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Test Prep Workshop: Sept. 12, 2020

This season’s last Test Prep workshop took place on Saturday, one of the first relatively cool and cloudy days, which made walling a joy. Heather, Owen, Jordan, and John came to be sure they are ready to pass their Level 1 certification test this coming Thursday or Friday. Michael arrived for a last practice before his Level 2 certification test on Friday. Stone Trust instructors and professional members call that test the Level 2 Hurdle. It’s a tough test. You can read about it below.

Instructors Martin Beevers and Brian Post worked with test prep participants to help them speed up their walling and improve their quality.  Test-takers need to be quick and efficient on test day in order to complete the tests in the requisite 7 hour period.

Throughout the day, wallers focused on working with string lines, building level, and avoiding running joints.  They also spent time looking closely at upper-level test walls on site to consider the problem of how build with stones of different thickness and how to resolve situations where the ideal stone does not exist.  At level two, Michael tried a new strategy with his batter frame set-up and a new focus on planning for the next few stones when building a cheek. The test prep day ended with a private evaluation against test criteria of each participant’s wall stint  with supportive suggestions for improvement.

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 at 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!