1.20 2-Day Introductory Workshop – Opus 40




May 6 - 7, 2023


9:00 am - 5:00 pm


Key reasons for taking a workshop at OPUS 40

Opus 40 is a must-see location for anyone interested in stone and particularly in dry stone walls. Built at a historic bluestone quarry Opus 40 was the great work, or opus, of Harvey Fite. Fite’s opus is currently undergoing a multi-year restoration to rebuild the sections that are failing. The restoration is being led by Brian Post of Standing Stone LLC, the former executive director of the Stone Trust.
Come to learn all the rules and techniques taught at any Stone Trust workshop. Be inspired by the extent of what dry stone walling can create. In this setting, you will see how the craft of dry stone walling supports the art. Some of the original Opus 40 walls include flaws in the construction, leading them to become unstable. At least one instructor at your workshop will have worked on the restoration and will be able to relate how repairs have been tackled and the many challenges involved. Some workshops may even get to see a phase of the restoration in action.
Workshop walls at Opus 40 are built with the native bluestone from this historic quarry. The stone is level-bedded but typically not perfectly flat. It can also be quite angular. This bluestone can be shaped relatively well, but can also be unpredictable. If you are working with level-bedded sandstone or limestone this would be an ideal site to train on.
Above, Instructor Brian Post takes us on a tour of the training walls at the Opus 40 site.


Two days give you more hands-on time to apply the basic principles. Spend more time working with batter frames and stringlines. Sleep on what you learn and come back to practice with guidance. Get exposed to basic stone shaping and stone splitting. Enjoy more time interacting with waller-teachers and getting answers to your questions.

Workshop Objective:

To provide a firm grounding in the basic principles of dry stone walling and a basic understanding of how to build a double-faced wall.

Learning Outcomes:

So you want to start learning about how to build dry stone walls. Or you’ve taught yourself a bit and want to check your understanding with professional guidance. Maybe you plan to build walls at home or maybe you want to educate yourself before hiring someone else to build a wall. Perhaps you are considering entering the trade or adding dry stonework to the portfolio of services you already provide as a landscape or hardscape contractor. Whatever your motivation and experience, an introductory workshop is the starting point for you, a prerequisite for almost all other Stone Trust workshops.

As with most Stone Trust workshops, you will start with a freestanding wall like those traditionally used as livestock fences and property boundaries. With your classmates, you will deconstruct and rebuild an existing wall built to Dry Stone Walling Association certification test specifications. Taking apart a wall allows you to understand its structure and the methods used to build it.

You and your classmates strip out and rebuild the wall over the course of the day—9 to 5 with a half-hour break for lunch. Each of you build about twenty-five square feet of wall (one side). The variety of stone you work with depends on the geology of the training site where you have come to learn. In the Northeast and Upper Midwest, you are likely to encounter round field stone, granite, gneiss, and bluestone. In Pennsylvania and Tennessee, you are likely to be working with sandstone. At every Stone Trust training site, you will engage in hands-on experience with the basic rules of structural dry stone walling. You will go home with a basic understanding of how to apply to any type of stone and project. What you learn applies directly to all types of dry stone walls, including retaining walls, seat walls, and steps/stairs.

Come learn from certified waller-teachers, most of whom earn their livelihoods as dry stone walling professionals. All Stone Trust instructors have achieved DSWA Level 2 Waller Certification, globally recognized as the professional standard. As Stone Trust-DSWA-certified instructors, all belong to a learning community that seeks to ensure that every one of you learns what you came for and that you enjoy the process. With a student : instructor ratio of 8 : 1, you can count on plenty of direct interaction with your teachers. Introductory workshops tend to include up to sixteen participants working with two experienced waller-teachers.

The Stone Trust @ Opus 40

Training Site

The Stone Trust @ Opus 40
Saugerties, New York


Jamie Masefield


Jamie Masefield

DSWA-GB Advanced (Level III)


Benjamin Maron
Benjamin Maron

DSWA-GB Intermediate (Level II)

Sample Workshop Agenda

Some Stone Trust training sites now offer a two-day version of  workshops. Two days give you more hands-on time to apply the basic principles. Spend more time working with batter frames and stringlines. Sleep on what you learn and come back to practice with guidance. Enjoy more time interacting with classmates and waller-teachers, and more time getting answers to your questions.

Hourly Schedule


9:00 - 9:30
Introductions and Overview: How the wall is built and why it is built that way.
9:30 - 10:00
Stripping Out, Stone Sorting, Safety and Stone Sorting
10:00 - 10:30
Stringlines, Batter, Foundations
10:30 - 12:30
First Lift: Principles of walling discussed, demonstrated, and practiced as you build the first few courses
12:30 - 1:00
Lunch and Conversation
1:00 - 1:30
Tool Talk and/or Tour of Walls
1:30 - 3:30
First Lift Continued
3:30 - 4:30
4:30 - 5:00
Tidy Up and Review
See you tomorrow!


9:00 - 9:30
Check-in and Overview
9:30 - 12:30
Second Lift (techniques for handling smaller stones)
12:30 - 1:00
Lunch and Conversation
1:00 - 4:00
Cover Bands and/or Copes
4:00 - 4:30
Tidy up and Review
4:30 - 5:00
Workshop Evaluation, Certificates, and Walling Info
Thanks for coming!
Please note, instructors use their discretion to organize the day for an optimal learning experience.

Important to Know

Detailed info will be emailed to you once you register including what to bring and directions. You will receive a reminder notice a week or two in advance. Please add the Stone Trust to your contact list to ensure that emails arrive in your inbox.
Licensed Landscape Architects can receive 7.5 LA CES credits for participating in this one-day workshop. You can receive 15 LA CES credits for participating in the two-day version.

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