Editor's note: Joe Becker continues his report on the natural-stone segment of the St. Joseph Cathedral restoration in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Swoon can refer to a temporary loss of consciousness, and it’s happened here – not in reference to my blogging skills, but to our jobsite status. While our installers didn’t black out or flash-forward, we did have a temporary absence from the jobsite.

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I talked about it in an earlier blog; time your deliveries and manpower for a smooth flow to the job. If stone contracting could only be that easy.

Our plan was to receive the second container of stone approximately five weeks after the first one arrived. We knew the first two containers had all the difficult stairs and radial pavers, it had to be that way because we’re working from the front of the church to the back.

Unfortunately five weeks turned into seven, and we ran out of stone.
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Why the late shipment? Was it because of Somali pirates overtaking the ocean vessel, or delays in customs from the evil men in white overcoats? Not hardly; it’s jus that two extra weeks were needed to fill up the 40,000-lbs container in Italy. I offer no other excuse than that.

We try our best to accurately predict a delivery schedule, but many factors must be taken into account. Even a granite kitchen can vary a week off its schedule.

Container #2 arrived June 14, so we’re back at the site. Container #3 is on the water, with delivery in Sioux Falls in mid-July.

The floors and walls are phase one of the project; phase two includes all the large altars, columns, and railings. In January, we began detailing phase two.

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The hot item in this phase are the 17’ Rosso Barocco Baldacchino columns that are front-and-center in the cathedral, surrounding the altar. The contractor’s plan is to get the columns erected and then spend the next three months doing steel work and finishes on the shroud above them.

Luckily, the shop drawings for the columns were approved in March, and we expect delivery in October or November. The other large items are slowly getting final approval; some items went
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through five submissions to get the drawings exactly the way the architect wants to see the stone.

The next blog will be about where I’m at now – in Italy to inspect fabrication, and review the work being done by a commissioned artist. He’s dealing with sacred images tobe carved into marble as part of our phase two of installation.

Thanks for reading.

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Twin City Tile and Marble Company
St. Paul, Minn

Joe Becker has been in the natural-stone business for 26 years. He started with Cold Spring Granite as a draftsman and spent time in their stone installation and estimating departments. He is currently Vice President of St. Paul, Minn.-based Twin City Tile and Marble Company and oversees their stone operations.

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