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I purchased a bunch of these paving stones in order to make a fire pit. I laid out the fire pit and it worked okay, except if you'll notice on the description of the stones it says "Back lip assists with alignment for easy installation". Well, I guess the back lip may be helpful for certain situations, but it only seemed to hinder my efforts to lay these stones out in a circle with three layers of stones. The back lip is about an inch at the back bottom of the stone that is raised out about a half inch from the rest of the surface.

enter image description here

The paving stones in question

Am I using the lip incorrectly? Is there a way to lay these stones out in a circle where the lip actually helps? Or, what is the best way to get rid of these lips (I have 27 stones total). I tried to chip away at one of them with the back of a hammer and while it did work, it took a ton of effort and time.

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The Lowes link isn't working for me. Can you upload a photo or copy an image? –  ChrisF Oct 10 '11 at 11:31
    
hmm, never thought of using these for a fire pit. Interesting. –  staticx Oct 10 '11 at 13:27
    
@0A0D Looks-wise they worked perfectly for the fire pit. It is just the stupid lips that are causing trouble. :-) –  RationalGeek Oct 10 '11 at 13:48
    
You might waste a lot of time knocking off the lips when you could by better stones from an actual stone store :) I would return them to Lowes and go to a stone store. Good idea though. –  staticx Oct 10 '11 at 14:02
    
Yes, I agree that I will waste a lot of time. However, alas it is too late for me. I already lit a couple fires in the pit (it is functional - just the lips make the stones stack in ugly ways). So I'm guessing Lowes would not appreciate me returning them at this point. :-) –  RationalGeek Oct 10 '11 at 14:43
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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Ok, those aren't paving stones, those are wall stones (as the Lowes page confirms) - as in retaining wall stones. The lip is designed to hook to the stone underneath and prevent slipping when pressure is applied from the rear.

Which isn't to say you cannot use them, but you'll find removing the lip much easier if you use a good masonry/stone chisel, like such: enter image description here

Put the cutting edge of the chisel at the base of the lip, holding the chisel near parallel with the brick surface, and strike the other end firmly with the hammer. The chisel will create a very focused point of pressure which will chip the lip away.

Finally, since its a simple fire pit, use stone adhesive to fix the blocks in place. You shouldn't have to worry about the kind of back pressure these bricks are usually designed to withstand.

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Thanks. That's exactly the kind of tool I was looking for. I will check it out. Also, regarding the adhesive, I wasn't planning on adhering the bricks at all. I have them all laid out right now and they work just fine to contain the burning wood. Once I chip off the lips on them it should be perfect. –  RationalGeek Oct 10 '11 at 12:58
    
Stacking the bricks w/o any adhesive should work just fine. –  rcav8r Oct 10 '11 at 18:09
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Safety glasses are absolutely necessary!!!! –  Chris Cudmore Oct 11 '11 at 14:11
    
And really thick gloves. Or, even better, spend a bit more and get one of the chisels with a hand grip protector (you will eventually miss the end of the chisel with your mallet) –  DA01 Oct 12 '11 at 3:32
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I curve these around corners all the time. I have also seen them used for small ponds. I can get enough curve with the lip by just pulling it back. I think it looks OK and the lip helps the stones stay in place and allign them evenly. Of course you might want to glue them together to make a firepit since you will reaching over it a lot to tend to the fire.

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