How to become a stone mason

Do you enjoy working with your hands? Are you a practical person who likes satisfying physical days of work? Are you precise and careful? If yes, then, consider becoming a stonemason. In this role, you play a critical part in the construction industry. Usually, working to fulfil orders for commercial or domestic clients. For the most part, you spend your time selecting, measuring, cutting and delivering different stone to projects. Furthermore, you may use your knowledge of stone and it’s properties to make recommendations to clients for their projects. This is a very down to earth job, but some specialisations leave room for creativity. For example, some stonemasons work in engraving or carving statues. In this highly valued and diverse trade, you will find a rewarding and long-lasting career.

Stone comes with a wide range of strengths, textures, and properties. Use your knowledge and skill to cut and prepare different stones for construction projects. Does this sound like satisfying work? Then, keep reading to find out the steps you need to take next, and how to find the perfect course to get started.

Step one: Choose a course

To get started in the world of stone-masonry you need to begin with a vocational course. Or if one is not available in your area, consider taking a construction course. During which you can learn valuable industry knowledge you will need as a stonemason. You can then look for an apprenticeship. Using your construction qualifications to show your commitment to the industry.  Taking a vocational course or construction course with an apprenticeship will teach you what you need to know. As well as giving you a head start once you begin to look for work.

 Step two: Apply for your Construction Induction Card

Anyone who will work in construction needs to apply for a construction induction card before they begin work. This ruling applies across the whole of Australia. In addition, you may want to consider joining a local professional stonemason association. Joining an association can open up a large network of professionals and potentially help you find work. Or at the very least increase your standing in the eyes of potential employers.

Step three: Look for your first job

Now you are ready to apply for your first job. Experts predict some growth in tiling with an average level of jobs opening up. When applying for opportunities remember to tailor your resume and cover letter for each application. Don’t forget to include your qualifications, personal strengths, and any relevant experience you have.

 Step four: Consider a specialisation

Stonemasons already work in a specialised field. However, there are opportunities to specialise further. Choose a specialisation which emphasises your personal interests and strengths. Here are three possibilities to consider.

Engraver

In this specialisation, you focus on engraving stone with letters or symbols. You usually work for a private client or a company. Often, you will work on monumental masonry in cemeteries and graveyards. Or you may work on statues or pieces for the public sphere. Furthermore, you may work on buildings directly, engraving into the building face. Usually, stonemasons complete their work using a range of hand chisels, power tools, and lasers.

Banker Mason

Banker masons work for large construction companies, cutting and preparing stone. These stones will go to construction sites for a variety of different projects. You should comfortably read architectural plans and specifications. This is so you can supply the order with the correct dimensions and material.

Carver Mason

In this specialisation, you can tap into your creativity more than in other stone-masonry jobs. You carve structures as commissioned by your client. This could mean a sculpture, fountain or some kind of religious icon.

What do Stonemasons Do?

Primarily, as a stonemason you spend your time selecting, cutting  and shaping stone for different uses in construction. For example, you might prepare a large block for a stone feature, cut slabs for laying a stone floor. Or you may prepare stone blocks to repair an existing stone wall. Stone has lots of useful properties and its uses are far-reaching. This is good news for stonemasons as their services are in demand. You may spend time polishing, cleaning and repairing stone. Some stonemasons will specialise in creative work. Perhaps, carving sculptures or engraving lettering. You will need to use a variety of hand, power and laser tools, using a careful and accurate measuring skills. Sometimes, you could work on heritage properties. This requires relevant knowledge of restoration guidelines. Lastly, you need sound knowledge of the construction industry. Specifically, knowing about regulations and health and safety is important.

Tasks

  • Cutting and shaping stone
  • Transporting stone
  • Cutting and laying stone paving
  • Engraving
  • Repairing existing stone structures
  • Reading technical drawings
  • Understanding of construction regulations and health and safety

Skills for Success

Stonemasons are true craftsmen and to succeed you need to have a deep knowledge of stone. You must fully appreciate the properties of each type of stone, understanding it’s limitations and strengths. Furthermore, you need to have steady hands and a keen eye for detail. Being able to accurately measure and cut is essential. In stone-masonry new cutting techniques are always developing. You need to keep abreast of developments and learn new skills when appropriate. Moreover, you should understand the construction industry. Making sure you have a good knowledge of the regulations and health and safety guidelines which apply to your work. The work is mostly practical, which means you need strength and good health. Prepare to get dusty.

Skills and attributes

  • In good physical shape
  • Able to learn new skills quickly
  • Steady hands
  • Attention to detail for accurate measuring
  • Love to work with your hands
  • Enjoy physically demanding work

How much Do Stonemasons Make in Australia?

In Australia, stonemasons earn a median wage of $56,834 per year. This varies according to a number of factors and is intended as a reference only, from Payscale 05/’18.

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