Sunday, January 31, 2010

I left my 'hearting' in San Francisco

Today John Scott, who teaches masonry of Algonquin College in Perth Ontario, and I, taught the first day of a wonderful weekend dry stone wall workshop in Redwood City California for Lyngso Stone Supplies. The weather which was predicted to be cold and wet turned out to be warm and sunny. The 14 students were eager and appreciative of all that we shared with them about how to stack stones one upon the other. It seems wrong to come all the way from Canada to show Californians how to do anything weird and crazy, but oh well, here we are, and that's what we are doing.

The stones are a blasted polygonal rhyolite called Windsor Wall Stone and while it is a local stone and fairly inexpensive it is very challenging stone to work with. We are mixing it with a stone from Colorado that Lyngso supplies called Chief Rock which is chunkier and good for building the cheek ends.

I recognized this grey stone material as the stone that we used to build the arch with at the San Francisco Garden show last year. Lyngso supplied all the stone for the Mariposa Gardening dry stone display which we had the pleasure of helping design and build.

As well as the Chief Rock and the Windsor Wall Stone we needed lots and lots of hearting material for our dry stone wall workshop today. Amazingly Vic, the sales manager, was able to come up with three large crates of the stuff, which he had actually been saving. It was beautiful. Right there in the three boxes were all the right sizes and shapes and small sharp reddish shards we would be able to use for pinning and shimming the larger stones in the dry stone wall we were building.

I thought to myself how unusual it was for a stone supply company to be able to provide this very specific finely broken up material which is really only used for walling purposes. Suddenly I recognized what the stuff was. It was the very same peices of red Colorado sandstone I had broken up to use for in-fill at the San Francisco Garden Show wall display we built. I thought to myself how neat it was that I was actually able to re-use the 'hearting' I left in San Francisco.


  1. John,
    This was a truely inspiring experience. At first it seemed impossible to build a wall - there was scarcely a right angle in the tons of rocks we used! But as we picked up the simple rules and applied them one rock at a time, the wall simply appeared from the chaos.
    Thanks, Mick

  2. Hi Mick. It was a lot of fun too, wasnt it?