Graphical Construction Glossary >> masonry. >> stonework >> Feather and Wedges

Feathers And Wedges
Tools for splitting stone. A series of holes are drilled along a line and iron feathers are inserted. Then iron wedges are driven between them splitting the rock along the line. Also called plugs and feathers.

feather and wedges
Photo thanks to Wikipedia and User: Reiner Flassig

This method is fairly self explanatory once you have seen these two photographs. The actual sets of plugs and wedges are made to suit standard size rock drill sizes. 1 1/4" and 7/8". The secret of the technique are the feathers. Without them it would be almost impossible to drive the wedges into the holes and get a result, but with the addition of them, then the wedges can be driven slowly a small amount at a time and going from hole to hole to make the split

The feathers are also tapered half the taper of the wedge and they work in unison with the wedges to provide a splitting force to the rock.

feather and wedges
Photo thanks to Wikipedia and User: Reiner Flassig

wedged formwork

The fact that the wedges and feathers are made of iron or steel make them slide easily together also.

At the side here is a sketch that I have borrowed from the formwork section. In my early days before formwork systems were readily available we used multiple strands of tie wire to hold the wall form together and we tightened them with wooden wedges. The wedge alone just would not do the job, the wire bit into the wedge. The addition of the packer piece made the whole process simple.

For more on wedges have a look at my section on fox wedges.

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