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I've been involved in masonry for 7 years now, with the majority of my work being the extraction and preparation of raw slate for other masons and landscapers to use. Slate is a metamorphic rock made up of sedimentary layers which can be split by hand using the most basic tools: mallet and bolster to separate the stone into veneer sheets which can then be used in any of the above fashions. It can also make walling quite easy as veneer sheets are already extremely flat, therefore eliminating the need for pitching and pointing the stone to create a flat surface to lay.
Quarrymen split veins, or sheets of rock, and extract the resulting blocks of stone from the ground. Sawyers cut these rough blocks into cubes, to required size with diamond-tipped saws. Banker masons are workshop based, and specialize in carving stones into intricate geometrical shapes required by a building's design. They can produce anything from stones with simple chamfers to tracery windows, detailed mouldings and the more classical architectural building masonry. When working a stone from a sawn block, the mason ensures that the stone is bedded in the right way, so the finished work sits in the building in the same orientation as it was formed on the ground. The basic tools, methods and skills of the banker mason have existed as a trade for thousands of years. Carvers cross the line from craft to art, and use their artistic ability to carve stone into foliage, figures, animals or abstract designs. Fixer masons specialize in the fixing of stones onto buildings, using lifting tackle, and traditional lime mortars and grouts. Sometimes modern cements, mastics and epoxy resins are used, usually on specialist applications such as stone cladding. Metal fixings, from simple dowels and cramps to specialized single application fixings, are also used. The precise tolerances necessary make this a highly skilled job. Memorial masons or monumental masons carve gravestones and inscriptions. The modern stonemason undergoes comprehensive training, both in the classroom and in the working environment. Hands-on skill is complemented by intimate knowledge of each stone type, its application and best uses, and how to work and fix each stone in place. The mason may be skilled and competent to carry out one or all of the various branches of stone masonry. In some areas the trend is towards specialization, in other areas towards adaptability.
In believing that there is an over all governing pattern and relationships between frame of references, self, universe, and governing bodies has helped me understand better the developed philosophies behind those who also practiced 'sacred' geometry.
I find it almost impossible to communicate to others how a philosophy can be derived from playing with geometry. Something that became extremely evident(for me) when in deep thought during various construction jobs, all in regards to masonry. Even now I'm at a lost for words in describing the effects that it had on me. Not gonna lie, it was huge in regards to my understanding of Freemasonry... When I expressed these thoughts and feelings with my grandfather(3rd degree mason) on the relationships between the subjects of philosophy, masonry(profession), and geometry, his immediate response was to invite me into the organization. Which I respectfully declined at the time, but now having second thoughts...