Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Stone Age - the mix up

Here's a view of our front yard from the third floor of the "big tower." I've been sorting our stones according to size in order to help the masons. This wasn't necessary, or even very helpful, when laying the random-type stonework on the back side of our house, but...

A few years ago when I was in Germany, I noticed that old castles had different styles of stonework on the same structure. I think this was due in part to the fact that many castles had been destroyed or ruined, only to be rebuilt many years later by different mason's with different stones. At least that's the story I told my wife and the stone mason's to sell them on the idea of doing a different style of stonework on the "little tower" of our house. Left over from the stone mason that disappeared more than a year ago, were several pallets of "pitch faced" stone. It took a lot of blood-sweat-and-tears (much of it my own) to create those chiseled stones, and I thought it would be a shame to place them in our walls backwards - like we had been doing on the backside of the house. To mix things up, we have decided to deliberately build the "little tower" portion of our house with a different style of stonework.

Even though the stones themselves come from the same layers of rock and have the same chemical composition, the styles are very different. One is more "coursed" than "random" and uses "pitch faced stone" rather than "split field stone." On the left side of this picture, you can see where the "random" stonework meets the "coursed" stonework.

Rather than put a "control joint" (or vertical seem of mortar) at each (135 degree) corner of the tower, I have asked the masons to weave the stones together, just as they have done in the rest of the wall. To me, it seems like the only proper way to do it and it will undoubtedly be stronger. On the other hand, it is a lot more work. I volunteered to help cut and face the corner stones. Here are two corner stones that I made for the wall. Although I have no pictures of it yet, the masons have already reached the windows, where the stone fitting/cutting is even more tedious. For instance, all of the stones have to be 8" in depth in order to hide the air gap (between the tyvek and the stone) where the stone surrounds the windows. Today, we spent the entire day cutting stone in preparation for tomorrow's work around the windows.


Anonymous Geoff. said...

Hi, I am currently moving through your blog, (starting from the earliest post). It is annoying that the blog can only be formatted this way,I have the same problem. I see now how you mounted the table on the splitter using springs. I myself intend to build one of these as well some day, but I have already bitten off more than I can chew!. Some time back we paid a chap to come in and split some of our bluestone (basalt) and his impressive machine is shown in my posting:
His table was held up by a simple handle operated cam system, when the blade was lowered onto the stone with enough pressure to hold it, the table was dropped out of the way.
Cheers, Geoff.

April 15, 2012 at 8:38 PM  

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