Cutting and Modifying Concrete Blocks

SAFETY FIRST: Always wear safety glasses when splitting or cutting concrete retaining wall blocks. A dust mask is recommended when cutting blocks.

  • Use a masonry saw with a diamond cutting blade or a metal chop saw with a dry cutting diamond blade.
  • NOTE: Masonry saws and metal chop saws are available for rental at most retail centers.

Cutting Caps - For Curves

Capping Curves

Capping a curved retaining wall takes a bit of cutting and fitting, but produces a beautiful finish. Be sure to wear appropriate safety gear, including protective eye wear, dust mask, and hearing protection when cutting, and operate power saws carefully.

For AB Capstones & AB Fieldstone Capstones

Modifying capstone for curved walls

Modifying capstone for curved walls

  • Place two caps on top of the retaining wall, spaced so a third cap will fit tightly between their widest point.
  • Set another cap on top of the first two caps in the center and mark where they overlap on the bottom of the center cap.
  • Remove the center cap and cut along the marks. Then set in place so the three fit tightly together.
  • For complete details see instructions on building curved retaining walls.

Cutting Caps - For Corners

Capping Corners

For AB Capstones & AB Fieldstone Capstones

Cutting Caps at corners

Cut caps at 45 degree angles

Modifying Anchoring Units for AB Fieldstone

Cuting Anchoring Units

  • Removing the “wings” of the blocks will be needed on projects with curves, corners or step downs. For smooth outside curves, remove one or both of the “wings” from the back of the anchoring units and tighten the radius of the curve. Break wings off with a hammer and chisel in the existing score line to obtain a clean break.
  • When working with corners and/or stepping down a wall, split an anchoring unit in half to tie the corner together. Split the block by using a hammer and chisel to make a break down the center of the block.
  • On some projects you will need to modify the bottom lip of the block to fit on the course below. Use a hammer and chisel and tap along the lip to remove.
AB Fieldstone remove wings

Remove wings

AB Fieldstone Split anchoring unit in halfs

Split anchoring unit in half

AB Fieldstone Remove bottom lip

Remove bottom lip