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What Makes a Stonemason?

image of a stonemason

We may be biased, but we believe stonemasonry is one of the best industries to work in. In this blog, we look at what a stonemason does and the different avenues you can take within the industry. 


What is Stonemasonry?

As mentioned in one of our previous blog posts about the history of stonemasonry, it’s suggested that the technique dates back to the Egyptian pyramids. Since then, the work of stonemasons can be seen on historical buildings, castles, monuments, and famous statues. As the skill dates back thousands of years, most people think that there isn’t much of a market for it within the modern world. However, stonemasonry is very much still in demand. In short, stonemasons cut and prepare stone by hand and specialised machine cutting tools. There are many avenues that you can take as a stonemason, but the three main ones include: 


Banker Masons

Banker masons usually work in workshops, preparing stone that’s commonly used in and on buildings. Working with stone that’s taken straight from the quarry, banker masons work from designs and drawings, ensuring that the stone is cut to specific shapes and sizes. They also use a technique called dressing, which involves texturing and polishing the stone. Some advanced banker masons may also need to carve figures and patterns. 


Fixer Masons

Working with architects and designers, fixer stonemasons are mostly situated on site putting prepared stones together and securing them in place. It’s a highly skilled job and can be very heavy duty at times. Fixer masons are required to fix heavy pieces of stone with mortar, before attaching to walls or metal frames. They can also replace, repair and restore already existing stonework that needs updating. 


Memorial Masons

Memorial masons are best known for carving lettering, patterns and designs into stone. They’re most commonly used for headstones, plaques, gravestones and statues. It requires the utmost concentration, and you need to have an eye for design, placement and detail.  


How to Become a Stonemason

Stonemasonry is one of those fields that values experience, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn over higher level qualifications. There are also many routes and options to becoming a stonemason. The most popular would be to qualify through a college or training provider. As a minimum, you need to have at least 1 or 2 GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G) in order to enrol onto a level one stonemasons course. Additionally, you can choose an apprenticeship which means you are employed by a company, while also having guidance from a college or training provider for written work. Apprenticeships allow you to learn on the job from experienced stonemasons, all while earning a wage. As well as this, most companies will offer a full-time job afterwards, offering you security and reassurance that your hard work has paid off. 


Cope Memorials 

Here at Cope Memorials, we specialise in producing headstones and memorials. We are a team of highly skilled professionals, with over 115 years of experience passed down from family members. If you’re after a reliable stonemasons company, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on 01773 602 187, or fill out our online contact form where a member of our team will get back to you shortly. 

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