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A Stonemason's Dictionary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Large, boldly projecting corbels on a castle. Openings being left between
for the use of bombarding marauding hordes.
Mason: Term (probably slang) applied to small pieced-in repair to a moulding.
Masons Mallet: Traditionally made of Cherry, Holly, Apple woods. Mallets have a large cylindrical head and weigh up to 4lbs. Modern mallets are made of a very durable white plastic.
Masons Mark, or Banker mark: Each stonemason traditionally has his own trademark, usually a simple design composed of straight cuts. This mark originally was issued to the stonemason by the trade guild, nowadays it is just the invention of the individual. The stonemasons tools all carry his mark to identify them and similarly all his work carries his mark. This being partly to quantify the amount of stones worked and, of course, trace the perpetrator of inaccurately dressed stones! Usually the marks are cut into the top bed (uppermost face) of a stone, though in medieval times it was not uncommon to cut the into the face of the stone visible when fixed.
Master Mason: A stonemason at the very top of his career, basically a man capable of undertaking and supervising every single aspect of stonework. His skills extending from labouring to the role of architect. It is a much (nowadays) misused expression, there are very few men who can genuinely claim to be Master Stonemasons.
Member: A single element in a series of mouldings.
Merlon: The raised parts of a battlements.
Mill Bill: A tool comprising a club-like wooden handle with a chisel-like blade inserted at one end, used to dress millstones. Millstones being very hard (particularly those made of French Bur) the chips of stone can fly off like shrapnel and it was often said that a millstone dresser still having two eyes obviously wasnt very experienced!!
Miller: A small piece of wood which when placed beneath a large stone acts as a pivot allowing the stone to be rotated.
Minster: Large church originally linked to a monastery. Derivation of the word monasterium.
Mitre: The straight line produced when two similarly profiled surfaces meet at an angle. When, occasionally, incompatible mouldings, or surfaces run into one another, the resultant crooked line is termed a bastard mitre.
Modillion: A bracket beneath the projecting part (corona) of a cornice.
Monolith: A large column cut from a single piece of stone.
Monumental Mason: A stonemason who specialises in cutting letters and the preparation and fixing of gravestones and memorials.
Mortar: Lime mixed with various aggregates, used in the jointing of stonework. Lime mortar is unlike concrete in so much as it doesnt set as hard and, crucially, doesnt have adhesive qualities. The construction of a stone building relies entirely on the weight of the stones to remain upright, the blocks are not stuck together. The mortar acts only as packing between the blocks and it would be quite possible to construct a medieval cathedral without any mortar whatsoever. The reason mortar is used, however, is simply that were a cathedral to be built "dry", every stone would have to be a perfect fit to its neighbour (on every face, including back) that the labour would be infinitely greater and there would be no room for adjustment when fixing the stones.
Mortar Mill: A machine for mixing lime and aggregate to produce mortar, consisting of a circular tub in which rotate heavy wheels and paddles.
Mould: Templates used by stonemasons for working profiles onto stone.
Mouldings: Ornamental linear carved projections, either proud of, or recessed into, a surface.
Mullion: Vertical elements in windows that divide the area into smaller openings, or lights. Stone mullions are often load bearing in the case of tracery windows.