DSWAC Comments

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Laura B

Hi Mary,
I been thinking about becoming a member for quite a while now. I want to keep developing my skills, so there's no better way than to become more involved. Just yesterday I was saying to Joe that the best way to learn to work with stone is just by doing it over and over, again and again. And ever since I got a taste of dry stone walling I've known that I want to try more.


I am the Secretary of the Yorkshire Dry Stone Walling Guild, your
interesting site was pointed out to me by one of your countrymen due over
here for a course in May. I think we should forge some links. Visit
www.ydswg.co.uk to see what we are about. Look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards Brian Wood

Brian T

Hi John, I was in your workshop at Northwest Landscape in Burnaby about a year ago. I am still collecting stone to rebuild my falling down retaining wall in my front yard. I am trying to do it as cheaply as possible because I have very little disposable income after my teenage twins are through. So far I have collected about 4 or 5 tons of salt and pepper granite, all free. Some was from walls and is random block shapes and sizes, some is more of an ashlar/thick veneer, and then I have about 300’ of coping. It is all about 4” thick, 1’ wide and ranges in length from 2’ to 6’. I now have an opportunity to get some reclaimed Arizona Sandstone, not quite free, but at $50 a pallet it is too cheap to pass up.
My question is, what will the grey granite and the brown sandstone look like together? Have you ever used stone in combination like that? I don’t want to spend the money and time and energy to haul it by hand if it won’t look good. I just can’t visualize it and can’t find any photos of the two together.

greg M.

Wow. Great information here. I like seeing the catalogue of older canadian walls. Are there any walls out east?

Earl Boyd

Good day to you John. I just wanted to let you know that We had a delightful time hosting the workshop for you here in Redwood City and love all the knowledge that you and John imparted to us not only about our own project but about other projects and concepts for using the dry stone wall method in all sorts of applications. There is something special in seeing that community of stone souls coming togehter in that beautiful wall that I get to look at everyday. Thanks and I look forward to more. Earl :-)

Rob A.

Hi, I've been visiting this website for a few years because I love dry laid
stone work, and you have the best photos on the Internet. I'd love to
attend one of your workshops, but between travel, hotels, workshop fee, and
now a passport to go to Canada (I'm in Michigan), it's just too much money
for something that is just a hobby.
Have you ever considered making a DVD with examples of well made walls and
construction techniques? I'd love to learn proper stone laying techniques
for the price of a DVD since I can't afford to come to Canada for training.

I've built a couple of stone retaining walls using round, glacial
fieldstone found locally, but I can't imagine how to build a durable,
freestanding wall with the same round rocks.

Thanks for a great website,


I had a blast at our workshop. The experience was extremely valuable for me, and you do such a great job of sharing your knowledge. I also loved the impromptu presentation of some of your work. It was a great wkend spending time with others who are passionate about stonework! I truly hope to run into you in the future!

Laurie Schofield

Hi John, It's not been 24 hours since the end of the workshop yesterday, and I can't get our wall out of my head! I had such a great time learning about dry stone walls and then actually helping to build the wall. I've long had an idea about using local stone to build a wall planted with California native plants. Your excellent workshop not only gave me the experience but also the courage to try it on my own. Now all I need is a place to try out my ideas! Thanks so much to you and to the other John for coming to the Bay Area and giving this class.



Congratulations on a Great site..I look forward to attending some of the events this year
Hope I can contribute with some pics of Quebec walls etc..I have spotted some along the Ottawa river on my travels that are worth a mention
Have a great winter

Mark G

Hello John; I attended the symposium with you in California. As stated
above my name is Mark Gienapp from gunnison Colorado. We visited a bit in
Caly and I am fascinated with your work. I would truly enjoy a workshop
with you and would really love to help with a bridge project. I also am
interested in the best books on stone walling and was hoping for some
suggestions. Anyway, I enjoyed meeting you and look forward to hearing from


Mark G

Norman Muir

John - Delighted to firm up our association. For our part we would welcome any of your members to join in any of our 2010 projects that fits with their travel agenda, etc. We shall keep in touch.
kind regards
Norman Muir
Chairman of the West of Scotland branch of the DSWA

Willa W

Hi John:
I was on my way to the airport when we dropped in and caught you and Eric at work.
I'll be watching the progress of the roof next spring and may try to do another article - I have some great shots of the lintel going up the poles for the back window.

