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Brick by Brick! How Bricks Are Making the World Better

Recently, students and geeks alike are teaming up to sell bricks for great causes! For what seems like insane amounts of money for bricks, the donations per brick are helping to create wonderful things.

Thanks to Matthew Inman (from The Oatmeal), people can donate $125 to get a few lines of text (name, message, anything) on a brick which will then be used to help build a museum to honor Nikola Tesla Tesla is probably best known for the Tesla Coil found in many science classrooms but he was also responsible for AC power and transmission. The Tesla Museum will seek to help people learn about his contributions to the world and gain the recognition of his peers such as Edison. Over $2 Million has been raised thus far from crowdfunding and other forms of donation. Outside of this $2 Million, $200,000 has been raised by selling bricks. There are also options to donate more for walls, added text or images on bricks, and more. For those not willing to donate as much, shirts are available online for $15 and $24 donations. The location surrounds Tesla’s original lab and the roof will be replaced using the first batches of brick donations.

$125 seems like a lot of money for a simple brick, but for high quality museums, repairs to the lab, and everything else the Oatmeal crew and others must do to create this museum, it would be worth it to have your name or message standing in a building for decades (if not centuries). Not only will this facility educate people on a fantastic scientist, but it will provide some masons and bricklayers with work for a great cause. If interested, surely our training program could prepare you to start your own crowdsourced project or you could contact The Oatmeal or the Bricks For Nick program at

Another great idea involving bricks for great causes involves young students at West Lafayette Jr./Sr. High School. These young people are seeking to help displaced families in Afghanistan by selling bricks donated by Lafayette Masonry for $10. These bricks do not travel to Afghanistan, but they serve as a symbol for what the $10 is giving to the Khaled Hosseini Foundation’s Student Outreach for Shelters program. The money is going straight to the families who need to build their own shelter, allowing better materials and more of them. Buyers are encouraged to decorate the bricks and use them at home for decoration or any other use. All of this was inspired by the book A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. A problem was presented to these students and they felt they had the ability to do what they can to assist families in need overseas.

Much like the Tesla project, it may be entirely possible to offer assistance, materials, bricks, or more to these young students trying to change the world a brick at a time. The article gives contact information for someone in charge of the program and anyone can donate, not just students in the area.

Masonry and bricklaying are wonderful jobs and these structures may last for generations, but it’s important to realize just how much of a difference a few bricks can make—especially once professionally installed.

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How To Prevent Disasters in Masonry

Cracks from age, weather, and more can lead to disaster.

Despite how resilient and sturdy stone and brick can be it still needs to be properly maintained. Unlike wood which can rot easily, stone resists many common damaging effects caused by weather and time. However, if masonry and brick were truly indestructible the Coliseum would be in perfect condition and brick houses would never deteriorate after decades.

Nothing is perfect. Any water entering cracks and crevices can freeze and cause damage. Much like other forms of rock and stone water can erode the building materials over time. Mortar is the perfect place for water to enter due to the slight porous element of the materials. Cracks can form from various types of damage and can worsen over time (especially with added elements such as water or added wind, sand, etc). Weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes, and more can cause trauma through the rapid water damage and movement of heavy objects. Stone and brick may prevent large amounts of damage, but if something hits that structure wrong or if the structural integrity is already compromised there’s no telling how much damage may occur in a bad storm, earthquake, or other disaster.

Chimneys are susceptible to water entrance though when properly built minimal outside elements can enter. Inspections of chimneys and roofs should be conducted regularly to ensure everything is holding together and to check for cracks and imperfections which can lead to larger amounts of damage.

Many things are placed on the outside walls of homes, including siding and stucco. If something can penetrate the outer layer, it can get trapped close to the brick and cause damage discussed above. This applies to any way inside or out in which water may become trapped near stone. Gaps need to always be filled and properly maintained to guarantee the best protection for your structure. Bricks and stone are often the structural integrity of a building and without that, only rubble will remain eventually.

Many people think brick layers and masons only focus on the act of building, but the best ones also know how to spot trouble and fix it. Grout may need to be touched up, bricks may need to be removed and replaced, and cracks may need to be filled. When working with brick or stone it is best to know how to spot and prevent as much damage as possible.

Working with Charlie’s program will help you learn the skills to build strong, safe, and resilient structures. Knowing what it should look like and how to do it can help decide when to change or repair anything. Further research and experience will only help you to become the best mason around—just remember to maintain your work as best as possible and always be aware of the elements.

