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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.

This workshop is typically offered spring and fall in Dummerston VT, and at select other locations at varying times.

This course is commonly taught at:

Details:

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, and purchase a wide variety of tools, books and other supplies.

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.  There is also time to purchase tools, books and supplies, as well as ask additional questions.

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.

Workshop quick guide:

  • Ideal for 1st time and returning students
  • 3-days (w/ 2-day option): 9am-5pm
  • Ideal for anyone planning to rebuild an old wall
  • Learn how to set up to build efficiently
  • Learn how to make the best of the stone you have
  • Learn the basics
  • Practice splitting & shaping stones
  • 3-day format allows for more instruction and wider range of skills
  • Offered at least twice per year, in the summer and fall.
  • Typical Cost $545

See the Dummerston site and a 2-day workshop in action:

Landscape Architects receive up to 22.5 LA CES credits for taking this workshop

Photos from 1.20 workshops

Upcoming 2.10 Historic Wall Rebuild Workshops:

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All Upcoming Fundamentals (2.00) Level Courses


  • 2.60 Contractors Intensive (5-day) Dec 9-13-19
    December 9, 2019 - December 13, 2019
    9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    - 5-day workshop

This workshop includes 4 days of training and the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain (DSWA-GB) Level I (Initial) certification test on the final day. It is perfect for the landscape or masonry contractor interested in starting to build dry stone walls, or expand that line of work, and gain DSWA-GB Certification. Equivalent to a combination of courses 1.20, 2.8, and 2.9 plus much more!


  • 2.13 Contractors Intro (3-13-2020)
    March 13, 2020
    9:00 am - 5:00 pm

This workshop is perfect for the landscape contractor interested in starting to build dry stone walls, or expand that line of work. In addition to the hands on building of a wall, there will be discussions of good work practices, pricing walls, proper foundations, etc.


  • 2.60 Contractors Intensive (5-day) 3-16-2020
    March 16, 2020 - March 20, 2020
    9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    - 5-day workshop

This workshop includes 4 days of training and the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain (DSWA-GB) Level I (Initial) certification test on the final day. It is perfect for the landscape or masonry contractor interested in starting to build dry stone walls, or expand that line of work, and gain DSWA-GB Certification. Equivalent to a combination of courses 1.20, 2.8, and 2.9 plus much more!


  • 2.13 Contractors Intro - March 28, 2020
    March 28, 2020
    9:00 am - 5:00 pm

This workshop is perfect for the landscape contractor interested in starting to build dry stone walls, or expand that line of work. In addition to the hands on building of a wall, there will be discussions of good work practices, pricing walls, proper foundations, etc.


  • Batter Frames Workshop 4/18/2020
    April 18, 2020
    9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Proper set up and use of batter frames and string lines is a real challenge for many wallers. We continually hear from examiners that poor use of string lines is one of the biggest reasons that wallers fail certification tests. You will learn multiple ways to build frames and use string lines to improve the efficiency of your building process and quality of the walls you build. PREREQUISITE: This workshop is intended for wallers who have taken one or more prior workshops, are level 1 or higher certified, or have experience building stone walls.


  • 2.50 Intro to Stone Shaping (4-19-2020)
    April 19, 2020
    9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    - 1-Day workshop

This workshop will spend the day learning about how to shape stones for use in dry stone walls. Participants will be introduced to a variety of stone types, and how to work with them. Both hand and power tools will be demonstrated and used. The stone shaping portion will focus on efficient practices, learning how to look at a stone and judge how to shape it, as well as proper use and care of tools. PREREQUISITE: Open to those who have taken at least one Level 1 workshop
(or are experienced wallers).


  • 2.20 Retaining wall workshop (4-19-2020)
    April 19, 2020
    9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    - 1-day workshop attendance

Participants will learn how to maximize strength for a retaining wall while following the basic rules. Foundations, drainage, perforated pipe, filter fabric, geo-textiles and more are all discussed or demonstrated. This workshop is intended to give you the information to make wise decisions on your own projects. It is well suited for both homeowners and contractors. PREREQUISITE:  any 1.00 level course, or 2.10, or 2.13