Medieval James Himself

Medieval James Himself
Guide at Ozark Medieval Fortress

Friday, February 11, 2011

Medieval Stone Carvers

“Do they really carve stones for the building of the castle?”  This question is only asked by guests who have not yet seen the stone carvers at work.  At the Ozark Medieval Fortress, as in the Middle Ages, the stone carvers are key workers and were hired early.  A Medieval Lord would have to first find a Master Mason who would then hire the stone carvers.  These were (and are) valued, skilled artisans - not just peasant workers serving their vassalage.  Yes, they really do carve the stones.

There are three categories of stone in the castle.  All the stone material comes from the quarry on site.  The first type of stone is the face stone.  They will be placed by the masons in the walls facing out or into the castle.  The second kind of stone is the irregular, broken rocks that the masons use to fill the inside space of the five- Aug9 (15)foot thick walls.  The third type of stone is the CARVED stones.  These are very visible  in the castle and are not just decorative.  Every smooth stone around the door frames and arched or lintel stones above the doors and around the edges of the arrow loops have had to be individually, meticulously and skillfully shaped by the carvers chip by chip.  The quarrymen use shockwaves at the sediment lines to split the face stone, but the carvers have the opposite problem.  They can spend 3-5 days on a specially shaped stone and if they are not careful, break the rock and waste all that work.  Ouch!  To avoid vibrations in the rock, the stone carvers cannot let the chisel rest on the stone and strike it repeatedly like woodcarvers do.  Instead, they have to lift the chisel away from the stone after each blow from the hammer.  This technique is hard to describe and makes a visit to the Stone Carvers’ Hut at the Ozark Medieval Fortress very interesting and worthwhile. Aug26 (40)

Stone carvers are still in demand in the modern world although sometimes builders now use poured concrete instead of the traditional carved stone.  Today builders even use plastic “stone” glued on a wall.  At the Ozark Medieval Fortress, as in the Middle Ages, however, the stones are real and the carvers take so much pride in each stone that they carve their initials or mark into each one.

1 comment:

  1. Hello James! Just thought i would stop by and see your website. Thought it was wonderful!