Sunday, September 19, 2010

Handy Cap Stone

Graham Watt put a lot of time (nearly four days) and a lot of skilled handiwork into changing the shape of a huge square chunk of limestone into an impressive cone cap for the clochan that StoneFest participants built last week near Seattle Washington. Christopher Barclay another Canadian and several other Americans also put in hours of hand-chiseling on the large white block to coax a geometric curve domed shape out of the stone. The shape had to be the exact dimensions to make a final seamless transition from the dry laid contour of the rest of the hut up to the peek. And it it had to be finished on time to hoist it on to the beehive structure by Friday afternoon.

It was decided that the final surface of the cap stone should be detailed with the shapes of all the hands of those who were involved in this project. Dry stone wallers, carvers and sculptors in stone traced a profile of their hand on the dome and then they, or one of the letter carvers, carefully chiseled each hand print out. The large white limestone capstone ended up looking like everyone had put their hands into plaster of Paris before it set.

The huge stone was lifted on to the stone hut using a large Caterpillar with a massive mechanical claw, and with the help of many more hands it was eventually lowered into place. Professional sculptor John Fisher is seen here using one hand to guide the stone down onto its final landing spot on the top of the clochan. The 'handy' capstone proved not to be a handicap at all, in terms of finishing the race towards having this magnificent beehive hut project completed in time.


  1. Wow. Sorry about that John and Tracy. My brain must have melted from a week of bee-hiving. Anyway it's fixed now. Be well.