Posted on

Building retaining walls to last, July workshops in Vermont

If you came to more than one workshop during our Summer Medley Weekend, you experienced some rain (deluge to drizzle) and some shine (beautiful full sun to cloudy). Such is the weather in New England. People in the Sunday retaining wall workshop fared better weather-wise than those on Monday. But all of you took the situation in stride and learned what you came for. In your feedback, you expressed a high degree of confidence in your ability to apply the five basic rules of dry stone walling to a retaining wall.

Instructors Jamie Masefield and Seth Harris guided the Sunday class of seven men and three women in setting stringlines and batter frames, countering the forces that push on a retaining wall, preventing frost heaving, techniques for proper drainage, and managing a work site safely and efficiently. Some of you found the space a little tight for working, a critique that we’ll address for the next time. Jamie taught a much smaller group of three on Monday. Plenty of space for those folks!

Several of you asked for diagrams, the one Brian Post drew with you and others. The more we can put online the better some of you think. We’re working on creating the pieces and making them accessible. Keep your eyes on our monthly (sometimes twice monthly) e-newsletter. In the meantime, you may want to check out pages 73-76 of “the bible”–Dry Stone Walling: A Practical Handbook. You also have the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain pamphlet Specifications for Simple Retaining Walls that were handed out at your workshop to refer to.

Thanks to everyone for making the trip. Each of you came a distance to garner experience of working with dry stone. Now you embody that knowledge in a way that allows you to preserve the craft. We appreciate your help in carrying forward The Stone Trust mission. Can’t do it without you!