The stonework course this summer (2017) is August 11-13 – three days. $300 covers the tuition and lodging.
In the event you are also taking Basics of Log Construction August 16-25, free lodging is provided between the courses.
During these workshops, usually one per summer, students learn how to construct various structures utilizing stone, incorporating techniques that may be carried over into building or covering foundations, barbeque fireplaces, walls, ponds, and waterfalls.
The 2012 session built a pond and small waterfall. Shown is Andy Burton of Minnesota.
May 2007 stonework students: Jennifer James (Illinois), Tony Chmiel (Wisconsin), Pat Simeon (Ohio), Ted Laufenberg, Wisconsin.
May 2006 participants, l-r: Gary Barker, Jon Hendrickson, Lyle Sorenson, Shane Fiore, Beth Cronin, Sam Billmeier, Tom Jensen, Dr. Gary Carlson
- stone selection (size, color and shape)
- moving and lifting stones
- digging, hauling, and screening of appropriate sand and gravel
- mixing concrete and mortar
- foundation footings
- stone placement in terms of design and structure
- laying up stone
- working with the rocks, in most cases, without splitting them
- cleaning rocks with abrasives, detergents and chemicals
- resources: vendors selling materials
No previous experience is assumed for these workshops. They are specifically for beginners – do-it-yourselfers, not experienced masons. Toward the end of the course, we spend part of a day on field trips – viewing examples of interesting stonework around the area.
Students must provide their own construction hardhat, shovel, garden or mixing hoe, garden rake, small trowel, wire and scrub brush, rubber boots, kneepads, heavy rubber gloves and protective eye, mouth, and ear wear.
A resource and reading list is provided before the course.
Accommodations in log cabins for participants is provided without charge. Couples will have their own cabin (more information on lodging).
Required tools for the stonework courses:
Measuring tape – any length
Mason’s line and line level
Carpenter’s level – any length
Plastic tarp to cover your tools
Rubber gloves – heavy work style
Lots of old clothes – no shorts or sweatpants
Rubber boots – preferably with sturdy toe
Hardhat and eye and ear protection
standard wire brush (2)
Long-handled scrub brush (2)
Shovel – long handled – for digging and scooping cement
five-gallon pails – for your tools (3)
Optional: wheelbarrow (only if you have extra room), 5-8 lb. sledgehammer, brick or geologist’s hammer, handsaw, grubaxe or pick.
Personal gear (but not safety gear) is the same list as for log building students
Great Lakes School of Log Building
1350 Snowshoe Trail, Isabella, MN 55607