The comments below were sent by Dr. Dan O'Connell and are representative of several other people who have contacted me indicating a new found
enthusiasm for traditional dry stone walling and how effectively local stone can be used to build beautiful structural walls and garden features.
"I just completed the dry wall course in Metchosin British Columbia using local blasted basalt . This "rubble" has vexed me for years and I considered it useless unless equal amounts of mortar were available to beautify and substantiate any structure composed of it . The mortar always cracks and grey stone looks dreary in the dim winter landscapes of our coast, so I considered it "flawed" and would go far afield to find a flatter easier to use stone with more character.
Needless to say I am reborn with fervor based on three base teachings I learned at the recent DSWAC workshop.
One - putting the best face out usually results in "veneering" guaranteeing it will roll out with the subtle shifts of time. The wall we built now has structural integrity confidant enough to support even a permanent arch! (As a former civil engineer I was a big time skeptic let alone now being a physician and worried about crushed children)
Two - it is a handsome wall to the eye, not in the way of the fitted stones @ Machu Pichu,but rather overall feel as it courses and accomadates the rolling pitches with its unchanging batter and constancy of individual rock shaddowings. (one cornerstone stands out however which is a hewn white granite from my private reserve).
Thirdly - I had been told by my Italian neighbour about hearting before, but thought it was a primitive idea for people needing to get rid of all the little ankle turners in the pile - after two days of learning how to do it properly, I say it again, I am now a Believer!
Dr. Dan "