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  • Cutting bricks - what power tools?

    I've just finished cutting my concrete blocks to fit over the angle iron with a circular saw fitted with a masonry blade.
    It worked well but I don't think it will work with the fire bricks because of the more delicate cuts required.
    Has anyone used a circular saw with masonry blade to cut firebricks or am I better off getting a grinder or (very expensive) brick saw?
    Or will a power tile cutter do the trick?
    I know I could hire something but with limited time each day to work on the oven that would end up costing more than a new brick saw! And I could use a bolster and hammer but I know my brickwork limitations.

  • #2
    Re: Cutting bricks - what power tools?

    Hi ian,
    having just finished the construction of my Pompeii oven, I used a proprietry 14" brick saw to cut all of the bricks and today, before I cleaned it up for return, cut the granite slab for the pizza base roll-out.
    I bought the 14" diamond blade off ebay for Aus $45 + postage ($12.50) for a friends brick cutting saw rather than use his blade. I used about 1/4 of the diamond edge for the whole exercise. I also bought a 9" diamond blade for my large Hitachi 9" angle grinder for $0.99 + $9.50 postage. It is very capable of cutting all of your bricks but it needs both hands to hold the grinder (very powerful and has one hell of a kick) only leaving 2 feet to hold the brick! Not really recommended if you value your toes.
    You could cut most of your bricks as I did, in one hit apart from the special arch and key brick cuts. I cut all of my soldier course and all of the dome bricks in around 2 hours, infact all of the brick cuts are facing inside the oven. Very clean cut all the way through the brick in one go.
    If I were you, chase up a diamond blade and beg, steel or hire or borrow a brick saw for one day. That day should be when you need to cut your arch bricks. A small diamond saw will do all of your other cuts.
    Check out my oven pics in the Oven photos forum.
    Good luck with your build.

    Prevention is better than cure, - do it right the first time!

    The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know

    Neillís Pompeiii #1
    Neillís kitchen underway


    • #3
      Re: Cutting bricks - what power tools?

      It frightened me when you said about an agle-grinder.DON'T DO IT. I did as you described, one foot on brick, one hand on brick and WHIZZ!! blood everywhere and thumb fortunately still attached. The biggest problem was it took some weeka before I got back to build.
      All my dome bricks were cut using a brick bolster, looks rough but nobody sees that end as all the smooth manufactured edges point inwards.
      I've just got a final coat of render to finish efore starting some serious fires-- then cooking


      • #4
        Re: Cutting bricks - what power tools?

        For heaven's sakes, if you do go the angle grinder/circular saw route, at least use clamps to hold the bricks to a workbench instead of using your hands. Sheesh, clamps are cheap.

        Website: http://keithwiley.com
        WFO Webpage: http://keithwiley.com/brickPizzaOven.shtml
        Thread: http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f21/...ttle-7878.html


        • #5
          Re: Cutting bricks - what power tools?

          Getting back to the original question, you could use a circular saw with a masonry blade attached to cut bricks, but soak the bricks before doing so. They kick up a lot of dust with this method. If you're just looking to make straight cuts, a brick set works well. No dust, just manual labor. Goes pretty quickly. I did that for my first three rings, but then used my wet saw to cut tapers to prevent the inverted "V" from row three on up.


          • #6
            Re: Cutting bricks - what power tools?

            A chop saw with diamond cutting blade works well and is probably safer than using a circular saw.

            Cut wet. The blade will last a lot longer and there will be little or no dust. Do this by soaking the bricks for 10 min or so (or until the air bubbles stop) and by having a squeeze bottle that you can use shoot some water into the cutting groove. You don't want a lot of water splashing about your electrical chop saw. The cutting spoil grit will build up and should be cleaned from the saw at the end of each day.


            • #7
              Re: Cutting bricks - what power tools?

              Even presoaking the bricks in water will still generate tons of dust.

              I equipped my table saw with a diamond blade with dust collector
              and the dust cloud made convinced me I needed to cut them with a
              true tile cutter. There was dust everywhere.

              I purchased a Harbor Freight wet tile/brick saw. I was able to purchase
              one, build my oven and then resell it on Craigslist after the build for pretty much what I paid for it. If there is a Harbor Freight near you, I would purchase one.

              here are some pics of my 36' oven.

              Gallery | pizzaoven
              Last edited by michelevit; 09-27-2009, 08:44 AM.


              • #8
                Re: Cutting bricks - what power tools?

                I would never subject my table saw to all that grit, personally. Plus, without using the blade cover the saw dust is like an oasis and goes everywhere. I can only imagine what brick dust would do...

                As far as cutting bricks w/circular saw, I notched out a board 3/4" deep that I clamped to a work horse so the bricks are more or less locked in place while I do my cutting. To me, it's been comfortable(relatively) cutting. And the dust is directed away from my face and hasn't been an issue.


                • #9
                  Re: Cutting bricks - what power tools?

                  Chisel, chisel, chisel!

                  Sorry, that is my cheer.

                  I did my entire oven with a chisel. Every brick is angled and a 'keystone' of sorts. Easy to do, so easy a child could do it. In fact, my children did do it. I may still buy a HF wet saw one day, but in the mean time, I am cooking pizza and making bread!

                  This may not be my last wood oven...


                  • #10
                    Re: Cutting bricks - what power tools?

                    Although a brick saw gives you extra cutting depth I wouldn't consider it. Any 10" or larger wet saw for tile will provide you with more than enough ability. It's very easy to use, very safe, no dust, plus you will always find a use for it. Not to mention the dust from the bricks contain silica dust which if inhaled may cause silicosis that could eventually lead to lung cancer. I'm not a doctor but spent decades in the tile and stone industry and have seen first hand what that stuff does..... Google it; not pretty

                    Good luck,

                    Check out my build http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/b...egin-5443.html


                    • #11
                      Re: Cutting bricks - what power tools?

                      Yes, always, when cutting dry (or semi dry) protect your lungs.
                      My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2