For the DIY enthusiast, building a stone bridge is a great project. Building with stone is actually is not so very hard once one acquires the knack; practice makes perfect. The best way to learn masonry is to do it. All you need to know are some masonry basics, and then you are ready to practice. Rules of Masonry The main rule of masonry is that any joint between two stones meeting end to end needs to be spanned by the layer of stone above it. This helps bond the stonework together. An … [Read more...] about Building Stone Arch Bridges: Masonry Basics
One characteristic of masonry structures in general, and stone arch bridges specifically, is the fact that the person(s) who built the bridge inevitably left behind a hallmark. Not just any and all plaques, but the workmanship itself is often telltale. Each builder has his own method, and, in the case of bridge contractors, the contracting company itself had its own method. Walter Sharp Walter Sharp, who built many bridges in Kansas, generally used large, chunky blocks of stone, not … [Read more...] about Stone Arch Bridges: Who Built It?
The stone arch bridge is a rather novel structure in the line of bridges. At a glance, it seems almost impossible that an arch, made of many discrete stones, could possibly stand, let alone support weight, yet that they do is entirely undeniable. Compression One more picturesque explanation of why an arch stands is that two columns of falling stones are “falling” into each other and hence can’t fall all the way. A more scientific explanation of the reason why arches not only stand, but hold … [Read more...] about How a Stone Arch Bridge Supports Weight
When building a stone arch bridge, the question sometimes arises as to how many arches are needed. In some cases the answer is obvious; for instance, a small gap begs for only one arch. But there are times when multiple arches are advantageous, despite the fact that a pier in the waterway is required. First, it is important to understand the limitations inherent to stone arches. An arch between 2 feet and 20 feet is fairly easily made and does not present major design challenges. Nor does … [Read more...] about Stone Arch Bridges: Spans and How Many?
It is often desired to build a stone arch bridge. Such a structure is scenic and, of course, lends a fine touch to landscaping. The question is how do you go about doing it? We have provided this short guide as a very general rule of thumb; the details of your construction will vary. We’ve based it on a small footbridge we built, including some lessons learned afterwards from the process. We assume no liability for use or misuse of this information, but we do hope this will be helpful to the … [Read more...] about Building a Stone Arch Bridge
The Esch’s Spur Bridge (called Kirk Bridge on the plaque) is a well-known triple-arch bridge outside Dexter, Cowley, Kansas, that is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Built in 1913 by Walter Sharp, this bridge has spanned Grouse Creek for over a century. Arguably the most renowned of the Cowley bridges, it is certainly a must-see for any stone arch bridge enthusiast. It is a very long bridge, and, though perhaps a little difficult to capture in a photograph, the sheer … [Read more...] about The Esch’s Spur Bridge
When building bridges, it is always necessary to take into account the hydraulic effects of the structure. Piers in a river, for instance, always cause interesting water-related phenomena. Not only is a pier vulnerable to being undermined by the action of water, a pier can obstruct trees and other floating objects in the river until an effective dam is created, unless precautions are taken. In extreme cases, like the old London Bridge, too many too-wide piers can pose a major obstruction of … [Read more...] about The Hydraulic Properties of Stone Arch Bridges
There is still a great urge to build stone arch bridges. Not, perhaps, on the massive scale of old, but as attractive, durable footbridges over small streams. When done right, the results are quite rewarding, and the building process itself can be enjoyable. Furthermore, a stone arch bridge should need but little maintenance, especially compared to wooden structures. One of the main considerations to think about is: how thick should the arch ring be? Calculating the Arch Ring The … [Read more...] about Building Stone Arch Bridges: Arch Thickness