Kyle Miraz walks through the process of splitting boulders by hand for use in drystone masonry projects.

Watch the Video

Learn how the trail crew at Joshua Tree National Park prepare boulders for trail work as part of the Trades Alive video series. This video covers the initial rough splits. To learn about how the crew gets the boulders down to final size, check out the Trades Alive video on Shaping Split Boulders.


  • Measuring tape and rock crayon/marker
  • Rock drill
  • Plugs and feathers
  • Tracing chisel
  • Hand-splitting wedge
  • Mash or striking hammer

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Needed:

  • Tight-fitting, half mask or Positive Air Pressure Respirator (PAPR)
  • Ear plugs and/or ear muffs
  • Eye protection
  • Gloves

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