Masonry Stone

Masonry Stone is roughly hewn, cut or sawn stone blocks used in dry-stone walls and fences, which often seen in the Norwegian landscape and urban areas. Many stone types are used for dry wall construction, particularly those that easily be split in the sheets and rectangular pieces.
Masonry stone and quartzite slate from Oppdal. Photo: Minera AS

In Norway, the use of masonry stone has a long tradition: farm buildings, retaining walls and building foundations. This is masonry work done without using mortar. By the end of the 1990's this tradition was revitalized, when people discovered that stone retaining walls were better, cheaper and more attractive than concrete walls. As a result, the production of dry-wall stone increased, and today dozens of quarries all over the country provide material to road projects, urban spaces and for domestic use (homes and cottages).

There is also an environmental benefit. A lot of the masonry stone comes from slate quarries where thin sheets are produced. Thicker blocks that were once waste, may be used in dry wall construction.

To produce good masonry stone, it is important that the rock has good cleavage; that is, it splits along the layers, and that there is a favorable pattern of vertical cracks perpendicular to one another resulting in tidy, rectangular or square blocks that separate when the rock is blasted.  In Norway, quarries for quartz slate (such as Oppdal slate), gneiss and sandstone are the best sources for dry wall stone. 

Ideal masonry stone deposits. Granite and gneiss at the right side, slate to the left.
Ideal masonry stone deposits. Granite and gneiss at the right side, slate to the left.