January 2021

Stonemasons’ know-how:
essential to the Château’s renovation

Stonemasons’ know-how 


Stonemasons are both technicians and craftsmen. They create architectural elements out of cut stone - walls, vaults, statues, etc., which they then install in or on the building. They work with natural materials such as minerals, granite and marble. Stonemasons begin by splitting rock in the quarry before cutting it into blocks. This is an extremely precise operation that requires the use of a graduated ruler, try square, marking gauge (used for drawing parallel lines), compass, and tracer. They then proceed with cutting the stone using tools that are adapted to the hardness of the stone: various chisels including diamond-point or round-tipped, crowbars, chasers, drilling hammers, rock picks, sculpting graters, masonry saws, and so on. Safety gear (a mask and goggles) provides indispensable protection from the resulting dust and debris produced. This know-how is ancestral and some of the techniques used today are the same that were used centuries ago.


The stonecutting workshop in Genas, near Lyon


From the onset, and with the financial support of Groupe Maïa, Deluermoz’s heritage department was outfitted with its own stonecutting workshop, which is essential in carrying out the projects it undertakes. Located in Genas, on the outskirts of Lyon, it is currently equipped with a compressed air distribution system for 4 workstations, 2 water curtain systems to filter dust, a bridge saw to cut the stones and a recovery system for sediment-laden water. 


The workshop supplies the sites with the cut stones that are required based on detailed plans and technical blueprints.

The restoration of Château de La Chaize


Though the stones were prepared in the workshop, the stonemasons continued to carry out their work onsite, laying the new stones, repairing and restoring the recovered stones and adding the finishing touches. They are specialists in the restoration of heritage buildings, including those classified as French national heritage sites (Monuments Historiques), such as Château de La Chaize. They also participated in the renovation of the Jacobins fountain and Antiquaille cloister in Lyon, the Gallo-Roman aqueduct in Chaponost and church of Notre Dame in Saint-Chamond in the outskirts of Lyon, the Grande Chartreuse monastery, church of Notre Dame in Aix-les-Bains, château of the Dukes of Faucigny in Bonneville and ramparts of Briançon all near the Alps, along with many more impressive projects.


At the estate, the teams started out by completely restoring the stone façades, window frames and entranceways as part of the restoration of the historic winery. Next came the entire restoration of the immense 108-meter long (354 feet) vaulted cellar, which proved to be a major challenge, and finally, the restoration of the interior of the winery (demolition, cleaning, consolidation, lime mortar coating or stucco on the walls, hexagonal terra cotta floor tiles, etc.).


The final application of stucco was finished this week. 


Many thanks to the entire team at Deluermoz for their exceptional restoration work!