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.
We were honored when asked to be a part of the restoration on Saskatoon's oldest Italian eatery in downtown Saskatoon, Taverna Italian Kitchen. This building was built in 1907 and opened as a department store in 1907 with a seamstress above, then opened as Taverna in 1969. Ownership changed hands eight years ago with a menu that's as authentic as it gets! Here they are watching the magic happen in our Stone Carving shop.
Watch Ryan Watson, our Stone Carver & Masonry Designer giving a demo in our Stone Carving shop on our YouTube channel above. Part of this restoration includes this hand carved Indiana limestone sign that reads "agora" in the traditional Greek alphabet with thyrsus detail below. ag·o·ra; the marketplace in Athens, used for popular meetings, or any similar place of assembly in ancient Greece. A thyrsus or thyrsos (Ancient Greek: θύρσος) was a wand or staff of giant fennel (Ferula communis) covered with ivy vines and leaves, sometimes wound with taeniae and always topped with a pine cone.
It's always a real pleasure to work with clients who are as passionate as we are about timeless designs and architectural stone details! Owners of Taverna above with our Stone Carver and Masonry Designer, Ryan Watson. Stay tuned for PART TWO at www.roccomasons.com
Above is PART TWO showing the completion of us restoring this 94 year old gateway post at Woodlawn Cemetery in Saskatoon, SK. Click here for PART ONE. In the winter of 2016, the left post was involved in an accident knocking it completely over. Each single block of Tyndall weighs around 450 pounds, so one can only imagine the force it took to bring the whole post down.
Originally constructed in 1923, this is the gateway to the "Next of Kin Memorial Avenue" and the only "Road of Remembrance" in North America. As you look down the Avenue, you will see plaques in front of the trees. Each plaque will have a soldier's name on it dedicating the tree to a soldier from their relative or friend. The post on the right is a memorial for Idella Lyde (1901 - 1921), Margaret Isabella (1904 - 1905), and Florence Marguerite (1895 - 1903) - the daughters of Margaret Irvine and Albert Herman Hanson.
So to say the very least, we were extremely grateful when asked to be a part of restoring this gateway to such history in Saskatoon, in honor of our soldiers.
Rocco Masons was honored when asked to repair and reconstruct this 94 year old post for the gate at Woodlawn Cemetery in preparation for Saskatoon's annual Decoration Day parade and service this June.
Our Stone Carver & Masonry Designer, Ryan Watson is seen here meticulously hand fabricating each pieces of Tyndall stone to perfection! We replaced the damaged stones, and built the post back up again, one 200 pound piece at a time.
Stay tuned for PART TWO featuring this post being capped off to completion and check out our other videos here: ROCCO'S YOUTUBE CHANNEL
For more on the Decoration parade and service we invite you to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 306-477-6774.