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I am building a wall from concrete retention wall bricks. I need to cut one brick in half so it can fit in the wall. The solutions here are too expensive, I only need to cut one brick. Is there any low-cost way to cut a brick? I'd prefer not to spend more than $20 USD on a tool to cut it, so perhaps there is a hand tool that can cut through that?

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  • a second had grinder?
    – Rémi
    Oct 16 '20 at 16:54
  • One of the answers in the post you linked was a diamond masonry blade for a circular saw. In my opinion, that's the best option, the next best would be masonry blade on the angle grinder. A cheap one will cost $10-$15.
    – tnknepp
    Oct 16 '20 at 16:57
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    Do you have a hammer and chisel? wikihow.com/Cut-Cinder-Block#Splitting-Blocks-with-a-Chisel
    – tnknepp
    Oct 16 '20 at 17:01
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    How thick is the block?
    – JACK
    Oct 16 '20 at 17:13
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    maaaaaybe a tile saw? Tiles are extremely hard, and tools designed to cut through tile generally cut through concrete. Something like this is only $5, and attaches to a hacksaw. harborfreight.com/…
    – user30371
    Oct 17 '20 at 3:42
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A mason's chisel is the traditional hand-tool approach.

You might be able to find a "grit-edge" (tungsten carbide abrasive) blade for your sabre saw. You might get away with a tungsten carbide toothed blade for it, but that's more prone to get ruined than the grit-edge version.

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  • Right. Masons never used to "cut" block or brick--they'd work a crack through it with a hammer and chisel.
    – isherwood
    Oct 16 '20 at 20:12
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OK, so you don't want to spend a lot of money. Get a 1/8" or 3/16" masonry bit and drill a series of holes along your cut line. Drill as deep and straight as possible. Have some water near by to keep the bit cool. It will take a while to do this and do is slow to not overheat the drill. Flip the stone over and drill more holes if the first side holes didn't go through. Then get a screwdriver (I know, not the right tool for the job) or small chisel, place it in the first hole in line with the cut line and give it a whack with a hammer, but not real hard. Go to the other edge and do the same thing. Go back and forth to the rest of the holes doing the same thing, working the screwdriver/chisel further down the holes until the stone breaks along the cut line. I have done this when no options were immediately available (Gunflint Lake, Minn) but it took a lot of time... and I had to change my name to Joshua the stone cutter.

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  • Gunflint! Nice spot, but a long way to the hardware store, indeed.
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 16 '20 at 18:46
  • @Ecnerwal Closest one was Grand Marais. You've been there?
    – JACK
    Oct 16 '20 at 18:58
  • Yup. Friends had a habit of going there regularly, we went along one year. Would like to again, but it's a long haul to make time for. One of these days...
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 16 '20 at 19:01
  • @Ecnerwal Had friends in high school, mid 60's, that had a cabin between Borderland and Gunflint lodge.. hardly anyone up there then. haven't been there since.
    – JACK
    Oct 16 '20 at 19:47
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To a large degree it depends on where you need to cut the block. These blocks are somewhat brittle -- they'll break quite readily where the sides intersect, but it'll be quite a trick to get a break in a controlled way somewhere in the middle of a cell. Not impossible to do with a hammer and chisel, but I can tell you it's going to be challenging. You'll go through several blocks trying to get it right. If you support the inside of the block, for example by putting lumber through the hole, that'll help.

Your other option to try to get close to $20USD is tool rental -- realistically, though, your total cost may be more like $60 even just to rent a saw.

Then there's the "classifieds tool rental program." Find a used machine in a local classified ads listing, buy and use it, and put it back up for sale when you're done.

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  • $10 angle grinder and $2 concrete cutting wheels (or $10 diamond wheel)

  • Find someone who is laying pavers, they'll have a large water cooled diamond saw. trade them a brewski for cutting your block on the mark. $2-$5

  • diamond hacksaw blades are a thing if you're patient. $5

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Take it to a place that specializes in selling and installing patios. They'll cut it for you.

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