Saturday, July 31, 2010

Stone seats, the building process.

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A few months back I wrote a post 'Stone Chairs. Some ancient some not so ancient…Yet….' in which I mentioned that one of my favorite things to build are stone seats. Well here is a stone seating area I have just completed and the process I used to create it.


So recently a lady in down in Co. Kildare asked me if I could transform this old area of her garden into one of my stone seating areas, so of course I was only too happy to oblige.


My delivery of stone.


So when the old material has been removed, the risers are built up.


For the top of the seats I often use big chunky slabs of stone like this (if I can get them). Depending on their weight, sometimes I need to get a mini digger to move them into place. However as there was a little movement in these ones, I decided to move them into place the old fashioned way, by using round timber stakes and leverage. It is hard going, but there is something very satisfying about doing it all by hand.


So when the seat tops are finished it is time to make the backs of the seats. This is the part that truly makes each seat unique.
When possible, I will actually go to the stone quarry and walk around and pick out the stone myself for a project. Unfortunately it has become increasingly difficult to find quarries that will let you loose in the quarry to go around picking out stone, as they are worried about getting sued.

So in this case I was unable to pick the stone myself, so I had to give a very detailed shopping list of exactly what I needed. This brought its own challenges, as you have to work with what you are given.
I try not to alter the stone too much, as I like to keep the natural edges of the stone. This way you keep all the stone's imperfections, keeping the whole thing looking more organic.
Laying the stone out on the ground I work out the layout for the backs of the seats. 


It is good to do this beforehand as once you get the stone in place, you really don't want to be moving it again.


Over the years you do learn some clever ways of moving large pieces of stone around without breaking your back. With pieces like this I walk them into place by rotating them on one corner, then doing the same with the other, slowly edging forward.


When all the main backing stones are in place, the smaller stones can be built up in between as can the stone around the back of the larger slabs.





And that's it, piece of cake really!
Well maybe not, it is hard work but it is also very rewarding work. Creating something unique and artistic like this can totally transform a garden and can be enjoyed for centuries to come!

25 comments:

  1. Wow!!!! I love the stone chair, what a great job, to make something so beautiful.

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  2. This really is wonderful... I've said it before... your blog is fantastic and truly inspirational! Larry

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  3. Woaw, what a lovely seating area. And what a nice post, almost therapeutical:-)
    Thanks!
    Have a great day! Hillevi

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  4. Nice piece of cake. I'm baking one now.

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  5. Beautiful work - I love what you did!

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  6. Stunning! As you say, something that will be there for centuries. Love it!

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  7. Stunning. Question... is this in your garden or a client? I hope all enjoy this piece of artistry.

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  8. Wow, what a great before and after! Great job!

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  9. Oh Sunny, once again I have bookmarked one of your posts! You are so gifted, I admire how you can bend the will of the stone to your desires, and that you do it the old fashioned way. Kudos!
    :-)
    Frances

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  10. WOW...you're not kidding when you call this "stone art"!!! I'm intrigued with the building process, but more with the vision you had to build the backing. I love the progression on the stone...the sizes. I love the smaller stacks of stone between the large slabs that progress and digress in height. Really great piece!!!

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  11. Muchos impressive Sunny boy!

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  12. Sunny, I am a bit behind in my blog reading, so glad I did not miss this!!!! It is just gorgeous. It must be very satisfying to think that something you create will be there forever.

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  13. Very nice! i am sure your client will enjoy her new seating area. I love stone and would love to have a stone seat in my garden!

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  14. Your client must be extremely pleased with all your hard work ... I know I would be! It's a fantastic piece that you've created ... and I'm sure it will be enjoyed by generations to come!

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  15. Very nice! I would love to have one of those in my garden.

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  16. I'm wondering if toes ever get in the way of walking the stones. So you get the stone to the area where you want it...and then you have to hoist it to the top of the bench - just a snap.
    To work with nature in such construction must be very satisfying.

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  17. OUTSTANDING! Really, that looks terrific. Thanks for sharing with us how you constructed it. It looks like a lot of hard work, but what a great finished product!

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  18. Beautiful!
    I love seeing stonework art, especially in the garden. And the more 'unfinished' the stone is, the better, in my opinion.
    I'm fascinated by how beautifully you've worked in even the smaller stones in between the main ones.

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  19. What a stunning stone seating Sunny! It certainly has an ancient quality about it. Very impressive and handsome. I love your work!! Your process sharing is superb too. Thank you!

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  20. Sunny - simply incredible! You have such a creative gift. Thanks for sharing the process... way cool (way strong)!

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  21. This is simply beautiful! I must try this as my next project. Thanks for the step by step guide.

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  22. very nice and very creative . like living in a stone age . very much beautiful and impressive.

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  23. Wow!! Very cool and they actually look comfortable.

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  24. Beautiful work! I am sure your client will enjoy her new seating area. Great job!

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