Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Le Corbusier » Mon Sep 07, 2020 3:26 pm

On the lanscape modelling front I am also begining to think about the best way to accurately model the good old peak district limestone dry stone wall. Would anyone know of any methods or useful threads I might be able to peruse on this subject. I vaguely remember reading somewhere about one method where individual stones were made in some manner and the wall actually constructed :shock:
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby hughesp87 » Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:30 pm

Tim,

Oddly enough I'm going through the same thought process for my Friden project. To start with, there's a good article from Dave Barrett in (I think) issue 208 of Scalefour News, which describes the process you have outlined, using tile grout.

I've done one or two experiments with left over tile grout, which seem quite promising. However the colour needs some thought. Last week I found some coloured grout in powder form in B&Q. Several shades of grey are available, so that may be the answer.

The other option is to use the recipe described by Peter Kazer in his MRJ article on The Owd Ratty. He uses Pulverised Fuel Ash in the mixture, but that appears to be as rare as hen's teeth these days, and all attempts to find a source for a small amount have failed. Maybe your professional contacts could suggest some options?

Let's keep in touch as options develop.

All the best,

Geraint
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Le Corbusier
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Le Corbusier » Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:55 pm

hughesp87 wrote:Tim,

Oddly enough I'm going through the same thought process for my Friden project. To start with, there's a good article from Dave Barrett in (I think) issue 208 of Scalefour News, which describes the process you have outlined, using tile grout.

I've done one or two experiments with left over tile grout, which seem quite promising. However the colour needs some thought. Last week I found some coloured grout in powder form in B&Q. Several shades of grey are available, so that may be the answer.

The other option is to use the recipe described by Peter Kazer in his MRJ article on The Owd Ratty. He uses Pulverised Fuel Ash in the mixture, but that appears to be as rare as hen's teeth these days, and all attempts to find a source for a small amount have failed. Maybe your professional contacts could suggest some options?

Let's keep in touch as options develop.

All the best,

Geraint

Geraint,

Tell me more! When you say experiments with tile grout, are you casting it and then fracturing it to create the stones? If not... what?
I think Mark Tatlow constructed some quasi dry stone walling for his Coal pile recently .... might be worth a look.
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby hughesp87 » Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:25 pm

Tim,

As Dave suggested in his article, I've been spreading it on a sheet of baking parchment and leaving it to dry before breaking it into pieces. The experiments are focusing on the breaking - options being a small hammer, Stanley knife or scalpel.

The other point to note is the structure of the wall, which of course should have foundation stones, through stones about half way up and the appropriate style of capping. It should also have the correct angle of batter on each side. Not sure at this stage whether I should litterally build stone by stone according to the text book or whether stones should be laid against a former, which gives the correct cross-sectional shape.

There are one or two books for reference, but I'm away at the moment and won't have access to them until the weekend.

Regards,

Geraint



Regards,

Geraint
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Le Corbusier
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Le Corbusier » Mon Sep 07, 2020 6:30 pm

Of course it was the Dave Barrett article I was remebering.

Interestingly I did a bit of dry stone walling repair as a holiday in student days whilst I was still based in Great Longstone. I am tempted to have a bash at actually building a wall first off ... and then see if there are any methods by which things can be compressed/simplified. I have a suspicion that most shorcuts ... like much in life .... will be noticable :?

Thanks for the link Noel ... very helpful :thumb
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Highpeak » Tue Sep 08, 2020 1:00 am

Here's a short section of wall alongside the Buxton-Ashbourne line at Alsop Moor. That's not too far from Friden, but a bit more distant from Monsal Dale.
I'm planning my first (and last) layout to be based on Hartington, and so have a keen interest on trying to represent stone walls as accurately as is reasonably possible as they are a signature element in the Peak District. In some respects I think stone walling is a bit like modelling trees, you couldn't possibly represent a tree twig for twig, the challenge lies in how to capture the nature of the subject in something less than absolute fidelity but still staying true to the nature of the original.
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Le Corbusier » Tue Sep 08, 2020 6:25 am

A few of my images to date for comparison ... plus some old panoramas showing the nature of walls and trees in the dale - quite different to now.

