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Second Part.



65. The setting up of chimney-pieces, patterns, plinths, etc., is at the charge of the Marble worker, as well as the plaster and other materials necessary to the consolidation of the work. This is the most delicate operation of his labor. There is little danger of mistakes when he does this work himself, but it is quite a different thing when left to the care of masons. Often, through carelessness, they set up a Marble without making sure that it will not warp, that it will not crack, that it is not above or beneath the flooring, that it does or does not rest squarely upon the wall, that the table beneath will be perfectly fastened to the mortar, the mantel or the band, in such a manner that it will not unhinge.

66. This precaution is particularly necessary in setting up white marbles, which are apt to sag in the middle, when they bear only on their ends. This sagging of perhaps the half or one-third of an inch in the course of the year, is exceedingly disagreeable and ungraceful, the clocks being no longer upright, and the vases and candelabras inclining to the side of the curvature. A little attention, however, will prevent all these inconveniences.

There is yet another reason why the Marble worker should himself set up his mantels, his hearths, his moldings and patterns. For this work small claws are necessary to keep in place the different parts of the Marble. The mason often neglects these, and the action of fire or plaster causes a movement in the mantel or molding, which becomes so distorted as to shock the most unpracticed eye.

The same thing is true respecting the setting up of plinths along the walls. This is considered of so much importance, that careful Marble workers always reserve this part of the labor to themselves, and in this they act wisely.

For all this work, plaster should not be used, lest the Marble might be warped or broken by its expansion.

67. The reasons which we have just given, ought to be sufficient to convince Marble workers how much their own interest demands the setting up of works by themselves; but a more important one still remains; their responsibility. The proprietor, or builder, who employs a Marble worker, cares little as to what workman sets up the work, provided it is well done. When this is not the case, they are angry, and blame the Marble worker. They do not hesitate to accuse him of negligence, of incapacity, of deceit and unskillfulness; yet we see establishments decline, and fail even, against whom no serious charge has been made. The reason is obvious. As soon as the proprietor complains of the work, the Marble worker casts the blame upon the mason, and he in turn upon the Marble worker, whose Marbles he declares to have been warped and defective; and to settle the difficulty, he must appeal to the law. He prefers to be silent, to suffer the damage, but with the resolution of no longer employing one who had fulfilled his obligations so badly. This, perhaps, is somewhat rigorous, but it is the exercise of an incontestible right.

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