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Hey my name is josh and im 18 years old.. And i want to become a mason.. So i guess ill give you people some info about me.. I live in florida and i start to work with my brother tuseday being a labor.. And sooner or later i want to start laying some block or brick and want to learn as i go.. Even if its helping my brother make a grill or something.. Well my papa has been a masonry for about 50+ years i think but he passed away a couple years back =(.. But anyways i was hoping all you vets in the masonry business can give me some pointers on where to start.. How long should i labor for?, should i watch all the guys i work for on how they lay brick/block?, in my spear time should a pick up a trowle and with the blocks/bricks they dont use try and build something?.. I really want to do this and i know its hard work but my papa had done it for a long time and my two brothers been doing it for 10 years. So i thought i should give it a try.. My brother told me when they didnt have him doing anything he picked up a trowle and started laying block/brick should i try this or ask them?.. my brother will teach me wha i need to know.. But im asking y'all sence you been doing it way longer than my two brothers were i should start at.. Thanks for the help.

Josh
 

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Josh,..

Don't try and run before you can walk. First few months will find you busy learning all of the laborer's work, ( basically doing every thing it takes to keep the masons happy and laying brick / stone), and physically conditioning yourself to doing 8 - 10 hours of real hard work every day. After a while, you will be anticipating what will be needed, and getting it ready in advance. Only then will you find you have the spare time to help out on the wall, at first spreading mud to hone your trowel skills, and then actually putting whatever into the wall. My experience, a good laborer is always doing something. Never walk from one side of the job to another without carrying something (ie scaffold frames or planks) as they will need to get there eventually. Keep the mudboards stocked, and keep the mud tempered, keep the matterials stocked in an organized way. Always point the wheelbarrow in the direction you want to go before you fill it. And the entire time you are doing all of that observe what the masons are doing. Eventually, you will be that mason working the wall. Even though it was over 30 years ago, I still have not forgotten the day my boss told me it was time to buy a trowel and hammer of my own. Knew I had made it through the tough part then (about 10 months), but the real learning process was about to begin, and to be honest, still goes on today.
good luck, heads up, and listen to instruction the first time.

JVC
 

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JVCStone hit the nail on the head. I had tended for two years before gettin on the wall full time. It's hard work but very rewarding. Be prepared to get yelled at the first few months. Once you have your routine down though, its a piece of cake. Watching and learning is the best way to go. I knew how to do alot of things, in theory, just by watching and learning. I watched how they set corner poles, laid out bonds, got common heights, and how they did everything in order to make it look easy. Just remember to keep the masons happy and your job will be easy. Always have material and cuts ready and at hand. And always, like JVC said, keep the mud tempered up and workable. No mason likes to have to temper up a mudboard full of stone mud fresh out of the wheelbarrow when they're laying brick.

Just work hard and stick with it. Its a very rewarding career. I couldnt see myself doing anything else.
 

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i'm not a full-time mason, but i've done the work. and that's what it is,WORK! you will always feel you have earned your money (and then some). these guys have it nailed. the first year or so that you do this, alot of times you'll feel like an idot. get used to getting yelled at alot. masons are a picky bunch. either you brought too much brick/block,or not enough. the mud is too wet or too dry,etc. don't feel bad . this is the way just about anyone who's ever layed a brick has started. it's like joining an exclusive club. only a select few are admitted. getting your first trowel is like a right of passage. you have earn the privilage. once they've worked you like a dog and treated you like crap long enough, and you have gotten better and haven't quit,you're in. i'd about bet money that's the way your brothers and even your papa came up. if you stick it out and do it right, you'll be a good mason never regret it.
 
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