The Pacific Northwest is having a beautiful stretch of weather for Spring. We traditionally have a cold and gray June so May is feeling pretty good right now. The late winter months were spent installing herringbone brick paths in the yard of an historic Victorian home. The paths are a perfect compliment to the house and the time period.
There have been quite a few repairs lately as well. Interesting to see how chimneys holdup over time. I revisited a chimney I built over ten years ago to assess the condition of the cap stone on the top of the chimney. The 300 piece of Montana mossy sandstone had large fissures in a few places. I had a steel plate fabricated, removed the stone, epoxied the plate to the stone support pillars and reset the stone. I epoxied the crack and clamped it tight. With the steel plate that reads as a shadow from below, the stone can remain up there safely for many years to come.
The most recent project is part of the client’s vision for an outdoor heat stove and pizza oven. A recycled Heatilator with some welded additions form the shell for an oven and chimney made with hundred year old brick with rock highlights. Working with the owner’s guidance was a real pleasure and I am happy to say the end result exceeds expectations. The idea has become reality. We incorporated some Craftsman detailing such as the extended corners and angle irons that are both functional and decorative.
Also in the past months I have completed some bluestone paving projects. One is a square and rectangle pattern under a porte cochere and the other is a diamond pattered walk from the driveway to the front door.
As the weather turned rainy and cold last week I was prepared to dig in for the wet Autumn weather. But this week the warm weather is back along with Summer. I am definitely not ready for Summer to end. It has been a summer of small but meaningful projects. Working outside has been very enjoyable indeed and I have gotten to do a little bit of everything. Brick planters, recycled sandstone from Tacoma, door front wood storage and others.
It has a busy couple of months at Artisan Masonry. The Open House at the Boy Scout Cabin was a great success with lots of people and favorable reviews. I spent the past five weeks installing ledgestone on a house in the woods that had entirely too many trees blocking the little bit of sun we tend to get around here. I also went back to a house from last year and did some raised planting beds. It was a fun project for a great person. I also buttoned up some cultured stone in Port Ludlow and am moving on to a chimney repair and then a cobbled paver patio. Sun is out! (for now)
The soil at my own house is completely absent of rocks. I often envied the people who unearthed nice glacial stones while gardening…until my last job. I have never had a more difficult time digging. The excavation unearthed hundreds of stones, one of which weighed about 700lbs. We were able to get it above grade with my trusty Toyota jack, then used planks and pipes to roll it near the house as a place to sit. After the area was FINALLY graded, by hand in some really nice weather, I was able to define a nice outdoor space with Roman Stack Stone (concrete product), crushed granite gravel, and stones for a fire pit and as a ring around an existing shrub. In the end it was a dramatic transformation that I am quite pleased with.
Only a few more days and the Boy Scout Chimney will be finished. After a sunny vacation in Florida to recharge the batteries I completed the inside and acid washed. With the scaffold down and the mortar smears gone, it looks monumental and stunning. I am now through the roof with the block work and flashing complete. All that is left is the exterior rock work and then we can light this candle!
Well I am about two days away from having the inside completely river rocked to the ceiling. About 30 inches on one side, a little more on the other. It is going well but tough hauling big stones up that high. After I finish the interior, I will continue the block work from the roof and go up two feet above the peak. Getting there.