The 2 year Wall Project

mattavelle1

IT’S GOT A DEATH RAY!
Moderator
#1

2 years ago we started this project for a customer of ours who is now 85 years old, and has had 3 generations of Costello Stone masons work on his property starting with my Grandfather. We have a rich history with this man and he has provided a many of meal on the tables of Costellos for a long time, he is a pure joy to work for and with.

His name is Jerry Baker who made a fortune getting into welding products well before anyone else was. His father and himself started there first shop back when Americas industys were really starting to boom and welding really was still in its infancy, they were ahead of the curve. They soon grew to 7 shops here in Ky / Tenn (for those who don't know we live right on the boarder of Tenn, our county has the state line).

As the welding industry grew by leaps and bound and around I think the 70's AirGas got really huge around New York, so big they started buying up welding supply shops. And they made it down here and approached Jerry asking him to be bought out. Being the brilliant businessman he was he sold them 49% and retained 51% keeping his job while making his very very wealthy early in his career. He worked up till he was 79 years old coming from an old school era of hard work, and when he retired sold Air Gas the rest making him well even wealthier than before.

I have come to know Jerry very well being in such close contact with our family and projects. He is one of the most kind Christian men I have ever meet, but his life has never just been easy. Being gay and growing up in a different era than what we live now you can imagine some of the things he has went thru. All that being said we have built a burial ground outta stone for him, his dogs, and his boyfriend who has long passed I only meet him once when I was 15. He has out lived many many people. All that said it never slowed him down, I didn't know till last year he had won 3 emmys for documentaries (I have a pic holding one lol), has always traveled aboard bringing us back really cool little stone gifts. When he passes he has donated his property to Western Kentucky University from which he is an Alumi and you can see the campus from his house. While always thought full enough to make sure the people who have been good to him are taken care of. He has put in his will that even after he passes no one outside of Costello Stonework is to do any type of stone on the property no matter WKU wishes. Its things like that that have made Jerry a very unique person cause he never forgets how much you have done and how he has been treated by you.

As for the pics I about to have Jueg post this was our latest project on the property, and the first one that my cousin and I had the chance to spearhead outside of my Father since his retirement. All this was put on us. We are extremely pleased with the outcome and have been with the project working from digging the footer to setting the last cap stone. Jerry also is a great appreciator of art and artisans. When taking on this project he told us "I want a wall in this area. You guys create what you think would look the best for this section headed up to the museum". So this is what we came up with and I hope you enjoy it.

After the project was done the other day I won't lie, while I was cleaning up on the bobcat with time to myself I cried. Not because the job was over, but I got to thinking about where I came from. I literally came from an excellent family, but we were in a section of the country where nothing really special is supposed to come outta it. I was never pushed by school to be any better than a D student, I was never pushed to strive for greatness by anyone outside of my Father and his family. Its a tough job, its hard, but it touched me that I had learned this much from my Father my cousin and I that we now had the no how to tackle a project like this and it was all just drawn straight outta the head and put to the ground. Thats why I got so emotional, its a hard thing sometimes taking a lot of crap from your family while coming up in the business, now that something like this is done I know now its because they knew we had it in us to achieve even greater than they had so they pushed us hard. Not to only teach us what 3 generations in front of us learned about stone, but for us to have and find our own conclusions to take this to the next level, either in technique of cutting stone with a hammer, ways to make the job look better. My Father always told us that it was never gonna be easy because every generation that this is passes down the newest generation should be the very best. The reason being is because you have 3 generations of knowledge put on you to be the best, but you have to continue to refine, and figure out more things to possibly teach to the 5th.

After this wall I think he is very true in these words. To date I think this is the most beautiful, and biggest project Costello stone has ever tackled. My Father saw it the other day and was so proud, and that meant the world. If I can please my family, people with acutely trained eyes, the people I lay rock the best way for, then pleasing the customer is always easy. Hope you all enjoy these pics and I will answer any question you guys have about all this.

Now for the 2 year wall project enjoy:msrs:
 

mattavelle1

IT’S GOT A DEATH RAY!
Moderator
#12
God damn, Matt. That's really impressive. How many people had to come together and work on it?
My cousin, myself, Jesse who we have had for 9 years he's really starting to get it. Chris who we have had for 5 years and he's starting just now how to lay stone. And Mark who is our labor and we have had him for about 2 years.

So basically just 5 of us.
 

Superfakerbros

ECE 2018
Moderator
#13
My cousin, myself, Jesse who we have had for 9 years he's really starting to get it. Chris who we have had for 5 years and he's starting just now how to lay stone. And Mark who is our labor and we have had him for about 2 years.

So basically just 5 of us.


That's it?! I'd have thought you'd need at least a dozen or so for a job like that but 5?! Well I'll be damned. You all did great
 

mattavelle1

IT’S GOT A DEATH RAY!
Moderator
#14


That's it?! I'd have thought you'd need at least a dozen or so for a job like that but 5?! Well I'll be damned. You all did great
I can't hire a bunch of guys because we get paid a certain price for a certain type of product which you see. So for us we try and keep guys and bring them up slow just like my cousin and I came up. If we had a bunch of guys that our customers didn't know that would not be good cause we have to make sure our product is top shelf. And with a bunch of new guys all the time you don't get this type of quality cause it takes a long time to learn.
 

