If I’m going to indulge a fantasy here, I’d like to focus on my dream job; I’ve really built only a few of these in the course of 25 years plus of doing business. My dream job, which comes from my dream client, is the following: a large scale “random ashlar” limestone retaining wall with, perhaps, some steps running through the midst of what would be a two-tier retaining wall system. This project would use large slabs of St. Croix Valley limestone, quarried locally just north of Stillwater. Some of these slabs would weigh up to ½ a ton, and range downward in weight from there.
This is a retaining wall that is massive in size and scope, requiring some larger equipment to build, and also requiring skill and attention to detail that few tradesmen/artisans can provide. This is a wall that I’ve built, and there’s one at a residence in Afton, MN that you will find featured on this website.
Why is this my dream job? Good question. I like it because it’s a good mix of hand and machine work, some of the wall stones require saw-cutting and/or hammer and chisel work to achieve a good fit. Because it’s larger material, and because this requires setting them with a machine, you can make quite significant progress in a day’s time. Because of the mix of hand and machine work it keeps you from getting bogged down and slowed down too much in hand work. It’s a very good mix of both, which keeps my interest level at a peak. I also like it because not many people are building them, not many contractors want to tangle with this degree of difficulty. But the degree of difficulty is what makes it worth doing and unique.