Four Level 1 and one Level 2 test prep participants did a great job practicing for their test and learning many new tips and tricks for improving their quality and speeding up their walling. They need to be quick and efficient on test day in order to complete the tests in the requisite 7 hour period.
Everyone enjoyed one of the first relatively cool and cloudy days which made walling a joy. There was a focus on working with string lines, building level and avoiding running joints throughout the day. Looking closely at some of the upper level test walls on site provided great examples of how to solve building with different thickness stones and how to solve situations when the ideal stone does not exist. At level two, the participant got to try a new strategy with his batter frame set up and a new focus on planning for the next few stones when building a cheek.
Level 1 testers will strip down and rebuild 27 square feet of free standing wall, within a seven hour period. That’s roughly equal to a wall 4 feet 6 inches tall and 6 feet long. The square footage is measured on one face. Testers will build both faces of the double-face wall. They will complete their test stints in the presence of an examiner. Successful candidates will achieve Initial Certification from the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain.
Like Level 1 candidates, Level 2 test takers will take down 27 square feet of wall. Their testing stint includes a square wall end, also known as a cheek end. Level 2 candidates work in the presence of two examiners. They must demonstrate competence with the basic principles of construction as set out in the Initial Certificate applied with a much higher standard. Examiners will be looking closely at: line and straightness; adequate hearting; stone selection; batter or camber; correct laying of through stones and cover stones; and secureness of cope stones.
The Level 2 Intermediate test is considered a hurdle by wallers who have accomplished it. Often people must take the test more than once, a testament to their persistent desire to proceed towards mastery of the craft. We are looking forward to seeing everyone return for a test with a solid chance at passing!