Landscape Contractor / Design Build Maintain

MAR 2018

LC/DBM provides landscape contractors with Educational, Imaginative and Practical information about their business, their employees, their machines and their projects.

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Above Russ Beardsley, the owner of Bor- rowed Ground in Bellingham, Washing- ton, predominantly uses hammers and chisels to create his hardscape projects such as this backyard transformation in New Westminster, British Columbia. The lower patio is made of basalt. On the raised portion, the interior stones are var- iegated tumbled Pennsylvania bluestone. The caps, which were cut level with points (inset, left) and flat, thin chisels (inset,right), are huckleberry basalt, as are the stairs. Everything is dry laid, which works with friction to keep things in place. The key is to create as much contact as you can side-to-side, transfer- ring load left-to-right, front-to-back. 24 LC DBM W Working natural stone by hand, though time consuming, can produce some of the most impressive, eye-catching hard - scape creations. Technique is key to the masonry craft but so too are the tools of the trade. Human Power Russ Beardsley is a stonemason from Bellingham, Washington, who eschews even pneumatic tools. "I have projects where I probably should have used them but they were one-off projects where just a hammer and chisel are still fine," he states. Beardsley came to his craft in a cir - cuitous way. He has a fine art degree in sculpture and for a time was a metal fabricator in Denver. Wanting to work outdoors more, he explored landscaping and ornithology, the study of birds. After working with a discontented bird special - ist, Beardsley chose the former. At first he concentrated on mainte - nance, and as happens, customers started requesting patios, walls and the like. "I would tell them 'I don't have enough of the education, let me learn about it and I will let you know.'" Beardsley went to workshops at the Dry Stone Conservancy in Kentucky and sessions put on by the Stone Foundation in New Mexico. Workshops with master builders around North America followed. Stone Fest, an annual gathering hosted by stone supplier Marenakos, was anoth - er great proving ground. There Beardsley went from student to teacher, eventually instructing attendees at a high level for a number of years. During those times, a representative from tool manufacturer Trow & Holden would bring the com - pany's wares and demonstrate, among other things, the appropriate use and care of them. He would lend Beardsley tools to evaluate for the day, and thus began a valuable relationship between the two. Jordan Keyes, the tool-making compa - ny's director of sales and business devel- opment gives a little bit of its background. "It was started in 1890 as a manufac - turer of tools for the Vermont granite in- dustry. Now the majority of business is with higher-end landscape contractors and pro stonemasons doing high-end resi - dential and commercial work." Striking Work Above, Right These large quartzite pav- ers leading up to the house were shaped by hand. Reclaimed granite curbing was used around the plant beds on the right and reclaimed granite cobblestones were installed in an area on the left. The steps are granite and were cut with a band saw. Borrowed Ground also applied the quartz- ite veneer, cut with grinders and shaped with brick hammers, on the house. by Mike Dahl, LC/DBM Using Masonry Hand Tools

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