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BIG NEWS! New Video Available and Financing Available!

                Our newest and probably most impressive video to date is our video entitled “Learn to Lay Brick in 1 Day” for the low price of $99. This is perfect for those wanting to go for a test drive before buying the full Apprentice Mason Course or the Master Mason Course. If you want to do some home repair and home improvement, this video will be very helpful. Building a patio, pathway, or yard-wall will be a breeze with our help. If you already know a lot about home improvement, purchasing this lesson can save money since it means one less job you’d need to hire out for.

Hobbyists, homeowners, landlords, and more can benefit from all of our courses, but our new 1 Day course can help you learn the basics from where you can build stronger skills and gain the confidence to continue on to our other courses. Improve the quality of your home for higher resale value or to make your home, yard, or garden more homey and enjoyable. A beautiful home is a happy home and learning from us will help you make sure the job is done correctly the first time so you don’t have to pay for new work if an incompetent bricklayer does the job wrong. Save money, save time, and ensure the masonry work runs smoothly.

We are now offering financing options for our full courses. Payment plans allow you to pay in parts so you don’t have to break the bank before you can start your new lucrative career in masonry and bricklaying. These courses are a wonderful investment so you can begin earning $25 per hour or more! Anyone with reasonable mental and physical ability can become a bricklayer, and now finances are much less of an issue! We understand that $300 is a lot of money if you’re unemployed or working for minimum wage. As long as you have a computer (Mac or PC) or a DVD player the courses are easy to watch and follow along. Our money back guarantee protects your investments to keep more money in your pocket and ensure your success.

For our financing plan, you pay for each lesson individually. This means you can stop partway through if you don’t have the time or decide this isn’t the field for you (which we highly doubt since the work is great). If you already have some knowledge, you can skip lessons (though certification may not be guaranteed) or buy them a few at a time so as not to feel overwhelmed before you complete the courses. Our certification and money back guarantee do not apply if only some parts of the course are purchased—please consider purchasing the full course if possible.

You can use Paypal if you want, but we also allow debit and credit card payments, just through the Paypal system.

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Some Basic Tools for Masonry

Mortar pans and mortar boards: These allow masons to move, carry, and access mortar with ease. Some of these are a board style, while others resemble more like a bucket. Regardless of the exact make or model, this item is ideal to keep mortar in one place without it getting on other work. Cleanup becomes easier and the job can go by quickly. Many of these pans and boards boast helping masons maintain full motion and ease of carrying or cleanup.

Chisels: These are often used when removing stone, mortar, concrete, and other materials. Hammers are often used for especially difficult material. Beveled chisels are often used for corners since they feature an undercut blade. Chisels with a rectangular cross-section are often used for the tougher jobs. Paring chisels are long and thin, which are useful in places like housing joints and cleanup work. Chisels made of certain materials will cause less damage to brick and concrete, so always do your research to make sure all your tools are the appropriate material for the job at hand.

Pneumatic chisels: These are amazingly useful due to the decrease of manual labor required. Like other pneumatic devices, air is used to pressurize the device and when released, high power is achieved with next to no human strength requirements.

Jointing tools: Jointing concrete is an important step in masonry. This controls the locations of cracks caused by the shrinking during the drying process or temperature fluctuations. Various tools are available to complete this task including: bullhorns, convex brick and barrel jointers, groovers, dowels, etc.

Split Head hammer: Unlike other mallets and hammers, these allow the user to remove the face to replace it with other heads and faces which may be more appropriate for different jobs. Hammers and mallets are most often used in accompaniment with chisels. Many mallets and hammers are made from buffalo rawhide or other non-marring material to decrease damage on other tools or the materials being used. Some non-marring materials also decrease the chances of sparks that often occur when metal strikes metal.

Brick trowels: This is used for leveling, spreading, and shaping various materials used in masonry such as mortar and concrete. The type of trowel most used in masonry has a pointed noise capable of spreading material in a “buttering” fashion. This allows for precise movements and placement of mortar or concrete. Other styles of trowels include: bucket, concrete finishing, corner, gauging, margin, pointing, round, step, tile setter, and tuck pointer.

Fairly recently, many of these tools have featured handles made of leather. This is a vast improvement over wood since wood can expand, crack, and damage easily due to increased and decreased moisture. Leather prevents sweat or water from cleaning from damaging the handle, prolonging the life of the tool. Leather is also more comfortable for the human hand to hold.


