Alejandro Duque has been working as a stonemason for the past 30 years. He uses different techniques, always using manual tools. This gives his works that special general aspect and finishing which stone works have always had until today. Among these techniques, it is worth mentioning the carving and placing of architectural elements in limestone and granite, such as arches or columns. It all starts with a block of natural stone which is then carved with the aid of a square and straightened.
In the placing of arches he uses a wooden centering. In the carving of stone he uses tools such as templates, mallets, bull point chisels, chisels, tooth chisels, bush hammers, toothed stone axes, hand tracers and squares. When he has to divide blocks, he aims to waste as little material as it is possible, using iron wedges to fracture them.
He carries out the carving of all sorts of reliefs and sculptures in the round with limestone, sandstone, marble, granite and alabaster, using the technique of direct carving (using only as an aid a prior sketch of the piece) or the pointing technique (where they first model the piece in mud or modelling clay and then use a pointing machine and spring calipers to make reference marks). This second technique enables copying with extreme precision the prior-constructed model.
He also works in the restoration of stone architecture works (portals, fountains and sculptures), where he replaces specific pieces or damaged areas (with a similar kind of finishing) or where he protects the existing work with water-repellent products and others to help consolidate the stone.
He also carries out copies of whatever piece through plaster moulds or using moulds for serial production, applying silicones and resins. In this case, the use of new materials to carry out reproductions (polyurethane, polyester and epoxy) has the main advantage of saving time in the course of these processes.
Today, the tools used for masonry works have suffered a great change due to very important technological advances, mainly with the implementation of numerical control machines. It has also somehow led to the – almost complete – disappearance of the traditional masonry craft, since the product has become cheaper. This has at the same time given way to the mass production of pieces with no identity, without that unmistakable strength that a carved piece of stone by hand can transmit. Alejandro Duque is a strong believer in combining the most authentic artisanal ways with the best technology has to offer.
He trained at the school/workshop belonging to the Town Council in Segovia, carrying out the module on masonry delivered by the Master Francisco Cuéllar Requero, in 1987. The method which was used was the carving with manual tools of fountains, arches, etc. parting from natural stone blocks extracted from the quarry using wedges.
School/Workshop in Turégano, in 1997. Certificate of professionalism: Teacher for the professional training for employment 2015.
– Replacement of damaged pieces and consolidation of the Romanesque portal in Las Canonjías (Segovia), 2016.
– Restoration and elaboration of stoneworks for the convent of Las Oblatas (Segovia) current Hotel Capuchinos, 2004-2011.
– Different actions carried out at the Monastery of Santa María del Parral (Segovia) related to carving and the restoration of sculptures. 1995- 2016.
– Placing of granite tiles at the Palace of La Zarzuela, 2004.
– Restoration of tree granite wells of sequoia trees at the Palacio de Quinta del Duque de Arco, El Pardo, 2004.
– Carving of coats of arms for the Town Councils of Marugán, Valverde del Majano, Vallelado and Fuente el Olmo de Íscar.
– Restoration and replacement of pieces in the halls, the fountains and the Royal Collegiate of the Real Palacio de la Granja de San Ildefonso, 1995-96.