My Masonry Life Story: Jim Doane
Jimbo's Creative Masonry, Sanford, Fla.
By Bud Elkin
The heavy sweating, sore muscles and dust involved with the work convinced Doane that he was in the right place at the right time. Something about hard work makes a man feel accomplished. He continued working with the Pinard family masonry business after school and on weekends. Some say it is the masonry dust, or maybe it's the outdoors. Some say it is simply the hard work, but whatever it is that gets into a mason's blood seems to never leave.
Even as a laborer, Doane felt pride in constructing projects that would be around long after his career had ended. "When you stand back and look at a job that is finished, a feeling of accomplishment and pride fills your soul," says Doane.
A masonry tradesman who is properly trained will be schooled in every phase of the trade. Many masons may settle into one or two areas of masonry, such as block laying or brick laying. These masons may be happy only specializing in one or two areas, but Doane was fortunate enough to be taught all of the masonry skills by the Pinard family.
Doane worked hard for two years learning how to properly make mud, build scaffolding, maneuver a wheelbarrow and handle a shovel. Simple as it may seem, real talent is involved in handling these tools. A good laborer is a tremendous asset to a crew. Without that skill, the entire project can be in jeopardy. If a laborer is firmly acquainted with the project, a mason will never need to call for mud or stir the mud on his board. Good laborers think ahead to stock materials, set scaffolding and keep the masons busy.
Once this is mastered, a laborer is ready to start learning to handle a trowel. Doane began working in the residential market as a laborer for the Pinard family. Although it is common for most masons to select either residential or commercial masonry, many, like Doane, expose themselves to both. He gradually progressed through the various specialties in the masonry trade. He covered brick, block, stonework, concrete finishing, and tile before he began specializing in custom creative masonry.
"It took me four years to rebuild this masterpiece, brick by brick and tile by tile," says Doane. "That was my proudest moment as a masonry craftsman."
Doane's advice for anyone interested in entering the masonry trade? "What are you waiting for? Sure, its hard work, but the rewards are worth it! Listen, ask questions and become eager to learn. Take pride in your work, and do the very best job you can every day. In return, you will be rewarded with a fulfilling career that will always be in demand, and has proven to stand the test of time."
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