A stone mason builds and repairs stone structures such as piers, walls and abutments. They also lay walks, curbstones, or special types of masonry for vats, tanks and floors.
The stone mason works predominantly with two types of stone:
The stone mason cuts, shapes and cleans these stones to erect structures, lay pavements and paths. The stone mason uses kerbstones and special types of masonry for vats, tanks and floors. He may work from drawings in which each stone has been marked for placement.
Different tasks include the laying our of wall patterns or foundations, using straight edges, rules or staked lines, shaping, trimming, facing and cutting marble or stone preparatory to setting, using power saws, cutting equipment and hand tools, setting the vertical and horizontal alignment of structures using plumb bobs, gauge lines and levels, and mixing mortar or grout and pouring or spreading it onto the marble slabs, stone or foundation. They remove the wedges, fill the joints between the stones, finish the joints between the stones using a trowel and smooth the mortar to an attractive finish, using a pointer. They clean excess mortar or grout from the surface of the marble, stone or monument, using sponges, brushes, water or acid and smooth, polish and bevel surfaces, using hand and power tools. They drill holes in marble or ornamental stone and anchor brackets in the holes. The stone or marble is set in place, according to the layout or pattern.
For the making of moulds, the interior of the moulds is lined with treated paper and the moulds filled with composition-stone mixture, then the mould is positioned along the guidelines of the wall, pressed into place, and the moulds and paper removed.
Repair work includes replacing broken or missing masonry units in walls or floors, repairing cracked or chipped areas of stone or marble, using blowtorch and mastic, and removing rough or defective spots from concrete, using a power grinder or chisel and hammer.
Schooling & School Subjects
Grade 9 Certificate.
Grade 10 Certificate or N1 is recommended.
There are 3 ways to qualify as a registered artisan:
1. An apprenticeship is a fixed contract between company and apprentice, ranging in duration from between 18 months and 4 years. At the end of the contract, the apprentice writes a trade test leading to professional certification.
2. A learnership is a structured learning programme ranging from about a year to 3 years. A learnership comprises theoretical and practical training. Practical training is conducted on site (on the premises of the organisation). This has the advantage that the learner gets experience whilst training.
3. TVET colleges offer theoretical training to prospective artisans via the new National Certificate Vocational (NCV). During this 3-year programme (levels 2 to 4), learners complete a school-leaving certificate (NCV) similar to the new National Senior Certificate (NSC) in schools. They are also exposed to a practical workshop component.
All learners are required to complete a practical internship under the supervision of an experienced artisan. As an alternative to doing the full qualification, a learner can apply to do a skills programme at a TVET College. Skills programmes are short practical hands-on courses.
For more information about qualifications and skills programmes, contact your nearest TVET College. TVET Colleges are accredited and funded by a SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority) such as MerSETA or ChietaSETA. They also receive bursary funding through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for the NCV programme.