Monday, April 30, 2012

HOW TO - Relief Cuts / Stock Removal

Relief cuts was another great learned technique learned at a KY Shaping Workshop 4/2012. Held at the Shaker Village KY. 

In this blog I'll show you what is called relief cuts or stock removal. As Shown this with his Stihl Gas saw hooked to water to keep the dust down. He first marks the stone by making small cuts first. Then he cuts the needed depth. 

Notice the cuts being spaced out. 

Then he takes the stone and uses a chisel or hammer to knock off the cut sections in order to get the stone to the desired shape. Notice the small cut marks on the stone from the saw. These are used once again as a gage to mark how far down to cut.

Neil then finishes cleaning the stone up with a chisel.

The stones we were helping to cut and shape are for a stone arch. This will be displayed at one of the garden shows. Then the arch will be moved back to the property to be permanently installed at Shaker Village. 

Above shows the wood frame for the arch. Along with several of the stones to be shaped to size for the arch. 

On my last job (Appaloosa WayI had the chance to use this technique. I had a cement pillar I needed to cut a granite edge stone to fit around. I started by marking out my stone. Then I stared by cutting into the middle to get my deepest cut. I then continued by cutting to the left and right of my center line. Cutting the the depth of the marking on the stone.

Then it was time for the hammer and chisels knocking it all out. 

Then spending a little more time shaping with the chisels. Cleaning up all the edges.

Voila!  The stone in place around the cement column. This is a great way to help shape stones quickly to the shapes you need. You do need a gas cement saw to take on this challenge. If you have never used a saw be sure to be extremely careful. Wear protective gear, mask, eye, gloves, steel toe boots and ear protection. Consider working with some who has before you take on this task for the first time. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Appaloosa Way Finksburg MD, Finished Project, Brick Walkway

The client job contacted me to look at building a walk that would replace the old walk. Going around an outside of there lower space in order to get into there siting area. After looking at the space it only made sense to me to dig out and level the under porch space in order to be more usable space. I also felt why make a walk that goes around when I could just make the walk go to the space. Only one door would need to be added. Just that easy. Some times the simplest answers are right in front of you. You just can't see them. 

Now one might think ok this should be a very straight forward job taking very little time. 

day 1
Site prep, material hauling, equipment hauling...... 

day 2
Remove the old brick walk and timbers. Remove the 2x4's on the two up right posts. The space already opens up with the removal. 

day 2
Dig out under porch build small wall with stones under porch. Also dig out for walk way. 

day 3
Wedge and feather 3 large granite stones to make into smaller edging. Shown above I was making 5" high for the inside.

day 3
Dig out for walk notice the RED FLAGS? Before you DIG call 811! (its FREE and its the LAW!) I would be putting the 5" granite edge on inside and 8" on out side since the hill drops off gravity would push out. You can see I dug out a little more for the outer edge in order to make any adjustments as needed with the granite in order to be able to lift it to the needed hight.

End of day 3
String line set and squared up. This picture shows the granite step waiting to be placed

day 4 
3/8th's stone set in walk for granite edges. Started with setting the inside 5" first. Step was also set level. Notice the cement columns in the building area. I had planned to work with the inside ones using them as my brick walk edge. String lines mark the top of the build and edge. The with of the brick walk would be 3' wide. Including the granite edging which is 6" the total walk with comes out to 4' wide with a 12' run including the step. Notice the A Square on steps. Great for keeping every thing square as you build. ( C.H. Hanson: Framing 3x4x5 folding square )

day 4
Set out side 8" granite edge. Fill with dirt against edge. 

End day 4
Set cut brick pattern to insure every thing would work. I avoided back filling the 5" inside granite edge just incase I needed to adjust any thing. Hard day's work. 

day 5
Place EMT pipe down on edges. The pipe  helps with the speed of laying out a material which happens to be all the same thickness. I place the 3/8th's stone down then dug out to put the pipes down. Then I adjusted the pipes to the height. Noticed I have the brick sitting on the pipe. I can now use the board to drag down the pipes helping to spread out the stone to the needed height. Once this dragged all the way to the end. I can now start to place my brick out and every thing will match the left side and right side edge if laid out every thing correctly. Of course I did. I had string lines to follow. Build to the string line just like walling. 

day 5 
Begin to set brick walk

day 5 
All of walk set, all small stones cut and placed.

day 5
3/4 stone placed under porch to finish off area. Excavated dirt from under porch was graded my machine

day 5
Under porch stone

 day 5
Under porch stone

End of day 5 
Finish hand grading, seed and put down straw. Imagine what this job might have cost if I didn't make a suggestion of going straight. To go all the way around this space with a walk would have just been a waste of time or better yet common sense in this situation. The one thing I always think about when I look at a job site is. What is the shortest path a human will travel? 

