Cross man puts his masonry skills to the test

  • Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mason Paul Wilson adds a brick to his wall during the Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 Carolina Regional.

Paul Wilson of Cross was one of seven masons who competed Friday for the honor of being named The Carolina’s Best Bricklayer.
Masonry teams from across the southeastern U.S. put their skill, speed and stamina to the test during the Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 Carolina Regional held at Tideland Equipment and Supply Company in North Charleston. For the event, teams comprised of a mason and one tender had one hour to construct a brick wall that was then judge based on the number of bricks laid and quality.
Wilson has been a mason for 40 years, but Friday marked the first time he has competed in a Bricklayer 500 competition.
“Normally I focus more on quality than speed, but this is something different and I enjoyed it,” said Wilson, owner of Wilson and Sons Masonry. “I’m always looking for something different.”
He was introduced to masonry work during a Cross High School vocational class and knew he had found his calling.
“It’s challenging, which I love, and you get to create pieces of art, which I love,” Wilson said.
He has laid brick all across the greater Charleston area. Burke and Fort Dorchester high schools are two of the more public facilities that feature his work.
According to him, the key to good craftsmanship starts at the bottom.
“It’s all in the wrist and making sure you get a good start,” he said. “If you start a job right then it is going to end up right. Get the foundation laid out and level and everything else is easy.”
Tender Larry Bennett aided Wilson in the competition. While Wilson was busy spreading mix with his trowel and meticulously putting the bricks in place, Bennett kept a fresh supply of mix available and inspected the bricks to help ensure their wall had the fewest possible flaws.
The partners didn’t win the competition, but they can always try again as Spec Mix teams up with companies such as Boral to host 16 regional competitions across the country every year.
This year’s Carolina Regional champion is Jerry Goodman of Jerry Goodman and Sons Masonry. By claiming the top prize he and tender Heidi Albea earned a trip to Las Vegas where they will compete against teams from the other 15 regions to determine the national winner.
That mason will earn the title World’s Best Bricklayer, a $10,000 prize and a Ford F-250 XLT Truck.
For more information on the Bricklayer 500, visit www.specmix.com.

Contact Roger Lee @ 873-9424 ext. 213 or rlee@journalscene.com

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