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Tool Guide: The Humble Feathers and Wedges

These seemingly simple feather and wedge sets  remain as significant today as they have been throughout history. The small but mighty tools play an important role in traditional dry stone walling and masonry. Feathers and wedges historically have been used extensively for quarrying rock out of hillsides. They can be employed to split down granite blocks to make throughstones and cheek end material.

Your first step involves learning what sizes to use, ideal spacing, layout, and setup. By setting in each drilled hole the paired wedge with two matching feathers, then striking repeatedly with a hammer each wedge in sequence, you create a first a fissure, then a crack that splits the stone along the line of feather and wedges

This popular tool is available in three most commonly used sizes : 1/2 inch , 5/8 inch and 3/4 inch.

All sets come with 5 sets – 5 wedges and 10 feathers.

WORKSHOPS TO LEARN ABOUT FEATHERS AND WEDGES:  You’ll find the video below very detailed. Still, there are many more techniques to using feathers and wedges for improving speed and accuracy, and getting yourself (or the wedges) out of a stuck situation.  You can try out these feathers and wedges in our next 2.50 Intro to Stone Shaping Workshop .   You can also get an introduction to feathers and wedges in our 1.20 Two-Day Intro to Dry Stone Walling course.

From the video you’ll acquire basic knowledge and advanced techniques for how to use feathers and wedges (also known as wedges and shims) to split stone.  Trow and Holden feathers and wedges were used throughout this video along with the Trow and Holden Hand Hammer.  The Trow and Holden 4lb Stone Busters make a few appearances as well.

Using Feathers and Wedges to split a granite block

Thank you to Master Craftsmen (Level 4 Waller) Brian Post for the instructional video and to professional member TJ Mora for letting us use his stone for this demonstration, as well as for filming the video.