Sense of Pride

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS -

Jera Granit Inc. “It’s very easy to make a mis­take so you have to pay lots of at­ten­tion, lots of con­cen­tra­tion. And you need to know the grain of the stone,” com­mented Rock. His fa­ther, Jac­ques, has worked in the trade for forty-four years, twen­ty­four of those with his own busi­ness. “We have about twenty work­ers, three of my chil­dren, son-in-laws, sis­ters; it’s a real fam­ily busi­ness,” said Mr. McCutcheon. “Be­cause it’s a small busi­ness and we do every­thing, en­grav­ing, carv­ing, cut­ting stone, pol­ish­ing, our work­ers are ‘poly­va­lent’. We’re very good at personalizing head­stones - that’s what peo­ple want to­day. A head­stone is not for the per­son who dies; it’s for the gen­er­a­tions af­ter, for peo­ple go­ing back to their roots,” ex­plained Mr. McCutcheon.

Any­one who has worked in the in­dus­try knows that many gran­ite jobs are dan­ger­ous. Even the open-air site of the gran­ite sym­po­sium had its dan­ger zones so Paul Tan­guay, who worked as a fork­lift driver “fur­nish­ing stone” for ten years, was keep­ing an eye on things. “I’m help­ing to clean up so none of the guys get hurt,” said Mr. Tan­guay.

Ben Dubois, a hand-pol­isher who works at Do­min­ion Gran­ite, has been “do­ing coun­ter­tops” for about seven years. “When I get the piece it’s square so I put the edges on it. Then I pol­ish it; it’s tricky to ‘match’ it. Some ar­eas need more pol­ish­ing than other ar­eas so you get the same shini­ness ev­ery­where. What I do is the last step be­fore the coun­ter­tops are in­stalled.” Ben en­joys work­ing with gran­ite be­cause ev­ery job is dif­fer­ent and it’s chal­leng­ing. “And I like see­ing the coun­ter­tops when they’re fin­ished, see­ing what they look like af­ter all that work. Some peo­ple don’t re­al­ize how much work goes into it; it’s step-by-step and you’ve got to take your time.”

Although the stone is cold, all the work­ers spoke warmly about their cho­sen trade. “Ev­ery mon­u­ment that I work on is per­sonal to me, as if it could be for my mother or fa­ther. You have to have pride in your work,” said Dave Dubois. The gran­ite in­dus­try is a very com­pet­i­tive one, how­ever, there is a sense of brother­hood among gran­ite work­ers, re­gard­less of which shop they work in. Dave added: “We of­ten share tips with other work­ers and even the com­pa­nies some­times work to­gether. Our trade is a dy­ing trade so when a young guy wants to know some­thing about work­ing the stone, it’s a bless­ing. Peo­ple should re­mem­ber when they look at a gran­ite piece that it’s not a ma­chine pro­duc­ing the ma­te­rial, it’s a man!”

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