Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Mission Accomplished

I had a challenging and yet very rewarding time teaching a workshop last weekend in Truro Nova Scotia.

Garden manager Darwin Carr in conjunction with Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture lined up ten students and requested I teach how to build a dry stacked wall on their campus and perhaps complete the project with a garden arch. I characteristically agreed to accept the task. 

The 5O foot long public wall installation was built by ten enthusiastic participants in the very beautiful 'Herb Garden' created by 'Friends of the Garden' in 2003 . The garden is situated just across the street from the college. 

The Wallace Quarry random sized sandstone suited itself (kind of) to doing a Feidin type wedge style wall. There were some huge flat chunks.   

On the Friday before the workshop we spread out the stones along the prepared base.  We managed to find two big square 400 pound boulders from behind the agriculture building to act as wall bookends. We dug them in 50 feet apart from each other.  

I taught for two hours in the audio visual classroom Saturday morning and then we went out in the rain and attacked the project.  The rain wasn't too bad and things went strangely smoothly and we completed most the wall and arch in the time allotted . 

Yesterday a few of us returned and beefed up the arch with a few more chunky stones and flattened off the rest of the top of the wedged wall, tightening everything up and chiseling the high points giving it a crisp flat look  ( as this adds so much to the look of any wall) 

I am a big fan of this style of wall now. Pairs of students can work independently along the wall and make great progress. Overseeing the work was challenging but my team of students caught on amazingly well. 

The vertical aspect of this type of wall allows for height to be gained efficiently and large vertical thru stones become locked in quickly. Any gaps can be carefully improved by wedging more stones and strengthened it without having to take sections down . 

Thanks to our Irish friend and expert in all things masonry Patrick McAfee for turning us Canadians on to this kind of walling.