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Stonemasonry is the craft of shaping rough pieces of rock into accurate geometrical shapes, mostly simple, but some of considerable complexity, and then arranging the resulting stones, often together with mortar, to form structures. Quarrymen split the rock, and extract the resulting blocks of stone from the ground.


Stone Masonry and Brick Stone Masonry


The art of building a structure in stone with any suitable masonry is called stone masonry.


Stonemasonry is one of the earliest trades in civilisation’s history. During the time of the Neolithic Revolution and domestication of animals, people learned how to use fire to create quicklime, plasters, and mortars. They used these to fashion homes for themselves with mud, straw, or stone, and masonry was born.


The Ancients heavily relied on the stonemason to build the most impressive and long lasting monuments to their civilisations. The Egyptians built their pyramids, the civilisations of Central America had their step pyramids, the Persians their palaces, the Greeks their temples, and the Romans their public works and wonders among the famous ancient stonemasons is Sophroniscus, the father of Socrates, who was a stone-cutter.


Castle building was an entire industry for the medieval stonemasons. When the Western Roman Empire fell, building in dressed stone decreased in much of Western Europe, and there was a resulting increase in timber-based construction. Stone work experienced a resurgence in the 9th and 10th centuries in Europe, and by the 12th century religious fervour resulted in the construction of thousands of impressive churches and cathedrals in stone across Western Europe.

Medieval stonemasons’ skills were in high demand, and members of the guild, gave rise to three classes of stonemasons: apprentices, journeymen, and master masons. Apprentices were indentured to their masters as the price for their training, journeymen had a higher level of skill and could go on journeys to assist their masters, and master masons were considered freemen who could travel as they wished to work on the projects of the patrons. During the Renaissance, the stonemason’s guild admitted members who were not stonemasons, and eventually evolved into the Society of Freemasonry; fraternal groups which observe the traditional culture of stonemasons, but are not typically involved in modern construction projects.

A medieval stonemason would often carve a personal symbol onto their block to differentiate their work from that of other stonemasons. This also provided a simple ‘quality assurance’ system.


The Renaissance saw stonemasonry return to the prominence and sophistication of the Classical age The rise of the Humanist philosophy gave people the ambition to create marvellous works of art. The centre stage for the Renaissance would prove to be Italy, where city-states such as Florence erected great structures, including the Cathedral of Santa Maria, the Fountain of neptune and the Laurentian Library which was planned and built by Michelangelo Buonarroti, a famous stonemason of the Renaissance.

When Europeans settled the Americas, they brought the stonemasonry techniques of their respective homelands with them. Settlers used what materials were available, and in some areas stone was the material of choice. In the first waves, building mimicked that of Europe, to eventually be replaced by unique architecture later on.


In the 20th century, stonemasonry saw its most radical changes in the way the work is accomplished. Prior to the first half of the century, most heavy work was executed by draft animals or human muscle power. With the arrival of the internal combustion engine, many of these hard aspects of the trade have been made simpler and easier. Cranes and forklifts have made moving and laying heavy stones relatively easy for the stonemasons. Motor powered mortar mixers have saved much in time and energy as well. Compressed air powered tools have made working of stone less time-intensive. Petrol and electric powered abrasive saws can cut through stone much faster and with more precision than chiseling alone. Carbide-tipped chisels can stand up to much more abuse than the steel and iron chisels made by blacksmiths of old.



Types of stonemasonry

Types of stonemasonry are:


  • Rubble Masonry: When roughly dressed stones are laid in a mortar the result is a stone rubble masonry.


  • Ashlar Masonry: Stone masonry using dressed (cut) stones is known as ashlar masonry, whereas masonry using irregularly shaped stones is known as rubble masonry.


  • Stone Veneer: Stone veneer is used as a protective and decorative covering for interior or exterior walls and surfaces. The veneer is typically 1 inch (2.54 cm) thick and must weigh less than 15 lb per square foot (73 kg m−2) so that no additional structural supports are required. The structural wall is put up first, and thin, flat stones are mortared onto the face of the wall. Metal tabs in the structural wall are mortared between the stones to tie everything together, to prevent the stonework from separating from the wall.


  • Slipform Stonemasonry: Slipform stonemasonry is a method for making stone walls with the aid of formwork to contain the rocks and mortar while keeping the walls straight. Short forms, up to two feet tall, are placed on both sides of the wall to serve as a guide for the stone work. Stones are placed inside the forms with the good faces against the form work. Concrete is poured behind the rocks. Rebar is added for strength, to make a wall that is approximately half reinforced concrete and half stonework. The wall can be faced with stone on one side or both sides.



Whether you’re looking for custom coping, decorative natural stone inlays, complicated regular or irregular stone patterns or even simple stone patio layouts, we’re the masonry design and construction firm for you. You can trust that our team of master stone masons can create a custom masonry outdoor living amenity that you and your family will enjoy for years to come.


The Mason Co and Dionysian Artificers team of stone masons has years of experience building custom stone patios, grills, outdoor kitchens, masonry fire pits, natural stone waterfalls and much more. Working with all types of natural stone over the years has provided our master stone masons with the expertise necessary to bring your masonry project to the highest level.





Call 913-203-0685

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