Sandstone ballast is a product that is made from a large sandstone block or boulder which has been broken down into smaller slabs using a large diamond saw. The slabs that have been made are then cut into even smaller blocks using a handheld diamond saw. Generally they are cut to a maximum depth of about 40mm deep. This allows a groove to place a steel wedge or gad which is hit with a sledge hammer several times to split the stone in order to give it that natural split face look.
This procedure was carried out differently before the introduction of modern machinery. Large rocks were marked along the face and the sides using a marking hammer which would give the stone a weak point. Then gad holes would be chiselled out using a steel point to give a V shaped groove in the stone for the gad. This would be cut deep enough so that the gad would not hit the bottom of the hole.
The gad would then have the tapered end wrapped in newspaper before it was tapped into the hole and hit many times with a sledgehammer. These gads would be up the side of the block, across the top and down the other side of the block. They would be hit one after the other until the rock would split, with the crack running to where the stone had been previously marked. This process would be repeated basically the same way until all the stones were made into the sizes needed.
Sandstone ballast production methods have come a long way compared to the way they used to do it – but the product itself hasn’t. Ballast is used in many applications including retaining walls, houses, garden edging, stone steps, fireplaces and feature walls. This product ages with time, but never goes out of fashion and brings a natural and timeless look to whatever the project is.
The ballast can also be dressed to give a different look and style. An example of this is ‘rock faced’ which is where the stone is hit hard around the edge of the stone with a hammer and bolster to give it a more natural exposed look and the stone protrudes out of the wall face slightly. This is the most common style used by stonemasons and landscapers today. It is a timeless way of dressing the stone that goes back hundreds of years but is always popular, even in modern homes.
Sandstone ballast is a great product which anyone can attempt to lay if they are keen… it’s a bit like a jigsaw puzzle where you cut rocks down to fit the size that is required. It is great for retaining walls/entrance walls, garden edging and driveway entrances.
We can stack on sandstone ballast orders onto pallets or they can be loosely loaded on to truck. We deliver anywhere in the Sydney Metro region or you can organise to pick up from our yard.
For all enquiries give Sydney Sandstone Cutters a call on 0407 455 293 to discuss your project needs.