Actually getting the stones we use for The Circle can be quite a challenge, with the vagaries of broken trucks, bad weather, failed cranes and lack of money.
Last year our Members solved the last of those challenges by raising almost $7,000 in two weeks; allowing the purchase of three flat bed loads of stones that had been sitting in the quarry, waiting patiently. That was 18 stones, ranging from 10,000 lbs. and up to 14 feet long.
Now Stones Rising is just around the corner and it is time to select which stones we will raise this year. This year is a bit special because we like to set the matching pairs of Gate Stones together, and then fill in the gap with the previous part of the circle. This year is even more special as the West Gate Pair were so large that it took two years to set these behemoths, and we are now dealing with a 20 foot gap in the circle. Rather large for two stones and rather tight for three. The necessary pair of stones to fill that gap have to be chosen, just so...
We begin by making accurate to scale sketches of the stones in the Circle, their hieghts and distance from each other. Then we walk the stone yard. Sit on a stone, get to know it, measure it and sketch it to scale. Yes, they do talk to us, or to me at least.
The tricky part, after chosing the stones we will use, is to trim their bases perfectly square to the axis of rotation of the stone. For this we use a diamond saw, but of course one has to know just where to make the cut. And it is not necessarily obvious.
Imagine that you could pick up a stone and spin it along its length in the air. The stone would naturally spin around its central balancing axis, its axis of rotation. Its important to estimate where that axis lies along the length of the stone, because that will have a great deal to do with how easily the stone can be raised when we stand it up on its tippy-toes.
But some stones, because of the natural ascetics of their outline, look better if they are trimmed to stand outside of their natural axis of rotation. And that is where experience, luck and fudge factor all come into play. At the end of the day it all comes down to a thin white chalk line marked out on the base of a stone. And a diamond saw.
Wish us luck!