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.
At ROCCO MASONS we work closely with architects, owners, general contractors and builders to ensure the projects we're a part of stand out from the rest. Are you a builder or architect looking to add Stone Carving to your portfolio by OFFERING hand carved architectural stone details to your clients? We do that too and ship throughout North America.
For commercial or residential properties, we do it all and take pride in providing nothing but the finest quality with an outstanding client experience. So next time you're looking for ways to make your project unlike any other, give us a call and we will make that happen.
What are our customers saying about us? CLICK HERE
Rocco Masons has been rockin' and rollin' on Broadway Avenue at the Smith Block Building for one of Saskatoon's most excellent restaurants, CALORIES! We're right in our element since restorations happen to be our specialty, so Owners Ryan and Nicolene Watson felt privileged and honored when asked to be a part of another historical project early last year.
Our scope of work involves a total brick and Indiana limestone facade, a three piece hand carved Indiana limestone "Smith Block" and date sign that weighs in around 400 pounds, along with a colossal hand carved limestone pediment for the buildings entryway.
Now that the Smith Block sign is complete, our Stone Carver and Masonry Designer, Ryan Watson is hard at work carving the massive 800 pound pediment. Watson continues to use traditional stone carving methods and tools that date back to the early 1800's. Once complete, the facade will greatly mimic the facade from 1912 as shown below, along with some added details throughout.
Smith Block was built in 1912 by the Bugenhagen and Turnbullof, who were also the architects of the Farnam Block. Previous tenants of this building include, Early’s Seed and Feed Company (which is now located on Lorne Avenue), the Free Methodist Mission and a branch of the Public Library. The chief librarian at the time, James Stewart Wood, lived in the upstairs suite until his death in 1961.
In 2015, upon request from the current home owner, Strata Developments asked us to participate in the restoration of this landmark on Saskatchewan Crescent West, a home built in 1910 for Mayor William Hopkins. Since our company specializes in Heritage Restoration, Stone Carving and natural stone fabrication, we were definitely in our element and pleased to know that our unique and quality workmanship was being recognized and requested.
In the fall of 2017 I submitted an application to the City of Saskatoon and Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee Society for our scope of work on this restoration project. I'm excited to announce that Rocco Masons will be receiving a Municipal Heritage Award in the Preservation, Restoration, and Rehabilitation categories at the Honour level on Tuesday, March 13th 2018.
The judges were impressed with our companies quality of work, and commented that the design and material selection are complimentary to the original materials. Myself, Ryan, and our crew are pleased to have been a part of ensuring that this Saskatoon landmark remains as part of Saskatoon's building inventory. For more on the history of The Hopkins residence CLICK HERE.
ROCCO MASONS scope of work included replacing the home's disintegrating concrete stair treads, with Indiana limestone, each tread weighing in at 650 pounds. Indiana limestone was used on the original structure in 1910 for all of the window sills, lintels, and plinth details.
We replaced all cement details including the home's sills, stair treads and capstones with Indiana limestone. We tore down the two brick posts at either side of the staircase, cleaned each brick piece by piece before re-using them to return the posts to their original state. Once the posts were rebuilt, we capped off each post with 1900 pound limestone caps.
We were very pleased when the home owner decided to use our recommendation of limestone for the bases of the home's ionic columns to replace the home's original rotten wooden columns.
And lastly, we laid limestone flooring throughout the patio which starts at the front entrance and wraps around to the back of the home.
This will be Ryan Watson's second Heritage Award in Saskatoon, the first being for the King George Hotel restoration on 2nd Avenue in the heart of Saskatoon. There he hand carved the entryways using Indiana limestone along with installing the buildings entire stone facade. For more on that project CLICK HERE and see pictures below: