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Learned a lot and want to know more! Late April’s Intro

As beginners and enthusiasts, you came to the Stone Trust Center to learn the five basic principles of dry stone walling. A couple of you brought landscape design to your learning. One is a trail builder and aspiring professional mason.

For most of you, mission accomplished! An instructor noted, “By the end of the day students were speaking in technical terms to analyze the problems.” We were impressed with your commitment to and capacity for learning!

Each of the three crews built well together. It was a bit trickier for the crew that enlarged as people arrived and joined in. Impressive how you shared your learning with each other as the day went on. For example, people who had learned to create the mason’s knot and adjust the stringline taught their stint-mates. By the end of the day, you were all independent in raising the lines using a basic mason’s knot. Bravo!

And one crew of stint-mates finished early enough to get a brief lesson in stone shaping. Often the one-day intro doesn’t allow enough time for that. Sounds like you worked very efficiently!

In the walling community it is common to hear, “It depends.” If you heard differing approaches from different instructors, that’s why. Experience in different circumstances gives wallers flexibility to choose among approaches. All of them use the five basics, though. That’s the promise of the Introduction to Dry Stone Walling: You will understand and begin to apply the “rules” that result in a structurally sound, aesthetically pleasing dry stone wall.

Some of you express interest in continued training in dry stone walling. Please see our Curriculum in Dry Stone. You’re looking at the Fundamentals classes next, especially Stone Shaping. Retaining Walls, and Cheek Rebuild. Wallers recommend you spend plenty of time applying the five basic principles to freestanding and retaining walls before you move on to cheeks. Let us know if you have questions about how to proceed:

For the designers among you and those of you with projects, you may want to look at the Dry Stone Waller section of the curriculum. You may want to look at Flagging/Patio workshop and Steps and Stairs.

One or two of you may want to follow the certification pathway. Do be in touch. We’ll be glad to talk with you about how to accomplish your goals. For those of you interested in building curved walls, that’s a Level 3 Advanced Waller skill, which doesn’t mean you can’t learn it sooner. This week a bunch of people are building curves at the Dutton Farm Historic Preservation workshop. No more of that kind of workshop scheduled this year, but keep your eyes open come November 1, when the 2023 schedule is posted.

Thanks very much to everyone for making the trip! Thanks, too, to Stone Trust waller-teachers Daniel Arabella, Sam Brakeley, and Ben Sandri for sharing what you know about the art and craft of dry stone walling!