Stonemason

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Practical or MechanicalArtistic and CreativeSkill Level 2

Stonemasons cut and shape hard and soft stone blocks and masonry slabs for the construction and renovation of stone structures and monumental masonry (stonework for cemeteries).

Future Growth StaticStonemasons cut and shape a range of hard and soft blocks in materials such as granite, marble, limestone, sandstone, bluestone and slate to produce stone monuments and structures.

They make kitchen benchtops and bathroom vanities, or may specialise in commercial stone facades, architectural features such as fireplaces and window frames, or ornamental garden pieces. They may also repair and maintain historical monuments or buildings.

In Australia, stonemasons work on residential and commercial projects, and on old buildings, churches and monuments.

ANZSCO ID: 331112

Alternative names: Lettercutter, Stone Fixer and Stonemason - Machinist.

Specialisations include: Monumental Stonemason

Knowledge, skills and attributes

  • enjoy practical work

  • able to cope with the physical demands of the job

  • able to work at heights

  • able to work with your hands

  • self-motivated

  • aptitude for technical drawing and working with computers is an advantage.

  • the ability to read building and architectural plans

  • accuracy and attention to detail

  • good hand-eye coordination

  • a high level of numeracy

  • a creative flair for decorative work

  • to be able to visualise how natural stones would fit together

  • good physical fitness and strength.



Duties and Tasks

Stonemasons may perform the following tasks:Foundations

  • cut and shape stone using machine or hand tools, taking into account the characteristics of the stone being used

  • cut and polish granite and marble for use in construction, such as for kitchen bench tops and bathroom vanity units

  • design, cut and carve monumental masonry, such as memorial tablets and bases for statues, using templates for detailed work and a variety of chisels, punches and hammers, depending on the type of stone being used

  • cut lettering into stonework by marking out the letters and then cutting or chiselling them with hand-held tools or sandblasting equipment

  • construct walls using stone slabs and large masonry slab blocks

  • lay stone paving

  • lay granite or marble floor tiles

  • fix stone facades to buildings

  • repair and replace stonework on old buildings, churches and monuments

  • studying plans and specifications to determine materials required, dimensions and installation procedures

  • erecting and dismantling restricted height scaffolding

  • sealing foundations with damp-resistant materials and spreading layers of mortar to serve as base and binder for blocks using trowels

  • laying bricks in rows, designs and shapes, and spreading mortar between joints

  • embedding blocks in mortar and removing excess mortar

  • checking vertical and horizontal alignment

  • cutting, shaping and polishing stones and bricks using machines and hand tools, and shaping bricks to fit irregular spaces

  • repairing and maintaining bricks, cement blocks and related structures

  • designing and cutting monumental masonry and lettering

  • constructing walls using stone slabs and large masonry slab blocks

Stonemason Equipment

Working conditions

Stonemasons often work in a noisy environment. Stonemasons work both indoors in manufacturing workshops or factories, and outdoors on residential, commercial and historical buildings. Stone workshops and factories are well ventilated spaces. Stonemasons may be required to work at heights on scaffolding and are required to follow proper workplace safety standards, which minimises any associated risks. They may work overtime or on weekends, depending on the project requirements.

Masonry work is noisy, dusty and physically demanding. It may not suit people with allergies. You may be based in a workshop, or work outside in all types of weather on a building site, or in the natural landscape. You may sometimes need to work at heights on a scaffold.

Tools and technologies

Stonemasons interpret blueprints to plan the materials required, and use a range of equipment such as planing machines, gang saws, diamond circular saws and polishers to split, shape and polish stone products. They work from templates and use a variety of chisels, punches and hammers to cut and carve ornamental masonry.



Using chisel

 

Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a stonemason you need to complete an apprenticeship. The stonemason (monumental) and stonemason (restoration) apprenticeships usually take 42 months to complete and are available as school-based apprenticeships.


Employment Opportunities


Stonemasons are employed by construction companies to work on stone structures and by monument fabricators to make monuments and carve lettering. Some are self-employed.
Stonemasonry is a small and specialised trade either focusing on the renovation and maintenance of old buildings or on monumental masonry. The use of masonry in construction has largely been superseded by modern techniques.

Demand is also affected by the number of restoration programmes for old buildings and the trend for commercial stone facades, stone and terrazzo furniture and components.
The nature of a stonemason's job changes with the introduction of new techniques in cutting and forming stonework, requiring stonemasons to keep up to date with advanced equipment and the skills required to operate it.

A Must Listen... Listen

JobSpeaker
Gravesite care and repair is a monumental mission for this Queanbeyan mason.

When we're finally laid to rest, who continues to care for and repair our gravesites?
If not our family and friends, it's monumental masons like Queanbeyan's Karen Doyle.
Karen can patch up, makeover and mend monuments and headstones, and much more.

Listen back to ABC Radio [Canberra] breakfast host Lish Fejer in conversation with Karen Doyle.
Duration: 3min 34sec
Broadcast: Wed 9 Jun 2021, 5:30am
Listen via MP3

 

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