Working With Natural Stone.


Introduction: Working With Natural Stone.

About: Self employed Stonemason.

Here are some of my stone projects,
All the stone used here is schist which comes from various sites in Otago, New zealand.
These projects have been built 25min Drive from Queenstown which is a world famous tourist destination in NZ.

Dry stone free standing wall.

Use a batter of 15 deg,
Follow String lines to keep wall strait.

Step 1: Pizza Oven Area.

Natural stone paving on ground.
Veneer work around pizza oven.
Walls and seating in dry stone with top slabs mortared on to keep them solid.

Step 2: Dry Stone Retaining Wall.

Best to keep a 15 deg batter with dry stone retaining walls to hold the weight of the soil behind.
Use a stake at each end with a string line to keep strait.

Step 3: Veneering

Here's a veneer wall with a circle window going in.
Make a template which you build the window around. leave it in until the wall is built, the top of the arch will fall if there is sloppy workmanship.
Keep quite a dry mortar mix so it is strong.
Use a string or large square to keep all stones pointing to the center.
Try to keep all mortar joints the same and horizontal lines strait in the rest of the wall.
String lines are also important to keep the wall strait.

Step 4: Paving.

Now normal paving just looks boring.
I would choose natural stone to work with any day of the week.



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    I'm more interested in the oven, do you have an instructable on that?

    1 reply

    Coming soon, keep an eye out : )

    Great work! My brother lives in the berkshires of western Massachusetts (USA) and his 45acres are just full of mica schist, Is that the same type of schist rock you work with here? It's nice to see things done right. Out of curiosity where did you learn?

    1 reply

    Hey, most types of schist from around the word will be slightly different depending on what settled in that spot millions of years ago, but from wiki :
    The word schist is derived from the Greek word σχίζειν meaning "to split", which is a reference to the ease with which schists can be split along the plane in which the platy minerals lie.
    I learned and qualified in stonemasonry in Otago, New Zealand.

    would love to learn how to do that-looks like a lot of work

    1 reply

    Sure does take a lot of time... will be standing long after i die so worth the effort IMO

    Beautiful~~~It truly is an art in and of itself!

    15 degree batter board is an angle measured from the true vertical, or a 75 degrees sloped wall face. This is for an unmortar wall. Wall base should be a minimum of one course deep, however thickness of rock you used, 6" or 24"-deep, 18 to 24"-wide. Please see Dry Stone Conservancy in UK or in Kentucky for more instructions or Stoneux Society for help.

    nice pictures but there is no instructable...some tips yes but no explanations XP

    2 replies

    Hey, most of these projects are still a work in progress, i will be adding a lot more detail and pix when i have the time. Cheers.

    But teach us HOW, the project doesn't have to be finished for you to explain how it is done. Also, what is "use a batter of 15 deg" mean?

    This is a lost art. It needs some good Instructables.