An involute conical helix based upon Fibonacci squares is at the root of it all.




Here is the CAD model that underlies the whole thing. Every cinder block is designed in so that the rebar and all the below ground ends up in the correct places.



This image was printed on 3 foot wide strips of paper that were then glued to plywood sheets.



Almost every construction project starts with a giant hole in the ground.



A big temporary box was built around the area



The CAD drawing was spray mounted to the roof of the box and 37 little plumb bobs hung at critical points from the drawing.
At this stage they mark where the rebar will be so that it falls in the right place for the cinderblocks on the spiral footing.



The underground view of the foundations. This is all on the print that is glued to the ceiling so we know exactly where to dig.



Further excavation for footings. Rebar, drainage, and electrical installed as per plan on the ceiling.



Each stair tread pattern was printed on paper, spray mounted to1/8 plywood, and cut as templates to build to.



The plumb bobs at this stage are positioned to locate the cinder blocks.



Cinder block structure complete



Suddenly one day, the entire yard is full of boulders.



Meet Michael Eckerman

Michael Rocks

The very first rocks

Link to Michael Eckermans website


End of day one.

The patterns are in position to fit the stones to. Now the plumb bobs mark the newel post locations that were printed on the stair paterns.



Each stair slopes 1/4" from back to front for drainage.
While the finished product appears rough, the reality is that it is accurate within 1/16 of an inch.

Accuracy of tread width and height is very important to prevent trips and falls on stairs.

Note the shelves on the left where the yellow laser plane sits.
The plumb bobs mark the newel post locations at their mathematically perfect spots.
The red line visible here on the cinder blocks is the plane of the laser that defines where step 7 will be.

When the stone is set corectly the entire surface of the stone is illuminated with bits of laser light.



Plumb bobs precisely mark the position and height of the CAD patterns. Stairs slope 1/4" to the front for drainage.



The pattern is stripped away and we are ready for a porch!



Top down view

It's just hard to find enough good things to say about the creativity, hard work and workmanship that Michael brings to the job.
Michael truly is a Rock Star... He has done stone work for many celebities... He's got fun stories!

Link to Michael Eckermans website



Halloween approaches. Just one stair left to add. The porch is built and fiberglassed the day before it rains.

Leaning against the second step are the wrought iron newel posts I was planning to use... because I thought doing the whole thing in roots might be too big a project. I got a thumbs down on that from both Michael Eckerman and my wife Kathy. Kathy threw one of my favorite sayings back at me...
"If the job's worth doing, It's worth doing well.... very, well."
Awrighty then... refund on the newel posts and on with the full Root Railings. It was the right decision.



So there you go. The first freeform stone job. Nice job Michael. Michael went on to do a couple more stone creations after this.

Michael taught me a ton... which I've gone on to use throughout the rest of the property.
I've used Michaels "Freeform Masonry" techniques myself now to mix and blend stone into my tree root iron work.

The next phase of stone will wrap the post on the porch.

Getting the bottom step to plane in with the driveway in a manner that meets code turns out to be tricky. That's a whole other project... below.



Kathy exhibits incredible skill with the 60lb jackhammer.


My girl can handle power tools like few I've met.
Kathy is on the other end of every heavy rock and timber around here and is closely involved in or in support of all these crazy projects around here.
We have a lot of fun doing these projects together every evening for an hour or two.
I think this is when most people watch TV. Kill your TV and make stuff... it's way more fun.



Once again, every project starts with a gaping hole in the earth. This one is no exception and goes 21 inches deep.
We'll fill it in with rebar, concrete and rocks.
It needs to withstand the UPS and Fedex trucks. Two years after this pic it supported a big fire truck without cracking.



Fore mentioned rocks and concrete

finished pix
finished pix

finished pix