Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hearting in San Francisco

Last week John Scott, who teaches masonry of Algonquin College in Perth Ontario, and I, came back and taught our second two-day dry stone wall seminar in Redwood City California for Lyngso Stone Supplies. The weather, amazingly warm and sunny for this time of year was quite a contrast to what everyone has been experienceing back east. The 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 were again, and that's what we were doing.

This time the stones are a lovely lichen covered reddish sandstone from Arizona called Moss Back and a whitish quartzite material from near Champlain NY.

Again, because we were building dry stone walls we needed lots and lots of hearting material. It acts like the cement. Happily, instead of having to labouriously explain what we needed and scramble to find something suitable, we discovered that there were already two large metal crates of the stuff available on site. Last year's workshop wall had been carefully dismantled and all the small material had been collected separately and saved. It was 'lovely' stuff for hearting. Right there in the two boxes were all the right tiny sizes and shapes we would need again for pinning and shimming the larger stones in the new dry stone wall the students would be constructing

I thought again how clever it was for Lyngso to be able to save and provide this very specific, very useless looking material, which is probably only good for walling purposes. Not only was the golden sun shining all that weekend (even though this is the rainy season) but the very 'hearting' I left in San Francisco last time was waiting to be used again.


  1. It does seem wrong that Canadians have to travel all the way down to Cali to teach this type of stonework. Is there not masters in the US that can teach this type of stonework?

  2. If you want high quality tuition, does it matter how far they travel? Hopefully John's training will inspire a new generation of wallers in the US.

  3. What about master stone wallers like Dan Snow from the DSWAUK? or even the Dry Stone Conservancy in Kentucky? Surely they inspire a lot of wallers in US? or am I wrong and this organization is the better option for citizens of this country? This form of building with stone is very inspiring to me and the more Ilook into it the more I'm looking forward in taking part in a course or two myself.

  4. Alan Ash runs some very good workshops out of Oregon. There are others doing a great job in several other parts of the States. Where are you located. I'm sure you wouldnt have to travel too far to get some hands-on training at building these kinds of walls.