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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 teslasciencecenter.org.

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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Downsides of Being a Bricklayer

Bricklaying and masonry is a fantastic career choice. The pay is good, the work can be very steady, and it’s a trade you can take with you and encourage your friends, loved ones, and children to partake in to keep this art, trade, and skill alive. That is not to say that it won’t take a toll on your personal life or the lives of those around you. Some personal bloggers touch on what it’s like being closely involved in the life of a bricklayer, such as discussed in this blog. Today, we’ll discuss some downsides but also discuss why those are not any worse than other jobs.

  1. Smell of a hard day’s work: Bricklaying is hard work outside in all types of weather and temperature. Regardless of season and time of day, a mason is likely to come home smelling of sweat and dirt. Nothing a good shower can’t fix (with good body wash or soap meant for tough grime, like Axe Snakepeel or just a good relationship with a loofa and a bar of soap).
  2. Laundry troubles: As dirty as a man’s skin and hair may get, imagine the grime on clothing. Regardless of what type of clothing is work, grout, dirt, sand, and mud is likely to get everywhere. The bright side? No uniform to dry clean, the clothes can be cheap (depending on requirements with the company), and denim gets better with a little wear-and-tear.
  3. Bring work home: Any job done relating to construction, landscaping, and the like will involve bringing some work home. A little sand never hurt anyone. Invest in some air-duster to clean out small crevices and a good vacuum. Leaving work shoes outside or in a designated spot inside can reduce the tracked-in-dirt. At least masonry doesn’t lead to oil smudges over everything like with mechanics. Being in positions of power (including self-employed) can lead to bringing home important information on scraps of wood, napkins, and more and is often followed up by work-related calls and emails any day of the year.
  4. Unreliable work hours: With any construction job, contracts can start and end with little or no notice. If bricklayers aren’t in a good union, this can lead to long stints of unemployment. However, with the level of training you receive throughout certification program, it should be easy to find new work even if it’s small side jobs outside of your technical employer.
  5. High risk of injury: Heavy lifting, long hours, and high temperatures can lead to physical damage to the body as well as emotional and stress related problems. However, this can happen with nearly any job. Those in offices sometimes have such high stress it gives them heart conditions or the long hours staring at computers gives even the best CEO migraines and eye problems. Work requires taking risks. This is one instance where having a nest egg for emergencies comes in handy—and high quality health insurance (especially those which pay to help replace wages lost during long stints of inability to work).
  1. The early bird gets the worm—or work: Most workers in contracting and construction fields need to get up incredibly early and may work very late. However, the amount of time needed to shower in the morning is decreased and coming home to a long shower and a peaceful environment will never be as satisfying as it is with a bricklayer.

The article linked earlier mentions fellow bricklayers and trade workers being “loose cannons and generally a bad influence.” There is no rule that bricklayers must all act a certain way. Many are as sweet as can be at all times and live healthy, happy, peaceful lives. Saying they’re all a bad influence or rude and filthy is not true for all members of any given group. It’s likely that when a group of men performing laborious tasks they’ll get a little boisterous, but chances are, they don’t often bring that home. There is nothing wrong with marrying a bricklayer or becoming one. Any woman would be lucky to have a man so dedicated to a wonderful trade.

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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.