- April 6, 2011 at 3:02 pm #42600
Thinking out loud.
I have been looking but I haven’t been very successful at finding how people used to unload their heavier rocks and maneuver them from the stoneboat to put it precisely in place on a stonewall. Was it done manually or was animal power and some form of simple machine or tool used. I’m thinking a very sturdy tripod with pulley but that seems too cumbersome for the application and more trouble to move the rigging then it would be to lift the rocks manually in most cases. unless it was made of steel and of reasonable weight. Anyone have any ideas on this? Thanks!April 6, 2011 at 3:59 pm #66658sickle hocksParticipant
I’ve never worked with stone.
I do have a reprint of an 1892 book called ‘Fences, Gates, and Bridges: A practical manual.’ It has a brief chapter on stone and sod fences.
Amongst some information on laying stone they show a ‘truck for moving stones’. I don’t know if you could find this online. The truck is very low to the ground with four small iron wheels. Two handles extend to the rear, wheel-barrow style. Heavy planks are laid as a ramp to the top of the wall. The truck is pushed up this ramp, and as it reaches the top, the front pair of wheels drop into a notch carved into the end of the ramp-planks. At this point the truck is lifted by the handles, with the front wheels in the notch as the fulcrum…the stone slides off and onto the top of the wall.
Watch your back 🙂 ….April 6, 2011 at 4:02 pm #66659sickle hocksParticipant
the book’s online if you want to have a look…you can click on the ‘read online’ hyperlinkApril 6, 2011 at 5:36 pm #66654
I have seen a hinged stoneboat before that was designed (I think) to pick up and haul heavy stones with animal traction. I have attached a link beolow where a guy is using one of these to haul round bales with a tractor. I have never persaonlly used one of these types before, but it might be just what you are thinking of. The simple design would be easy to make.April 7, 2011 at 11:36 am #66649
Thanks sickle hocks I’ll have to check that out.April 8, 2011 at 2:52 am #66653Ed ThayerParticipant
Good question, I have often wondered the same thing. It amazes me how they put all that stone together and mad it stay. I love walking along stone walls when I am hunting and often stop and sit on one to take a rest. I have never built one and would think there is a trick or two we may never know.April 8, 2011 at 1:35 pm #66655
Hmmm… It’s hard guess what might be the best system here without knowing more specifics… I might be tempted to rig up a small portable “crane” along the lines of the link below. The long rope on this setup as well as the ability of the attachment point to pivot would allow you to deliver stones very precisely to a fairly wide area without moving the base. Also, if you put the base on skids, it would be fairly easy to move the crane after you finish a section of wall. Of course your stones will surely vary in weight, so I might make the counterweight capable of being loaded with different weights (or distances from the pivot point) to counterbalance a specific stone. You could also use a comealong (or similar) to lift the load by pulling on the counterweight end of the arm, but I think for stone the size I am guessing yours are, I would prefer the counterweight system. With the counterweight, you could pull the stone down by hand and twist or rotate it into position before it’s released. It would make it alot easier if there was another person to operate the crane while you position… Just an idea. It would be easy to make something like this and you probably already have some scrap around that you can do it with…
PS. I have never used this exact system, but I have used a tripod to move and position stones for as garden project using a tripod before. I probably spent 90% of the time moving the tripod around and making sure it was stable, and only maybe 10% of the time lifting rocks… So you are right about this system being slow. Perhaps with a very tall tripod the rope length would give you enough flexibility to cover a decent area with one position by pushing the suspended stone left or right. I would still prefer the crane setup though, and it’s pretty simple.April 8, 2011 at 2:25 pm #66657mitchmaineParticipant
hey andy, i have a photo here in a old book showing a four post frame with hack knees like a small barn frame of two bents girted into a box. it straddles the rockwall and has a chain hoist in the top of it setting fairly large stones on a wall. there is a stoneboat and a pair of horses bringing in stone on the other side. they had a fairly deep trench full of rock to start with so there is quite a bit of rock in a wall that we don’t see that is very important to it staying put. still looks like incredibly hard work.April 8, 2011 at 2:45 pm #66647near horseParticipant
Funny to contemplate this right now as our current computer backdrop is a picture we took of Stonehenge.April 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm #66656
@mitchmaine 26208 wrote:
still looks like incredibly hard work.
Definately, placing heavy stones into precise locations is going to be tough no matter how you do it…
Here’s a somewhat different thought that might be alot easier. You have probably seen those rock filled wire cages the highway crews use to control erosion. You could make some heavy wire cages and simply fill them up with rock. If you are clever about reinforcing the cages to prevent spreading, you could have a nice wall made of rock with perfectly verticle sides. Also, because of the cages, you wouldn’t have to be as careful about rock placement of the size and shape of the rocks/stones involved. In a perfect world, you could use a ramp to elevate your stoneboat above the cage, and push or lever all your rock in without any lifting required.
Actually, now that I think about it, you probably wouldn’t need a full cage. The bottom of the cage would do little and the top would do nothing whatsoever (other than prevent spreading). You could probably get away with two heavy wire fences with heavy wire reinforcements running between the two at regular intervals to prevent the fences from spreading apart. I’m not sure of the forces involved if this fence got very tall, but I bet a field fence would let you get 3 feet or so of height. Maybe even 4 feet would be doable with a reasonable width. It will take alot of rock.April 8, 2011 at 10:55 pm #66651RobinParticipant
There is a book “Stone By Stone”, author, Robert M. Thorson explains the History in New England’s Stone Walls. The walls were “thigh high” as that is about the limit a farmer could stack the stones.
The book is very interesting. Enjoy!
Publisher Walker & company, New York, copyright 2002.
RobinApril 11, 2011 at 1:36 pm #66646April 11, 2011 at 5:13 pm #66650
Thanks guys I’m checking all this this stuff out.May 10, 2011 at 10:45 pm #66660BaystatetomParticipant
Being a diehard ox man I am using my team to pull some heavy stones into the backyard for a retaining wall. But I am using the Egyptian technique of rolling the stones up a ramp on pipes. You can easily move a lot of weight that way.
My friends keep stopping by to see how it is going and so far everybody has asked “why don’t you just use the bucket on your tractor”
They will never get it!May 11, 2011 at 1:50 am #66652JayParticipant
Good for you. Jay
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