The laying of the stones seems much more random and un-coursed than Daves Cotswold version (image at the end).

Mosaldale old view.jpeg
Monsal Dale old view 2.jpeg
Monsal Dale old view 2.jpeg (111.24 KiB) Viewed 1613 times
Monsal Head Wall.jpeg
Monsal Head Wall 3.jpeg
Monsal Head Wall 2.jpeg
Monsal Dale wall.jpeg
Cressbrook wall.jpeg


Ciencester

cirencester-019.jpg
cirencester-020.jpg
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Stephan.wintner » Tue Sep 08, 2020 3:00 pm

Depending on how much wall is needed, if one built a segment or two, I'd think casting resin duplicates would turn out acceptable copies. The joints between copies could then be built up, stone by stone. That's painstaking, but less effort than building every wall in place. Of course that presupposes that the "ground" isn't too hilly....

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Will L
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Will L » Tue Sep 08, 2020 3:23 pm

Traditionally walls in the peek were often topped by stones trimmed to a reasonably consistent half round profile. I don't suppose they all where but many would have been. I expect it depend a lot on how well off the land owner was. This isn't that apparent these days as any such finished coping stones tend to disappear unless they are cemented down.

Walking the peek these days, as I was inclined to do weekly BC (before Covid), it was good to see guys doing wall repairs and even the occasional new wall. This seems much more common than it used to be.

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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Le Corbusier » Tue Sep 08, 2020 3:38 pm

The interesting thing to me is that the walls I am likely to have to build appear to have been built by the railway ... along the top of the cutting and protecting the Cressbrook tunel mouth. So likely to have been pretty well built I suspect with Will's capping stones in evidence. this image of construction I think bears out this assumption,
Monsal Dale-1.jpg


Given the location and contouring I think the resin option may well not be an option for my situation.
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Neil Smith
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Neil Smith » Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:34 pm

Le Corbusier wrote:Given the location and contouring I think the resin option may well not be an option for my situation.


Hi Tim

It's great having you busy back on here - always something interesting and thought provoking on your thread!

Just thinking on about resin or other prefab options... While clearly the topography is far from flat, the critical issue might be how the walls were built going up a hillside.

I don't have any evidence one way or other for the Peak District but surely the two options are for the stones to be laid parallel up from the ground, or parallel with a contour.

If the lines of stone still just were laid parallel with the ground surface, then while you would have to build in the joining sections where flat becomes uphill (and perhaps limit the length of resin sections over bumpy bits) I would have thought that a resin section of prefab "level" wall would also suit a "sloping" wall surely?

The alternative would be that the lines of stones were laid flat to contours as it were, disappearing in to the ground - but this seems unlikely to me? Certainly here in the Lakes I have seen them follow the ground level.

One other random idea - if you are wanting the odd round topped section over a hill, if the prefab were cast using a material that softened with warmth, could you flex a level wall into a slight bump?

All the best

Neil

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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Le Corbusier » Tue Sep 08, 2020 6:07 pm

Thanks Neil ... certainly food for thought.

Of course there is also Dave's 'theraputic' aspect of building slowly over time :D a kind of Zen walling .....

The first thing to do is to experiment and take it from there I think.
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Neil Smith » Tue Sep 08, 2020 7:23 pm

Someone very clever could maybe even program a 3D printer with the ground contours, and get software to draw and then print up a suitably accurate but random rendition of stones...?!

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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Le Corbusier » Tue Sep 08, 2020 7:56 pm

Neil Smith wrote:Someone very clever could maybe even program a 3D printer with the ground contours, and get software to draw and then print up a suitably accurate but random rendition of stones...?!

doesn't that constitute 'playing railway modelling on easy mode' ? :D

Seriously ... if I find it enjoyable to make, even if it becomes a labour of love I'm probably going to do it - its as much about R & R for me as anything else. :thumb
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Neil Smith » Tue Sep 08, 2020 8:07 pm

Le Corbusier wrote:Seriously ... if I find it enjoyable to make, even if it becomes a labour of love I'm probably going to do it - its as much about R & R for me as anything else. :thumb


Getting it all right! Why not...!

