Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tool - Rocko Chisel

Recently I've been working on a retaining wall. When it came time for the cap stones I normally pull out the 14 inch gas saw and do some trimming. But like all things in life some times things happen for a reason. My gas saw wouldn't start.  I needed to trim my caps stones down to size with out running the risk of loosing any of them.  I pulled out my Trow and Holden Carbide Rocko Chisel.

I use the 1 inch stock x 1-1/2 blade # CR01112

I had first learned about this chisel from a stone mason Richard Tinsley from KY. I've had this chisel in my bag of tricks for over 2 years. I never understood why Richard only owned one chisel. 

Richard Tinsley working every cap stone at Wyman -Dell Park, Baltimore MD - 2010

For the life of me I couldn't find any use for this Rocko. Until the gas saw wouldn't start. I get it now. The design forces the energy away from the edge of the stone. Forcing the stone to break at the point of contact. Reducing the chance of creating a undercut or breaking off more then you would like. After a few days I've wondered why I even would think about using a gas saw. It never looks natural when you cut a stone with a saw. With a little more time I'm sure I will never have to start that gas saw again. Ok maybe once or twice from time to time. 

This is a short video from Trow and Holden along with info on the Rocko from their web site.  

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Got Stone?

Heck Ya. I got stone!! After waiting for over 3 months I finally picked up my first barn stone foundation. 1 of 3 - one house & two barns on the same property.

In New England or Kentucky you can drive down the road and find Dry Stone Walls. More and more walls are protected from being removed. But many stone masons have a never endless supply of stone in their backyard. 

On the other hand in Maryland I'm not so lucky. The best way for me to find stone is go buy some from the local stone yard. Pick out the pallet and haul it home.

Or I can look for barn foundations. I have my eye on over 5 barns. The strange thing- All those I have talked too do not want to give them up. I believe I understand. As they site - they don't rot, but just stand in a state of time in history. Never aging. The love for the ruins keeps them attached not willing to part with them. If I had a old barn I would feel the same way.


Today was a good day to go stone gathering of a different kind. I hired up a tandem dump truck to help me out. The tandem can haul 22 tons - I can only haul 6 tons. With a total of 8 hauls. I estimated we moved 100 tons. Thats alot of stone. Now time to start building! I figure that comes out to about 1320 sq face feet of wall. Nothing like having to much stone sitting around. Just makes me feel all warm and fuzy. I couldn't hold my self back from standing over the piles. Looking looking and looking. Eyeing up all the faces, shapes, sizes. I was even happy to find one which had been made smaller with wedge and shims.

I love knowing some one else touched the stone. I look forward to giving a new purpose to these stones. More to come in the weeks ahead. I thank those who helped me today. Brian for the hauling, Blair for the loading. Thank you guys! 

Good day for stone.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's day

My lovely wife surprised me with nice card and taste treats from our Farm Animals. We don't have children but we care for 8 horses and now only 7 cats. We love all of them. I gave my thanks to all of them with lots of scratches.

Then headed to Hershey PA (yes the same place they make those taste candy bars!) to see my Dad. My parents had for over 50 years made and sold Fine American Crafts in Mt Washington MD. A few years back it was time to close shop and move on. Both my parents have specialized in creating jewelry. Not the commercial kind- but good old made from metal using precious stones.

My father has switch gears and moved back to wood. The cost of wood is much cheaper. This is some of the amazing things he has been doing lately.

These salad tosser's he just made this week. They fit in your hand so nicely. And yes they are all for sale!

I guess art runs in the family. Thanks Dad.
Happy Fathers Day!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tool - Bagster dumpster

What is the Bagster? A little green bag you buy at your local home improvement center. But wait this is no ordinary little green bag!! The Bagster is a soft dumpster. Which can hold up to 3300 lb of debris. The bag unfolds to a 4' x 8' with 2' 6" high walls. The Bagster is owned by Waste Management. This means just about any where in the USA you can call to schedule for a pick up.

Of course I don't us it for a dumpster. I use it to move material around. I had one job on my property which I had ornamental grasses which had to be moved. I started by using the skid loader to loosen them up and push them over the side. Then I placed them into the Bagster and lifted them back out.

I had another job using tumbled stones for a walk.

I had all the stones loaded in the back of my pick up. Then went to the job - unloaded out of the back of the truck.

Got home and lifted every thing out with the skid loader. Placing the stones aside for storage.. Quick and easy without any shoveling out of the back of the truck to unload. I call that easy on the back. If you own a skid loader

I have a customer who has been salvaging old bricks from a historical site. The bricks are in the  lower part of the foundation. With a few trees and winches he's been pulling every thing out using the Bagster. You just have to get creative.  Just don't show up at the grocery store.

This is one strong little bag. But don't let it site out in the elements for to long. It will start to break down and lose all ability to haul or move material.

The Bagster sells for $30
Pick up and Removal around $130

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tool - Rapid Digger

Just like the name says. I love this tool for cleaning out old retaining walls. The Craftsman Rapid Digger is also great for helping to dig out the finishing touches for your foundation stones. At $16 this is a great buy. You can buy one at your local Sear's. Watch out don't let your wife know how cool this tool is. You might not get it back!

Great for dig holes for plant bulbs!

1/2018 Newer models do exist Ames True Temper Rapid Digger with a nice pick on that backend.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How - To Fill Joints

A blog reader asked what to use in the joints of PA Blue stone. They had been told they could use: stone dust, small stones or gator dust. All will work! I prefer to use Gator Dust by Alliance. Gator Dust has some great benefits - helps prevents erosion, weeds sprouting throw and damaged caused by insects. Gator dust is like grout or mortar but it never gets hard. Making it easy to remove if needed. 

Alliance Gator applications:
Sand joints up to 1 or 1.5 inchs
Dust  joints from 1/2  to 4 inchs

How do you install Gator dust?  You simply pour onto your stones and brush into all the joints. Mist with water - the product will set up with in time. Its that easy! This can be a little pricy on large jobs but truly worth the investment long term.

Gator Sand dry

Sand 3 colors 

Slate Grey


Dust 2 colors

Sahara Beige

Stone Grey

Beige Gator Sand shown above wet.

To find a dealer near you call: 866-212-1611

Friday, June 3, 2011

How - To PA Blue Stone spacing

Some one ask how to gap PA Blue stone. I don't focus on any spacing when I place blue stone. I just focus on putting one next to the other. Mixing up the sizes and colors when I can . With natural cut stone you will automatically have a gap between them. I just try to get them as tight as I can. The PA blue stone is not perfectly square.

This patio I did some time back. When I was planned this out on paper I did not realize I had a long running joint in the middle. Not until the job was done. Just like stone walls running joints  should be avoided when possible.

Of course on this walk running joints can't be avoided. This stone is PA Blue stone 2 x 2 SQ multi color with natural cleft.

What does this mean?
Multi Color - as seen in both photos blues, dark, light, brown all kinds of colors.
Natural Cleft - this means the stone has natural textures and ranges in thickness from 1 1/2 x 2 inch.

Special thanks to my local stone yard Badolato located in Cockeysville MD for having the best selection of PA Blue stone in the Baltimore metro area.
Pricing for Multi color - Natural cleft runs about $5 per SQ FT.
Tell Chris the "scooter guy" sent you!

How To PA Blue Stone Repair