Thursday, January 9, 2020

SPRING 2020 Workshops

• April 4, 2020 Fundamental Building Skills Workshop $195-
Saturday 1-Day  8:30 am - 4:30 pm, All Levels, Homeowner - Contractor

• April 18-19, 2020 Freestanding Wall Workshop $395-
Saturday & Sunday 8:30 am - 4:30 pm  All Levels, Homeowner - Contractor

• May 2, 2020 Flatwork / Patio Workshop $195-
Saturday 8:30 am - 4:30 pm - All Levels, Homeowner - Contractor

Rockin' Package Combo's Pick 2 or Pick 3!
• Pick #2 April 4, 2020 Fundamental / April 18-19, 2020 Freestanding Wall $590.00 (save $75.00)

• Pick #3 April 4, 2020 Fundamental / April 18-19, 2020 Freestanding Wall & May 2, Flatwork / Patio $660.00 (save $125.00)

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Pro Series - The Illusion of a Line on Natural Stone w/Tracer Chisel

The Illusion of a line is a easy to use method to help shape stone using a carbide tracer chisel. Working the tracer to help draw a line. In this video I also talk about how to use the tracer to help shape cap stones to give the illusion that they are similar in sizes/shape visually. Helping to keep clean create lines that the eye is drawn too. Quick, simple and easy to do. Many thanks to DSWA Master Craftsman Examiner Bill Noble - UK for explaining this method of drawing corner/edge. Back at the 2012 StoneWurx Event in Canada (many thanks to Dean McLellan for such an amazing gathering of wallers from all over the world). Check out Bill's daughter and son team of which are both DSWA Masters ~ Keep on Rockin Lydia & Cuthbert !

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

2019 Fall Newsletter, Stones teach life lessons. Are you listening?

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Stones teach life lessons.
Are you listening? 

We are pleased to announce our last freestanding wall workshop for 2019.

Limited space! Don't delay - sign up today!
Oct 19-20, 2019 - 2 day (Saturday/Sunday) Freestanding Wall Workshop $450

All Levels, Homeowner - Contractor, 2-Day
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Freestanding Wall Workshop is an introduction into the basic skills of Dry Laid Stone Construction. This workshop is one of the most commonly taught classes worldwide. Over two days we will cover the proper fundamental methods outlined by the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain DSWA-GB.

Are you considering the path of certification? Understand why you should in the video below by Brian Post DSWA Examiner Master Craftsman.  The freestanding wall workshop is the place to start your journey.  You will learn the proper process of what is involved in a DSWA level 1 test by strip out and rebuild of a freestanding wall. (DSWA Level 1 6'L x 4'.5" H wall stripped out and rebuilt in 7 hours.)  A workshop is a great place to work at a comfortable pace learning the steps for success.

All workshops are a simple and easy pace with no heavy lifting, plenty of stone and a beautiful scenic environment with horses grazing in the background.

What you will learn:

• Proper dry laid stone methods
• Strip out, organizing and rebuilding of existing wall
• Sorting and selecting the right stone for the right place
• Basic tools - overview & demonstration - Hammer and Chisels
• Feather and wedging overview & demonstration (great technique for making caps, tie stones, steps and        much more)
• Walking Tour of on-site examples of dry laid stone walls (discussion)
• Safety, tools, worksite, equipment
• Demo - Operate - Mini Skid Steer Ditch Witch SK850 (participation is optional)
• Possible Slideshow presentation Saturday end of day (Dependent on interest level)
Stone type: Flat bedded sandstone local to region. Wall stone including Laurel Mountain, Colonial Blue Stone and PA fieldstone to name a few.

This workshop is also great for those who are interested in Retaining Walls. A freestanding wall is the same fundamental principles. 

(Note: this workshop will be a strip out and rebuild of an existing wall. Some tools will be covered in this workshop.)
With the year coming to an end, we would like to ask you to consider Giving. Help us help others One Stone @ A Time.

Rockin Walls Training Center a 501c3 
With the Community Foundation of Carroll County

Please consider a Tax Deductible Donation Today!  CLICK HERE
Rockin Walls Training Center is a proud supporter of The Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain DSWA-GB. Our training site is committed to both training and certification. In 2018 we offered our first Level 1 & Level 2 certification. Stay tuned as we prepare to announce another Level 1, 2 & 3 certification test date in October of 2020.  If you wish to reserve a space,
Contact Subject 2020 DSWA Certification reservation.

If you would like to understand why Certification is Key - Please take the time to watch the YouTube Video below. Brian Post explains in depth the value and importance of the DSWA Certification.

We highly encourage all those interested in Level 1 to sign up for a Freestanding Wall Workshop. Hands on over and over will help you gain the confidence and understanding.

