Stone foundation

With the weather here in Eastern KY finally creeping up past the frost danger, we finally ended our months of frozen solitude and began construction on our future workshop.

Though Thoreau said we should start our buildings in the sky and work down, we being less ambitious started on the ground, or under it really. Finding stone here is no problem, with every property jutting sandstone cliffs and literal shelves of basically flat rock everywhere. We began by collecting all the stone we could for several weeks. A good friend once told me when you build with stone, you should figure as best you can how much is needed, then double that amount…

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Our building site was some kind of cow pasture 100 years ago, and now is a maturing forest. We started by digging our footing.


Bella enjoyed supervising as the trench grew…


It really is amazing how many stones go in to a footing. This is about 15 loads in our Mule.


Once the trench was made we leveled it instead of the ground, to save some hassles with stonework, we didn’t want to have to build up the downhill side of stone, so we just leveled our trench and rocked equally all around.


First in went the biggest and ugliest stones. Not being too square they were just touching.

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The next layer covered the gaps in the first and received some mortar…

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As we broke out of the ground level and into what will be visible, we dyed our mortar brown to give a better contrast to the stone.


Our finished foundation, about 24″deep on the downhill side, and 30″ on the uphill side. We plan to come back later and level the soil around, removing the soil uphill  to a lower level especially.


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5 Responses to Stone foundation

  1. Wow, foundation looks great!


  2. msjoy1234 says:

    looks like you’ll are getting it done one stone at a time. Thats a LOT of rocks.. Keep up the good work. I like your supervisor watching every step you take. lol


  3. msjoy1234 says:

    oops that was me dad with that last post.


  4. What was the mortar mix, or is a trade secret :-)? I will be putting down a foundation soon and will have to decide which way to go. I used a bagged mix some years ago on a small retaining wall for the kids play set and and not all that thrilled with the performance after 10 years or so…


    • mrchickadee says:

      It was 3 to 1 sand to portland cement, with a concrete dye added for color. We have since come to prefer lime mortar over portland cement for all plasters and mortars. It is also a 3 to 1 mix and can be dyed.


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