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.
ROCCO MASONS takes projects from ordinary to extraordinary. Our Masonry Design services, in-house architectural and ornamental stone carving, top quality installations, and highly respectable crew of Bricklayers and Stone Installers set us above the rest.
Our Stone Carver Ryan Watson was born in 1976, was raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and is proud of his prairie roots. He's a natural born artist in a trade that dates back to the beginning of civilization and uses the most modern tools to promote one of the oldest trades. Watson received a Diploma in Heritage and Traditional Masonry as well as Heritage Restoration, both from Ontario. From there he formed a Masonry company 20 years ago specializing in hand carved stone and restoration.
Contact Saskatoon's award winning Masonry company today and make your residential or commercial projects one-of-a-kind!
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.
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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.