Monday, April 25, 2011

Stepping it up.

I know I go on about not using heavy machines and wonder why people don't work enough with stone using a more hands-on approach. Contractors seem to like to keep their distance from big stones and move them around at 'arms length' without considering the benefits of getting to know them more personally.

It occurred to me to take a more positive approach today and share a short clip about moving a big stone.

This is a big chunk of flag stone that got lifted on to the roof of the dry stone tool shed we completed last fall. The limestone slab must have been about 120 lbs. I got it onto the roof and into place without any help.

I used scaffolding and maneuvered the stone up on to boards pivoting the stone on edge up each board until it reached the top one. I jumped down to take photos at each stage to document of the process. I know it's not a great feat. And I know I could have done it easier with help. However it was a rewarding little exercise. It got the job done without bringing in a machine and more importantly it was another opportunity to enjoy 'thinking with my hands'. By the time I got the big flagstone slab up there I knew a lot about it and how best to make use of its shape and size on the roof.


  1. I too get satisfaction out of doing almost impossible tasks with the minimum of tech help - times when I'm not quite sure what to do next, but I'll think of something. A bit like Sisyphus, with a proper exit strategy.


  2. It is quite rewarding to create the staging and then see it actually work. It is the engineer in us I suppose.

  3. Even better is when you are all alone and the "strategy" temporarily fails, and you find yourself unable to move or risk considerable damage to vital organs..... time stands still and all you can say is "ok...think...!", wishing you had a stick or something, or taken the time to train that squirrel over there to fetch, and then you remember the pencil in your pocket that can reach that stick which can reach that sledge hammer handle, and you make it home by midnight and promptly forget that lesson so that you can repeat it a week later and remove the skin from your shin because this time you forgot the pencil.

  4. Funny but true, John. Thanks too for the other comments Ches and Nick

  5. That's really cool. I agree that we as Americans tend to bring in machinery where some good old muscle and sweat would work just fine.