The Stone Eye - Three Dry Stone Building Styles

Showers every day added up to 2” of precipitation and sloppy working conditions at the stone eye project this week. Safety glasses fogged and the mud sucked at my boots but I was glad to be outside making progress on the construction. The lead-sinker hanging guide-point system is proving to be very reliable and flexible. When I need to move a group of points out of the way to pitch stone into the center, I simply swing them up to the wire grid and hook them there temporarily. As I finish an area of stone work I unclip and remove the point lines.

Moving into a new area of the construction I string up more sinkers. The distance they drop down from the overhead grid is determined by their master-plan X/Y/Z coordinates. For instance, where the #74 X axis intersects with the #15 Y axis the sinker hangs 34” below the grid, that point being the height of the stone work at that specific location. I’m always looking toward the next two or three points in space as I set a stone because it has to be aligned to conform with the developing curved surface.Creating compound curves in vertically set dry stone requires most pieces to be hammer trimmed. Sometimes the face needs shaping. More often the sides need work to create a more pie-shaped piece to fit snugly with the stone coming before and the one coming after. The stones rest on each other’s edges, or, as the curve leaves the side of the construction and becomes the top surface, they rest on the crushed-stone center packing. In the case of this sculpture, the style of walling goes from horizontal coursed walling, to vertical random walling, to edge-set paving. 

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