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Learning techniques to shape varieties of stone (July 10, 2021, VT)

Introduction to Stone Shaping attracts wallers with significant projects and an abiding interest in learning what they need to know to complete their projects well. This past weekend’s class attracted a number of homeowners and some career-changers who had gotten the basics under their belt at an Intro workshop. A self-taught waller who repairs walls on his 1790 farm came to add to what he has learned and practiced from The Art of the Stone Mason by Ian Cramb. Other workshop participants included a professional trail builder, certified as a DSWA Level 1 Initial Waller,  a civil engineer with extensive experience of walling and flatwork, and a man who works for a manufacturer of stone shaping tools. The ten men and one woman arrived primarily from the Northeast corridor, though two people traveled from the Pacific Northwest and the Southwest to learn what they wanted to know.

By the end of a beautiful Saturday at The Stone Trust Center in Dummerston, Vermont, participants generally felt confident that they could build on the knowledge they had acquired in order to shape a variety of stones for their walling purposes. Instructors Jordan Keyes, Alex Hoffmeier, and Pete Ryder helped them understand the characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses of different types of stone. Students and teachers discussed reasons for shaping stone and practiced various methods. The workshop also addressed safety, efficiency, and caring for tools.

The stone shaping workshop is among the more challenging workshops in which to teach and learn. The variety of stone types, the multiple techniques, and the range of tools require a format that is at once highly structured and flexible. Incorporating the learning into your repertoire will certainly take practice! One participant offered that we might consider offering a two-day format. Thanks for the suggestion! We’ll give it some thought.

The Stone Trust exists to preserve and advance the art and craft of dry stone walling. All of you who came to teach and learn this fundamental skill help further the mission. Many thanks!