Read more about the 4 levels of DSWA certification: CLICK HERE

DSWA Mastercraftsman/Examiner Brian Post (Vermont) explains the benefits of certification
Rockin Walls Training Center - The only Sponsored center in North America by the leaders in the masonry industry. Offering "Try Before You Buy Tools"

Please Support & Thank: 
BonTool • Trow & Holden Company • Kraft Tool Co. • Swanson Tool Co. • Pave Tech • Block Shear • Balducci Stone Yard • Micon Products (Rebit Chisels) • Spartan Tools • Zip Level -Technidea Corporation • PRO Power Assist WheelBarrow

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Ditch Witch SK850 PLUS - Newest Employee to the Rockin Walls Team

August 24, 2019

Today I added my newest employee a upgraded to a New Used Ditch Witch SK850 PLUS (ie SK1050) from McGrew Equipment Company. It's Crazy to think 7 years and 1 week I purchased my first used walk behind Mini Skid steer a Toro Dingo TX 420 seen below. 


My first piece of equipment I purchased for Rockin Walls was a used New Holland LX665 Skid Steer wheel machine. Next it was a used Mini Excavator Komatsu PC27. Then came the Toro Dingo TX420. Why when I owned a skid steer some might ask. I found this little machine great to work on and off without climbing in and out. Since I work alone a lot of times I need to set a large stone by myself. This machine could do what I would need another person to do. Along with digging, moving stone around, easy to take to the jobsite, store on the jobsite, minimal impact on damage on the site and so much more.  Now it happens to be a much smaller machine with only a 500 lbs lift capacity. With me on the back custom ride on platform I would easily move 800 lbs. Now it only moves 4.5 mph forward and 2 mph backwards. So they say! I only clocked 3 mph forward on my machine. 7 years of good times and still rolling!

Related Blogs: 

Equipment - "Dingo" Walk Behind Mini Skid Steer

Equipment - Bobcat MT55, Mini Track Loader, (dingo)

2015 Toro Dingo® TX 1000 / Updated 5/2017 Maybe Not The Best?! ever

Equipment - Buying A Mini Excavator 

For Sale
1 Toro Dingo TX 420 w 1388 hours, gas, 36" bucket -  $ CALL

Today it was time to move up to fast speeds and more lifting capacity. Now I have to be honest I was really thinking about the Vermeer machine then maybe a Ditch Witch. When I was up renting at Gap Power Rental in PA. I noticed they had the Ditch Witch, Vermeer and Bobcat. SO of course I had to ask which do they like?! The response was Ditch Witch #1, Bobcat #2 Vermeer was sadly for them constantly in need of repair and maintenance. From a rental standpoint this didn't work well for them!

Then one day out of the blue Brain the rep from Jesco of Baltimore gave me a call just to check in since he knew I was looking! We got to talking I passed on my new learned knowledge from Gap Power. He then went on to tell me about the SK850 (can add a 300 lbs weight kit $500 then this becomes the PLUS model) which is now called the SK1050. (by the way the SK #'s mean what it can lift. SMART - you ask me no guess after all don't you hate that..) Brian went on to let me know they had some good deals on some year old NEW SK1050. Which were very good deals to be honest. If you're looking for a machine be sure to give them a call and Ask for Brain - be sure to let them know how you heard about them - PLEASE. 

8411 Pulaski Highway
Baltimore, MD 21237
Phone: (410) 687-1700

DITCH WITCH SK850 PLUS = (SK1050) Gary, Left - Mark Jurus, Right
If you asked me 8 years ago if I would every buy a mini skid steer - I would have laughed at you! NOW I wouldn't think twice about doing it again. Today I did! I was ready and prepared to spend more than any 1 machine I have every purchase! Why because it makes my job easier everyday as my helper. Finding good help has become increasingly harder and harder for many. Although I have always preferred to work alone. Simply easier and less headaches of paperwork, insurance, workmans comp, payroll.... just goes on and one. For me my equipment are my employees. Together we are a team.

My search for this machine has be extremely difficult. Why? All I can guess is that most companies have no reason to sell them. When something works well why replace it?!

I started watching ebay, craigslist, any search I could do. The sad thing, nothing was popping up. I missed one SK850 620 hours which had sold $17,000 at McGrew Auction 1 month earlier - I just wasn't actively looking at that time. I needed to be sure all my finances were in order with winter coming. In other searches I found a Ebay listing for SK850 900 hours w/shipping $20,000 (I don't think that sold.) Then Ebay had a SK1050 - 750 hours IOWA which the auction ended at $21,000 not hitting the reserve, fellow was closing his biz and would have taken $24,000 that's not bad for a $30,000 + machine! 

So when another popped up with out NO IMAGE at McGrew I called (what are the chances?) - spoke with Gary. He said it was coming in - he would get me pics. A week went by after checking everyday on line then it showed up. Yes for auction : ( .   I called Gary he said YES it just came in the day before and I was on his call list. So I wasted no time since it was a rain day Friday drove 30 mins north to Seven Valleys PA. To give this Ditch Witch a spin. WOW it was bigger, quiter, seemed much faster and a lot newer then my little Dingo TX420. Plus what would I do with 2x the lifting capacity. O' I know move more stone to help me do my job quicker. 

