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2.10 Historic Wall Rebuild Workshop

Learning to build dry stone wall
Learning to build dry stone wall

2.10 Historic Wall Rebuild Overview:

Learn to rebuild old walls with stone at hand.  There are more than 250,000 miles of old stone walls in New England and New York state combined.  This is your opportunity to learn while restoring a small piece of that back to its former glory.  A key aspect of this workshop is learning what to do with the stones available on site.  This workshop delves into stone sorting, shaping, foundation preparation, and setting up batter frames to much greater degree than other workshops.

This workshop is ideally suited to the home owner with old walls they want to rebuild, and to the professional taking on rebuilding historic walls.  It is suitable complete beginners and those with previous stonework or workshop experience.

The three-day format allows for the complete experience of rebuilding a historic wall.  Participants may also select to take a two day option (not taking the 1st day).

Over the course of the two days each participant will learn methods for stone shaping, sorting, preparing the foundation, and setting up batter frames.  They will also build 30 to 50 sq. ft. of wall (one side).  Building styles such as ‘galloway’ and ‘single stack’ may be introduced and built in addition to the the more commonly taught ‘double stack’ wall.  This will be determined by the available stone in the historic wall.

Certified DSWA-GB Instructors will guide participants through the process of building a dry stone wall.  There will be no more than 8 students per instructor, so there is plenty of direct interaction with the instructors.  Most workshops have 2 instructors with up to 16 participants.


Day one beings with and introduction to the site and stone.  Participants will learn how to identify stones of useful shapes and sizes and effective methods for sorting.  Participants will sort the available stone so it will be ready for efficient building.  The foundation for the wall will be laid out and prepared.  Other foundation preparation techniques will be discussed in depth.  Batter frames will be discussed in depth and participants will actively assist in getting the frames and string lines set up.

Participants will learn how to split up large stones and boulders to create much needed through stones and cheek end (wall end) stones, as well as other special stones.  A variety of shaping techniques will be introduced using hand tools and hammer drills.

Day two will commence by beginning to rebuild the wall itself.  Participants will then be guided through placing foundation stones, and beginning to build the wall.  Over the course of the 1st day, principles of walling are discussed, demonstrated, and practiced as the 1st few courses are built by the participants.  Typically, by the end of the 1st day through stones will be introduced, discussed, and placed.

During lunch times, participants will have the opportunity to ask the instructors questions about their own projects.

On the 3rd day, building will continue.  The 2nd lift of the wall will be built, and participants will learn some techniques for handling smaller stones.  Shaping stones will also continue as needed.  Cope stones will be introduced and placed on the wall.  If the stone is more appropriate to Galloway or single stack style building, sections of the wall will be built using those methods. The day will finish with brief clean up and review of the wall(s) built that day.

A guided tour of the other walls and stone features at the location where the workshop is taught is a part of the workshop.

At the end of the workshop participants will receive a certificate of workshop completion,  t-shirt, and a packet full of walling information.

Workshop participants with experience will be directed to work on more challenging features such as cheek ends.

This skills taught at this workshop focus on using the stone available so it can vary a bit with the stone.  But it is always a fantastic and fun learning experience.

Critical Information:

  • 3-day workshop with an option for 2-day version when you register.
  • Each day the workshop will run 9:00am-5:00pm with 1/2 hour lunch break.
  • Participants should wear boots and work clothes (have plenty of layers for cool weather)
  • What to bring:  gloves, rain gear, safety glasses, water, and lunch.  (There is no where close enough to buy lunch with in the lunch break)
  • All tools needed are provided.
  • Participants are welcome to bring stone shaping tools they already own.

Detailed info will be emailed to you once you register including what to bring and directions.

Licensed Landscape Architects can receive up to 22.5 LA CES credits for participating in this workshop.

Upcoming 2.10 Historic Wall Rebuild Workshops:

Currently there are no upcoming. Please check back again.

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