Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How - To PA Blue Stone Repair

PA Blue stone repair can be done by just about anyone!

You will need a few basic tools and lots of energy. 

• Screw drivers - helps move or lift stones be careful not to break them or scratch them.
• Broom - move stone dust or sand around, keep area clean.
• String - building to the sting like you would a wall. 
• Trowel - move stone dust around to help make a level area for the stone to sit on.
• Bucket - hold your stone dust or sand.
• Large rubber mallet - helps to set stones.
• Knee pad - keeps your knees from hurting at the end of the day.

• Blue stone dust or recommended material from your local stone yard.

If you have neither the time or energy, hire a professional.

This repair was a swimming pool which had been installed 10 years ago. The problem was over time the earth had settled. The low end of the pool (this section) was were all the large cement trucks drove in to build the pool.

To start I began in the middle section. The stone had settled over two inches below. I used the edge of the pool as my top base line. As you see I'm using the string lines going out to match the existing grade. Tying to the remainder of the patio saves a lot of extra work. No need to move more stones then needed. "Working smarter not harder", as my wife says.

The hardest part is the start. Find the stone you want to begin with (I started in the middle - the worst part) lift it out with a screw driver or any other tool which will not damage the stones. Next take your trowel and put in a few scoops of stone dust then flatten out (smooth around) Remember your string lines should be set up. I'm using the edge of the pool coping as the top (my base line) I'm matching this and repairing from the pool out. I'm working to bring the stone UP - TO the string line! But don't touch it. So now as you place each stone on the stone dust you are adding or removing stone dust to match your strings. I set my strings to the outside of the stone. 

Notice in this photo just how far off the stones are to the left of the knee pad.  By the edge of the pool. The area with the hand broom was off by 2 inchs below pool coping. 

Now you can move to the next stone.  You now have two edges on this stone which should now be correct.  Notice the stones are pulled out in different areas.  The reason for this is once you set your stone you can now match others to the correct stone or string line.  But you want to be able to pull other stones out with out having to pry them out with tools.  This is the reason you will notice different stones removed. This allows me to take out other stones without a lot of extra labor.  One by one I lifted out each repeated the above matching edges to edges best I could.  The rubber mallet should be used to tap each stone as you set them.  DON'T pound on it - it may break.  Work one stone at a time not to have too many out.  As you pull each one - lay them out the same way you found them.

NOTES: This patio was professionally built (ie. correct) If you find the pattern you are working with has extreme running joints or other flaws you need to fix them.  This will be a whole other topic so I'm not going to cover it at this time.

The last stone can always be the hardest since you have moved them all around.  You will be squeezing it in the best you can. 

This original pool patio was built level.  The material used was sand which has worked for over 10 years.  The biggest thing I have seen with this job was the earth has settled all the way around the pool.  Causing many of the stones to shift away from the pool.

After 10 years TIMES have changed.  New materials have come out.  The paver world has created some very innovative products.  One is the design of flexible edging.  This is a great way to keep the stones from shifting out.  Dirt is not enough to keep stones in place over years. The other is a product such as Gator dust to help fill your joints keeping unwanted weeds and debris out. 

TIP: When building a patio or walk be sure your GRADE DROPS 2% .25 x ft = ____ or 1.5% .1875 x ft = ____. (reason water run off. Some walkways may be able to be built level. Be sure to use common sense) Also when building anything be sure to think about mother nature or man made objects. Mother nature- snow - if you build a walk how will snow be removed from the walk. Trees - over time a tree root will push up causing your planned patio or walk to lift up. Man made objects- cable lines, electric ect..will some one need to dig up your patio or walk to repair some thing below? Remember to always call Miss Utility before you dig - It's the Law... Utility color codes.

Some of the content I have listed will help with building a new walk or patio. But many topics have not been covered such as base prep or compactions....etc. To help further with some of these please check out some of the links below.

Helpful links

ICPI Interlocking Concrete Paver Institute document library.

Back to new!  
Trivia:  Patios and walks using natural stone may be referred to as Flat Work. 

How - To PA Blue Stone spacing
How - To Fill Joints

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tool - Carbide sharpening system

If you need a great sharpening system to keep your carbide tools in tip top condition. These are just a few to help you out. You have two chooses for variable speed girders with the Trow and Holden sharpening system.

FACT:  Variable speed grinders - keep you from having chatter due to high speed. For example I tried the grinding wheel without having the speed control my chisel bounce all over the place. Making it impossible to control the damage I was creating. Nor should you use a standard die grinder without speed adjustment.

Harbor Freight 7 inch polisher # 92623 $50-

Bosch 1803EVS 5 inch $136-

Sharpen System shown in picture. (A drill version is also available. )
Trow and Holden 
Diamand Pads
#G4102 4 INCH GENESIS 120 Grit $31
#G4103 4 INCH GENESIS 220 Grit $25
#P0401 4 INCH BACKPLATE W/ Velcro $24
(these are not listed on their web site - tell them I sent you!)

Check out the YOUTUBE

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Book - Dry Stone Walling

DRY STONE WALLING - a practical handbook
ISBN 0-946752-19-2

This is one of the most important books one could consider buying. If you want to learn dry stone walling. I consider this to be the Wikipedia of how to .... you can find this on Amazon. Retails for $45 The Dry Stone Walling is the British handbook for walling. The begin can be a little slow going since it covers geographical areas not shown on any map. Very detailed with images, content, definitions, history and stone. 
If you don't own this book - you should! I recommend this to new/old wallers, architects, engineers, landscapers, homeowners, quarries, stone yards and any one who loves stone.
UK Orders Click BTCV

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mini Dry Stone Wall

On the way back down from Vermont we stopped in to see our good friends from the DSC doing a workshop in PA. I spotted this great miniature Dry Stone Wall built by Ashley Meadows from KY. The size of this is about 5 inches high by 12 inches long give or take. I would love to have one of these sitting in my home. Many of us have suggested this would be a great award to win. If only we could get Ashley to stop building real walls maybe he would have more time of the Mini's.

Friday, May 6, 2011

DSWA Intermediate test-PASSED!

Congratulations to me! I passed my Intermediate DSWA Dry Stone Walling Association (UK) timed test.  

I was 1 of 8 to be the first to test in the new Stone Trust barn, located at 707 Kipling Road Dummerston, VT 05301. In order to pass my required 7 hour timed test I needed to take apart an existing 5ft high x 5ft long wall with wall head. Keeping a level headed mind and making every moment a practical one I attempted to waste no energy unnecessarily. Every time I test I learn some thing new about my self. I love it!

The Wall Head (cheekend) is one of the hardest but also the most practical requirements in walling.  Understanding and building a proper wall head is one of the key ingredients for many other walling features.  Not to mention day to day building. 

I like to thank the examiners for keeping a eye on me as I built my wall. When I was all done giving helpful insight to help further my knowledge and eduction in the craft. Examiners: Michael Weitzner / Dan Snow.

Jared Flynn for that helpful reminder "it's not your best work...." (ie build it to finish the test - build it properly - but don't sweat it).

More importantly I'd like to thank my lovely wife for pushing me to find my dreams and holding down the farm. She offered to call me the day of the test if I needed a pep talk.  With so many positive words ahead of time I was ready for my task at hand! Thank you Tree - for being by my side - I needed that!

What's next?