(Would also make a superb Slow TV documentary. Perhaps, tongue in cheek he adds, preferably with commentary from the bloke who did the snooker commentary on the telly back in the day. "And he's weighing up which bit of crumbled tile grout to pick up next.... Will he go for the misshapen bit to the left? No, he's gone for the solid cobble centre right. Now, let's see how this is for positioning.... " )

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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Tue Sep 08, 2020 9:12 pm

Hi Tim, :)

I have a lot of dry stone walls on my Grayrigg layout as Cumberland area also has many - different in detail, but following contours up and down. I did mine using white DAS and texturing as I went . I went down that route after a long chat one exhibition with Tom Hartland who had used it extensively. It stays soft for enough time to do several sections per session, I also used a small scraper to form the individual stones, looking carefully at photographs as I went along - Ivo Peters' Farewell to North-West Steam. Sorry I do not have any photographs specifically of the walls, but could go and do it tomorrow if necessary. Once the walls have dried in position they can be lifted out and worked with added precision using a Tamiya scrawker. Painting can be done in watercolour and remember all the ancient growths that limestone attracts. Finally they can be glued in place and weathered to fit. Given the period you are reproducing, your walls will be in excellent condition and good order, especially the railway ones.

By the way Will is correct about the even loading of springy beams, But I was thinking that not everyone following your thread will necessarily be using springy beams, but have other ways of springing and compensation. I know having used the Scalefour Soc. test rig and doing some of the testing at Scalefourum over a number of years, that engines gave some very surprising results when recording weight per axle for quite a number of reasons which there is no point in going into here - it will only be a distraction to your excellent thread. Besides as I say you are using springy beams. Transferring weight to bogies is an art in itself.

A few years ago I ran a competition for the East of Scotland Group after a talk on the Glenfarg trails by the NBR when they were considering various alternatives to building something more powerful for freight engines travelling the route. They borrowed a GWR 2-8-0 a NER 0-8-0 and I believe the GCR provided a locomotive and various trains pulled. I set up a coal train on Grayrigg with its 1in 70 grades and curves and the competition ensued - what won? A GWR 0-6-0 tank locomotive. In the years when working the Scalefour Soc. equipment the engines which always performed best for traction etc, were often the 0-6-0 tanks - which must tell us something about model locomotives. Incidentally what did the NBR choose to build after the trials - did they go for an eight wheel design? No they plumped for what was to become the J37 - 0-6-0, big boiler robust design, and a pretty good grip of the track.

DSC06692.JPG
Here is a photograph I took at Thornton of one of the J37's bringing down a train from the Dundee direction into Thornton Junction Station
Some interesting equipment in the foreground, FPC and signal locks and indicators as well as balance weights.


We did eventually have some Robinson 2-8-0's at Thornton during the war and immediately after but they all returned south when a glut of WD 2-8-0'smoved in and took over. Pity it would have been nice to model one as Will has - it is a lovely model Will. :)

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Le Corbusier » Tue Sep 08, 2020 9:28 pm

This is one of the walls I will need to model as I am using the bridge as the scenic break for the layout.

Midland Official 1910-detail copy.jpg
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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Tue Sep 08, 2020 9:40 pm

I agree Tim, :)
very steep, but manageable using DAS. :thumb The walls are fairly narrow compared to others I have come across, and so clean! Wider walls are almost all filled with smaller stones or rubble giving a wider base. Slate areas often had single layers - some up in Cumbria had a nice green colour to them. Grayrigg Station building was built in just such a stone.

Allan :thumb

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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Le Corbusier » Wed Sep 09, 2020 6:42 am

Allan Goodwillie wrote:I agree Tim, :)
very steep, but manageable using DAS. :thumb
Allan :thumb

When you have a spare moment a couple of pictures of how you used the DAS would be very much of interest. Did you form completely from DAS? Did you make a solid length and then carve into this to represent the stones .... I find working the DAS whilst still moist relatively crude and broad brush - is that just me?

