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Spring 2017 Certification Exams May 26-27

This year’s Spring Certification Exams will take place at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Mercer County, Kentucky on May 26-27.  The Level 1 exams will be administered by DSC Master Craftsman Neil Rippingale.

The Dry Stone Conservancy has multiple certification levels – for drystone masons, journeymen, master craftsmen, drystone authorities, examiners, instructors, and garden masons. All levels in the certification program are for professional drystone masons

Although participation in the DSC training program is not required for certification, it will be of great assistance in acquiring needed skills. As part of the training, the Instructors show slides and a how-to video, and carefully explain the theories of internationally accepted standards. Courses are hands-on and provide the trainees with instruction in every part of building a double-faced drystone fence, while providing continuous monitoring in the field.


Basic Drystone Mason is the first, beginning, level in the Dry Stone Conservancy’s certification program. Candidates who pass the test for correctly building a wallhead, a low retaining wall, and a (timed) drystone fence section, achieve the initial level of Certified Drystone Mason.

To increase skills, gain experience, and prepare for certification, apprentices may then want to participate in the DSC ongoing training projects.  Although participation in the DSC projects is not required for certification, it will be of great assistance in acquiring needed skills.  The basic test requires correctly building a wallhead, a low retaining wall, and a (timed) drystone fence section.  Masons may also increase their skills by working with independent contractors.


Journeyman Mason is the second level in advancement in the Dry Stone Conservancy’s certification program. It is earned by drystone masons with skills above the beginning (basic) level. Journeyman masons are skilled in building and repairing strong field fences, retaining walls, roadside fences, and stream bank walls, as well as common drystone features such as curved fences, corners, culverts, and stepped foundations. Their abilities include sound techniques, durable construction, and a good production rate.

It will greatly assist a drystone mason who aspires to journeyman certification to participate in the DSC’s training projects or to work with Journeymen or Master Craftsmen. These projects give the masons experience in more advanced construction and production techniques, ensure that they understand the theories of internationally accepted standards, and provide continuous monitoring in the field.


Master Craftsman certifies masons who are fully proficient in all aspects of building freestanding fences, retaining walls up to 5 feet in height, special features commonly incorporated in drystone fences, and use of a variety of rock types. In addition to excellence in building drystone fences and retaining walls, the Master Craftsman builds pillars, arches, and stiles. Master Craftsmen must conduct their work in a fully professional manner. Essential requirements are construction techniques that provide structural strength combined with a superior production rate.

If you would like to read more about the Certification Program click here.

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Spring 2017 Workshop Schedule!

Antietam 2013 WS before

The Dry Stone Conservancy is pleased to announce the addition of two workshops for this April.

April 7-8 Introductory Workshop at Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill

April 22-23 Edge Fence Workshop in Nicholasville, Kentucky

More information about the workshops and a paper copy of the registration form can be found here.

Full purchase, deposits, and registration can be found here.

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Stone Dressing Clinic March 25, 2017


Learn How to Process, Cut & Dress Stone for Drystone Masonry!

One-Day Stone Dressing Clinic

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

March 25th, 2017 (Saturday)

Instructors: Neil Rippingale and Stuart Joynt


The One Day Stone Dressing Clinic is designed for people who have already taken a workshop and would like to gain some basic skills on how to process, cut, split, shape and finish stone for various commonly-encountered drystone applications.   Participants will be working with hand and power tools. Spots are limited to six participants so reserve your spot soon!

Every stone has its place, but sometimes it just needs a wee bit of help.  This session will focus on various methods used for processing rough stone for its final purpose.  Learn what hammer to use with what chisel, and the right chisel for the right stone.  Learn how to split stone using hammers, plugs & feathers and a diamond blade saw.  Watch a demonstration on splitting stone using a hydraulic splitter.  Discover which chisels create various surface patterns.  Take home tips for tool and equipment maintenance for prolonged use.

For additional information or online registration please check our website out here. Also you can check out our facebook page to stay current on DSC activities.

March 25, 2017 One-Day Stone Dressing Clinic: $250