Stone Masonry – An Ancient Craft
Stone masonry is one of the oldest crafts in history when humans began arranging rocks to create shelters in the Neolithic Period, (or Stone Age) 12,000 years ago. Stonemasons then began honing and trading the craft, cutting and preparing stone to build and repair structures, often incredibly complex work. Throughout history, stonemasons have built entire cities, monuments that can be seen from space and roads that created nations. Ancient and middle age societies relied heavily on stonemasons to build and defend their civilizations, for example, the Egyptians and their pyramids, the Roman’s and their roads, and Medieval Europeans and their castles.
Stone Masonry involves highly skilled craftsman
There are many different types, many of which have not changed since stone masonry began. For example, Carvers who are able to artistically carve detailed shapes and images into natural stones, Quarrymen who split huge sheets of rock from the ground and prepare them to be sent all over the world, and Fixer Masons who fix large pieces of stone on to or in buildings, for example, cladding, fireplaces, and staircases. They must understand the complex tolerances involved in creating these structures, including lifting huge pieces of stone into place, often up on to buildings, the sizes and shapes to make the structure strong, and how to fix them safely into place.
What is in the stonemason's toolbox?
Similarly, many of the daily tools used by stonemasons have not changed. The earliest tools would have been mallet and chisel type tools, and these are found in every stonemason's toolbox today. Other ancient tools that are still used today are the mason’s trowel and levels. Technology has meant some changes, for example, lots of stonemasons use CNC machines - computer technology to cut and process stone to a specification. However these machines haven’t made the job of a stonemason simple, you must be highly skilled to use a CNC machine and understand the specifications that each piece of stone needs for the job. Often the stone will then be finished by hand.
If you’re interested in seeing how a modern-day stonemason works and the tools and machines that are used, contact Coulon Stone using the details below and we can show you around our factory.