Building with stone in the Kootenays

With decades of experience, Russell Buksa of RNB Works still enjoys bringing high-quality projects to his clients

Man sitting with his dog, a cute blue heeler

Russell Buksa and his dog, Zip. — Photo courtesy RNB Works

Russell Buksa is a red seal journeyman in three different trades. With his variety of experience, he settled in the Kootenays with his business RNB Works.

This business focuses on all aspects of masonry and concrete, an industry that Buksa has been working in since 1997.

“I like stone,” said Buksa. “People appreciate it. They can sit in front of it and have a nice fireplace.”

RNB Works recently completed a project, which is now a favourite of Buksa’s. These two fireplaces were hand built for a residence where he placed over 3000 masonry blocks. An employee, Jefferey Waters, also worked on this project, helping Buksa complete the gorgeous structures.

- Photo courtesy RNB Works

The pizza oven is unique in Canada, said Buksa. Having the oven heated by the fireplace differentiates it from a standard pizza oven, where the fire is built directly inside the oven itself. 

The project also included another beautiful fireplace with a knotty mantle. The arch surrounding this fireplace was cut out of a flat piece of stone.

Altogether, these two structures took about three months for Buksa to complete. He works on his own, with input and ideas from the client.

“I just do the job and try to do the job to the best of my ability,” said Buksa. “I talk to people and if somebody's got an idea I'm open to it. I'm always willing to listen.”

- Photo courtesy RNB Works

In this project, the stones that RNB Works used were sourced from the owner’s property as well as other special pieces he sourced himself.

“I was building all the masonry, fire, clay, brick—everything is solid masonry,” said Buksa. “The only place there was any metal is the rebar in the lintels.”

While traditional masonry is one of the skills Buksa enjoys practicing, he takes on a variety of projects including concrete, stucco, and brick and block laying. He does quite a lot of concrete pouring, and enjoys working on decorative concrete as well.

Buksa’s particular set of skills is in high demand, and he books jobs about a year in advance.

“If I live another 60 years I’ll keep doing what I’m doing,” said Buksa, who has found a home in bringing quality work to the Kootenays. 

Kristen Mitchell

Kristen studied at College of the Rockies in Cranbrook and has worked in a variety of industries, from agriculture to construction, retail to restaurants. She now brings her understanding of the area to Kootenay Business magazine. View all of Kristen Mitchell’s articles

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