A special one-day workshop was offered to the general public by my hosts this week, Hope Builders Group of Elkhart, Indiana. Two masonry contractor companies and a landscape designer attended the boulder wall instruction day. It was fun to get acquainted with local professionals in the trades and help them get acquainted with an unaccustomed building style. Most contemporary stonework done in the region is mortared. It’s a bit of a mind bender for those accustomed to binding stone together with cement to switch to purely gravity.
To make a wall of smooth, rounded boulders and cobbles stand on its own, each stone needs to be a functioning part of the whole. Face stones must be set in a way that sends the weight of their mass toward the center of the wall. Its not enough that they simply have a pretty face, as is the case with mortared stonework. They’re placement must resist the natural tendency of boulders to roll toward open space. They are set for their own security in the wall, and to create advantageous surfaces for setting proceeding courses of stone.
My thanks to Knepp Sand and Stone of New Paris, Indiana for the excellent stone supply and speedy service, Jeff, Simeon, Kenson and Adam of Hope Builders Group for preparation and site stewarding, to workshop participants Lucie, Lester, Laverne, Calvin, Josh and Thom for their enthusiasm and fine work, and to Lois for workshop support - and delicious home-baked sweet rolls.