Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hoffmanville Project Pics

I've gathered a few of my pictures to show the work in progress. I always love to see how others work on jobs. I never get much from pictures of finished work. I like to see the journey on how and why stone masons did what they did. It's like reading a book. 


Before! Wow time for a make over!

 Dig out and mark with marking paint. Cut cement patio for foundation stones.

Foundation 3 ft. + wide. Large stones placed on earth. 

Foundation built flat all the way into bank. Not stepped. Packing on foundation to make level.

 Stones placed length into wall. Building to string line - level. Covering joints. 

 Packing stones on the inside.

 Building back up to height of front as I go. String line shows grade (earth which will be covering the wall). Safety note: metal rebar has cover for job safety.

Job site. With a mix of different stones. face, packing, and back side stone. Lunch cooler not to be used in wall.

 Building curve. Notice building from one direction. This helps reduce the likelihood of getting into a corner. Having to find that special stone. Notice also all stones on same level. Except for the red stone by the pole. "Jumper"- this will break up the design giving a nice visual focal point. This style would be called "Coursed Random with jumpers". Course is like building with bricks all on the same rows. It has been said for a retaining wall, Course would have a horizontal running joint. Making a Random with jumpers stronger. The Jumper is a stone which is larger - the stones next to it will have to be 2 (best) or 3 (ok) stacked to reach the top of the jumper. 

Wall frames are built to a 1:5 = for every 5" inches of height I come in 1" inch. (1:5 batter.) You tie your strings to the inside of the wall frames to help you as a guide as you build. Not to touch them. Helping you be level and building to the correct batter. Orange flag to remind me not to hit my head. 

"Three-quarter throughs" since I didn't have 3ft length ties. 2 stones next to each other with over lap. 

Notice the # 9 (or is it a 6) in the red stone? Red stone from old foundation. 

 Building back up as I build front. Corner has rip rap stone for building wall. This will be covered by earth soon.

 Dirt placed on corner to see the grade. 

Wall head being built with rip rap below grade. Tent to keep me cool. Small wall frames set up to help build double sided wall. String line on stake to help show grade level. No point to build a pretty wall if you can't see it. 

 More corner work. Notice to right of wall head lower rip rap wall will be under grade (earth).

Building level to place first step stone.  

 Placing first stone with skid loader. This stone is 4' L x 2' w x 7"  thick. Butler stone weighs 178 pound per cubic foot. Heavy is what I call it!

 Building back to match front stone and level at same time. Then I build up to match first stone.  For second stone to sit on. Blue colored metal stakes help me roll large stones around. Levels I normally only really use the small and 2ft the most. The 4ft is rare to have out. You may have noticed I used a string line bulb throughout the job. Bucket holds my small packing stones.

 Second step - notice level. Dead on the bulb. Man I'm good. ha ha. Build level and your work will be easy. When you have a gauged stone like what I'm working with. 

 Corner stone for the porch. Yes Stone is harder then WOOD!

Thank you for looking. Pictures always tell a story. Feel free to ask any questions or offer any feedback.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Foundation Digging

I've been at it again working on a new project - "Little Rock" in Frederick MD.  One of the first steps are digging for the foundation

I started with my skid loader to prep the site. Then wrap up with the basic lay out with a hand shovel. Digging about 3" - 4" inchs down. My foundation stones range from 5" - 8" inchs in height. Once I start placing my stones I normally do my last digging with my Rapid Digger. This tool makes my job quick - making placements of each and every stone happy to sit on earth.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Finished Hoffmanville Retaining Wall

It's always bittersweet when I finish a job. I develop a great relationship with all my customers. Some even treat me like family bring me sweet ice tea and offering lunch from time to time. I love my job.

The client had an existing retaining wall made from railroad ties. For over 40+ years this has helped keep earth back. But the time had come when the wood had run its course. Ready for a new replacement, the homeowner considered and priced out pavers for the low cost of $4500. But when she gave more thought to the idea of a replacement she realized that nothing fits better then natural stone. The house was built with Butler stone, so why not build a retaining wall with Butler stone?

The sketches of the retaining wall.

The retaining wall includes 6 elements:

1) a retaining wall with a 1:5 pitch.



2) free standing wall showing only 2 feet coming out of the curve with a large seating stone at the end.



3) 3 Steps to the upper porch



Great colors- I love how they twinkly.

4) Corner post to hold up the porch

5) 5 protruding stone shelves. (for candles)



6) Curve in wall

The retaining wall uses Butler stone, local stone, historical red sand stone, and PA blue stone mixed in to help the browns pop. The style of the stone work would be referred to as Course Random with jumpers. This means I have used stone of equal size like bricks but once in a while you will see where a large stone is used to force what is called a jumper. This now causes the pattern to be changed. It has been said, that on course retaining walls, you have a horizontal running joint causing a weak wall. Some will argue this. I personally love the look and trust the concept and of course my instructor.

The wall is 5'5" measured from the lower patio to the flat coping, 22' feet long with 3 steps not included measure out at 19" inches height with over 18" inch step 3' feet wide with first step being 4' feet.

Hoffmanville Project Pics