Making a York stone stepping stone

Making a circular stepping stone

Making a circular stepping stone with only hammer and chisel!

I made this as I intend to engrave the stone as a gift for a close friend. I have always enjoyed using the pitcher, as a tool it obviously appeals to the brutal side of my nature.

The pitcher is a “wasting off” chisel. It has a flat angled edge that when hit at the right angle and with just the right amount of power will reduce a stone slab to a workable shape in a few minutes. The standard size for a pitcher is 2 inch, however I generally only use a 1 inch pitcher I made myself from an old Kango chisel. It has served me well for years.

The amount of stone removed depends on the angle of attack, and how hard you strike the chisel. Use a 2lb club hammer and try not to be too diffident, wack the thing hard in other words!

When pitching stone paving type slabs, make sure the stone is laid on a flat surface and is well supported across the slab.

It is a method that can be used to shape rockery stone, dressing stone walling and shaping and resizing paving slabs. Tip: If you are trying to work on paving slags use a smaller size chisel as this reduces the stress on the stone.

It is a hugely useful tool but it does take practice to master. So if you do fancy a go, get hold of any old lumps of stone and start bashing away!

WARNING:Wear a mask and protective glasses, this is not some idle health and safety warning, if you are doing this right the stone chips will fly!


I apprenticed at the age of 15 as an ecclesiastical marble mason and have worked in the stone trade for 52 years. I have Made headstones in marble, worked on ancient monuments as a restoration stonemason, made marble and stone fireplaces and specialised for twenty years as a stone engraver. I am now retired but am active in making videos and advice articles about natural stone and engraving.
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