My first ever client just sent me a picture of my first stone wall. The stones vary in size and type from course to course throughout the wall. It looks like I was laying each stone as I brought it in, which I nearly was. To get these stones to the site, I was picking them up at construction sites around town, loading them up in my Honda Pilot, and carrying them one by one down the narrow flight of stairs which was the only access. The homeowner loved the work and commissioned two more stone walls on her property that fall, which were constructed in a more professional manner.
Despite the variable coursing and use of smaller stones than we now use, this dry laid stone wall is a highly structurally sound retaining wall. The first two courses of stone are laid below grade, so bottom of the wall is 24 inches underground. Top to bottom, each joint consists of two strong masonry bonds. The stones are stacked with an appropriate combination of stretchers and predominantly headers, meaning that most of the stones reach more deeply into the wall than the width of the face you see. The wall is more than 36 inches deep, backed by a combination of rubble and 3 inch crushed stone compacted with a 20 pound hammer. John Delgado, who was in charge of my apprenticeship, came over and approved the work in its early stages and after it was completed. On the left, the wall is tied in with the neighbor's existing concrete block wall which is glued in place - not my work.
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I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!