He’s focused, talented and a masonry expert whose expertise is founded on the old-fashioned virtues of hard work, commitment and honesty. Kari Rale’s mission is to create artistically-inspired masonry ovens for residential and commercial use. Inspired by his deeply-rooted Finnish culture, Kari’s oven/masonry heaters are made to preserve historical tradition, gather people together, produce finely-baked foods and reduce electricity. Custom-built to do just that, Kari’s ovens unite a passion for an enriched cultural art form much appreciated in Canada. Building masonry ovens for heating and backyard use when making gourmet pizza, has become a preferred environmentally-friendly product.
Born in Helsinki, Finland, Kari grew up in a traditional Finnish household. The family’s soapstone oven, built by his father, was the centre of the household from which baked foods, conversations and plans for the future evolved. Mentored by his father on the refinement, strength and creativity which stemmed from quality stonework, Kari honed his own masonry skills. He quickly learned how durable, hand-built stone ovens used natural heat to perfect baking skills while delivering warmth to the home.
After attending high school in Finland in 1980, Kari signed up for an apprenticeship as a bricklayer and stone mason in Helsinki, Finland, eventually moving to Ontario, Canada in 1989. Still connected to his cultural traditions, and the importance of preserving the stone ovens/masonry heaters, Kari became an exclusive dealer for Tiileri, a 60-year-old company with three factories in Finland offering a full range of fireplaces, cooking grills, stoves, metal plated fireplaces, chimneys and fireplace products. The work reinforced Kari’s knowledge of quality masonry products and the industry. In 1991, he started Rale Masonry, a restoration company committed to renovations for large construction projects, extensive brick work around buildings and distinctive stonework for fireplaces. Equipped with a complete range of masonry tools, a well-stocked local workshop and a team of highly-qualified stonework professionals, Rale Masonry paved the way for Kari to focus on his passion–building masonry ovens and heaters.
A member of the Masonry Heater Association of North America and a certified heater mason always connected to his familial roots in hands-on craftsmanship, Kari’s masonry work consistently unfolds with a great sense of cultural pride and artistic ability evident in all his work. Full concentration, meticulous skill, extensive knowledge, strategy and design attract him to his craft. With a vision to make a greater impact on commercial businesses and residential clients, Kari’s stone artistry provides Traditional masonry for modern times.
Kari Rale, 1993
Kari Rale, 2018
(same oven going strong!)