1 A crew from Luppino Landscaping and Masonry came to evaluate the stonework around the farm. These bluestone pavers shifted over time because of inclement weather and growing roots underneath. http://luppinolm.com
2 The crew checked the level on all the bluestone pavers to see which ones needed adjusting and repositioning.
3 Some of them only required minor tamping - hammering down to make them level and secure.
4 Others needed to be pried up and repositioned completely. These three-inch thick bluestone pavers can be very heavy. Large pieces could easily exceed 100-pounds each.
5 Once a paver was lifted, stonemasons were able to see what was needed to make it level again. A lot of the stone dust underneath the paver clumped on one side making it difficult for the paver to sit flat on the ground.
6 The area was scraped and leveled with a one-inch fresh layer of stone dust.
7 Stone dust is the finest type of crushed stone. It is crushed nearly into a powder. It forms a strong, non-porous surface, so it not only protects the areas from moisture, but it also keeps weeds and grass from growing in between the stone pavers.
8 Once the stone dust was smoothed out, the paver was gently lowered and repositioned.
9 A crowbar was used to help lower the paver and save the stonemason's fingers from getting caught. These tools are also helpful in positioning the paver because it is placed through the joint and underneath the stone.
10 The paver was then tamped down with a mallet on a piece of scrap wood, so the stone was not damaged. This packs the stone dust down and sets the paver comfortably and securely in its place.
11 All the other pavers were checked and leveled properly, and then stone dust was applied to all the walkway's joints. I like the rustic look of this natural bluestone.
12 At this walkway, the alignment on one side of the stone path shifted, again mostly from the growing roots underneath and the harsh winters in this area.
13 Mason's twine was staked on both sides of the walk and pulled tightly to grade level height. This served as a guide for the masons, so the pavers could be lined up properly.
14 As you can see from this photo, not only was this paver jutting out of line, but it was pushed up, making it un-level with the other bluestone pieces.
15 The stonemason removed the paver and cleaned up the area underneath, removing debris and clumps of old stone dust.
16 The adjacent paver also needed to be realigned. This is the challenge of stonemasonry - once one piece is repositioned, all the others need to be moved as well. One end of a crowbar, also known as a pry bar, was squeezed underneath the stone, so masons could lift the stone more easily.
17 A new level layer of stone dust was put down under the pavers. An inch or two of stone dust provides a secure and durable foundation.
18 The paver was lowered back to its spot and repositioned; however, it still wasn't level with the other stones.
19 The piece was lifted and the fresh layer of stone dust was smoothed over again with a trowel.
20 Stonemasonry requires a lot of patience - there is a lot of trial and error before the pieces fit perfectly straight and level.
21 Neighboring pavers that shifted sideways were also adjusted, so joints in between were equal. This mason used a tuck pointer, or joint filler, to scrape out old stone dust from the joints to loosen the paver, so it could be properly positioned.
22 The bluestone was tamped down before new stone dust was applied to the walkway joints.
23 The pavers must be completely aligned in order for the path to look its best. Using an edger, this mason moved the paver slightly, so it was perfectly aligned with the others.
25 The wall at the entrance to my farm was damaged by this year's harsh winter. Part of the dry stacked fieldstone fell apart and had to be completely re-stacked. Stone walls were originally constructed by farmers as they cleared their fields for farming.
26 Stones were removed by hand, one by one, nearly all the way to the bottom - it took quite a bit of time to do this.
27 And then by hand, one by one, the stones were returned, and repositioned just right, so the top of the wall was completely level.
28 Dependable mason's twine was again secured at both ends of the wall to serve as a guide for the masons. Mason's twine is usually made of 100-percent filament nylon, which is resistant to abrasion, rot, and mildew.
29 As the stones were stacked, smaller pieces were positioned as shims for the larger pieces. All the stones were wedged in tightly to create a well-formed and level wall.
30 Some pieces needed to be chiseled to fit tight crevices. These masons knew exactly how much stone to chisel in order to create the pieces they needed.
31 Larger, more attractive stones were placed on the outside and smaller stones were wedged underneath them.
32 It is quite impressive to see how the stones fit together so perfectly for a very level, straight wall.