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Before setting the stones, you need to make a guide. To do this, take a piece of 2-foot square plywood and center it on the top of the blocks.
Mark the spots, nail them down and tie off the strings. This will be your guide as you work the stone up the block.
Chip off the edges of the field stone with a masonry hammer. Flatter edges mean that you can square off the corners and the stones will set closer to each other, requiring less mortar joints.
Note: Field stones are good to use for this type of project because they can be notched down to various size and shapes.
Apply mortar to the footer and begin setting the stones in place. Place smaller pieces behind the stones and add mortar to fill the area and help it set straight.
Work the wall ties into the mortar as you move up the block. This helps hold everything together. Select the stones carefully. Make sure the corners interlock for stability.