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Why Modern Buildings Benefit From Masonry

Since the time of the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans man has been using the masonry technique to create beautiful buildings which stand the tests of time. Masonry offers many of the same benefits today as it did throughout history.

Fire resistance: Bricks are usually made of non-combustible materials, decreasing the chances and damage of fires within the structure. Even without regular maintenance, the integrity of the walls will not be compromised by the presence of fire.

Strong: Masonry—be it bricks, concrete, or stone—can bear heavy loads. It has been used for large structures meant to withstand beatings and constant attempts of destruction, like in castles and forts.

Weather resistance and the Environment: Masonry can handle heat, cold, rain, wind, sunlight, and many other weather-related causes of wear-and-tear. Bricks are not indestructible, but they can withstand much more than some other materials. Due to the natural components of masonry, “green built” structures are often made this way, allowing for tax breaks and lower permit fees for homebuilders. No trees are killed and no man-made products are being introduced to the ecosystem.

Low maintenance: Building material like wood, metal, and plastic siding need much more upkeep than masonry. The natural substances stand strong for years to come.

An example of a structure which did not use masonry

Mildew, Rot, Mold, and Bugs: Termites and wood roaches cannot live off of stone and brick. Other pesky house-killers like mold, fungus, and rot have a hard time growing in brick and stone. Allergens like mold and mildew cannot penetrate the masonry built walls so allergy sufferers should highly consider the resistance of masonry. The general air-tight abilities of brick decreases the amount of any pests entering the home, keeping you and your loved ones safe from structural damage from rotting and sickness from pests and spores.

Sound Proofing: Bricks and stone can block out noise, meaning neighbors hear less of your noise and you hear less of theirs. Masonry can absorb sound and reduce sound transmission. This allows homes to be closer together or in areas of high traffic and noise while not sacrificing privacy and home quality.

Insurance and Home Value: Due to the qualities listed above, insurance rates for masonry made buildings are usually very low, with most insurance companies offering up to 15% lower rates for homeowners of stone and brick houses. Similarly, masonry homes often retain much of their value and can be sold for much higher prices due to high quality with low maintenance. Home value is also effected by the variance of colors, textures, finishes, and styles masonry can provide.

Get your Masonry certification today and begin work in a beautiful, timeless, needed art. Help the world preserve this form of building to maintain high standards of quality, beauty, and usefulness.

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Three of the Most Famous Masonry Buildings in History

  1. The Colosseum in Rome, Italy.
    The Colosseum shows how durable masonry is even when left unattended for centuries. Completed over 2,000 years ago in AD 80 it contained 80 arched entrances which allowed 55,000 spectators into the amphitheater. Natural erosion has taken its toll, but the structure is still sound and recognizable, seeing millions of tourists per year and showing off the masonry skills the Romans had.
    The famous gladiator battles were held here for the entertainment of the poor and the wealthy alike. Slaves, prisoners of war, and criminals (usually male, ocassionally female) entered the ring to fight. So many fights would happen in a day that eventually more sand would need to be placed on the floor to soak up the blood.
  2. The Taj Mahal in Agra, India.

Known as one of the wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal was crafted in soft white marble (using an interlocking arabesque concept) and detailed with various precious stones. It was crafted by masons in honor of Mumtaz Mahal in 1623 by the orders of Shah Jahan. The construction took 20,000 workers and 22 years. Mumtaz Mahal’s body rests in the Taj Mahal mausoleum today. Contained in the giant double dome structure is eight chambers representing the eight divisions of the Koran. The marble for the construction were carried from Makrana for 400 km. Bricks were made locally to use on the interior walls. The bricks facing outward are made of the soft white marble.

  1. The Pyramids in Ciaro, Egypt.
    The earliest known examples of stone masonry are found in the pyramids in Egypt. As of 2008, 138 pyramids had been discovered, with estimates of up to 100,000 of workers used to construct each one. No one knows for sure how the structures were built, though there are many theories. Pyramids served as tombs for pharaos, queens, and other nobles. Often times, many servants are buried within to serve the pharaoh in the afterlife.
    The most well-known pyramid is the Great Pyramid of Giza—the largest of the seven wonders of the world. Pyramids once had a cover of casting stone (Tura limestone found across the river), making the outer surface smooth and what is seen today is the core structure. 2.3 million Limestone blocks (likely from nearby quarries) make up the Great Pyramid, with 5.5 million tonnes of limestone, 8,000 tonnes of granite (from Aswan) and half a million tonnes of mortar.

