Drawing on five generations of family tradition as stonemasons in his native Scotland, Ian Cramb created this masterful work to pass on his knowledge and experience to craftsmen who wish to learn the ancient, but still necessary, principles of the stonemason's art. Since original publication by Betterway Books in 1992, this book has established itself as an essential learning tool for masons doing new construction and also those engaged in restoration of historic stone structures.
Beginning with a detailed discussion of building with "random rubble", which is the name for the early Celtic art of building with irregular stones bedded on mortar, the author proceeds to more complex projects such as fireplaces, stairs, arches, bridges and more. There is extensive treatment of various restoration techniques involved with historic structures both in the US and Britain, some as old as 1000 years. In addition the author covers various types of stone, stone-cutting, etc. as well as using tractional mortar mixes, which have demonstrated their utility in stone walls and buildings which have lasted for many centuries.
The Art of the Stonemason is profusely illustrated with the author's meticulous line drawings and photographs.
Ian Cramb began his apprenticeship at the age of 14 in Dunblane, Scotland. Surrounded by large estates, farm buildings, a ruined 13th century bishop's palace, two large fifteenth century castles, a Gothic cathedral, and numerous other stone buildings, Dunblane was an apprentice stonemason's paradise. In 1957 Mr. Cramb took over as master stonemason on the restoration of the monastic buildings around the abbey on Iona. He rebuilt the cloisters, restored St.Michael's Chapel, and also restored St. Oran's Chapel in the Cemetary of Kings, built in 1075. In 1959 Mr. Cramb moved to the US where he set stone and marble on the Capitol building, and then he acted as stone and marble mason for the Raeburn Building and World Bank Building in Washington, DC. He now lives in Bangor, Pennsylvania.
The author, a fifth-generation master stonemason who has worked on the U.S. Capitol building as well as numerous edifices in his native Scotland, has compiled an impressive guide to both building and restoring stonework. Excellent illustrations, photographs, and a comprehensive text all help explain an extremely complex subject in terms comprehensible to lay readers. Cramb shows how to build numerous structures, including walls, arches, and towers, and how to restore or preserve existing edifices. Other sections describe different types of stones, stonemason's terminology, and tools and their use. This outstanding work will appeal to architects, renovators, and historians as well as anyone interested in how large stone buildings like castles were built. Recommended for academic and public libraries.-- Jonathan Hershey, Akron-Summit Cty. P.L., Ohio