Building dry stone walls is dead easy. You basically place one stone on top of another, or as our American cousins like to say, you “stack ’em”. And it really is that simple. Except that you need to make sure that you cover your joins – “one on two; two on one” as the old-timers used to say. And you need to ensure your foundations are strong. And that the line is straight. And that there is sufficient hearting – “what is hearting?” Oh, and put in throughs (remind me what they are again???). And make sure the copes are pinned and tight. And don’t forget the batter. Batter? Eh?
So, lets recap. Building dry stone walls is dead easy. If you know how to do it properly in the first place, that is. Doing it well is another matter entirely. It takes practice. Years of practice to build up your skills. The example here is of a properly built wall – straight lines, decent batter, tight copes, throughs, all joins covered etc etc.
So why is it that construction companies and main contractors continually feel that they can do they work themselves?
The images below are from a walling job that I didn’t get as the main contractor felt that my professional’s price was too much. They said that their own guys could do it just as well. These images of a wall which is less than 2 years old proves that you get what you pay for. Dry stone walling is a skilled profession. And like any job worth doing, get someone who knows how to do it in order to do it properly.
This is the worst cheek-end that I have ever seen. It is wrong on so many counts. From the foundations to copes, there is nothing right with this.
And this is meant to be a free-standing section. It literally is a pile of stones. How anyone could think that this was acceptable work, I don’t know. Perhaps they felt that having a fence behind would make this look rustic? This piece of wall joins in with an existing section of stone wall, that whilst it has seen better days, at least has some form to it. The use of stone is so poor. Nothing is locked together and everything moves. Horrible.