I've been building retaining wall for almost 10 years, and there has got to be a better way. I was wondering if any of you guys had any tricks or tips for making the base course of a wall easier to install. I've tried a few different ways, but all I can say is that it's a time consuming, slow, and stressfull process. Right now the system I use is pretty old school. I start by excavating the area with either a mini-ex or the skid, and lay down a base of compacted stone, using a thin layer of some stone dust for setting the blocks on. I use stringlines to keep the wall straight, and 3 different sizes of carpenters levels to make sure my blocks are all level. It seems like I spend most of my time adding or subtracting tiny amounts of base material, moving the blocks in and out several times, and swatting the heck out of the blocks with a big deadblow hammer. It's a very slow frustrating, process and It's about enough to make me want to quit, but my walls always turn out nice, so it's a proven system. Any ideas to help speed up the process or to make life easier would be greatly appreciated.