Superfakerbros

ECE 2018
Moderator
#15
I can't hire a bunch of guys because we get paid a certain price for a certain type of product which you see. So for us we try and keep guys and bring them up slow just like my cousin and I came up. If we had a bunch of guys that our customers didn't know that would not be good cause we have to make sure our product is top shelf. And with a bunch of new guys all the time you don't get this type of quality cause it takes a long time to learn.
Alright, well that makes sense. Keeping a smaller group of skilled and dedicated workers over a big group of people who'd need a LOT of amount of training. But, still, that's insane, man. What has your family said on the matter?
 

mattavelle1

IT’S GOT A DEATH RAY!
Moderator
#16
Alright, well that makes sense. Keeping a smaller group of skilled and dedicated workers over a big group of people who'd need a LOT of amount of training. But, still, that's insane, man. What has your family said on the matter?
We have always kept it small. But in this we have to get out and bust our asses same as our guys. But it's the only way to ensure that our product lives up to our standards and name.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
#21
Wow, I was expecting a big ass wall, but I didn't expect to it look so beautiful.
It's so beautiful and wonderfully well crafted, even the Chinese have surrendered to Costello Stone's mastery of stonemasonry with this wall. This is the Great Wall of Costello.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
#22
You can make a career outta this. It's actually a lot like college. Except with us you never stop learning (I haven't and it's been 20 years this year) and you start getting paid the moment you begin.
This is what I like to hear. You all seem like such straight shooters, but also willing to help out, encourage what's right, and get the job done right THE FIRST TIME.

 

mattavelle1

IT’S GOT A DEATH RAY!
Moderator
#23
This is what I like to hear. You all seem like such straight shooters, but also willing to help out, encourage what's right, and get the job done right THE FIRST TIME.

You just quoted what we strive for and almost like our Creed for our business. Get taught right, and do it right the first time so that you or the customer never have a problem with your work.

My dad drilled us on that daily. There are no shortcuts.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
#25
So basically just 5 of us.
So I read this...
This is the Great Wall of Costello.
...then read this...and am now waiting for someone to photoshop Matt's head onto King Leonidas's body from 300.

Truly amazing stuff, Matt. The finished product is going to outlive all of us here. When I finally get to visit you in Kentucky, I want to visit this wall and see it with my own eyes.
 
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#30
That's one of the best walls I've ever seen!! I was expecting something great, but this.....THIS?! This is el magnifico! Seriously Matt, you and your team did a wonderful job. I'll have to give Costello Masonry a call when I need a wall one day! :p I can totally understand the whole emotional thing seeing what this wall means to you, and I think that's great btw.

2 questions: I'm interested how you make walls that tall, like how do you put the stones on top? Just use ladders? Some sort of raised platform? I'm interested.
And I notice a Irish top hat on your logo, is your family of Irish heritage? Because that's cool if so, I'm only like an eighth Irish myself lol. But yeah just wondering.

Congratulations again! Fantastic craftsmanship.
 

mattavelle1

IT’S GOT A DEATH RAY!
Moderator
#31


This is incredible stonework. Look at the curves (I always notice curves), she's beautiful.

What type of stone did you use on this?
The stone is all a local Sandstone that they bring in by the tons raw and we cut them all to fit.

@Mr-Chris if you will notice the back side of the wall is almost wall height level. So we just drove the caps with a bobcat to the back of the wall and man handled them just like you can see Cody and I on each side of that cap stone setting it.

Also @repomech above is you answer.

I love these questions and yes Mr-Chris I'm of Irish heritage
 

mattavelle1

IT’S GOT A DEATH RAY!
Moderator
#37
I'm half tempted to put some of these on my tumblr, so a few more people can see Matt's amazing craftsmanship. But I know Matt doesn't want to be everywhere on the intertoobz. ;)
I won't mind this if it dosent have pics of my cousin and I. The company name is fine tho. If you think people will appreciate it and enjoy it then go ahead.
 

mattavelle1

IT’S GOT A DEATH RAY!
Moderator
#40
Sho nuff, dude. I won't link to the pics where you could be seen (I'll just drag and save to my desktop, then upload from there).
Tell ya what on the pic where Cody and I are looking down at that last cap that would be alright cause you can at least see that humans worked on the project.

I would love to here the response that you get ET.

Also @Goodtwin this is the thread we were talking about last night.
 

mattavelle1

IT’S GOT A DEATH RAY!
Moderator
#45
That is pretty amazing. I wish you guys were around here cause I would hire you in a heartbeat for work on our home that we are remodeling. Amazing story and well written.
Thank you Travis I appreciate it. ET already has a lot of pics in a private PM that were compiling for the house were working on now.

And if the money is right we will travel Travis...........well not right now tho we got a lot of work. I guess what I mean is it's an option in the future.......maybe
 

simplyTravis

Lamer Gamers Podcast Co-Host
#48
Thank you Travis I appreciate it. ET already has a lot of pics in a private PM that were compiling for the house were working on now.

And if the money is right we will travel Travis...........well not right now tho we got a lot of work. I guess what I mean is it's an option in the future.......maybe
Haha. I'm sure the money won't be right. Broke teacher here. Maybe if the childrens book I'm working on takes off when I finish some time next year.
 
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