Page 1 of 2

New To Walling

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 11:11 am
by AndyCocker
Hi all,

I just wanted to introduce myself to the forum. I'm about to experience my first taste of walling this coming weekend in the shape of a 2-day introductory course run by the DSWA out near Penistone.

I hope to make a living from dry stone walling (am currently unemployed after redundancy) and would appreciate any advice and/or experience as to best ways forward from this point.

Time is not a problem (have lots of). I gather I can practise at training site as often as I wish.

Regards,

Andy Cocker

walling career advice.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 4:09 pm
by donald
If you want advice about funding and grants, give me a ring on 07858154590, Donald.

Re: New To Walling

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:28 pm
by Dyker
AndyCocker wrote:Hi all,

I just wanted to introduce myself to the forum. I'm about to experience my first taste of walling this coming weekend in the shape of a 2-day introductory course run by the DSWA out near Penistone.

I hope to make a living from dry stone walling (am currently unemployed after redundancy) and would appreciate any advice and/or experience as to best ways forward from this point.

Time is not a problem (have lots of). I gather I can practise at training site as often as I wish.

Regards,

Andy Cocker


Like all skilled work,dry stone walling takes a lot of time to perfect.There used to be apprenticeships available,sadly they no longer exist(to my knowledge).In my opinion you would need to be working with a professional dyker/waller for at least 2 years to aquire the skills required to build a wall that will stand the test of time.There is a lot more to this job than what meets the eye.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:30 pm
by Tracey B
Hear hear Dyker, I am glad you said it. It always surprises me when people think they can just 'do' dry stone walling. Especially when they haven't even tried it yet! Walling isn't for everyone, some people never get it however many hours they put in on the wall. It is better to be realistic and accept that you have to put your own time into practise before you can expect a client to pay you to do it. Winter sorts the men from the boys (and the women from the girls). We are sometimes asked, 'well, what do you do during winter?'
Er....well, we wall.

Re: New To Walling

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 10:54 am
by AndyCocker
Hi,

Thanks for the replies.
Dyker wrote:Like all skilled work,dry stone walling takes a lot of time to perfect.There used to be apprenticeships available,sadly they no longer exist(to my knowledge).In my opinion you would need to be working with a professional dyker/waller for at least 2 years to aquire the skills required to build a wall that will stand the test of time.There is a lot more to this job than what meets the eye.

This fits in with what I was envisaging, Dyker. Assuming that I can find a professional to allow me to work alongside him/her, what kind of salary could I expect to earn during this learning period, in your opinion?

Now, to address some of Tracey B's points:
Tracey B wrote:Hear hear Dyker, I am glad you said it. It always surprises me when people think they can just 'do' dry stone walling. Especially when they haven't even tried it yet!

Hi Tracey. I don't actually think I can just 'do' dry stone walling, but I'm really keen to give it a go. This is why I'm willing to attend proper training, both to see how I'm going to get on with it, and to begin the long process of learning this craft.
Tracey B wrote:Walling isn't for everyone, some people never get it however many hours they put in on the wall.

That's interesting to know, and I hope I'll not be one of them. However, I said "I hope to make a living from dry stone walling". There may be many reasons why it might not work out for me, but I'm making positive plans in the hope that it will. I have many motivations for wanting to wall, and unless I 'never get it', I'm sure I'll do well and enjoy myself.
Tracey B wrote:It is better to be realistic and accept that you have to put your own time into practise before you can expect a client to pay you to do it.

Agreed. That's why I mentioned in my original post that I will be able to make use of the training facilities as and when I choose in order to perfect things. Believe me, I wouldn't dream of trying to get 'clients' until such time as I can be considered by all (via accreditation/qualifications) as a professional waller.

Whilst I do understand the nature of your response, coming as it does from the position of wanting to protect the value of your hard earned experience and skills, I do slightly resent the implication that I'm somebody who doesn't appreciate or value the skills required to be a professional waller, or who expects to start walling on my own immediately. If I gave that impression in my original post (I don't think I did), it was not my intention.

Anyhow, thanks again for taking the time to respond.

Andy

Re: New To Walling

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:12 pm
by Dyker
AndyCocker wrote:Hi,

Thanks for the replies.
Dyker wrote:Like all skilled work,dry stone walling takes a lot of time to perfect.There used to be apprenticeships available,sadly they no longer exist(to my knowledge).In my opinion you would need to be working with a professional dyker/waller for at least 2 years to aquire the skills required to build a wall that will stand the test of time.There is a lot more to this job than what meets the eye.

This fits in with what I was envisaging, Dyker. Assuming that I can find a professional to allow me to work alongside him/her, what kind of salary could I expect to earn during this learning period, in your opinion?

