Selecting, splitting, and laying field stones bring a mason's artistry and individuality into play. SELECTING FIELD STONES The most common colors found in field stones are subtle shades of red, pink, green, gray, black, and white. When selecting stones, choose sizes appropriate for the job. Pick stones that will be easy to shape, such as round or gently oblong stones. When selecting stones, avoid those with rough exteriors. A STONEMASON'S TOOLS To hand-split field stones you will need a stone maul, bricklayer's hammer, a cold chisel or mason's chisel, markers, and a stone box. Most stone mauls weigh from 2 to 16 pounds and have a 16- or 36-inch handle. Stone mauls must be made of forged and tempered tool steel. The biggest maul isn't always the best choice. One of the first lessons in splitting field stones is that it's not how hard you hit a stone, but where you hit it that has the greatest effect. Use a bricklayer's hammer, cold chisel, or mason's chisel for shaping, facing, and roughing stones once they are split. SPLITTING, SHAPING, AND FACING FIELD STONES Most stones have a visible grain or hairline crack that determines the direction in which they will most easily split. After marking a stone for shaping, score the stone along the line you have marked with a bricklayer's hammer. Facing a stone makes the face width greater than the width of the back of the stone. This provides control over mortar joint thickness and prevents mortar joints from becoming too wide. FOUNDATION CONSIDERATIONS Because field stones are heavier than other masonry units, foundations must be able to support greater loads. Field stones weigh about 40% more than brick. MORTAR AND JOINTS Two consistencies of mortar should be used in laying split field stones. Use stiff mortar to set the stones and a thin mix to fill behind stones after they are laid. Three types of mortar joints are used in stonemasonry: extruded, flush, and raked.