buiding bridges and dry stone walls

Just a quick post tonight with an update on progress on my new bridge at Bradfield. On Thursday I worked for the first time with a new waller, Michael Howard. We dug out and laid concrete foundations for the first abutment and prepared the site for starting walling on Friday. The water level thankfully was as low as I have ever seen it, perfect for digging deep foundations. It felt like spring and the curlews were calling.

On Friday we were joined by Brian and Steve and made rapid progress. Here we have dug and concreted foundations for the other abutment and Brian and Michael are starting on the walling. Meanwhile Steve was steadily moving the ten tons of freshly quarried gritstone down from the top of the bank.

 With two wallers the job progressed very quickly.

I want the abutments to look like a dry stone wall at the end of the day but to have the strength to withstand substantial flood water so we used mortar joints and will backfill with concrete but the face is not pointed.

And this was about as far as we got.

I am delighted with the way it is looking, the line of the abutment and the sweeping curve up into the path are going to be superb when it is finished with a gently arched bridge. We hope to get close to finished on both abutments tomorrow and then Tuesday I will be getting ready for a fully booked spoon carving course which starts Wednesday. I actually spent most of today gathering materials and have some perfect willow (courtesy of John the fireman who came on one of our first spoon courses and continues to produce beautiful work) and some nice fresh birch.

At the same time along with my fellow HCA committee members we are getting final arrangements sorted for our big forum and launch event at the V&A a week on Tuesday, busy but exciting.

4 Responses to buiding bridges and dry stone walls

  1. N.C. Joe March 15, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    Robin, Here is a book plate from Pain, William (1730?-1790?)The practical house carpenter, or, Youth's instructor containing a great variety of useful designs in carpentry and architecture; the five orders laid down by an entire new scale. London: William Pain, 1792http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/DLDecArts/DLDecArts-idx?type=article&did=DLDECARTS.PAINPRAHOUSE.I0027&id=DLDecArts.PainPraHouse&isize=M

  2. frank March 15, 2010 at 10:05 pm #

    hi robin , I've been following your blog near enough since you started.I love your work . I think your bridges are fantastic, and I thought you might like this. I thought of you as soon as I saw them as Id just seen your update on bradfield bridge.Don't know if you already know about them, but anyway here they are. keep up the great work. Frank http://atlasobscura.com/place/root-bridges-cherrapungee http://rootbridges.blogspot.com

  3. Robin Wood March 16, 2010 at 11:16 pm #

    Joe that is a very beautiful bridge. We used exactly that scarf joint on my timber framed woodshed but with oak pegs not iron.Frank the grown bridges are just something else, truly organic in every sense of the word. Imagine starting work on a bridge that you know will take 15 years until it can be used. I though folk that commissioned my work had a long wait.

  4. Joseph June 11, 2010 at 8:10 am #

    At Preston University in the main entrance to the design building they have different exhibitions that last two weeks or so. The most interesting one I ever had the privilege to watch was when a couple of hundred stones turned up one day and over the next week a drystone wall be built by one single man, it even included a style with marking stones to show where the crossing was, on the day I brought in my camera to take its finished picture it had disappeared over night. Dry stone walling was something that I was interested in before that, I only remember one thing that was written about that project "a dry stone waller will never pick up the same rock twice"