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With the talk of how to hold a trowel, brings to mind some National competition that was started in the mid 80's (no I didn't check for sure) Fastest Trowel on the Block. I believe they only have the Bricklayer 500 for competition now?

Build leads and fill in a 20' wall using 8" block and you have 20 minutes and one laborer. 5 minutes after that to strike and brush only. I won local, regional then when to state competition (all this in the late 80's) I put in 82 block and didn't even hold a candle to the other competitors.
It was fun competition though. Anyone know what layers are throwing in a wall now days in 20 min. I know it is not real life, everyday blocklaying, just wondering if its a thing of the past.
 

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I personally know one of the promoters of the Bricklaying 500. With that said,I voiced my opinion to him that the competition did absolutely nothing positive for the craft IMHO. Reason being,the focus is on speed not quality,just look a the video and watch the placing or rather lack of mortar for head joints. That video makes me cringe.


I know they eventually had a prize for the "most sell-able" wall however,the major emphasis is speed. Not my bailiwick.
 

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Smarter than the brick...
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I personally know one of the promoters of the Bricklaying 500. With that said,I voiced my opinion to him that the competition did absolutely nothing positive for the craft IMHO. Reason being,the focus is on speed not quality,just look a the video and watch the placing or rather lack of mortar for head joints. That video makes me cringe.


I know they eventually had a prize for the "most sell-able" wall however,the major emphasis is speed. Not my bailiwick.
I have seen videos of this and it looked like you have to lay one wall from the backside? I can slam some brick n the wall pretty fast but I have never laid brick like that, so it would eliminate me immediately.
 

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Some of the guys used to get excited about this in florida. It's cute and all but I never saw the point personally. I always wanted to have a , who can slam up a whole house faster. Our best with our normal crew was 130 start to finish clean and out the door.
 

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I have seen videos of this and it looked like you have to lay one wall from the backside? I can slam some brick n the wall pretty fast but I have never laid brick like that, so it would eliminate me immediately.



Just some trivia,today with veneers being the vast majority of work,the mason stands obviously facing finished side of wall. This method is called "off hand " work. On mass walled masonry,the inner most wythe is laid reaching over the wall. That portion of the wall being laid is referred to as "over hand " work.

It does get some getting used to ,especially if that wythe is also considered "finished" work.
 

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With the talk of how to hold a trowel, brings to mind some National competition that was started in the mid 80's (no I didn't check for sure) Fastest Trowel on the Block. I believe they only have the Bricklayer 500 for competition now?

Build leads and fill in a 20' wall using 8" block and you have 20 minutes and one laborer. 5 minutes after that to strike and brush only. I won local, regional then when to state competition (all this in the late 80's) I put in 82 block and didn't even hold a candle to the other competitors.
It was fun competition though. Anyone know what layers are throwing in a wall now days in 20 min. I know it is not real life, everyday blocklaying, just wondering if its a thing of the past.
I think the masons were putting up like 117 for first place. They had tenders there obviously. It wasn't pretty though, I've watched them on you tube
 

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Not sure about block but my fellow statesman have had fastest brick layer wrapped up for 10 years running. I think my brother's old boss Travis McGee is Guinness book record holder and his students have been smoking competition with about 820 or so in an hour, at the bricklayer competition. Going off memory.
 

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As for most sellable wall, i could only sell those walls to a blind man. they are rough...even for commercial work, but yeah they're quick.

JBM, is that done by 1:30 pm all the block to build a house done? if so how many inside corners and how many outside? 12 courses? How long is a typical wall?
 

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Just talked to my brother and oddly enough he seems to remember another of his former coworker is fastest block Mason one or two years running in last three years Mcgee family again.
 

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JBM, is that done by 1:30 pm all the block to build a house done? if so how many inside corners and how many outside? 12 courses? How long is a typical wall?
It would have been a 6 corner house 8 foot tall with double beams on the last courses. Walls might have been 60 feet or whatnot. 1800 sq.ft. house with a 2 car. Simple.
 

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Yes there is still the fastest trowel on the block contest and a fifty something contractor from florida won it this year. I don't know the count, but the rules have changed and you have to lay em right or you go home in last place.

Bricklayer 500 winner this year drove home a new F250 with his daughter/tender in the back seat. Same deal, the judging is much more strict now and brick count was 5-600.

I am not saying that you can sell the wall, but they have taken the speed demons out of the competition by kicking out the brick that are not in spec. The rules used to just give a 100 count penalty no matter how poor the wall was. Now every brick that isn't in line is discounted.

I watched this years winner and he was a good brickie. I liked that his daughter was the tender. According to her, the old man wasn't going to compete this year as he has come close to winning before, but was ready to give up the competition.

The main purpose of the competition is to highlight the trade and give young folks something to dream about. Mason Contractors Association of America coordinates the events and lines up the sponsors. I would encourage any contractor to check out the organization.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yes there is still the fastest trowel on the block contest and a fifty something contractor from florida won it this year. I don't know the count, but the rules have changed and you have to lay em right or you go home in last place.

Bricklayer 500 winner this year drove home a new F250 with his daughter/tender in the back seat. Same deal, the judging is much more strict now and brick count was 5-600.

I am not saying that you can sell the wall, but they have taken the speed demons out of the competition by kicking out the brick that are not in spec. The rules used to just give a 100 count penalty no matter how poor the wall was. Now every brick that isn't in line is discounted.

I watched this years winner and he was a good brickie. I liked that his daughter was the tender. According to her, the old man wasn't going to compete this year as he has come close to winning before, but was ready to give up the competition.

The main purpose of the competition is to highlight the trade and give young folks something to dream about. Mason Contractors Association of America coordinates the events and lines up the sponsors. I would encourage any contractor to check out the organization.
Just wanted to put it in writing; Thanks for this post.
 

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Its much much much much easier to be fast, then it is to be good, and 5000 miles ahead of good, to be great
 

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I would love to get a wide open run some day.

I just finished one underneath a barn wall. I hit my head about 40 times and had to put the last course in with shims.

Nothing like doing a two man block and spending about 4 minutes each shimming and mudding.

I always get crap like that.
 

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This years winner was Irvin Willoughby - Pascal Robertson Masonry...or so says Masonry Magazine March 2014.

I've scanned the article if anybody is interested.
 

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