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Carmel of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph Monastery Project – Fairfield, PA

PA Monastery Project Walling Clinic
PA Monastery Project Walling Clinic

Guest House #1 Update

Last week The Stone Trust began it’s on the ground training for the Carmel of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph  Guest House #1  in Fairfield, PA.  This is the monestary project that we have been consulting on for the last few months.  The Stone Trust is providing extensive design consulting as well as providing training and quality assurance throughout the project.  The construction of the stone work is being led by Jeremiah Ross, of J. Ross Enterprises, Inc.  With many local masons and a few people who are new to stonework on the building crew of 18.  While there had been hope to get more Stone Trust Members involved, ultimately the need to train a local workforce was the deciding factor in the crew selection.

The training commenced with a 5 day workshop in which 20 participants built a 120 ft long dry stone wall 5.5 ft high.  This was built in the first 4 days of the workshop in 90˚+ heat and high humidity.  On the final day the participants did a test prep day tearing down much of the wall they had just built and then rebuilding it.  We are expecting 16 people will be testing on July 11.  Instructors Seth Harris, Michael Murphy, Ron Neil, with assistance from Mark Peachy did a fantastic job leading the way.

Meanwhile in the office Brian Post has lead the way on creating an extremely detailed 18 page set of construction drawings for the stonework as well as some 14 pages of specifications, and quantity calculations.

Next week will bring lime mortar training with Chris Hertz of  This will be followed by a DSWA-GB test day and then commencing on the building.

While the ultimate desire to had been to use traditional lime putty based mortar in the core of the wall and leave a dry appearance on the exterior, this had to be adjusted as the client’s needs developed.  Cost considerations ultimately drove a switch to using Natural Hydraulic Lime (NHL) mortar, and aesthetic concerns to more closely match other historic buildings in the area have resulted in a mortared appearance, with the mortar only slightly held back from the surface.  The wall will still be stacked following all the principals of dry stone walling so it will result in a tremendously strong and impressive structure.

Check out the photos of the workshop wall and stay tuned for more!

Starting the PA Monastery Walling Clinic
Fairfield Monastery Project In Progress