by Natrieifia Miller

Jolly Rovers- Moving Rocks: Rock Work Techniques

The Jolly Rovers deliver trainings in the craft of stonework to help trail builders improve recreational access to public parks and forests. This is the third post in our Jolly Rovers series with a video showcasing multiple techniques for handling rocks during trail construction and maintenance. This training was delivered during Wilderness Skills Institute (WSI) 2015 and filmed by Patrick Slaughter.

Different Techniques

The Flip: When flipping a rock with two rockbars always be sure to have one “catching,” keeping the rock steady by using one rockbar wedged toward the rock to prevent it from getting away.

Pick and pry: Use the first couple inches of pick, using only these first few inches gives you the best mechanical advantage, to guide rock where you want while the rockbar prys it up and presses it towards the pick. Using only the first couple of inches gives you the best mechanical advantage.
Always use pick and pry method when moving large rocks downhill, not the flip method. It is safer, making runaway rocks less likely.

The Wrap/“Penguin Waddle”: Wedge rockbar a little ways under one corner of the stone and press up and in the direction you wish to turn the rock to “pinch” it and get it to move. Use two rocks underneath opposite corners of the rock to “waddle” it wherever you like it. Slow technique but very efficient way to move and set rock.

The Row: Use fulcrum rocks along with two rockbars and when you are ready, push “row” the rockbars in the same direction. Individuals involved must be parallel to one another. Communication is key.

Remember These 4 Guidelines

  1. Bars and Hands, never the two should meet! Only use one or the other when moving a rock, never at the same time.
  2. Communication! Especially when working with someone to move a rock, use phrases like “Got it” to let your partner know when things are steady and ready to change. If you are working near the area but not actively involved in the rock moving be aware of your own blood bubble and theirs!
  3. Always ask before helping. Do not assume someone needs your help moving a rock.
  4. Patience!! Slow and steady is safe.