This carefully constructed wooden scaffolding will support the voussoirs until the keystone is inserted.
I realized, however, that, unlike in my previous arches, I could not just use found stones; for maximum durability, I would have to fashion the pieces into a precise, tight-fitting structure. And to do that I would have to acquire knowledge and skills and tools. And so I began to study and to plan.
I first bought a book, "The Materials and Methods of Sculpture" by Jack C. Rich, which was a very useful introduction to the properties of different types of stone and the different types of chisels and other stoneworking tools. Meanwhile, I made a preliminary design and a cardboard model, which I gave to Mom when she came east for Thanksgiving, and which we also showed to Fr Tikhon, the monk in charge of the cemetery at St Tikhon's Monastery, when we visited the grave and Mom placed the roadrunner to mark the site. I also spent a lot of time looking at and measuring monuments whenever I passed a cemetery, and looking at details, especially carved lettering, on buildings I passed at home in New York.