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Ben Allen

Working with Rock

I'd never really worked with rock before this project. Thankfully, one of my neighbors works for landscapers when they need someone who knows how to cut and shape natural rock. So he gave me a few pointers and helped me pick out the rock at Rhino Materials.

I borrowed a pickup from friends who were generous enough to let me use it. You can see that there's a lot of weight in the back based on how slanted the truck is toward the back. I liked driving the truck. I could get used to it.


Unloading in the back yard. When working with rock,lift smaller loads and just understand that you'll make more trips.


The handy circular saw outfitted with a stone cutting blade works well. Having a cold chisel and hammer on hand is also handy.


You start the cut and there's dust, dust and more dust.


Really at this point it's a good idea to have a mask or respirator. And when cutting stone I always had ear and eye protection.


I made a small T-shaped groove with a cap to hide the electrical cord running into the reservoir.


Essentially I'd cut a length and dig it into place. Then I'd bring over a section of rock and line it up to get the angles right, cut it, and put it in place.


Once in the back I made a small patio out of darker flagstone and the edging rock. This is beneath a large pussy willow tree and the bench that now rests on it is one of my favorite places from which to view the world.


Neighbor Ben Z. who owns a gas powered stone cutting saw let me borrow it. It easily outstrips the circular saw. So much so that it produces a lot more dust. I stepped away after setting it down and got this photo of fall sunlight lighting up the settling dust.


In making the patio I let the shape of the flagstones guide the placement of the edging and interior stones. Part way through I realized that I was making an abstract floral shape. Unlike the fountain, this is truly abstract and has little symmetry.


One piece of the sandstone rock gives a hint of color. An homage to seeds being a small piece of the flower.


Stonework done. I have a few extra pieces left over. What shall I do with them?