To Marble and Granite Workers
A shop should be built both substantial and convenient. In the first place, a marble man should not attempt to build a shop above his means, and, in finishing up, find his finances short, and then stop for a while, leaving it partly built.
Select a site that is in the business portion of the town, a corner lot if possible, even if you only have 22 feet, it will do. If your shop is built on one of the principal streets, more people will pass your shop and there will be persons “drop in”.
It is not necessary to build a shop more than one story high, unless a man wants to live or rent for offices, but, as a general thing, marble workers make too much noise below to be good for offices, or even to live above with a family-especially in times of sickness.
The first room should be for finished work and office. It should have a high ceiling, twelve feet, and the ceiling should be tinted a sky blue and the balance a light pink, which will make the work show to good advantage. It should have a good substantial oak floor 1 ½ inches in thickness with good, heavy joist, one foot apart and well bridged. Have the front door (double) made with glass sash, so as to admit as much light as possible. Two large windows will do.
The second room, which should be used for lettering and polishing need not be so large or the ceiling so high but with a floor equally as substantial. A piece, something similar to the ordinary chair board, should be placed in the wall while building; also, some well made boxes, placed in the wall, for tools, with lock and key’ each cutter to have his own box. The polisher can be protected by a skeleton partition with a guard wing to prevent stray chips from interfering.
The third room, to be used to do rough cutting, finished same as the second room, only not so large. The windows of this room should be protected by wire screens. With a good cistern at the rear end of the shop, there will be no necessity of carrying water and soft water is best for marble.
To make work show off to the best advantage, place it in a circular form in the shop, with aisles running around each way from the door. When you deliver any work, never leave the place vacant, but fill up the vacancy, even if you have to move the others stones around a little.
Always finish your work so that you will not be ashamed to cut your name at the bottom; and don’t cut too much “gingerbread-work” as we call it; it don’t pay, and it will be impossible to put on the finish you can on plain work.
The sure way to run the marble and granite business, and the only way to succeed, is to be prompt in paying your bills when due. Do not order a large stock unless you know you can pay for it.
Say nothing that will injure another’s reputation in order to carry a point or make a sale. Do not run down other’s work to build up your trade, or you will ruin yourself in the estimation of all thinking people.
Treat your hands as though they were human, and make an effort to pay them every Saturday night. Instruct them when you think you can learn them anything, and if hands will not take showing without being “miffed,” then they are not worthy of being called marble or granite workers. Hire men who are steady and who will do your work and do it just as you want it done.
Advice to Apprentices
Young man, who ever you may be, don’t leave your employer until you have stayed three years. Be honorable and don’t attempt to steal time on the boss in his absence. After you have severed your three years or more, as per agreement, then try your hand at selling; try it at least six months. If you prove yourself to be a good workman, a good salesman, an honorable, upright, temperate young man, who is more likely to become a partner than you? Keep out of bad company, by all means, and you will win laurels of which you never dreamed.
Source: The Marble and Granite Workers’ Guide