(oops – for some newsletter readers I meant to send you to the wooden machine video that’s HERE)

We’re going to the mail bag today to field a question regarding brick removal. Not our normal woodworking stuff I know, but bear with me – we’ve got people in need ;)

Question: looking to tear down a brick fireplace in which I need to save and reuse the brick, also plan on tearing out some on floor tile. which tool do I use, an rotary air hammer…which model do you recommend…would like to keep below $350. Please Help. Thanks

If you already have an air compressor then an air hammer will be your best bet. They are relatively inexpensive…

Check out the Porter Cable Pneumatic Hammer for example:

$42.05 shipped.

There are models as low as 14$.

I think the Fein Multimaster would work well for you too, though it’s getting well out of your price range if you get one with “all the fixins”. I wrote about it first here: Ceramic Tile Removal Tools. A FMM with a more basic set up falls below your target price.

Fein MultiMaster FMM 250Q

$309.00 shipped.

I think a rotary hammer may be a bit more tool than you need, though I suppose that depends on the quality and age of the mortar. I’ve never done this kind of work, but I’d say that if you’re set on a rotary hammer that you first consider renting one because it’s not going to be as versatile a tool as the Fein MultiMaster.

It’s sort of like the old router vs. shaper debate – if you were tearing out brick every day I’d suggest something a little more industrial. In your case I think you’ll be fine with a tool with less muscle and more versatility.

If you’re still set on getting a rotary hammer then these look like good models:
Bosch 11255VSR BULLDOG Xtreme 1-Inch SDS-plus D-Handle Rotary Hammer

$228.98 shipped

Makita HR2455X2 1-Inch D-Handle SDS Rotary Hammer 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder Combo Kit

$249.25 shipped

Here are some resources for removing bricks and keeping them salvageable:
how do I remove brick I want to reuse?
My son and I removed about 350 sq ft of brick off the house when I put on the kitchen addition. We used a compressor and a pneumatic hammer on most of it. Just put the hammer on the mortar joints and pulled the trigger. The bricks popped off, intack. When we got close to the edge we used a grinder to make the transition as you need to take out a weave pattern to tie in the new section. One person did the removal, the other cleaned off any mortar left on the brick and stacked them. We saved at least 95% of them.
read more (from the GardeWeb.com)

How do you remove mortar off of brick?
We use Muriatic Acid mixed with water 1:10. Thats 1 part muriatic acid to 10 parts water… (this is a very dangerous chemical! research thoroughly before using it).
read more

Demolition Best Practices
“When demolishing brick structures, work along the mortar joints and ease the bricks apart cleanly.”
read more

Chipping tile mortar an excellent forum thread.

I hope this helps, and if you have more questions or if anyone else has insight please let me know in the comments.