Landscape Contractor / Design Build Maintain

MAR 2018

LC/DBM provides landscape contractors with Educational, Imaginative and Practical information about their business, their employees, their machines and their projects.

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26 LC DBM Tool Tips "I can do almost anything I need with 10 different tools," Beardsley states. He feels that a 3-pound hammer is a good weight to swing all day, day after day. Too big of a hammer will come off the tool too fast and endanger your hand. Or you'll break the chisel or incorrectly break the stone. "There is a direct correlation between the tool and the stone you are shaping," says Beardsley. Also, he advises that the hardness of the steel in the hammer be different than that of the chisel so one will give way to the other. If they are the same, either the face of the hammer or the back of the chisel will break. Jordan Keyes reminds that a busing chis - el, whose end looks like a meat grinder, is more aggressive for material removal and texturing. A cleanup chisel can be used to refine the surface of the stone. When repointing, he recommends em - ploying pneumatic tools instead of grind- ers because they simply chip away the mortar, and thus pose less risk to damag - ing the original brick or stone. Another downside of grinders, especial - ly in light of the new silica rules, is the dust they generate. Keyes says that be - cause of the uptick in thin veneer, and the popularity of cutting it with grinders due to onset of inexpensive diamond blades, his company had to rethink their prod - ucts, and developed a thinstone veneer set that will allow contractors to use hand tools to achieve the same trimming ap - plications and get an end result that is more aesthetically pleasing. Keyes does allow that when working on a flagging project, to achieve really tight joints for a mosaic pattern, you might want to rely on an angle grinder or some sort of diamond cutting device and then use their hand tools to create at least a chiseled edge on the top por - tion of that joint so it looks like that stone has been cut by hand. On safety issues, Beardsley says that rain doesn't make it dangerous but any - thing over a half inch slows the crew down too much. Snow and ice does present a risk though. He allows that some people don't like to wear gloves though he does. Safety glasses and hearing protection are a must however. "Especially hearing protection," he emphasizes. "It'll make you deaf in one ear." Tool Choices Beardsley is satisfied that among the various tool-making companies, he is able to find what he needs to get the results he wants. "I wouldn't say there is a hole in the industry," he says. The distinctions between tools from various manufacturers include different carbide, tool steel hardness and shapes, all of which lead to tools moving material differently. One service from manufacturers that he is very appreciative of is tool repair, such as reshaping portions that have "mush - roomed" from constant use, or soldering new carbide points into tools that have lost theirs. Some manufacturers custom-fabricate tools. For instance, because Keyes' com - pany does all the machining, heat treat- ing, welding, even forging, of their tools in-house, it allows for "a lot of flexibility in working with contractors to address custom needs." And occasionally those tools get worked into their regular cata - log of products. For instance, Beardsley is researching a type of Japanese hammer that he might have Keyes' company make for him. "It's real specific wood in context to the shape of the hammerhead. They're real long handles." relates Beardsley who adds, "I would have those guys fabricate anything for me. They've only made me better at what I do by having knowledge and tools available that are appropriate for the trade." And he sums up his experiences in that trade succinctly. "I love it. It's as close to making art as I have been in quite a long time." LC DBM Above To create this fireplace, a manufactured fire kit was veneered with Montana slate ledge stone. The caps, hearth and mantle of the fireplace are granite. The granite boulder on the left was lifted by a forklift on to the table of a band saw to have its bottom flattened. The granite shelves were polished at a slab shop. Left The granite stairs were cut with a large band saw. Both retain- ing walls, the lower one being 5'-tall, are dry laid granite. A crane was rented to place the boulders. Feathering wedges (above) were used to sculpt the wall stones. These are placed in holes drilled into the granite to remove big hunks or to split the stones.

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