Ryan and I stand proud on top of the Smith Block building, better known as the home of Calories Restaurant in Saskatoon. This Spring we will receive our third heritage award for our contribution to this project in the category of Rehabilitation. The scope of work we are being awarded for is as follows:
Rehabilitation is defined as the action or processes of making possible a continuing or compatible use of a historic structure, or individual component, while protecting its heritage value.
The limestone you see on Calories Restaurant, and all of our projects are hand carved and fabricated by our talented Stone Carver and Masonry Designer, Ryan Watson. Here he is replicating the Smith Block buildings original keystone from 1912 that weighs approximately 300 lbs.
To the non-Stone Mason eye, most will assume they are looking at cast concrete, not realizing that each piece was hand carved by Watson, a trade that dates back over 800,000 years ago according to Wikipedia. Most of Watson's chisels date back to the early 1900's. Pneumatic hammers (pictured above and below) first came into use in 1880.
NEW and OLD Keystone from 1912
Above is the centre of the three piece 1912 Smith Block sign where Watson is carving with various chisels powered by the pneumatic hammer. The main difference between working with a chisel and mallet versus a chisel powered hammer, is simply the time it will take to complete each project.
With a pneumatic hammer you will produce 100 hits to the stone compared to a mere ten using a mallet and chisel in the same amount of time. If Watson had not used the pneumatic hammer for the 1912 Smith Block sign and entrance pediment (pictured below), time to produce and the cost for his carvings would have been uneconomical. That being said, the pneumatic hammer not only cuts down on time, but also the price tag of our hand carved projects.
It's hard to imagine all the time and talent that goes into Watson's projects unless you see him carving in real time. To see Ryan Watson, Co-Owner at ROCCO MASONS carving in our shop, subscribe to our youtube channel HERE.