Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Thinking Without Handbooks

This is a photo I took in Minorca a few years ago of an 'un-bonded' cheekend supporting a dry stone wall fitted in the local traditional polygonal style. The wall (built on a grade) looked to be the same age as many of the other walls in the area - at least 100 years old. I pointed it out to Patrick McAfee (author of Irish Stone Walls ) and we both stood there marvelling at the audacity of its decision to stay standing against so many of the standards introduced by the Brits. 

I think it is time we Canadian wallers consider the diversity of walling types that are not included in the DSWA handbook.

5 comments:

  1. Beautiful. You can see arches of various sizes built into the structure perhaps giving much of the strength.

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  2. The quoin stones are very chunky too . The wall is about seven feet tall.

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  3. I often look at the walls out on the Aran Islands at think the same thing. There are walls out there that look imposable and that if you were to touch them they would crumble. But yet looking at the lichen growth on them they seem to have been standing unrepaired for a substantial amount of time . I think allot of it comes down to the coarseness of the stone. The karst limestone on the Aran Islands almost sticks together like Velcro when wedged together. I have yet to experience the stone in Minorca but it looks pretty course as well.

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  4. Travelling around I have seen old walls with 30 foot running joints and many other features which work but seem to be a no no. Dry stone walling has always depended on geology geography and climate. The DSWA in the UK has managed to set standards which are very useful as a base for discussion but they are well aware of local variations and include allowances for these in their publications.

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