Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Coursed Random with Jumpers - Walling style

Illustrated by Mark Jurus - Rockin Walls, Copyright 2013

I set up a page called Stone Examples. I've included my drawling of my preferred walling style called Coursed Random with Jumpers. Like music a guitar can make sounds based on the listeners desired taste. The same holds true for Dry Laid Stone Construction. Not all walls are created equal. Just like a guitar you can't get the same sounds as you might with a violin. What am I getting at? Stone has different shapes. Just like a musical instrument they each have there places.

The stone I work with is more like the shape of books. Square with flat surfaces referred to as level bedding stone or sedimentary stone (blog to come).  This is the common stone in my area (Butler, Western Maryland stone). PA Blue stone would be a good example most people may know about.

To start I'd like to show you an example of Coursed Random Wall. Built by Dean McLellan project manager of the StoneWURX Stable Hanover Ontario Canada 2012. This picture shows the outside. Notice double stagered protruding tie stones 3 ft set on center. The best way to describe a Coursed Wall - think of it like brick work just using natural stone. Notice each stone next to the one after etc etc all are the same thickness. Now add in the Random this means bigger stones at the bottom with smaller stones at the top. 

This is the same section Dean's wall just the inside of the building.  

Dean McLellan working on his section for his Advanced DSWA certification requirement.

This section of the StoneWURX Stable would be Coursed Random with Jumpers. Built by DSWA Master Craftsman Philip Dolphin. Now you know what a Coursed Random looks like. You will see with this section larger stones which break the patter of brick work called a Jumper. Think of it like driving throw a parking lot then hitting a speed bump. The jumper lets you switch up your patter. This style can be quick and typically lets you grab a variety of stone at your feet much faster Unless your Andrew Loudon then your the definition of COURSED WALLING. I worked on this project for 5 days the speed at which I watched Philip moved was mind blowing. He wasted no time picking and placing . After all he's a MASTER.

Philip Dolphin working on the same section inside because he's so fast!

StoneWURKS Stable - Dean's section on the left. Philip's on the right. As seen in photos above.

Beechdale Project level bedded stone - Butler w/PA Blue stone

I prefer Coursed Random with Jumpers primarily because I believe it gives a beautiful focus on key placed jumpers. Like a well balanced painting you should always have strong focal points the eye is drawn too. With out this you do not have a strong composition and it all just blends into one another. We've all seen walls like this built by "landscape company's" If your spending the money to build a wall it should say something as it becomes part of the living space. Jumpers just break the patter for me. 

Glenville Project irregular stone - Field stone on site - old corn crib
Special thank you to DSC Journeyman Ashley Meadows for showing me the light.
The walling styles listed are only two of many! To read more check out Dry Stone Walling a Practical Handbook. By Brooks, Adcock, Agate BTCV (coming to this website soon for sale)

Hoffmanville Project level bedded stone - Butler w/ Red sand stone

Trained and certified DCS/DSWA mason 


  1. Jumpers, have several uses..
    they tend to have good tails so tie the wall in better..
    If you are running short of a stone thickness, they give you a chance to change...
    Waller 69,cotswold ds waller (30+ years)

  2. Waller 69, Thank you for your 30+ years of advice. Those are such great points to share with others. Thank you for taking the time to help spread the word! In the USA it is so hard to explain to folks in the USA or areas that do not have Dry Laid Stone to help them understand that this is such a great way to build. That mortar is not the answer to everything. Please keep it coming!!!!

  3. Worked as a bricklayer for 30 plus years,(always using mortar) never turned anything out anything like the natural beauty/ craftmanship illustrated above.
    Keep up the good work.

  4. Excellent, lovely to see, keep up the good work and remember to pass your skills on.