GOT PERFECT STONE FOR FREE AND GOT 3000 lb. OF BUILDING DONE IN THE FIRST 5 HOURS
Last night a decision was made to build a dry stone planter for growing garlic and other heat loving plants. I promised the lady that I would get on it first thing in the morning.
I didn't have any stone or any leads on stone ------- Good angular stuff can be quite expensive at the landscape supply and would make the whole thing cost prohibitive. So I started the day at Starbucks, on the computer looking through the freebee ads. I called on a few free fill ads, always asking how many people had already gone at the pile. The easy pickings of nice square-ish rock are always the first to go. What's left are mountains of potato, peanut and pyramid shaped pieces that don't stack worth a damn. So it's important to be there first.--- At about 10 am someone posted a new ad with 5 tons of stone to give away in the 1800 block of Fairfield Rd. My job is in the 1300 block of Fairfield Rd. By this time of day every self respecting stone mason is at work already. I was the first person to call and I wasted no time in getting there.
The rock is much better than expected. Usually when people have rock to give away it has been recently blasted or a machine has pushed it into a muddy mess. This stuff is in a nice clean pile up slope from the driveway. It was blasted about 50 years ago. Some of it has lichens growing on it. The new wall will look well settled-in a year from now.
1. THE GIANT PILE OF PERFECT BASALT
2. STACKED ON THE TRUCK.--- (if you zoom in you can see that I maintain the brake lights with duct tape because water was leaking in and the screw holes have rusted out.) ---The slope worked for me. The tailgate is at knee hight and dropping. Running the rock down hill beats the hell out of going up. Some of the rocks are up to 175 lb. I used my legs when lifting and was able to place the largest on the truck by hooking the lip of the wheelbarrow onto the tailgate and up ending. This is the first of 3 truck loads. Two loads on day one and one tomorrow.
4. VARIETY OF SHAPES AND SIZES --- Most of the really big rocks are somewhat square-ish. A wide assortment of smaller rocks and tapered flakes work to shim them and to fill voids. The flat ones in the foreground are reserved as cap stones for the top of the wall. The wall has gobbled up the equivalent of a garbage can full of flakes and rubble fill and it will use that much again before I'm done.
5.RUBBLE INFILL --- The larger rocks are resting flat face to flat face. Rubble rock is dumped in afterward to fill up odd shaped voids. A cap rock will lock all of this together. A layer of gravel will be placed over landscape fabric on the inside of the planter. This will prevent water from washing mud onto the flagstone walkway.
6. BIG FLAT ONES ON THE BOTTOM --- It's tempting to save really big nuggets for the top of the wall but the nicest rocks belong on the bottom where only about 15% of their surface will ever show. Although the face is fairly vertical , there are several rocks here that run deep into the planter. If long skinny rocks were stretched along the length of the wall they would eventually be dislodged.
7. ALMOST DONE. A few more shims and the outer face will be complete. Three of the cap stones will make benches. The largest is about 4 sq. ft. I'm being extra careful to shim the benches so they don't wiggle.
8. THIS IS AN INTERIOR VIEW. Some rubble has been added to fill voids. Odd shaped and lower grade rocks are used here to buttress the wall. More gravel will be packed into the inner face before the soil is leveled.
9. BARNACLE ROCKS --- I never gather these from the beach. But most demolitions that I do contain a few of these that others have grabbed. The guilty party will no doubt roast in hell for this.
I have 7 hours into this so far, with two more hours of placing mesh, shoveling and tweaking left. It's noon on day 2. The muscles feel better now than at 8 this morning. ----- I promised to help somebody move so will re-visit the stone work in the afternoon.
THE PHOTOS--- Something is messing with photo quality. I have a good camera and everything looks so much better before I wifi them to the world.
10. THE COMPLETED INTERIOR--- Lots of small rubble was used to lock everything together. Then coarse sand was swept over the rubble. After a few rains I expect it will all get stiffer. Filling it up with soil will also contribute to solidity.
11. THIS IS THE FINISHED PRODUCT
12. ANOTHER VIEW OF THE FINISHED PLANTER --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
All done and time to collect the money. In the end I've got just over 9 hours into this project. I'm a little sore but I'm tough. Didn't pinch any fingers or do any face plants. I couldn't have asked for better weather, site layout or material supply. This planter is in the yard of a friend/customer. the total cost will be just under $400. Although I've demolished plenty of stonework, this is the first thing I've built from it since I did a natural cobble stone driveway 14 years ago. It contains about 4500 lb. or 2 1/4 tons of material. BEFORE STARTING THIS I WATCHED 10 MINUTES OF YOUTUBE STONE BUILDING as an educational refresher.
I STARTED GATHERING ROCK AT 10:30 AM YESTERDAY. FINISHED LEVELING SOIL AT 4 PM TODAY. To quote Larry the cable guy --- "Get er Done"
Based on my production level on this I think I should be able to build a home foundation at the rate of at least one ton per hour when using materials of similar quality if it's already on site.
Now I'm going to investigate the idea of building foundations with loose rock piled inside Gambion cages.
This morning found me temporarily unemployed. A planned job fell through. (That's a polite way of saying that some di-k wasted my time.)
So I decided to go on Used Victoria to see what treasures were being given away. The 200 bricks sitting on the back of my truck are the result. They will bring $130 delivered to a bricklayer's jobsite. Total time will be under 2 1/2 hours. Nothing to write home about but not bad for an otherwise lost morning.
The second photo is the reject pile. 2/3 of the bricks were not good enough for the intended purpose. Usually 75% of brick piles are useful. When conditions are right with a generous supply of easy to clean bricks and a pre-sale,I'm able to produce $75 per hr. Not a bad way to get some exercise.
I've had many demolitions where the timeframe forces me to give away mountains of brick and rock, so I'm not usually on this end of the transaction.
I had to stop by today because I'm moving their hot tub to a new location. The planter is really settled in now. Plants and rocks always go well together. I didn't do any of the planting, but when I met a mutual friend, they mentioned the beautiful raised flower garden as though it was all me.