What is stonemasonry?

Masonry is a highly specialised craft where stonemasons craft from rough pieces of stone and create accurate forms that can be ornamental or structural.

What do stonemasons do?

Masons work with such materials as sandstone, limestone, granite, slate and marble on a variety of projects, including:

Repair work to older structures and historical monuments

Repair work or new carving of statues or making Headstones for cemeteries and churchyards. For Granite Headstones, visit a site like Granite Headstones from Abbey Memorials

Constructing and fitting features made from stone, like frames for windows, arches and outdoor ornamental work for garden spaces.

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What skills do you need to be a stonemason?

To work as a stonemason requires a very specific set of skills, including:

The ability to follow architectural plans and drawings

Careful approach to work and a great attention to detail

Math skills to enable accurate measurement

Coordination and practical skills

Creative skills

The history of stonemasonry

The trade of stonemasonry trade is one of the earliest known trades throughout the history of civilization. The methods date right back right to the Neolithic Revolution and the first domestication of animals. Masons first learned how to use fire to make lime, plaster, and mortar. These materials are then used to build houses with mud, straw and stones. And, as they say, the rest is history – as the stonemasonry profession was born.

From this point, stonemasonry continued to play a major role in the entire human civilization. People like the Egyptians constructed magnificent pyramids, the Mayan civilizations made stunning stepped pyramids, the palaces of Persia were built, the Greeks constructed their temples … almost every civilization would have their own symbols and iconic structures, mostly made by the skilled stonemasons of the time.

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It wasn’t until the 20th century that stonemasonry experienced the most dramatic changes in relation to techniques, methods and equipment used. Until the changes of the 20th century, the majority of the laborious work involved in the craft of stonemasonry was done by animal or human physical labour. However, it was with the invention of the internal combustion engine, that many traditionally difficult aspects of stonemasonry work were made easier and simpler.

Today, we can transport heavy stone and rock with the use of forklifts and cranes. Motor-powered mixers for mortar, abrasive saws, compressed air powered tools and cutting tools with carbide tips make the whole process of carving stone much simpler and quicker for stonemasons everywhere.