Sunday, April 10, 2011

How - To Wall Frames

When I went to my first stone workshop, I never focused on the most important tool...the wall frames. I was too busy learning to place stone.  I never gave much thought about them until I had to build my first wall head.  Only then did I get it. I had always built to the string line. Moved my string up the frames. But what really was the frame all about. The wall frames are your wall shape. Without them you will not have a proper wall.

I've taken a 4 x 8 plywood board measured out to find the center. Then I have laid out on the board my wall frame design. I have based my one off the DSC's Kentucky style wall. With a foundation of 34 inches and bottom of wall at 26 inches. Using a 1 to 6. This term refers to the amount of inches the wall comes in as you move up. So for every 6 inches you will come in 1 inch. For other walls I may use a 1" to 5" or for extreme retaining walls a 1" to 4". By setting up my plywood board. I can easily make frames before I start any job which will insure accuracy for every step of the wall. Examples listed below:

Frames can be made out of wood. 2 x 4 (heavy, last longer) or 1 x 4 (lighter, will not hold up as long) work great.

Another simple walling frame is made up of rebar with 2 board clamp. Great for doing rebuilds on existing walls or even new walls.

I never realized working with stone would require me to be a carpenter. Dry Stone Walling requires that we bring many skills to the table. As professional wallers it is our responsibility to take the time and care necessary to guarantee a structurally sound wall. (even if it means becoming carpenter).


  1. I know what you mean, especially with things like arches or half domes, that's when your carpentry skills really get put to the test. Not to mention the need also to become a mathematician.

  2. Arches are next on the list. As for math - your right about that. I have been able to find tools which help me out a great deal when it comes to being a Mathematician. ie project calculator, zip level, Abacus.... and my fingers- ha ha.