Fell in LOVE - then had to wait 1 day to hear if they would sell it outright without going to auction in the next couple weeks. Now one important thing was what are the chances of finding one with in 30 mins. Not to mention it just happened to be the PLUS model as seen in the pics. SCORE!!! It had to be mine. At 9 am Saturday I called with no answer.. left no message I didn't want to be a bother.. moments later with caller ID Gary saw he missed my call - rang me and said yes we will sell it at $00,000. I dropped everything I was doing ask the wife if she had the horses covered. Grabbed the truck and trailer and rolled up the road. 

Life is full of surprises! The chances of me finding this machine in my area at an AMAZING price with INCREDIBLE customer service blew me away. EXACTLY WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR! 

Many Thanks to Gary and Greg for giving the go ahead to make dreams come true. 

If you happen to see a machine you want - call them or just go to the auction!
Please be sure to let them know I sent you. Ask for Gary in sales. They will take good care of you. 

McGrew Equipment Company
2191 Seven Valleys Rd.
P.O. Box 6
Seven Valleys, PA 17360
(717) 428-0922

MakeDitch Witch
TypeMini Track Loader
Standard Flow8.8 GPM
High Flow13. GPM
Pressure3625 PSI
Hydraulic HP Standard Flow18. HP
Hydraulic HP High Flow29.4 HP
Engine HP37 HP Yanmar® 3TNV88C Diesel
Width36 7" track (42) in. 9" track
Lift Capacity at 35%860 lb. ~ PLUS 1062
Lift Capacity at 50%1232. lb. ~ PLUS ?
Operating Weight3100 lb.

Ditch Witch SK1050

Thank you for your time. I hope you this content to be helpful or the links included. Until next time! Mark J.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Oct 19-20, 2019 Freestanding Wall Workshop

Oct 19-20, 2019 2 day (Saturday/Sunday) Freestanding Wall Workshop $450

All Levels, Homeowner - Contractor, 2-Day

Freestanding Wall workshop is an Introduction into the Basic skills of Dry Stone Masonry. Over two days we will cover the fundamentals of Dry Stone Construction, Theory, History, The Uses of Dry Stone in the present day, How to determine the size of a batter frame for your project, how to make a frame, selecting the right stone for the right place in the wall which develops confidence, efficiency and the importance of rhythm and minimizing unproductive actions, but not at the expense of quality. 

Stone type: Flat bedded sandstone local to region. Wall stone include Laurel Mountain, Colonial Blue Stone and PA fieldstone to name a few. 

This workshop is also great for those who are interested in Retaining Walls. A freestanding wall is the same fundamental principles. 

(Note: this workshop will be a strip out and rebuild of existing wall, Some tools will be covered in this workshop)

$450.00 Oct 19-20, 2019 2 day Freestanding

(6 spots remain)

Monday, July 22, 2019

VIDEO: 2019 Myersville Project - Dry Laid Stone Retaining Wall Systems

Expand your living space to the great outdoors! 


2019 Myersville Project - Dry Laid Stone Retaining Wall Systems / Patio Space

June 2019 Myersville MD Straw Bale Home - Retaining Wall Patio Systems ~ Expand your living space to the great outdoors. • (2) 4 ft - (1) 5 ft walls • 140+ sq ft retaining walls • Laurel Mountain Stone • 15 steps • 12 boulders • 2 large built in planters • 1600 sq ft of Core Gravel patio w/tan 1/2" pea gravel • 1:6 batter • 38 tie stones • flat caps 16"-20" w/ 2" overhang • low voltage lighting plumbed • 34 stainless steel railing rods installed in wall • 300+ tons of back wall boulders, stone and gravel. • machinery mini X w/thumb, dingo, tractor, telehandler • tools: stone splitter w/gas air compressor, 9000 watt generator, job trailer, hammer drill, 14" cut off saw, dust collector system, 3 various grinders, echo pb 8010 leaf blower, compactor, various hand tools, carbide chisels, hammers...ear bud and tunes, gallon of honey sweet tea, respirator, PPE gloves, glasses sun tan lotion, big hat! • build time 9/2018 - 6/2019 (maybe 30 days lost to bad weather) (note photos do not show completion of Core Gravel patio)

 Core Gravel 38-18 patio with tan pea gravel

Sunday, May 26, 2019

AMAZINGLY LARGE!! Dry Laid Stone Building 2014 - Willowbank Campus, Niagara ON Canada

An amazing memory for me from Canada back in 2014. Had the chance to get back to see this building in 2018.

9/2014 Dry Stone Blacksmith Building, Willowbank School, Niagara Falls Canada
Human inhabited Dry Laid Stone building in North America that Dean McLellan (from Canada) had orchestrated the built over a 2 year period with wallers from all over the world.

Related Blog:

Specs: 42' L x 30'.6" W x 88" H, bottom of foundation walls 33" W, top of walls 22"-24" W