Tap a splitting pin into the rock with the club hammer.

Strike the pin hard with the club hammer -- the rock will split under the force. Use the pinch bar to lever the rock open if it doesn't split cleanly.


Wear gloves and goggles at all times. When swinging the sledgehammer, ensure you have a clear space and are not in danger of hurting anyone. Keep children and pets away from the work area.

Things You'll Need

  • Open space, such as a backyard or garage
  • 0.907kg. club hammer
  • Rock-splitting pins
  • Splitting wedge
  • Pinch bar
  • Large sledgehammer/maul
  • Cordless hammer drill
  • Stone drilling bit
  • Steel-toe boots
  • Goggles or safety glasses
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About the Author

Based in Glasgow, Neil White has been writing professionally since 2010. He has a regular column at the online fitness magazine, works as a staff writer for Hammerfist TV and covers Scottish politics for Google News. White has a Bachelor of Science in forest management from the University of Aberdeen.