Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Serious Pillars

  Finished the four gate pillars for and with Dan Ucci last week. It was an intense project with high pressure deadlines, long days, and about a month straight with no days off; but we did it. We hung the electric mahogany gates on the last day and said goodbye to Cape Elizabeth. I am hoping to get over there in a few weeks when the landscaping is done to get some more finished shots, but here are a few from our last day there. This was another Knickerbocker job, with my good friend Jared as acting GC. Not only did he do a fine job organizing and scheduling a very complicated project, but it was just good to see him. 
  I am also including some pics from Ucci's stint here last year, along with Richard Ware and some of the other boys I spend so much time working with. I was not present for that stage of the project, but it's so beautiful, you need to see it anyway. Dan Ucci of Ledge Hill Creations and his crew really kill it with these large-stone creations. It's really sculpture on a grand scale. You'll see what I mean...

Monday, January 27, 2014

Alas, the Unveiling!

  Well, without any further ado, or unnecessary jabbering, I am going to post the pictures I have been waiting so long to take. The Scaffold Tower to the Moon has been preventing anyone from getting a clear shot of the veneer job we have been puttering away at for three or four months, and it think that even the owners were beginning to suspect that we were just killing time while we came up with an excuse for why there is no chimney. And I will confess with all honesty, that between horrifying dreams of falling to my death from the top of the staging, I had even worse nightmares of the scaffold coming down only to reveal a lopsided and twisted chimney mess like something out of Tim Burton's "Mary Poppins", when Tim Burton finally gives up all pride and does a remake of Mary Poppins, with Johnny Depp as Miss Poppins, and the chimney sweep, and all the children, too. It will be like some white nightmare version of an Eddie Murphy comedy on bad acid, and it won't be funny.  And that was what my dream was like. Seriously, I am a visual person. I like to step back at the end of every day and take a look at my work and make sure I like it. It was extremely difficult for me not to be able to do that for three months. And so it was a wonderful relief to get there after the scaffolding came down and see that not only was it not crooked--it was awesomely beautiful! 
  I am so proud of the hard work everyone put in to this thing. Damon, you did an awesome job and you kept me on task with the tightness. Richard, we couldn't have done it without you. Nate and Mike, we would have been in trouble if you guys hadn't showed up when you did. Dan, we wouldn't even have had the job were it not for you, so thanks. Mark And Deb, you guys are the bomb and I love working with both of you! I am texting you after I write this so you can check it out, because I don't even think you've seen it. Jan and Bob, thank you two so much for giving us the opportunity to create something really beautiful and original and a truly hulking piece of art that will outlast all of us and probably the next few World Wars. We love you guys!
  Well, so much for not rambling on... It was yet another sleety and gloomy lightless day, so the pics aren't great, but hey, they are pics of a finished chimney, so that's better than nothing.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Round Pond Chimney to the Sky

  Definitely the tallest single structure of stone we have ever built, the mammoth fieldstone chimney we are currently ascending in Round Pond is a seriously impressive construct. Inside and out, the sheer size and number of stones give the smokestack a tangible gravity and presence that is only matched by the natural beauty of the rugged Maine coastline that sits in its shadow.
  Stonemasonry is never easy on the body, but this job is particularly physically demanding and I feel it in my arms and legs every morning when I drag myself from sleep. Between the forty foot tall scaffolding that we run up and down all day, to the seemingly endless chiseling, we have definitely washed those stones in a river of blood, sweat, and tears. I am not complaining. It just adds to the deep sense of pride we feel at the end of every day, when we stand back and look up at the freshly laid work and say, "Man, what an awesome pile of rocks." Hopefully, everyone else likes it as much as we like building it.
  I believe my last post showcased images of the interior stonework and I am now adding some pics from the outside. Of course, there is this metal tower of staging in the way, which is impressive in its own right, and I was forced to take shots where I could. I also threw ink some photos of pillars we have done, many of which still have to be capped, and at least one shot of the rear entry steps. There are a few pics of the incredible view of Round Pond from the rooftop, too, and some of Damon working, Richard mixing mud, a "selfie" (hahaha), some of the house, etc...
  Oh, and my favorite picture of all is the one that looks like a pile of little pebbles, which is actually our pile of stones, as seen from atop the forty foot tall scaffold, with someone walking along the lower edge for scale.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Fireplace on a Round Pond

  Dan Ucci's massive and fantastic firebox on the chimney Damon and I are currently veneering in Round Pond. The interior stonework actually reaches twenty-something feet from floor to ceiling, but construction is currently obscuring the upper reaches. I will post more pics later.
  The exterior stonework is actually of the round rock variety and is totally blocked from view by a tower of scaffolding. 36 feet tall and 9 feet wide--it is actually the largest stone structure we have ever built. I am looking forward to the finished product. But for now, it's a pleasure to be building. The owners are wonderful and the contractor, Becker Construction, is both a pleasure to work for and highly organized, creating a perfect storm of awesome working conditions. Some jobs you don't want to end. 
  (Putting a link in my sidebar to Becker Construction's website.)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

There is Still Hope

A few shots of the chimney veneer I did in Hope for the Mcteers. It took a bit longer than I had anticipated and I ultimately had to request the assistance of my business partner Damon, but the Mcteers were patient and helpful and we all made it through in one piece. In fact, the Mcteers were are pleasure to work for and with and I now consider them friends, as I hope they do too.
Most of the stones were brought in from off-property, but some were sourced right there on their land, particularly the mantle, which was chosen and dragged from the forest by Michael and Mardi themselves. I had been having a difficult time finding the perfect stone at the local quarries, as the dimensions were kind of unusual, and those two found the solution not a hundred yards from their back door. The truth is, they built pretty much the entire house themselves and could have done the veneer as well, if they hadn't been so busy. The house is really beautiful, too. I wish I had some pictures of it to post. Maybe if they read this, they will leave a pic or two in the comments, if such a thing is possible.