New to this and want it as a career

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New to this and want it as a career

Postby derbystoneman » Thu Jul 30, 2009 11:32 pm

Hi all

I am totally new to this but would like to become a Dry Stone Waller as a job.

As i know nothing what pathway do i have to take and in all honesty do i stand any chance of becoming a person who can carry out this craft?

Thank you :D
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Re: New to this and want it as a career

Postby Weirdstone » Fri Jul 31, 2009 5:25 pm

Guessing you are from Derbyshire?

I am also new to this and looking to work in a professional capacity. Reckon we need to get plenty of practice!

Suggest you get in touch with College of the Peak. I have just started a Level One course there, 4 modules, two days each then an exam.it's really useful and the tutors are pro wallers.Hands on and practical, will give a solid foundation to getting started in the business.
It's based at Wirksworth.
www.collegeofthepeak.org.uk/

Also suggest you join the DSWA Derbyshire branch. They organise practice days.Will be plenty of folk to help you there. Contact details on the DSWA website.

Good luck!

Cheers, Kelvin
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Re: New to this and want it as a career

Postby Steaming North » Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:08 pm

I'm new to this as well but please can I give you some advice an old waller gave to me?

"Walling is a neccessary part of your job, but I would never recommend doing it as on occupation - it's just too weather dependant". What happens when it snows for three weeks?
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Re: New to this and want it as a career

Postby stonedyker@talk21.com » Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:37 pm

It's all very Zen, should the old waller have wholeheartedly recommended his craft or made you think about why you want to do it?
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Re: New to this and want it as a career

Postby Steaming North » Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:38 pm

Not doing very well tonight, I slightly misunderstand this as well.
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Re: New to this and want it as a career

Postby donald » Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:08 pm

We offer block and weekend bookings for structured training , individually tailored , leading to L1 and L2,are affordable,or grant funded,cover 4 types of stone, cover landscape/construction site build as well as just farm walling, and have very experienced qualified tutors.
The only properly qualified trainers in the North East, we instruct one level below our Craft Certification in line with every other reputable training organisation, not at the same level!
www.drystone-walls.com
dgunnwalls@hotmail.com
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Re: New to this and want it as a career

Postby stonedyker@talk21.com » Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:12 pm

Steaming North,
My posting was mixing up the original question with one of the answers.

I visualised an old dyker advising a youngster to avoid the craft because it was too precarious a lifestyle.

Fortunately nowadays there are many more ways to make a living out of stonework but there are lots of lessons which can only be learned the hard way, on field walls, in lousy weather, working for a pittance. That sorts out the real enthusiasts.
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Re: New to this and want it as a career

Postby Steaming North » Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:20 pm

stonedyker@talk21.com wrote:Fortunately nowadays there are many more ways to make a living out of stonework but there are lots of lessons which can only be learned the hard way, on field walls, in lousy weather, working for a pittance. That sorts out the real enthusiasts.


Think you just summed my week up!
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Re: New to this and want it as a career

Postby donald » Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:38 pm

Why should any worker work for a pittance? in a field or otherwise, that is simply bizzarre.
That would'nt sort out anyone but the misguided from the talented in any other profession, the talented would be out of there and doing well paid work elsewhere to feed their families and have a good lifestyle.
PITTANCE....POVERTY MORE LIKE!!
What occupation on this earth would make a virtue out of undue hardship and underpayment! the sooner we get rid of this queer attitude the better for the future of walling, as youngsters arent going to settle for a pittance, or hardship, no matter how high their skills level!
I can only hope that for the future of walling that was a joke, but somehow it feels half true at least.
Totally bizzarre.
You have chosen a LIFESTYLE, not a JOB
The lifestyle is your perception of walling, not a normal job. I know a saddlemaker who makes £250 a day, another trade makes £200, most heritage skills are highly paid, you would never hear a skilled tradesman in another industry saying that!
I worked with a thatcher in Denmark , we were making £400 a day, easily.and that was competitive.

