Saturday, September 10, 2011

Testing / Tool List- level 1

Preparation: Level 1 testing (DSC)

Lay out rock sorted into function

Keep all hearting/infill within 24” of wall

Lay out rock similar to the way it comes off the old wall – especially near bottom

Copping stones are the furthest away when sorted

Lay coping stones out in the order they came off the wall

Make sure you have good tie stones available and set aside

Look through “new stone” for potential ties and copes or good foundation stones

You can even set these aside before the competition starts!


Leave 18” of clear space between wall foundation and rocks

Tie your own strings to the batter frames provided

Foundation – up and out by 4” (
Any protruding foundation measurements refer to Specification Sheet supplied on the day  of the competition. Normally 2 inch either side but check spec. )

Build a foundation that looks like a PATIO – extra points!

Try to place tie-in stones (to your neighbor) before they do

Place tie-in stones so that you zipper past the  line that is between you and  your neighbor

If you get ahead of you neighbor - keep building up and it is their responsibility to mesh with your zipper

Cover stones below copes at Shaker Village KY - 
always refer to spec on the day. 

When copping – follow the “random” patern of 2-1-2-1-2-1-2-1 – might need 35-40 (15-30 min to do)

General Stuff:

Neil says – for speed and efficiency – work with your shoulders perpendicular to wall

Keep your coarse work level

Don’t work stone too much – points deducted

Bigger stuff lower in the wall

Mossy side out

Work to the line but don’t touch the line (up and out)

Keep building up each side of the wall at the same time

Keep tools on top of wall so when you switch side you close to tools

Keep your hands moving constantly

If you are stuck  - Pack!

Shadows are better than loose fillers


Get to site early and register early - (
Wether or not if you arrive to register for the competition first on site or 5 minutes before the comp starts there is no way to determine what section you might get. It's called the luck of the draw on the day. I have seen the worst section on the field turn out to be the winner of the competition, it all up to the skill  of the individual.)

Tear out should be done in 30 Minutes

Tie stones should be in by lunch break

Tool List:

* Small Cooler and water container

* String

Line Pins

Small Pickaxe garden tool..ect (great for digging out the little stuff on for foundation)

* Pickaxe (one year the fellow next to me had to work throw tree roots to build foundation-ya fun!)

* Rock hammer ( the basic mason / brick hammer will do the job and any other you use often)

* 2 or 6lb sledge – short handle (busting stones if needed)

Chisel (if you use them - time limited during testing suggest avoid chiseling)

* Tape Measure

Gloves – 2 pair

* Safety glasses

Steel toed boots?

Head lamp (if you like to work in the dark)

Knee pads (if used- I find they slow me down for testing)

* Level (s) if used

* Buckets – Tubs


Quickie saw

Large fan



Plastic explosives


Gas grill

Cheer leaders

Motivational CD’s (Dan Snow)

Sherpa guides to carry all my stuff

NOTES: * = Yes  are a should have. Ha ha factor starts at Grinder and below....

This list above has been supplied by: 

Dale Mitchell
Mitchell Landscapes, LLC

Some information has been (added) or modified to help others plan for a great test day! 
DSC offers a on site port-a potti, rebar plus cross bars for top, string lines... but as a up and coming professional - I would advise you bring the needed tools you use on the day to day. If you have any questions ask the organization you are testing with. 

If your doing a special feature on site, make sure you bring your one wood for frames, rebar... go equipped and ask questions. 

DSWA level 2 notes:
I tested in spring this year. What did I some how forget? 3' or 4' level. Hard to build a cheek end (wall head) with out one. Ok maybe you can. I'm not that good. All other tools listed above. 

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