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View Full Version : Ancient skills in modern (and poor economic) times?


Bull Moose
05-28-2009, 08:54 PM
I am in the middle of a project to save my property from gradual erosion caused by poor drainage and lots of rain. Newt and others offered me some great advice to get me started and the project is turning out pretty well.

The catch with the project is that I have virtually no money for it. My wife and I both recently lost our jobs. So every bit of dirt was hand dug, every stone hand sorted. No rentals, no purchases. On the plus side we are very green. Only the gas in the lawnmower (but it is an old push hand mower, not even self propelled for 1.5 acres) :dizzy:

However, we did want to bring in some really large landscaping stones. The big, big ones you get from quarries. We wanted to get one for the center of our rain garden that could serve as an outdoor picnic area. In my area the prices per ton for these stones is surprisingly inexpensive.

While I was at the quarry I had an idea. Retaining wall stones cost a fortune for as much linear footage as I am covering. Looks nice but is just not possible in our current situation. However, if I were able to CUT the stone myself from the big slabs I could fashion (with great effort and time) my own walls or borders for a fraction of the cost.

I don't mind the time or hard work. I just hand dug a trench 195' long in horribly compacted, stony, and root filled dirt. If I have to sit there with a masonry hammer and a small chisel and chip away for hours I will do it.

I just don't know how. Does anyone?

PatriotLandscape
05-29-2009, 08:13 PM
well you would need a masonry drill and rock splitters and a lot of time weeks of splitting to get stones you want.

amscapes03
05-29-2009, 09:14 PM
Make sure to post pictures of the finished wall. I'll check back to this thread in the year 2020 to see them. Best of luck!!!

DVS Hardscaper
05-29-2009, 11:01 PM
I think I'd be lookin for a job.

Bull Moose
05-30-2009, 01:48 AM
I think I'd be lookin for a job.

That's not really funny.

My wife and I were both laid off. We live in an area that is declining and they announce major cutbacks almost daily. I do what I can to keep myself busy and to try and build equity in my home in the hopes that one day things may be better. Next time you make fun of someone who is unemployed you may want to think twice before typing and just be thankful that you have a job.

If anyone has anything helpful to add, I am all ears.

burnthecouch
05-30-2009, 09:12 AM
That's not really funny.

My wife and I were both laid off. We live in an area that is declining and they announce major cutbacks almost daily. I do what I can to keep myself busy and to try and build equity in my home in the hopes that one day things may be better. Next time you make fun of someone who is unemployed you may want to think twice before typing and just be thankful that you have a job.

If anyone has anything helpful to add, I am all ears.


I think what DVS is trying to say is you don't realize what you are getting yourself into with a project like this, and I'll second that notion. Having just completed roughly 200 linear feet of large quarry stone boulders (3 to 5 feet high) which maxed out both my skidsteer and mini in terms of sheer boulder size and weight while placing them. On paper it sounds good, but when you end up with a triaxle load of boulders in your yard things will look very differently to you.

I don't doubt that your plan to use natural stone and boulders to fix your erosion issues will work, its been done for centuries, but I doubt the ability to build the great wall of china all over again without a lot of man power or machines. Both of which i'm not seeing or reading in your posts.

2low4NH
05-30-2009, 02:26 PM
have fun. you need a drill and feather wedges as well as a big hammer and some carbide tipped chisels. the chisels are in the two hundred range the bits are in the fifty range the drill is around four and feather wedges around a hundred. good luck learning how to cut the stone i have been a stone mason for thirteen years i am also the fourth generation of the company i still hae a hard time cutting stone.

bigslick7878
05-30-2009, 05:34 PM
I still cant get over using a push mower to cut 1.5 acres....and you actually have to "push" the mower on top of it all.

How long does something like that take? 5 hours? More?

Bull Moose
05-30-2009, 06:32 PM
I still cant get over using a push mower to cut 1.5 acres....and you actually have to "push" the mower on top of it all.

How long does something like that take? 5 hours? More?

About 8 hours a week. I get a lot of rain here so I get these random and sudden bursts of growth. I generally need to cut every 4 days if I wanted to keep it perfect.

