Career Profile: Stone Cutters and Carvers
In 2014, stone cutters and carvers in Ontario went to work at restoring a section of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. Not everyone in this trade gets to work on such important projects, but becoming a stone cutter and carver can be a good choice for people who like to work with their hands and often be creative.
Stone cutters and carvers work mainly on buildings with marble, stone, brick, and other hard surfaces. Sometimes, people in this field might design the patterns themselves, or they might follow a preset pattern to make flowers, pictures, and more. Some designs are very simple, but others can be complicated.
Often, people in this field first draw the outlines of a design on the stone or other materials, and the stone cutters and carvers use power tools to shape the stone or other materials to make it look beautiful and interesting. Cutters use sandblasters for larger surfaces, but tools like that are not always useful. In some cases, like at the Parliament Buildings, stone cutters and carvers use hand tools for very delicate work. They also need to be able to work with mortar and other materials that join stones and bricks together.
People who work as stone cutters and carvers generally need a high school education, and no certification is required in Canada. Many employers require people to have two years of experience. Many people learn the work on the job. Another way to learn about this trade is to take courses at Algonquin College in Ottawa, the only place in Canada that offers courses in the field.
The trade of stone cutting and carving started to die out soon after the Parliament Buildings were first built in the 1860s. However, the number of jobs are beginning to increase again. These days, job prospects are not as good as they once were, but opportunities are available, especially in larger cities. Because it is a rare skill these days, you might not have as much competition for jobs as in other trades.
People in this field need to be strong enough to lift heavy slabs of stone if necessary. They need to stand, bend, and kneel down to do their work. These tradespeople should also be able to listen to instructions and carry them out. Good reading skills are also important since stone cutters and carvers need to be able to follow directions and to keep records of what they have done. Patience and an ability to work on very delicate tasks can help people in this field. Dealing with dust and dirt is part of the job.
Like many trades, the job of stone cutter and carver can be a fairly solitary job, but it also requires skills in working with people. In small businesses, these tradespeople have to be able to deal with customers and be able to deal with invoices, ordering supplies, and other tasks for keeping the business going.
Specializing in a particular design or kind of carving can help. For example, working with tombstones can be a good option for people who are interested in steady employment. A career in stone cutting and carving can be a good choice for people who enjoy creating beautiful designs that last for years.
Career Planner. “Stone Cutter and Carver.” https://job-descriptions.careerplanner.com/Stone-Cutters-and-Carvers.cfm.
Owl Guru. “Manufacturing Stone Cutters and Carvers.” https://www.owlguru.com/career/stone-cutters-and-carvers-manufacturing/job-description/.
Payne, Elizabeth. “Carved in Stone: How the Restoration of the West Block is Helping to Revive an Ancient Trade in Canada.” https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/carved-in-stone-how-restoration-of-the-west-block-is-helping-revive-an-ancient-trade-in-canada.
Payscale Canada. “Stone Mason Salary.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Stonemason/Hourly_Rate.