Thursday, June 4, 2020

Day 22 Thursday - Westminster MD Step 5

Back at it building step # 5 on a beautiful sunny HOT day. Today was a day of lots and lots of feather and wedging. A method used to help split stones. I prefer this method over a gas saw when the face of a stone will be showing. While with a saw cut, I could easily come back later chisel face the stone. Along with using a technique called thermal. I'd rather stick to traditional methods looking more natural. I also have the stone splitter which works great with harder stone. Bluestone likes to split in every other direction SADLY. 

To get my day started I first built up the back of the steps from yesterday. I ended up using a lot of the off cuts from the steps to fill the area. 

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Next it was time to cut my first under step stone for the fifth step. I start my building with stones that have the right thickness along with a nice face. The plan was to use the front of this on the left and the back section on the right. In theory this should be the same thickness. So matching side to side one another will help make the build go quicker. 

SKOL as they say on "Vikings" or as I like to say SCORE!

Next time for PVC low voltage 1/2" x 10' piping bent with heat gun for custom shape. 

Next I did a little digging on the side to the right with the mini x. Friday I plan to figure out what piping I will need to connect from the sump pump and downspout to shoot out behind step 5. Dumping out into yard instead of patio space. 

Next it was time for the top step. I was looking for something that was at least 4" tall x 28" long. The face on this is the right side by the level. I came in 24" for my width of the stone. 

Man I'm 2 an 0 right now! 

Now up and till now I could set all the step stones from the bottom with the Ditch Witch machine. At this point I'm past my reach with the 32" pallet forks. So I now have to do all the setting from the top side with the mini x. I set the pvc pipes down so when I put the step down I can roll it around into place. Now one thing I haven't talked about by you should look for each stone I set. I'm working to break every joint. So you will see no running joints. the next thing I'm doing when I cut my stones to sit next to one another is I use a square to work of the face. Now when you look at the last photo pay close attention to this detail. To benefits to this is 1) structurally its stronger since you don't have any running joints. 2) aesthetically your eye follows the lines. Think of it as almost turn lane arrows. Your instinct will be to follow them even if it's your subconscious leading you.

O'Gee not again end of the day this is starting to be like work. Ha ha.. never work. This stone was to sit next to the last one. This will be the right side. Another 4" thick stone. The only issue was it had a bad fault line right on the face. I do my best to avoid fault lines when I see them. My hope was to make a face further back to more or less cut off the bad area. How did I do? 3 and 0 in my favor. Next with Richard standing on the porch the clock ticking to get my butt home. I put the stone on the forks of the Ditch Witch got as close as I could. Then ran up and hoped on the mini X set the stone down on top of the left step #5 with rollers underneath. Got the gas saw out and squared it up and went to town. Picked it up with the mini x. Pulled all the boards and rollers out. Set it back down, hopped off the mini x with bases loaded I then slid it into place. HOME RUN. What a day. Did I happen to mention it was HOT?! O ya I did. I think my brain is still backed from day. What a day! 

Thank you for following my blog. Before you call it, take a moment and look at the joints as I had mentioned above. All the lines are running toward the mini excavator. If you look hard enough or click on any image to go larger you will see in the photo right by the tooth of the bucket on the machine. The marking stake. This is where I'm headed. Only 3 more steps plus the patio step. Yippie hard to believe I'm just about to the top. The other nice thing for me is my job trailer is right around the corner at top of steps. Sure makes it easy now to get where I want to go when I need a tool. 


  1. All the lines are looking great! I will soon be able to run up and down the steps for my daily exercise routine!

  2. Love watching this project come together. It's going to completely transform that space into a wonderful gathering area. Nice!