Bricklaying - cutting a brick

The easiest way to cut brick is with a brick bolster and lump hammer

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Cutting a brick in half lengthways (called a bat or closer) is tricky, as the brick is likely to fracture away from your marked line. The easiest way is with a brick bolster and lump hammer. Practise cutting damaged bricks before moving on to good ones.

Mark the cutting line round the brick, then score along it with the bolster, tapping it gently with a hammer on all four sides.
STEP 2    
With the brick laid frog down on sand or grass and evenly supported, rest the bolster in the scored line with its handle tilted slightly towards the waste end of the brick. Strike it firmly on all four faces, then strike it hard and it should break cleanly.

Cutting a block
A solid walling block can also be cut with a bolster and hammer. Mark the cutting line and continuously score round it, gradually increasing pressure until it breaks in two. As an alternative, you can use a block splitter.
Using a brick saw
If you have a lot of bricks to cut, hire a masonry saw. Make sure you ask for full instructions on its use, and always wear face and ear protection while working. Place your thumbs in the palms of your hands while cutting.

Is it a brick or a block?
In South Africa it is not the material from what it is made that determines whether a masonry unit is a brick or a block, but its size. If it is longer than 300mm OR has a width greater than 130mm, then it is called a block. Hence, any masonry unit smaller than that will be a brick, irrespective of whether is it baked clay, cement, concrete or cinder, and a masonry unit with either of those dimensions, irrespective of its material, will be termed a block.
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