When talking about a building, the term masonry is used to describe the stonework which is used to construct a building. Several older buildings were created completely from stone, due to the fact it is a readily available material; most medieval cathedrals, for instance, are stunning examples of this phrase. Even though stones can be piled upon one another and then secured, most are decorated with carvings, thus making it both beautiful and functional.
Masonry uses multiple engineering and physics facets because stones have to be carefully compiled in order for a building to be durable and safe. Several ancient stone structures show incredible feats of engineering, such as vaulted arches that stretch to the heavens, in addition to ornate niches, doorways, and alcoves. Because stone is extremely heavy, the proper placement and design is vital, as any imbalance will mean an entire building can come tumbling down.
Stone carving is challenging, mostly because it is very hard and brittle. Masons first have to inspect every stone piece, to make sure it is suitable for what they are building, and stone is a material which can’t be rushed. So, next time you walk by a building that has stone carvings, take a closer look and think about the workmanship that went into it. At every step, a mason is highly aware that one slip of their hammer will ruin the whole piece.
Masons obtain their training via an apprenticeship, usually alongside a more experienced mason. Their art is only learned through much practice, with tutors showing their apprentices the exact way how to properly use their tools of the trade and how to properly determine a rock for its usefulness. Most masons, when training, will experience frustration as their mistakes can represent setbacks within a project; however, those who persist will eventually be rewarded for their labors.