Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wedge and Feathers Railroad Bridge Alesia to Lineboro Rd MD

In the search for answers only stones can tell me. I went right to the source. Around the corner from my home I have a very beautiful stone railroad bridge. 

Located in the Town of Alesia Historic District Alesia to Lineboro Road Maryland.
Built in 1879 by Batimore and Hanover railroad company. This bridge was built using rock-faced ashlar granite that is stacked pyramidally. Split with Wedge and Feathers.

  Wow more voodoo magic! Some of these stones measure out to 3' x 20" both larger and smaller. As tight as they made these stones. I'm not sure why they even bothered with mortar?! At a time when a craft was a skill to have. 

As seen the holes are drilled on center about 6" 

 With a depth of 3", drill size as 5/8" th

To take a road trip to see this bridge check out Google Maps

My current stone job I've been working I spotted 2 different types of stones. Which of course have been Wedged and Feathered. So out comes the tape measure to see how these compare to the rail road bridge. Wow same thing. Drilled about 6" on center with 3" depth and 5/8" th drill bit. This is the same thing I have been using. So now I've inspected others work. I now know! Stones don't lie except on other stones or on mother earth.

 With a depth of 3", drill size as 5/8" th

Last stone on job. A large stone I laid as my last step on my build. Also notice holes drilled on 6" with 3' depth and 5/8 ths drill. I'm starting to feel like Sherlock Holmes. 

I love seeing some one has touched this stone leaving me a note to read. 

To see more check out my other related blogs

Other Blogs on the topic

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tools - Chalk / Soap Stone

I love to use children's chalk or a soap stone pencils to make markings on my stones when I'm working. When I have to trim a stone or make a note as to the placement of my tie stones...ect.. In this case I used them a great deal when placing my stones steps. Making markings so I knew how far back to place them into my wall before lifting them into place with my skid loader.  They also clean up well after the first few rain storms. 

The children's chalk I just picked up at Walmart in the kids section. A full box of colors I figured would help go a long way. I also bought a Soap Stone Pencil from Ace hardware. The nice thing about the soap stone is that you can make more precise markings. 

Plus who doesn't like to play with chalk? In this case I left notes for my client to try the steps.  Of course they can't walk to far. But they can go up and come back down.

Tick tack toe any one?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

How To - Wedge and Feathers Voodoo Magic

For the last month I have been waiting for my local stone yard to get back to me with stones for steps. With the first snow to hit the ground. Time was running out. Time to come up with game plan # ? where to find stone steps.... I looked and looked. Nothing was jumping out. I was loosing sleep. Then my local stone yard suggested these sexy large PA Blue Slabs. Took about a 15 minutes to think about the concept. The great thing was I had my hammer drill and all tools in the car to shape some ties stones I was buying. So why not?!

This is how I made my steps using a age old technique still used my many today. In 12 minutes start to finish I could make one step. Call the Presses!

Spacing for drilling should range based on type of stone and harness. I started out with  4"inch holes then moved as far out as 7". A good role is between 4-6" spacing. You can do straight lines or even curves (so I've read) This was my first time! I don't have any idea what I'm doing. I'm just having fun! That's what life is all about. Learning right?

Drill (5/8 carbide mason) Holes for wedge and feathers to be placed. I drill my holes 3 inches deep to match the wedges I'm using ( come in different sizes to match drill and depth.) I used my drill to help clean out most of the extra stone dust. A leaf blower or a hose might have been nice too. Running the drill in and out of the holes twice seemed to do the job. 

Placed them into the stone. Notice the feathers/shims are placed in the direction you would like the stone to split-out. I taped each one with a 2 pound hammer twice moved to the next. Some suggest giving the stone time to breath once you do a full row. Such as a minute or so. I couldn't wait so I just hammered away. ha ha. You don't want to beat them. Just tap each slow and equally. Not a Race. (bonus tools- keep a magnet tool handy just in case you drop a feather/shim down into a hole. Helps to fish them out. When you use the correct sizes with correct depths you really shouldn't have any problem if you do drop one. But just in case..) 

VOODOO MAGIC made easy!!! Even a caveman can do it. 

From one large slab to 3 steps. The stones I was working with sizes ranged from 3-5'ft long with a thickness of 4-6" inchs

4 Large PA Blue Stones Slabs made into 9 steps for the job I'm working on. 

I couldn't have asked for a better out come with the stone I choose. Great treads, easy to work with in weight. Since most steps range around 12" deep tread with 7-8" height. Building with these are a breeze. Plus PA blue stone is like sand stone easy to shape if needed. Not extremely heavy. Kind of breaks where you want it 80% time.

Lots of thanks goes out to all my DRY Stone Collective guys and a big thanks to Russ Borrowed Ground

Also my local stone Yard Badolato Stone Supply in Cockeysville MD. Chris you're the man!

To read more check out my earlier blog 

Tool - Drill, Wedge & Shims