This being said, it's pretty decent exercise and with an Ipod and good headphones its not that horrible.

Bull Moose
05-30-2009, 06:37 PM
have fun. you need a drill and feather wedges as well as a big hammer and some carbide tipped chisels. the chisels are in the two hundred range the bits are in the fifty range the drill is around four and feather wedges around a hundred. good luck learning how to cut the stone i have been a stone mason for thirteen years i am also the fourth generation of the company i still hae a hard time cutting stone.

I don't doubt the difficulty at all. What I do doubt is that requirements for diamond tips, carbide chisels, power drills, etc for an art that has existed for 10,000 years or more.

Admittedly I don't have an army of slave laborers at my command, but I'm also not building an ancient fortress or a great pyramid.

From what I can gather, this is what I need to do.


Pack a lunch
Charge the Ipod
Find the grain.
Score the stone in several places along the grain line
Chisel away deep enough to use the feather and wedges
Use the feather and wedges with a nice 2.5 lb hammer
Tap tap tap gently and steadily across all the pressure points
Don't breath in dust
Pray


If I'm missing something please let me know.

2low4NH
05-30-2009, 07:02 PM
no thats about it but you wanna score the grain all the way around. good luck finding the feather wedges you need for cheap. you will also go through alot of te "feathers"
theres no gentle tapping either. hit each wedge a couple times move to the next one. trust me you need carbide chisels no way around it trust me.

2low4NH
05-30-2009, 07:03 PM
i am with you on the tough economic times as well but trust me a few bucks spent on the right tools saves alot of pain.

burnthecouch
05-30-2009, 07:16 PM
I'll second or third that carbide chisels at this point. Stone is a lot harder than you think and the cheap stuff wont last or won't stay sharp for long.

DVS Hardscaper
05-31-2009, 12:24 PM
That's not really funny.

My wife and I were both laid off. We live in an area that is declining and they announce major cutbacks almost daily. I do what I can to keep myself busy and to try and build equity in my home in the hopes that one day things may be better. Next time you make fun of someone who is unemployed you may want to think twice before typing and just be thankful that you have a job.

If anyone has anything helpful to add, I am all ears.


Not by any stretch "making fun" of ANYONE. Keep in mind, I own a hardscape business. Hardscapes are a luxury. Always one of the first industries to feel the slightest turbulance when the economy changes even the slightest.

You're unemployed. I come from a different upbringing. The time you spend playing in the yard is time that could be spent finding employement. Delivering pizzas. Working at the deli at the local super market. While you're splitting stone and making it all pretty - someone else is meeting with an H.R. Director of a Fortune 500 Company and discussing salary, benefits, incentives, etc...........

And yep, I feel thats pretty "helpful".




.

wurkn with amish
05-31-2009, 02:47 PM
wow I actually agree with DVS on something! Anywho.... Your unemployed so no money coming in for an undetermined amount of time, yet your going to spend a huge amount of time and energy(and some money) playing with rocks and not looking for employment... Right? Call me crazy but I think you got your priorities mixed up.

2low4NH
05-31-2009, 05:01 PM
i have to agree with that to a point. i get laid off every winter on my masonry job. i know come spring i will be making money during the time off i work on my show truck. the truck is a luxury but i know when to spend and if needed where to find work. if he knows he is back to work next month then so be it.

fool32696
06-01-2009, 03:00 PM
I agree 100% with DVS. Find some kind of work, nothing will ever happen if you play in the yard and hope for it to come to you. If you area is in that bad of shape you will never see a return on any of this hard work.

fool32696
06-01-2009, 03:10 PM
I'm kind of tired of hearing people blame their situation on "poor economic times". The only ones complaining seem to be the lazy dead weight that didn't save or plan ahead. When companies lose sales they have to trim the fat. The hard working, key employees are the last to go. While everyone seems to be complaining I've more than doubled my sales in the first 5 months of 09 as compared to the same time period in 08. If you're motivated and work hard, employment shouldn't be an issue. You may not make more than $8 or 9 an hour, but you'll have a job.