 Noticed the cut granite stone around the outer pole. 


Day 1 
2 trips to the quarry for stone
Move skid loader and tool trailer to job site
Site set up

Day 2
Strip out under porch by hand
Move old brick

Day 3 
Dig walkway
Wedge and feather granite for walk edges
Check granite edges, more digging
Set string, check for square
Install 3/8th's stone into walk for brick

Day 4 
Set granite step to level
Set in side 5" granite edges
Cut more granite edges to size
Relief cut granite edge to fit around pole base
Set out side 8" granite edges
Screen 3/8th's stone
Test pre - cut starter bricks for pattern

Day 5
Adjust and raise Screen 3/8th's stone level
Set brick pattern
Cut all small edge bricks
Clean up all un used brick
Hand shovel remanier of inner grade under porch
Move 3/4 stone aggregate under porch, hand shovel into placement
Machine grade dirt dug out underneath porch
Hand grade outer bank
Grass seed outer bank and add put down straw
Load all unused stone into dump truck with skid loader move off site

Materials for job
1 load 3/8th's stone
1 load 3/4 stone
1-Granite step
10-peices of granite edging
Customers brick
Grass seed
1-Bale straw
10' long 1" thick EMT electrical piping for doing the screening
3' 2x4 wood used for screening
String line

Skid loader
Hammer drill
14" gas concrete saw
4" wet hand tile saw
Hand tamper
Walk behind gas tamper
Dump truck
Tool trailer w/ out house
45 square

A HUGE THANK YOU to Stone Soup Matt Sevigny,  South Carolina. Some great feedback with this build along with some great cheater tools

For some very helpful tools for this job check out Matt's blog.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tool - Pin Lewis, Lifting Stones

Another great tool learned about at the Dry Stone Conservancy - Shaping workshop 2012 was the Pin Lewis.

Pins are placed into drilled holes at 45 degree. Holes should be the size of the pins with no slop. Then you connect a chain to them for lifting.

A machine can now lift and place stones with ease.

To order a set  check out  Trow and Holden

Factory Recommendations:
“... the listed size of the pin lewis (eg. 7/8”) should be the hole size drilled to receive the pins. The pins are slightly undersize to fit in a standard hole – there should be no “slop” nor should it be necessary to drill an oversize hole to accommodate the pin.

“...should also be aware that a worn or incorrectly ground drill will often result in an undersized or misshapen hole. Using a new drill bit is recommended.”

“It is also important that the holes be drilled to a minimum depth to receive the full pin length (eg. a 7/8” pin lewis would need a 5” minimum depth hole). The full pin length must be fully set in the hole before any lifting is attempted.”

Trow and Holden Co.

Friday, April 6, 2012

How To - Plugs and Feathers shaping workshop 2012

Shaping Workshop 4/2012. Held in the south. 
This is a lovely bucket of plugs/wedges and feathers/shims. 

We started out by using this pre drilled metal plate with holes drilled on 6" center. We set the plate down on the stone, used a hammer drill with a drill bit to match the wedge and feathers we placed in the holes. Then we kept a few feet on the metal plate as we dry drilled holes 1" on this 7" stone. Note for production purposes it was advised that tracing the stone with a chisel was not needed before drilling. (to each his own)

This is what the stone after we drilled our 1" holes . Next we turned on the hose at a low trickle to keep the drill bit from wearing out as fast, keeping the dust down, and clearing out the hole. (if you don't have water to work with - thats ok!) 

We pre marked the drill bit with yellow tape to match the length of the wedges we are using 4". Then of course drilling down 4" to the tape mark. My drill has a stopping rod which makes it much easer to adjust and no need for tape.


Wedge and feathers then placed in the hole in the direction we wanted the stone to break. Slowly we taped one at a time then to the next giving the stone some time to realize what just hit it... (sorry couldn't help myself)

Before you know it the stone was in two pieces. The stone we used was a limestone from the Kentucky area. 

Wala a nice stone face - now on to the next side to make a nice square block. 

This was just one of the great things learned at a stone shaping workshop. 

Side Note: I had brought down my Cheap $80 1" Harbor Freight Hammer Drill. This was a hug hit. Every one loved it much better then the Bosch. My point? if you want to give this type of work a try you don't need to spend alot of money to get the job done. Read more with my Tool - Drill, Wedge & Shims to understand all the little stuff that makes no sense. Like what size wedge and feather should I buy, or what is SDS..... Shaping stone can be a joy when you take the time to understand the stone.

Other helpful/related links on this topic.

How To - Wedge and Feathers Voodoo Magic

RockinWalls - Mark Jurus Copyright 2012