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making sandstone Copes- technique help

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 8:43 am
by Weirdstone
Hi there ,
only a couple of weeks before my level one exam now. Been practicing on various walls and have had 10tonnes of Kerridge sandstone delivered and started building a practice wall in my garden. the Mrs says it can stay up if she likes it!!!!! Good mixture of stone from Earls quarry at Kerridge in Cheshire.

My knowledge on making copes is thin to say the least. What techniques do you more experienced wallers employ when starting with a stone? Say i have a fairly square stone with about 8 cms cope width, height about 35cms. use a chisel? How many cuts? best practice? Use a chisel or just my walling hammer.

Would value your thoughts, cheers!

Re: making sandstone Copes- technique help

PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:03 am
by bobcat
You could make a wooden template of a copestone and use it as a guide to mark your other copes to the size you want. You can tidy up any ugly edges with your hammer etc. 8)

Re: making sandstone Copes- technique help

PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:46 pm
by George Gunn
Mark out with a template one inch oversize, cut with a stonecutting saw ,and finish off by hand with a hammer or hammer and chisel. :)

Re: making sandstone Copes- technique help

PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:12 pm
by donald
You should'nt need to use a stone saw....but if you do you don't need to cut all the way through, just mark the cut.
There should be no saw marks visible after "re dressing " with a hammer.
If the stone is Derbyshire,you should cut copes with just a hammer.its not Caithness slate,(ie... Viking waller..which delaminates...)

"naturally cut" copes maintain the character of the stone used, which in many areas reflects the qualities of the stone itself, marking local differences and styles.

I will email you my "cutting copes" leaflet,(send your email address) but remember...walls should reflect the local vernacular characteristics, and be "restored" rather than just "rebuilt" and not be forced into some pre-concieved ideal with a stihl saw...heaven could also run into problems with the examiners for"overuse of hammer/tools" this would happen with scutching chisels,etc,the copes should be your own work, there should be no marking or "bruising" of the stones faces or shown edges.
It is better to cut, using a proper hammer technique to give a clean, new edge to a cut cope, if possible
and a chisel, especially a bolster should not be needed.

If wallers need a cut corner,or copes, for garden walls for instance, ,it is better to get the quarry to guillotine some corner stones,copes etc than having the hassle of stihl sawing then re-cutting, get the stone yard to do it and pass the cost(small) to the client, result...better, unspoilt finish happy client and unblemished reputation.
Just don't show marking or stihl saw cuts for a test wall's copes.
You would'nt have this problem in Dumfries and Galloway...boulder copes, very hard, and heavy!
Best of luck

Re: making sandstone Copes- technique help

PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 10:12 pm
by donald

Re: making sandstone Copes- technique help

PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 1:03 am
by George Gunn
I'm pretty sure that the drystone dyking world is laughing at this forum................... :D Especially if they've seen the deletions on this thread by "donald " over the last week. :D

Re: making sandstone Copes- technique help

PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 8:31 pm
by George Gunn
I'm a bit puzzled as to why my replies to "Donald " have him replying days later than my original post but being listed in the forum as being before my original post.
Complete with time and date being before my post :roll: . Is he a moderator manipulating the forum ? This has happened twice now.

Re: making sandstone Copes- technique help

PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 7:42 am
by Weirdstone
Appreciate replies everyone, especially Donald's, seems to make sense and i would like to avoid using a saw. I have mailed you ( Donald) with my email address and look forward to reading your notes.
My practice wall is coming on well at home but progress is slow.

The exam is a week Monday up at Wirksworth. Plenty of copes about there.Our group have mock exams this Thursday and Friday. finishing in the time allowed is my biggest fear :(

Re: making sandstone Copes- technique help

PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 5:45 pm
by bobcat
Well good luck with the test :wink:

Just do what you have been taught and you will be just fine. 8)

Re: making sandstone Copes- technique help

PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 7:38 pm
by donald
Hopefully anyone sitting a test will take the advice of those organising the test to ensure the local style is presented on the test.
My pamphlet is similar to the test site, but look to see how its done on the TEST wall, remember, restore a wall, so its in keeping with the vernacular style, but without the faults.
Remember, the test organisers and examiners want to see you pass, so gather any info you need or unsure about prior to the test starting, ie get there early and pick their brains, they will reassure you and put you at ease, or they should...its their job.
Don't get flustered, if you do ,come away from the wall and take time out, have plenty to drink, and EAT something at dinner even if you don't feel like it, it will do you good at 4.00, and remember, its better to FINISH but lose marks for the last part than NOT finish and can improve later,at your job, when you aren't nervous.!

Lastly, I do not have any control over postings, the same as anyone else, VIKING DYKING has made these paranoid allegations before, about links not working,etc, I really have no control over anything on this forum, and have only edited things which are irrelevant, such as the above posting...w...which was of no interest to anyone and was a private message to someone which somehow was posted here by mistake!
ps Viking dyking is my brother!!.

Re: making sandstone Copes-weirdstone

PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 7:43 pm
by donald
There are problems sending private messages on this forum at present, if you email me at I'll email you the leaflet on copes plus my other training material
Best wishes for the test
Donald the viking

Re: making sandstone Copes- technique help

PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 4:46 pm
by Weirdstone
Phew, exam passed, 78% as judged by Colwyn Bay's examiner Mr G Pritchard.

Second lift could have been much better but enjoyed the experience. Great group of lads on the College Of The Peak course and the tutors, master craftsmen both, Sally Hodgson and Trevor Wragg were excellent communicators, teachers and supporters. Hope to progress now, practice hard and go for level two next year God willing. Back to my copes tomorrow!