As I approached the site of the granite symposium at GranitCentral last Saturday, that unique sound, old as time itself, of hammer hitting stone could be heard. I slowed down when I noticed the small, sharp chunks of granite that went flying with every hit of granot o ph
ite worker Dave Dubois’ hammer, a small reminder that the art of stone-cutting isn’t just ancient, but dangerous too.
“I’ve been working in the granite industry for thirty-two years, starting in the quarry taking blocks out. Then I went to polishing, sawing, base cutting and now I’m a finish cutter,” explained Mr. Dubois who works at Rock of Ages Canada. “It’s good to learn all the processes. If you don’t understand the grain of the stone, it’s hard to be a good finish cutter,” he added. According to Dave, the work of a finish cutter, cutting the final shape of a piece, is all “old school”. “It’s how it’s been done for hundreds of years. You must be very focussed on your work; some pieces are enormous and worth tens of thousands of dollars!”
André Parent, an independent granite worker from Stanstead, was handetching roses onto a large piece of beautiful, dark, polished granite using an electric engraver with a diamond point. “I was always artistic and since I live in a granite community it was natural to fall into it,” said Mr. Parent who has been working with granite for about sixteen years. Hand etching images onto granite is one of the more recent innovations when it comes to stonework. “It’s very similar to tattooing but you don’t do it on soft skin so there’s no complaints!” he joked.
Rock McCutcheon, who has been working in the industry for eleven years, was making v-cuts in the lettering of a headstone with an air hammer under the watchful eye of his father, Jacques McCutcheon, owner of Granit McCutcheon and
Granite workers Paul Tanguay (left) and Ben Dubois (middle) come to the aid of Dave Dubois (right) as he makes a difficult cut with his hammer and chisel at last Saturday’s granite trade demonstration.