info@lithicfire.co.uk

07864 321122 / 01890 883038

Heritage Skills

Lithic Fire uses traditional skills of working stone with hand tools to create your firepit. These skills have been gained over decades of working with stone in all kinds of environments. 546239_390601130973771_2147438884_n

A typical dry stone dyke, built as a retaining wall at an architectural practice in Strathblane in 2003

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Random Rubble wall built using Lime Mortar, Tillicoultry, 2007

 

In addition to making firepits I use these skills working on dry stone walls, both new and repair work, and repairing mortared walls. The latter usually means the removal of cement pointing and repointing with the appropriate material, lime mortar.

The use of appropriate materials to repair stonework cannot be over emphasised. A lot of damage has been done to stone walls because of the use of cement to repair them from the early 20th century, when cement became popular with the building industry. From Roman times to World War One most buildings were built with lime mortar, using locally available materials.

Lime is soft and porous which is important because these features ensure that moisture in stonework will pass through the pointing to the outside air. Cement is hard and waterproof which is dangerous because any moisture in a wall has no choice but to pass through the stone to the outside air. In this process, the salts that bind the particles of stone together are very slowly washed out to the surface of the stone. The surface becomes brittle and breaks off, leaving behind a softer interior that is easily washed out by rain leading to serious erosion of the stone.

Where simple repointing of a stone wall should be all that is required every few decades, sometimes whole walls have to be rendered to hide damage, or, at even greater expense, entire pieces of stone have to be hacked out and replaced with new stone. The photos below show typical damage and repair.

 

 

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Before and after photos of heavily eroded stone quoin on a church in Northumberland in 2013. The stone was refaced using suitably coloured lime mortar, finished with a slightly worn look to the edges and then lightly surface marked so that it would match the surrounding stones.

 

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Above, this wall and pillar show serious erosion of stone at road level, made worse by repointing years ago with cement based mortar. The only solution in this case was to cut out the worst stone (at the base of course) and replace it, followed by the replacement of all the pointing in the wall with an appropriate lime mortar to allow the wall to breathe. This should stabilise the wall and pillar for many years to come.

If you have stonework which needs care and repair or you would like a new feature built in stone, I work within a 100 mile radius from home and may be able to meet your requirements.  Please get in touch.