(I meath to post this earlier in the week, but something..uhmmm...'came up' on Tuesday that...uhmm...overshadowed this)
Last weekend I took part in the second Stone Trust dry-stone walling workshop at the NY NJ Trail Conference headquarters in Mahwah, NJ. I did the first workshop in April and was looking forward to having another go at it, even though it's tough work. Above is the 30' of wall that most of the workshop students worked on Saturday and Sunday.
I was assigned the front face of this small curved section on the other side of the driveway. The boulders were already in place. They'll help protect the wall from snowplows, etc. The rebar/lumber forms and string lines were placed on Friday. The wall sits on a deep gravel footing.
The string lines are just a suggestion on a curved wall. As always, the faces of the wall are of paramount importance. Smaller stones are packed as hearting between the two faces of the wall.
The tools in the photo above are resting on one of a couple 'through-stones' in the wall, stones that run the full width of the wall and tie the two sides together. Behind the wall you can see how neatly my partner, a full-time mason, has laid out the raw materials on his side. This photo is from mid-Sunday morning so it's taken us a full-day's work to get this far up with the wall.
As we neared the top of the wall, the stones got smaller and the wall went up quicker.
I was happy to use the Stone Trust's carbide hammers and chisels, and to receive excellent directions from my partner and the workshop instructor on how to split, shape and trim stone. About 40% of the rocks in the face of the wall are trimmed to some degree.
That's Rob, who built the other side of the wall and provided excellent conversation for two days.
Larger coping stones have been added in a more rustic pattern to the top of the wall. The extra weight on top will keep downward pressure on the wall and help hold it together over the next century.
The finished wall from the side.
The trail conference headquarters is a restored schoolhouse from the 1890's. It's a gorgeous spot, even more so now that the wall is complete. I can't wait to take my family for a visit and point out which parts I worked on.