It is generally accepted that tracing is a poor practice as placing stones with their longest axis into the wall greatly reduces their potential to become displaced during settlement. For example narrow traced stones are particularly easily dislodged; traced stones lower in the wall tend to be more of a weakness than those higher up as there are more forces trying to displace them.
In addition we need to note that with some stone types, most notably laminates such as slate, tracing can be unavoidable.
With irregular, rounded and smaller stone it should be fairly obvious that many of the stones are particularly unstable if traced, however more regular stones (e.g.
level bedded sandstones, oolitic limestone) with the same `footprint` (i.e.
Evidence suggests the stone either side of the joints run several feet into the walls.
The wall in Cwm Ystradllyn works “through the use of massive (up to 2.5 m long) corbelled slate slabs.” So both these examples as well as illustrating that cardinal rules do not always hold true also illustrate what can be achieved (got away with! Back to the tenet that stones “should” be placed long axis in…
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