Friday, August 31, 2012

Formal procession of the form.

While Chris and I film the event , Danny, John, Ben, Jason, Bill and Karak carry the first form into position and place it on the wooden beam base (complete with fox wedges) over the stone foundation of the double arch bridge. The added music of Jean-Babtiste Lully made it seem like a real ceremony.

The pre-festival volunteer build this week near Montreal at Rigaud Quebec is going marvelously. During the Festival of Stone, Oct 4th to 8th, we hope to complete this the first bridge of its kind in Canada and remove the two forms on the Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A rush to the bridge.

Yesterday seven wallers and I gathered at the magnificent country estate of Cote de Fleurs in St Marthe, to begin work on the special dry stone bridge that we hope to complete during the four days of the 'Festival of Stone', an international walling event held this year near Hudson Quebec. All kinds of stones and rocks were excitedly gathering here too, from far and wide, in hopes of being chosen to be fitted into this, the first double-arch bridge of its kind ever built in Canada.

Okay, everybody out.

A truck load of random sandstone eagerly waits to be let out of this dump truck just arriving from Ducharme Quarry an hours drive south of the festival site.

Whoopee, let's go guys !

Choose me, choose me.

This perfect naturally 'springer-shaped' hunk of red granite was found not far from where the bridge is being built . It seemed like it was just crying out to be used. It was amongst a pile of unwanted rocks left over from a nearby excavation going on where tons of bedrock had recently been removed in order to build a swimming pool. 

Let me down easy guys !

More stones like this huge chunk of armour stone (over a ton perhaps) were being flown in and dropped onto the bridge foundation by a John Deere loader, using Lewis Pins and a strong chains.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Grand Valley Sign

Eric Landman and Ryan Stananought built this new dry stone entrance sign to Grand Valley Ontario recently. It was commissioned by Thomasfield Homes. It is thirty feet long and seven feet high. There is a nice use of limestone flagstone to create the band on the run below the very nicely engraved Grand Valley plaque . I like that the stones are not all coursed and monotonous looking.

Tweaking an arch.

It's interesting how a few simple taps with the hammer and chisel can create a smoother line of transition in the curve of an arch ( or any stone opening) and help lead the eye along the line of voussoirs ( or cornerstones).  See yesterday's post for more pics of this workshop

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Going back to build the arch.

Yesterday I went back to help Don and four of the guys at Black Rock Landscaping add a Gothic arch to the wall we began at the workshop we ran three weeks ago in Haliburton Ontario.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A visit from the Pine Ridge Hiking Club

Last week we had a visit from the Pine Ridge Hiking Club. They plan a special walk around Port Hope each year focusing on the dry stone walls in area. Usually there is about ten hikers but this year I was surprised to see thirty-six of them coming up the driveway. They enjoyed seeing again at the dry stone tree which I built last year but their favorite was the wheel barrow which I built as a bit of a dry stone joke a couple weeks ago.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

# 17 A dry stone wall doesn't

A dry stone wall doesn't have to be better than every other dry stone wall that was ever built. It's not a competition. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sunday, August 19, 2012

International Stone Balance Festival in Canada

Spending this weekend at the International Stone Balance Festival in Ottawa. Come on down and visit if you are in the area.

Well known stone balancer John FĂ©lice Ceprano is hosting this amazing event which has attracted balancers from all over the world . John will be creating stone sculptures at our Festival of Stone near Montreal coming up this Thanksgiving. 

Voglia Nella Failla and Carlo Pietrarossi came from Italy especially to attend this event. They run similar BAWI events in Italy.

I got into a kind of arch-making groove balancing small stones in a causeway across part of the Ottawa River.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

# 13 A dry stone wall doesn't....

A dry stone wall doesn't need to look like every other wall around it or everyone else's idea of what a wall has to look like. It can look funky and last for hundreds of years.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

Wheels without mortar

After experimenting with trying to build a complete dry stone circle, bracing only the two stones on opposite sides by way of wall ends, I then decided to take the next step., (as did my dog) 

This time I drilled holes in two of the stones and then using only a thin threaded rod to connect them ( to keep the thing from blowing out) I reassembled the circle and tried making the  moongate 'wheel' again, so that it was completely freestanding.

Not having a pre made form presented problems. I built it on its side first as an experiment and used rope to hold it together, and then lifted it upright. But that didn't work.

Several attempts later I managed to get this far by stacking the stones upright individually. Trying to balance the last three stones alone proved almost impossible.

After a few more attempts I finally managed to construct the circle so it rested only on the bottom stone, with barely any extra support on the sides.

Rock around the clock?  

That's an annoying stone at 5 o'clock. Oh well. One more try and I think I'll have it.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The stone circle

Having seen several dry stacked stone circle attempts posted on the Internet ( all requiring some sort of shoulder packing at the base to hold the things together ) I thought to myself I wonder if it can be done making a complete circle without any extra support at the bottom. This stone hoop I recently built was supported only at the midsection by the dry stone wall gate ends on our property.

Ironically the bottom half is the most difficult part of the circle to build and have it stay standing

My daughter and I enjoying our success. Now to build it again without the side walls to support it. How do we do that?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

# 11 A dry stone wall doesn't...

Photo by Sean Adcock
A dry stone wall doesn't have to be coursed. In fact in the case of terracing it can be a detriment. Here is one example of many of the uncoursed walls in Mallorca that are all holding back tons of earth over the hilly terrain on the western side of the island. These walls stop a lot of erosion caused by heavy rains they experience there every year. The Mallorcans would have done coursed walling if they thought it made for stronger, longer-lasting structures.

Friday, August 10, 2012

# 10 A dry stone wall doesn't

A dry stone wall doesn't make a lot of gooey mess or noise when it's being built.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

# 9 A dry stone wall doesn't...

A dry stone wall doesn't rely on anything but gravity - the force that causes all other masonry walls to deteriorate.