UBBFriend: Email This Page to Someone!
  Castle Quest
  Building Blocks

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Masonary
posted 06-09-2001 11:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for penelope   Click Here to Email penelope     Edit/Delete Message
I am looking for information on masonary. I'm creating a hypothetical kingdom in Northern Ontario. I know we quarry marble and granite here but, how would it have been accomplished? Also the mode of transport, the Egyptians transported it on canal boats, man power, many would have used oxen and horse teams. Any suggestions?

Erik Schmidt
Senior Member
posted 06-10-2001 06:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Erik Schmidt   Click Here to Email Erik Schmidt     Edit/Delete Message
The amount of stone to be brought in and the distance it needed to be transported depended on many factors.
Castles are usually constructed of an outer shell of a finely cut stone, infilled with uncut rubble, but often the whole structure would be built of uncut or roughly cut stone, only the corners, window and door frames and feature stones being of high quality, cut stone.
Granite was not quarried very often for building if other stone was available, due to it's hardness.
How stone was quarried depends on the stone. Some sandstone can be cut with a saw from the quarry, it then hardens on exposure to air. Harder stones would have required chisels and splitting from the face with wedges.
Transport of local stone often used peasant labour and oxcarts. Stone coming from more distant locations utilized paid labour, both via ships, barges and oxcarts.

Hope that helps.


Senior Member
posted 06-10-2001 07:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for duncan   Click Here to Email duncan     Edit/Delete Message
Lime stone in all of its colors can be cut with a pen knife before taken from the ground. It takes years before it reaches its total hardnes but is used with in months for building purposes.

posted 06-12-2001 09:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for penelope   Click Here to Email penelope     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks for the info. I know T.N.T works well now a days, but looking at several of the Indian tools found in the area I can only imagine another way for breaking the stone.
I was watching a House & Garden program recently and there was a stonemason explaining that most stones have memories. He said that if you score the stone then tap the stone along the score line it would break apart along the score line. It did, and he was using granite. Have you ever heard of this method? I watched and I still don't believe it.

Erik Schmidt
Senior Member
posted 06-13-2001 03:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Erik Schmidt   Click Here to Email Erik Schmidt     Edit/Delete Message
The only two ways I know of in which stones were split from the rock face are;

1) Egyptians made a row of small holes into which they inserted dry wood poles. Water was poured around the wood, causing it to soak it up and expand, thus splitting the rock.

2) Small trenches were made with chisels in a row along the rock into which were hammered wedges(wood or metal), forcing the rock to split.

Don't forget, many stones have natural fault lines(weaknesses) running through them, usually in parallel planes. This would have been exploited by quarriers to enable them to more easily and neatly split stones from a rock face.

The method used by the stonemason you mention is widely used. I haven't tried it with granite, but it works for me with bricks and concrete. I think this method is limited to "smaller" rocks, not working on larger boulders or splitting stones from a rock face.

I'd really like to know more though. What did he use to score the line? Was it just used as a guide for where to hit, or was the scoring part of the splitting process?
Did he tap it hard? What did he tap it with?
What size of stone did he split?
How was the stone supported while he was tapping it?
Sorry for all the questions. I hope you can answer them. I'll go and give it a go, we have a lot of granite in this area.


posted 06-13-2001 09:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for penelope   Click Here to Email penelope     Edit/Delete Message
I saw it on This Old House Classics. I'll try to find the web address through PBS.org.
But to the best of my memory it it might have been 4X3X3. They used a chisel and a small mallet to first score the stone, then they just tapped along the score line a couple of times before it broke away. I wish I could remember more, but I'll see what I can find out today and get back to you.

Senior Member
posted 07-07-2001 12:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for duncan   Click Here to Email duncan     Edit/Delete Message
A three peice wedge is also used in many parts of the world to split stone. This tool has a very long history and is known by several names. It's tapped into place in a fault line or in a drilled hole one part at a time which creates the splitting action.

All times are PT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | Castles on the Web

Powered by: Ultimate Bulletin Board, Version 5.40
© Infopop Corporation (formerly Madrona Park, Inc.), 1998 - 1999.

Castles on the WebHome
Castles on the WebIntroduction
Castles on the WebCastle Quest
Castles on the WebSite of the Day
Castles on the WebCastle Tours
Castles on the WebCastle Collections
Castles on the WebNew Sites
Castles on the WebPopular Sites
Castles on the WebPhoto Archive
Castles on the WebMiscellaneous
Castles on the WebCastles for Kids
Castles on the WebCastle Glossary
Castles on the WebPalaces & Homes
Castles on the WebMedieval Studies
Castles on the WebAccommodations
Castles on the WebTop Rated
Castles on the WebCastle Postcards
Castles on the WebHeraldry Links
Castles on the WebMyths & Legends
Castles on the WebOrganizations
Castles on the WebCastle Books
Castles on the WebAbbeys & Churches
Castles on the WebWeapons/Supplies
Castles on the WebRandom Site
Castles on the WebAdd A Castle Site
Castles on the WebAcknowledgements
Castles on the WebSearch Options
Castles on the WebPlease Help Us!
Castles on the WebPlease Link To Us
Castles on the WebContact Us

Castles on the Web Copyright 1995- | Privacy Policy