Half Log Mantel

The large stones above the firebox went in with rebar pins, epoxy, wire and wood bracing.  The stone work has begun in earnest and very quickly it was time for the mantel.  A log ripped in half was predrilled and slid onto pins that I epoxied into the concrete filled blocks.  It went in very easily and in no time the rocks were tucked underneath it.  The mantel really adds to the rustic beauty of the project.  I am up above the mantel now and the stone is going fast.  Too much stuff in the way for current pictures but soon.stream bedMantel Install mantel full view mantel detail


I am making much progress at the Boy Scout Cabin.  The block work on the inside is finished and into the ceiling.  I have started the river rock work and got the big stones on over the firebox today.  I also got a brand new mixer which helps things hum along.  It is a very fun project and I am excited to keep adding stone.crown mixer grouting stone scout stack river rock


I have started a very exciting project for the new Boy Scout Log Cabin they are building in town.  I am building a 25 foot tall river rock chimney with a Rumford fireplace.  All the materials are on site and we have had three days of great progress.  The firebox is in, the first four feet are grouted and the next four feet are  complete.  It has been very enjoyable so far, can’t wait to get some rock on it.cabinmaterialsMike with Rumford luca boy scouts

Red Bricks/ White Bricks

Inca Red PorchInca Red PorchInca Red PorchWoodland Columnswoodland columnswoodland columns 2Before shot with old painted brickswhite brickswhite bricks 2

Walling sans mortar and mummies

I just finished up a very fun hardscape project using basalt.  I created raised beds around several trees with damaged root systems and also a flagstone path.  Hopefully the amount of soil around the trees will help in their recovery.  I enjoyed stacking the rocks without using mortar and it looks great with all of the plantings in place.  I can’t wait to see the path after all the mosses have grown in between.

On a job I just started, I discovered the mummified remains of either a cat or an otter, not really sure.  It looks like it had been crushed by some concrete.  Eventually this job will be a brick porch.  The concrete work took two days because of the challenges beneath a house from the 1850s.

Rebuilding Rumford

Rumford fireplaces are efficient and well designed.  The Rumford fireplace created a sensation in London when he introduced the idea of restricting the chimney opening to increase the updraught, which was a much more efficient way to heat a room than earlier fireplaces.  This was in the late 18th century.  I like Rumfords and had the task of rebuilding one that was deteriorating from age and use.  The best part are the wolf head tiles that serve as fresh air intake vents.  It has been a couple of weeks of restoration lately as I just wrapped up repointing one side of an 1893 building in downtown Port Townsend.

Long hours equals progress

I took the early ferry and got to the Shoreline job before 8 a.m.  It was another nice day and I was able to get the entire length of the wall underway.  The first section is ready for capping.  I got to put in some cool items today like an iron train wheel, a metal door, and a huge piece of quartz.  I love to use the wall as a place for highlighting special things.  More of the same tomorrow.

Endings and Beginnings

By tomorrow I should be done with a Bitterroot Ledgestone garage veneer that has been very slow going.  The stones are very small so it is hard to see progress but I completed a huge section today.  Tomorrow I work on the narrower side and a shallow arch.


I started a new job over the weekend that is a ferry ride away.  It is worth the commute to work for such appreciative and enthusiastic clients.  I am excited for this project as it is my favorite type of masonry to do, brick and stone mixture.  I poured a footing, laid the block and started the first corner.  It is a nicely shaped wall, gently curving, two feet tall with an opening in the center for stone steps.  More pics to come next week.

The art of deconstruction

I have a very creative client who likes things to be different.  The snaking footing pictures from the previous post turned into a block wall that is meant to look old and falling apart.  It was a fun challenge and looks very authentic.  There are plenty of peep holes to spy the surrounding horse pasture.  I am excited to see the garden expand in and around the wall.  The cantilevered section goes up eight block high and the rebar pierces the sky beyond that in a nice display of form follows function.  The rebar is actually holding those blocks up by being tied to the concrete footing and the grout inside the cells.   How did I get the block to go up and over ten foot pieces of rebar?  Well, that’s a trade secret.


Up next is a Bitterroot Ledgestone veneer on a garage/work shop that I started today.  Montana seems to have a monopoly on nice stone and this stuff is no different.  The warm colors of the stone will be real nice to look at when the gray skies return.  The stone is layed on a concrete foundation and the walls are wonderboard with metal wall ties.  Super sturdy construction.


And I am very pleased with a take home project that involved turning a second hand shelving unit into a dish rack.  I popped off the top, raised it slightly to fit a plate and then got to the business of lining up nineteen wooden dowels.  I was about to glue it all together when I realized I wouldn’t be able to fit my drill though the dowels to attach it to the wall.  So it is at the clients house being painted and I will have to line up those dowels one more time!  It was nice to work from home.


Never Too Early…

…for firewood.  Just completed a really cool woodshed that has a place for recycling, garbage cans and mower.  I liked the project so much that I added to my own woodshed at home.  I was able to repurpose wood for the woodshed floor,  the recycling bin shelves, and the separations between sections.  I tied the roof into the house with the flashing but kept the structure separate and backed it with metal roofing to discourage bugs.

In another part of town I baked in the sun as I formed up an undulating concrete footing that will support a serpentine block wall.  I am looking forward to this project as the client has a unique vision that I am eager to fulfill.

August is flying by!