Best of the season to you



For anyone following this discussion, the wall which is being referred to in the previous letters is posted on our website at http://www.dswa.ca/showcase/midland-ontario
Thanks Jack for bringing this matter to our attention.


jack W

Hello John

Those of us who are dedicated to retaining the Drummond Wall, including the
Midland Heritage Committee headed by Susan McKenzie, were very pleased to
note your email to Andrea Rabbitts in support of its retention, subsequent
to my request to you via the DSWA website.

I attended the Midland Council meeting of November 23 at which time a
resolution was passed to proceed with the Heritage Site designation process
after considerable debate. This is a very good outcome. Although it doesn't
guarantee future retention of the wall in all of its length, there is an
approval process which must be followed to make changes to it.

I took the opportunity this week to enter the site (which so far has not
been signed as "no trespassing") and took a series of photos of the complete
length, on both sides.

Thank you for your prompt and supportive reply.

Jack Wilford

Jack W

The stone wall you show on your web site, known locally as the Drummond
Wall, is in danger of being destroyed. Those of us amongst the public who
are concerned about retaining this historic (over 100 years old) and
beautiful structure are hoping the Town of Midland's Heritage Committee's
attempt to have the wall designated as a heritage site under Provincial
Provisions will be successful, but the developer who presently owns the
property is opposing the move. It will be discussed at the Nov 23 Council
meeting . I don't know if you're aware of this, but it would certainly
give added credibility if someone from DSWAC could provide an opinion on
the wall's structural significance. If you can do this, could I suggest you
copy Andrea Rabbitts of Midland's Planning Office at
arabbitts@town.midland.on.ca ? My thanks in advance for your attention.
Jack W

Jake S


Just wanted to thank you for such a great experience - I immediately starting collecting granite fieldstone the first chance I got after the weekend workshop.

I have many projects floating around in my head...I think I want to do a folley on the west side of our garden - with a arched door and window. I would like to use the granite fieldstone but I might have to mix in some limestone around the arches and window. I know it is ambitious, but go big or stay home I say...and go SLOW!

I would really like to take another workshop that dealt with more limestone and preferably the arches/windows to continue to build my basic skill and knowledge. Do you know of any or would you keep me in mind when an opportunity like this comes up?

I would entertain the idea of hosting a workshop, but there is something to be said to doing it alone over a period of time too.

Anyway, I hope all is well and I wanted to again tell you how much I appreciated the experience and meeting you - I think I am hooked on drystack!



Gerald G

First of all, congratulations on another successful October Festival. They get bigger and better year after year.
The reason for this mail is that you may want to consider this contest for next year. It would be the incorporation of a DSW in a garden setting. The same Waller could possibly enter 3 photos as the season change from spring, summer and fall. Each wall could be replanted with various flowers, scrubs, etc as the seasons change. A example of this, is how beautifully the work done at the Niagara Falls Horticultural School fits in the garden setting. Just a idea to improve a already successful organization and event.
Keep up the great work, and wall on.

Robert K

Hi John,

Thank you very much for the seminar. I loved every bit of it. I knew it would be interesting, but I didn't expect it to be so much fun or to complete a project. Very satisfying. This is definitely something I want to learn more about, so I'll be feverishly checking the DSWAC site for upcoming events/seminars.
As well I enjoyed your passion and the willingness to share your knowledge, which is very rare. For a long time I have been fascinated by traditional building methods, mainly because of my disappointment in the contemporary renovation/building/landscaping industry. But there isn't much practical education available. There is a great lack of associations like DSWAC in Ontario/Canada, so I would love to get involved and help in anyway I can. Let me know if I can be of any assistance, and no task is too boring when you know you're promoting heritage.

cheers, Robbert

Bill W

Hi Mary,
and also John,

I had a great weekend at the workshop in Kimberley. Many thanks to you both and our hosts Mark and Tanya and Josh. A very worthwhile experience. Please let me know about upcoming events.
Very tired now. Must sleep.
Best regards.


Gerry Gustar

I was fortunate to be able to participate in a workshop in Rockport this past weekend. It is amazing what a group of people of little or no experience can accomplish. John Shaw-Rimmington has a love and passion for stone and walling that is truly infectious. I have a real sense of pride and accomplishment in 'our wall'. This satisfaction will be reinforced every time I pass Rockport and admire it all over again. Thanks John, thanks Rockport.