Monday, November 17, 2014

Oct 2104 2 Day Dry Stone Workshop, 4' Rock Fence I, PA Field Stone

In May 2014 I made the trip to The Stone Trust in VT. For a 2 day workshop to become a Certified DSWA Instructor. The event was run by Steve Jonas of Concentus Consulting. I never expected to learn as much as I did. Steve works with all different types of business truly top notch trainer. 

When I was younger I was part of another movement teaching snowboarding in Colorado and PA. In a time when most ski mountains had band them at all resorts but a hand full. I loved to teach. When this opportunity came up to be able to be apart of the second group of which our class was made up of 9. I jumped at the chance. For those who follow my blog you know I've always enjoyed sharing and teaching what I've learned. Now I'm able to do this in person at our Farm located in Hampstead Maryland.

Now on to tell you a little bit of what you missed. 

We started each day in our summer kitchen were breakfast snacks, hot tea, cocoa and coffee was served up. The best way to help warm up the brisk mornings as we introduced our selves. Then moved on to a short Video: Walls of Stone, by DSWA Master Craftsman Richard Tufnel. 

6 participants from PA, NJ and MD came together for my first 2 days of walling workshop event. Saturday we had light rain so I had set up my 10' x 30' tent and 12' x 12' to keep the space comfortable. I also put down my stall mats to keep the area from being so messy under students feet. 

Sure its a workshop but I like to take those extra measures to ensure the comfort of others. After all they paid to have a memorable experience so why not go that extra mile?!

The goal of the 2 days was to work with PA Field stone building a traditional 4' Rock Fence. I choose PA Field stone for this event for a few reasons. 1) The irregular stone is a little more forgiving with new wallers - visually when placing on the wall, 2) most common stone found in stone yards in the surrounding states. 

I built the below grade protruding foundation ahead of time to help expedite the fun for the students building a wall. Frames were also set up ahead time. We went over all the basics of how to build a foundation, batter, frame options, wall ingredients and setting up string lines just name a few key points. 

12 NOON Sharp! 

Yes Hot Lunch - provided for the 2 days:

Day 1 was hot chili with a toasted salad, lots of extras and pumpkin pie
Day 2 was a traditional meal - hot dogs, hamburgers, macaroni salad, potato salad, and apple pie.

Can you say YUMMIE? 

After lunch it was back to the wall. 

You'll notice in the background hanging some of DSWA handouts made into out side banners. The full batch of these documents were also included in each students folders. The folders also included Richard Tufnell's walling book, our sponsors documents from Bon Tool Co coupon and Trow and Holden tool catalog.  

We saw the SUN on Sunday. Which turned into a beautiful warm day helping all of use shed those extra layers. Included in this day I went over each of the workshop sponsors tools along with a brief description on how they work. 

No other workshop currently offers "Try Before you Buy" Tools. The best tools to learn the craft of dry laid stone is your eyes to spot the stones, your hands to pick them up and place them on the wall. 

Lots of extra contractor buckets were used to help gather up the needed packing stone for the middle of the wall. 

Finding packing stone at the banker table is the best way to help clean up the sit without going far.

With the banker table on site this keeps the back strong without having to bend down on the ground to trim or shape a stone. Now I don't know about the table being a cup holder for the water bottle? 

Vertical caps go up quick at the end. Normally if your out on a field wall you would place your string lines over the existing stones. Since I had the frames set up with a 4' mark we just tie the string line to the outside frames. Then all the large stones that had been set aside from the pallets got set on top of the wall. It's extremely important to identify all your needed types of stone before you build. What does this mean? Well with this wall we needed nice 12"x12" +/- stones for the vertical caps, tie stones, packing stones... just to name a few. 

A great time was had by all. Stay tuned for the Nov 2104 Dry Stone Workshop 4' Rock Fence II. 

Spring workshops will be posted soon. Including new 1 day workshops. 

Thank You, John (me) Jennifer, Jack, Ryan, Carrie and Heather for making my first workshop GREAT!!

A BIG SPECIAL Thanks goes out to my wife who helped me with the folders, the Killer hot meals, getting everything set up, the support and everything else that made this workshop go as smooth as it did. Great team work.

Also many thanks to my October sponsors:

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