Many works of masonry are still a mystery to modern man. This craft, this art, needs to live on. Masonry stands the test of time over and over again, leaving behind beautiful, mysterious, awe inspiring buildings we need to treasure and learn from.

Get your masonry license today and be a part of history!

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Masonry: History and Benefits

The History Of Masonry:

Within the last 6,000 years masonry has remained popular. Today, it’s used primarily for houses, fireplaces, and other modern buildings. Popular landmarks and historical buildings were made by masons, including the Taj Mahal and most of Egypt’s famous sculptures, tombs, and pyramids. This style of brick making and laying was made popular due to the durability mixed with artistry of the materials. Today, people chose masonry for new buildings because it’s a timeless and practical art. Brick buildings command respect as well. Most important buildings are not made out of shingles and plastic.

Not only can bricks be made by hand and laid expertly, but it can be stone or terra -cotta sculpted buildings or sculptures. Bricks will last for ages when properly maintained and they can keep a building safe from various natural causes such as earthquakes and fires (meaning lower insurance rates) and when using the cavity wall method (two walls with a space between the two) bricks can prevent leakage into the home as well as increase the load bearing capacity of the structure. Masonry will not rust or melt and will resist some mold. Bricks can help insulation, reduce painting costs, and isn’t full of chemicals and plastics. Oddly enough, brick buildings also dampen sound, meaning those outside your structure are less likely to hear the loud music you play at your first house party.

Bricks were traditionally made from slate and clay dried in the sun. Eventually, molds and fire drying came into play and mass production of bricks began. Later, straw and other aggregates were added for stability and to prevent cracking. Today, many bricks are made from cement, sand, and some type of aggregate.

Because of the precision masonry requires and the deep history it is a task done best by professionals and definitely not by machines. This also decreases in the plan drawing because pieces do not need to be fabricated—bricks just need to be made. .Mason made buildings can be erected very quickly without compromising structural integrity and the buildings can have perfectly sound and load baring features such as arches and circles. The buildings are made by people from natural ingredients to achieve a great product while helping the community and economy to provide better lives for everyone.

Choose a career in masonry and you will have work for life! Feel the pride of creating structures that will last longer than you will and provide safe, high quality buildings. If you choose to start your own business, you can create jobs in your community but if you chose to work for others, you are gaining work stability while doing something worthwhile. Get your masonry certification today and start your new future.

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Welcome to!

Today, a lot of people are turning to self-employment and adventuring into certifications instead of the heavily time consuming and insanely costly college tuition required for a job they might not even enjoy! Learning a trade, such as bricklaying or masonry, is very rewarding and can get you out of your workday slumps that might be bringing you down.

Bricklaying is a time honored trade which has been around for 5,000 years, meaning there is always a need for this career. Much like the tale of Paul Bunyan, there are some things even machines are incapable of. For less than $100 USD (for digital download) anyone can become certified to become a bricklaying apprentice or Masonry Master, a small investment for the betterment of your future! We offer individual lessons on squaring up all the way up to Master Mason Courses you can download directly to your computer or tablet (or receive a mailed DVD) and start learning today! If Charlie Cummins’ courses aren’t enough for you (or you want to take baby steps before purchasing the course) he has a book entitled The Secret of Squaring Up Buildings for the low cost of $2.99 for a digital copy from Amazon.
Founder Charlie Cummins has been working as a certified mason/bricklayer/masonry teacher since 1975. After leaving the unions he began working throughout much of the US as well as Guam and Vietnam. Charlie is the ideal teacher for masonry because of his utter dedication to the trade (he even wishes to die while working at the young age of 130). His passion is contagious and after you start learning from him you will wish you knew about this sooner. He is even willing to answer your questions about any aspect of masonry and bricklaying on the website.
The Apprentice Course is designed for those seeking masonry as a casual interest or for home improvement purposes. The Master Mason Course includes Charlie’s book as well as our money back satisfaction (and employment) guarantee.With certification from, you will be ready to start your own business, or we will guarantee you will find work with other companies. No matter your age, gender, location, or work history, you can become a skilled mason.
Make your schedule, make your hours, charge rates you deem fit, and be your own boss, or gain employment from other respected masons. It’s time for you to earn a better living doing something you will love and that will never be outsourced or considered obsolete. People underestimate trades until they see the care and hard work people like masons put in for beautiful and lasting products. There’s a reason most of the houses that are centuries old and still standing are brick or stone. Be part of the beautification and Resurrection of this wonderful trade.