2.60 5-Day Contractors Intensive Workshop – Opus 40




April 22 - 26, 2024


9:00 am - 5:00 pm
If you are a professional landscaper, mason, or builder, take the quickest path to proving your know-how as a dry stone waller. Earn the credentials that justify inclusion of dry stone walls in your portfolio of services.
This course includes four days of training and the Dry Stone Walling Association Level I Waller certification test on the final day.

Workshop Objective:

To provide a firm grounding in the basic principles of dry stone walling and the competency to build a freestanding double-faced wall through successful completion of the DSWA Level 1 Certification test.

Learning Outcomes:

Over the course of five days, acquire working fundamental skills for dry stone walling. Learn principles of wall construction, site and materials preparation, project costing, and stone shaping. Finish your work week by passing your Dry Stone Walling Association Level 1 Waller Certification Test . While we cannot guarantee you will pass the test, we have designed this course specifically to prepare you with the information and skills needed to pass. To date, the Contractors Intensive has a 100% pass rate.
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. In this class, you also come to understand the criteria for passing the DSWA Level 1 Waller Certification test and the efficient practices that enable you to pass it. In addition, you and your fellow professionals discuss topics of interest and relevance to dry stone walling contractors—stone shaping, pricing and estimating, managing work crews, site prep, equipment, foundations, retaining walls and features.

Course Format:

Day 1 and Day 2: You and your classmates strip out and rebuild the wall over the course of two days—9 to 5 with a half-hour break for lunch. Each of you build about thirty-five square feet of wall, working both sides of your own section of wall. You learn and practice the proper techniques for sound and durable construction, as well as for efficient building. By the end of Tuesday, you and your classmates will have rebuilt the wall to a level of quality that exceeds passing marks for a Level 1 certification.
Day 3: Test your ability to apply the basic principles by building a passing wall within the seven hour time frame allowed for the DSWA Level 1 Waller Certification test. This is a Test Prep day where you practice the Level 1 Dry Stone Wall Certification Test. You take down and rebuild both faces of your test stint in the presence of instructors who answer your questions and provide support and advice to assure you successfully complete the wall on time. Day 3 allows you to experience the pace and workflow required to pass the test.
Day 4: You and your classmates rest after three days of walling, including the strenuous practice test. You focus on stone shaping, pricing and estimating, managing work crews, site prep, equipment, foundations, retaining walls and features–discussions of interest and relevance to professional dry stone walling.
Day 5: TEST DAY! You will put your newly acquired experience to the test in the presence of a DSWA Assessor. You will strip out and rebuild a twenty-seven square foot stint (fifty-four square feet including both faces, the equivalent of 5000 pounds of stone) to Level 1 Waller standards as described in the DSWA Craftsman Certification Scheme. Throughout the day, the assessor will evaluate your work. At the end of the test period, he or she will grade your completed stint and provide you with marks you have earned. Once each of you has received your written marks, the assessor invites you to hear verbal feedback.
We expect you to be present during all five days.
As with all Stone Trust training, 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.

Training Site

The Stone Trust @ Opus 40
The Stone Trust @ Opus 40
Saugerties, New York



Benjamin Maron
Benjamin Maron

DSWA-GB Intermediate (Level II)


Martin Beevers
Martin Beevers

DSWA-GB Advanced (Level III)

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