As long asyou let people accept that you should be working as a lowly paid slave in walling, the craft will not progress, what really annoys me is it is putting the idea about that walling is a highly skilled, low income job.

You've got a mob down the bottom of a field braying on about how they are the best, as they have to work like slaves for no money, and the construction side, who have to work to a higher standard, as they are working alongside OTHER CRAFTSMEN
I have had great difficulty recruiting wallers from farm backgrounds because they are not used to the level of layout, line, precision required, where a 1st year apprentice mason would knock them into a cocked hat.So much for high skills!

2 schools of thought

1 Working down a field trying to do the mythical 7 metres, sorry, yards, sorry, chains...nevermind, for no money,breaking their backs as part of some mystical macho past and being"real wallers"thank god most of their spouses have real jobs....

2.those who have to support their families, take an interest in specialised work with walling, challenging and satisfying work , in line with the physical,craft skills and mental effort a mason uses in a day, for the same money.

Why should walling be prostituted to the same level as rubbish pickers in India, its on the same cultural level if you agree with stonewaller etc,
Walling...the new untouchables.

Over love of a craft can be just as damaging to its sustainability as not caring.
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Re: New to this and want it as a career

Postby johnthedyker » Wed Aug 19, 2009 12:21 pm

In Switzerland dykers are better paid than stonemasons as it is considered to be more difficult to "master correctly." this goes also for field dykes with all the accompanying misery rain mud wind weather and awkward accessibility everything is there except the pittance it is replaced with a healthy wage.
You do not Master it by going on wee courses but by serving your time with a good dyker, and then doing your Journey man education. your wee bits of of paper are just that. (though it is a good starting point for some)
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Re: New to this and want it as a career

Postby Steaming North » Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:50 pm

I think you're right in saying that "pieces of paper" have their place for some people. Many people don't want them, many people do. All depends on the work you want to do/who you want to work for I suppose.
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Re: New to this and want it as a career

Postby donald » Wed Aug 19, 2009 9:58 pm

I stand by what I said, pathetic.
Last edited by donald on Thu Aug 20, 2009 5:07 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: New to this and want it as a career

Postby Steaming North » Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:16 pm

I'd like to remove myself completely from this topic please.

I have seen other forums get involved in conversations like this. Name calling has started and it leaves you open to legal action against you. My personal opinion is that this is not the place to be fighting with each other and is not a good advert at all for the DSWA - remember, anyone can register and view what you are saying. A lot of these threads end up as mud slinging.

My suggestion is...pack it in. Discuss but leave names etc. out of it.

AGAIN, I AM REMOVING MYSELF FROM ANY INVOLVEMENT IN THIS THREAD. I HAVE GIVEN MY HONEST ADVICE TO A NEW WALLER, SIMILAR TO MYSELF AND THAT IS ALL.

You may think I am over-reacting but things like this can easily end up in legal action and I want no part of it.
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Re: New to this and want it as a career

Postby jerryg » Wed Aug 19, 2009 11:23 pm

dear d, I think you should try your best to keep personal enmities off this discussion page. I seem to remember this happening before and it did no-one any good.
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Re: New to this and want it as a career

Postby Weirdstone » Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:49 am

We need Jerry Springer on this forum :roll:

I agree that the art of dry stone walling should be well/fairly paid whether its walling a field or creating a feature in a garden. Im studying for level one at a college course with very experienced tutors because it gives me a fast track learning opportunity, vaired stone types and environments, teamwork and networking opportunities, fun and a certificate if I reach a standard. It's a structured approach which makes sense to me.

I'm practicing by rebuilding a rough stone field wall in the peak district and closeby observed a father and son team with no formal qualifications produce very acceptable field walls paid for by local grants to the landowner. They provide a service, wall well and see no need to go to College and gain certificates. That's fine by me, they provide a service, seem to have plenty of work and do no harm to anyone or the environment. I hope to do some unpaid walling with them soon to widen my experience and exposure to different approaches.

Clearly been some personal business /money history between some of you , agree its best you settle your differences off line.Original question on this thread was how does the guy get in to walling.

Peace be with you!
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