Tuesday, June 30, 2020

July 11-12 2020 Freestanding Wall Workshop

Rockin Walls Training Center hosted the last of 3 rescheduled Spring workshops this July 11-12 2020. Before we start we would like to thank everyone who came out during these challenging times. A big thanks goes out to Martin Beevers from UK / Nashville TN for coming up to co-instruct with Mark Jurus. Those who we did not see we look forward to meeting you come fall. 

NOTE: Before viewing we would also like to point out the following facts before judging any of the content below due to our current COVID-19 pandemic. We made sure to minimize and ask for 6 foot distance, face masks for this outdoor event were optional according to Maryland guidelines. Our group was under 10 people according to Maryland guidelines. We had 2 dedicated wash stations with water, soap, hand sanitizer pump & spray, along with a 3rd in the porta potti. Two contractor buckets for used tools along with each having spray sanitizer. 

We also like to point out the short 20ft tent is the Lehnoff's Landscape Crew 4 foreman and Robert the owner (seen at far left) You will see this group in every photo shoulder to shoulder working hard to rebuild this entire section of wall from strip out to the the foundation and back up to match the other wall sections. 

Under the big 30ft tent we had left to right Bob, Curt, Tyler and his brother Luke along with Instructor Martin Beevers to far right. Martin spent a great deal of time with this group while I did with the Lehnoff's crew. We also took time to check in from time to time with both groups. On these sections we had each work on a stripping out both sides down to under tie stones. Starting out with almost 6 feet of top of the wall. More or less "V" sections in order to help maintain a safe work distance from one another. Just was well at any given time if any one felt they needed a bit more distance they could easily walk to the their other side of the wall. While this is a new workshop method far different than anything currently offered. We felt it was enough for each to handle. Bob ended up doing 2 sections. With a far improved performance on his second one. All and all Rockin Walls felt this training section worked out very well in light of the current climate. We avoided any chance of rain and just put up with the high temps.  

Saturday started off with a quick run down of the DSWA posters as suggested guidelines to follow for the next 2 days while building the walls. While the homeowner team did not have a chance to strip all the way down to foundation. Many had done so in a previous Fundamental workshop weeks before. Those who did not have the experience we took the time to show and explain foundation options based on style and stone types. 

Both groups wasted no time doing there strip outs. It didn't take Robert owner of Lehnoff's to ask his team to build a chain where they simply passed the vertical cope stones out to Robert who then stacked them up in the order they came off the wall. I have to say that was a first for me to see done at any workshop. 

They then moved on to setting up there string lines and building the foundation course. 

Next the set there frames and string lines for the start of there build. I'm not sure who gave the order for the dirt in the foundation joints. Packing all sections of the wall with large to small stones are key to the success of any dry laid stone wall. Martin had mention in the start of the day that all dry stone walls are living. What does that mean? They are always moving from season to season. 

Feather and wedging was demonstrated and performed in order to help produce new thicker tie stones for the training walls. Bluestone was choice sizing around 28"l x 11"w x 3"h (+/-). Rockin Walls training center was the first training centers in the US offering this skill at there freestanding wall workshops. One of the main reasons for doing so was the need to produce tie stones or flat caps which is more common in our region then traditional vertical copes. Its one of the, cheapest,  simplest, and least dust generating methods for splitting larger stones. It is also a lot of fun for everyone. 

Seen is the photo is the 

The Bloch Shear stone splitter was getting a real workout from the Lehnoff's Crew. Robert is taking one of the feather and wedge tie stones and snapping it to a shorter length. 

Day 2 Sunday started with a overview and questions from what we did on Saturday. On Saturday the Homeowner team stripped out and rebuild there wall sections without frames or string lines. On day 2 Sunday we set them up in order to give more guidance and show who they should be properly used. We saw a great increase in the quality and productivity as a result. 

I had the Lehnoff's crew swap sides for the main reason often when teams of masons work together you can see distinct walling styles. By moving the crew around this is less likely to stand out. It also give each person a chance to solve problems coming in to a new wall section. 

Robert Lehnoff was on a mission to shape a monster 6.5" stone giving it a very clean face. The only challenge was by the second lift of the wall a stone this big typically has more length then the wall can accommodate. On a freestanding wall this is best used in the first lift at the very bottom. 
Luke and Tyler being brother choose to strip out a full section together. By Sunday I had them working just one section each of both sides. Not the entire section as they choose to do the day before. This is another great way to learn to work with choices of stone someone else has set. 

Vertical copes going up on day 2 as many begin to wind down after a hot day. I handed was sure to hand out RX Bar's Protein Bar with Chocolate & Sea Salt. I order to help each and everyone get that last bit of energy to keep on rolling. 

As the day to come to a end me and Martin took the time to walk around give some feedback then presented a slide show of each of our favorit work. Where we answered questions from the 2 days and thanked everyone for coming out. Everyone was kind enough to clean up and replalitize there stone at the end of the day. What a great weekend spent with others who love to learn the craft of Dry Laid Stone Construction. 

Are you interested in Fall Workshops? Drop us a Email. Spaces will be limited to only 6 people.

Many thanks to Martin Beevers for coming up to give a hand. If you live in or close to TN check out Martin's training center. https://www.oldenglandrockwalls.com/

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