I think I will experiment with both methods and see how they compare ... in terms of both time and result. :thumb
Tim Lee

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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Simon_S » Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:32 am

Le Corbusier wrote:The laying of the stones seems much more random and un-coursed than Daves Cotswold version

I've done a bit of walling. Stones would by picked up nearby so you get what the local geology gives you to work with - lovely square slabs in the Cotswolds or irregular angular blocks in the Peaks for example. The Peak walls look very well built with regular sides and few long vertical joins.

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Will L
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Will L » Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:10 am

Allan Goodwillie wrote:... The walls are fairly narrow compared to others I have come across, and so clean! Wider walls are almost all filled with smaller stones or rubble giving a wider base.

Peak district walls are typically rubble filed, and like most dry stone walls they are significantly wider at the bottom than the top. This may not be immediately visually obvious, even when you're using a style to climb over them. I suspect the picture seeming to show them as relatively narrow may be misleading.

Wall builders use an A shaped Batter frames along the length of the piece of wall they are working on to keep the degree of inward slope consistent. I was interested what the batter angle would be and whether a consistent angle was used, but a quick search failed to find an answer. Seems you need to attend a course to be privy to this information. Closest i got was "...is usually specified as part of the build contract".

And O yes, typically peek district walls are not built with horizontal layers of stone, they follow the land contour.

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Le Corbusier » Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:34 am

Noel's link gives a starting point I think. Maybe for the thinner walls the 1' 8" base is relevant? The top stones look ± 1ft.
wall section.jpg
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Richard S
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Richard S » Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:41 am

That diagram is taken from this book:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dry-Stone-Walling-Practical-Handbook/dp/0946752192/ref=sr_1_6?crid=1O2IUY87VQ1VK&dchild=1&keywords=btcv+handbooks&qid=1599647007&sprefix=btcv+handbook%2Caps%2C194&sr=8-6

I memorised that cross section view for an exam on the subject.
There's a good chance your public library might have a copy if you don't want to buy it. The handbooks can also be viewed online by subscription, they cover all manner of practical tasks including hedges, waterways, footpaths etc. Available at:

https://www.conservationhandbooks.com/handbooks/

As the wall is bedded into a foundation the model would look better if sunk into the ground rather than sat on top.

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Will L
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Re: Making a Start - The Peak District Midland / Monsal Dale pre 1903

Postby Will L » Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:22 am

Le Corbusier wrote:Noel's link gives a starting point I think. Maybe for the thinner walls the 1' 8" base is relevant? The top stones look ± 1ft.
wall section.jpg


I'm not likely to get into the Peak for a few weeks so I'm not in a position to check for certain but memory says most of the walls I see walking the peak 1' 8" would be on the low side, even for low field walls which typically you can see over. You only become conscious of the width when they start falling down! It may well depend on the quality of the stone, that picked off the fields is going to be relatively small stuff. Presumably the MR used quarried stone, though it my have come from the tunnel and cutting construction work, so not necessarily cut with a view to the quality of resulting stone.

I suspect the top width is fairly consistent (about a foot seems reasonable the capping stones don't vary that much), and the width at the bottom is dictated by the batter and the height. The batter in turn is probably going to be dictated by the quality of the stone and how easy it is to build with.

They have recently been redoing a lot of walls round Lyme Park with quarried stone. Their walls are quite high (I can't look over them and I'm six foot) and were certainly very much closer to 3'0" in width if not wider, which is the other figure in the drawing. Of course that was probably Grit stone not Limestone. One suspects the MRs walls were not quite as massive as that but better specked that your average field wall. Limestone tends to comes in flatter, possibly easier to build with chunks.

When my walking group comes out of Covid hiding, I suspect it wont be long before we give Dent Head and the Monsel trail a go again. I must remember to take a tape measurer with me.


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