That depends entirely on your employer,I would reckon on the minimum wage until you are proficient enough to earn your money the hard way,ie piecework.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:11 pm
by Tracey B
Well good luck to you then Andy. Hope the weather is kind for your first foray this weekend. With any luck there might be a professional or two instructing or helping on your course and you can take the opportunity to sound them out.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:13 pm
by jerryg
Hi Andy. Anyone can learn dry stone walling, there aren't many rules. I have known lots of people who have been on dry stone walling courses with all the wish in the world to make a living at it.

But beware, there is a knack to DRY stone walling which you have either got or you haven't. If you haven't got it (and you'll know ) you'll be best finding something else to do. Wait till monday and tell us about it.

However if you find out this week-end that you are a 'natural' I would recommend you go and work in as many different places as you can with as many different kinds of stone as you can. Try out the National Trust, BTCV, your local wildlife group. I know there is a voluntary group near Sheffield who go walling in the Peak district. I don't know what the stone is like in Penistone area but if it is all square, rectangular stone and easy to work with, don't assume it's like that everywhere. Offer your services to people on this site to go and try walling in their area. Then with lots and lots of experience under your belt you will more likely find someone to work with.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 7:18 am
by Yseesee
Hi Andy! First off, welcome to the forum. Like you, I too had a strong desire to learn walling skills. Unlike you, I don’t live in an area where it is popular or for that matter even thought about! The closest place I found to learn the skills I needed was a little over 350 miles away. The cost of the class alone was $150.00. Needless to say that isn’t something I could do very often. I did attend one class to get the basics which was a great foundation to build on. I spent as much time as I could reading different books on the subject and I searched the internet for anything related to Dry Stone. I also spent countless hours building any thing I could get my hands on that was made of stone. I don’t know how many times I tore down and rebuilt my 20 yard practice wall. I built and re-built corners, wall heads, curved walls, and arches. Eventually it clicked and it is getting easier all the time. Don’t get me wrong, it is still very challenging but I have a better understanding of what I’m doing. Every new day brings with it new knowledge, so it seems.

A year and a half later I took the 350 mile journey again and this time I passed two Dry Stone Walling exams. So, it can be done! I’m currently keeping very busy on part-time bases. I just wish I didn’t wait 47 years to get into walling!!!!!

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:15 am
by david perry
Hi Dyker

Enjoy the weekend. Putting up walls (or anything else made of stone) is not rocket science. It basically consists of two aspects,

1. The technical bits which you'll learn on the course and are easy. These are relatively easy and simple to learn. However these are important and make the wall last.

And:

2. Being quick and neat. These are important - people judge your work by the neatness (especially other wallers!). These take time and care.

As for getting experience you could in addition to what others said go and find a bit of tumble down wall and ask the owner if you could build it up again. He/she is unlikely to say no!!.

As for working for the minimum wage..... Walling must be very poorly paid in the UK. The last time I paid anyone to help me move stone I had to pay them over twenty euros an hour for labouring alone.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:11 pm
by Dyker
david perry wrote:Hi Dyker

Enjoy the weekend. Putting up walls (or anything else made of stone) is not rocket science. It basically consists of two aspects,

1. The technical bits which you'll learn on the course and are easy. These are relatively easy and simple to learn. However these are important and make the wall last.

And:

2. Being quick and neat. These are important - people judge your work by the neatness (especially other wallers!). These take time and care.

As for getting experience you could in addition to what others said go and find a bit of tumble down wall and ask the owner if you could build it up again. He/she is unlikely to say no!!.

As for working for the minimum wage..... Walling must be very poorly paid in the UK. The last time I paid anyone to help me move stone I had to pay them over twenty euros an hour for labouring alone.


First of all it's not me putting up walls this weekend it's Andy.Secondly your labourer is better paid than I am and I am a skilled tradesman,I think I'll move to Ireland!!!!

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:31 pm
by AndyCocker
Thanks to everyone for taking the time to reply - good advice gratefully received. I'll let you know on Monday how I got on.

Cheers,
Andy

Whooops!!

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 8:06 pm
by david perry
:oops: Sorry about that. I must pay more attention.

Plenty of work here but most of it is facing of houses, (60euro per square meter + cost of stone& cement!) road/driveway entrances and garden work

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2007 7:14 pm
by jezza
well well Andy , caused a bit of a stir there.But it made for a good read. Its the thought of the wet n cold days that lay ahead i think.
In my humble opinion i think anybody can build a wall. But some people have an eye for a stone and some people never will. its the same in a lot of jobs .Joiners Brickies ect ect. One more thing id like to say. Dont go into it with rose tinted glasses. Its hard work and the pay isn't great.
Anyway good luck and stick at it you could be knee deep in a bog hole with mud up to your elbows by this time next year. Now there's something to look forward too.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 8:27 pm
by jerryg
Andy back from his T/C yet?