Masonry Tools Basics

Masonry Tools

Many people don’t know the basics about tools used in masonry, so we’ve put together a little FAQ’s section to help explain the very basics about some of our tools.

  • What is a mason chisel?

    Mason chisels are used to split stone. They allow us to create exact sized pieces for custom installations. There are different chisels for different materials. You need a really sharp and straight chisel to allow them to work best.
  • What is the most used masonry tool?

    A trowel is the most used tool. A high quality trowel has a flexible blade created with a really high-grade steel that will withstand very hard usage. There are different patterns of trowels each created with different purpose 3 common types are:
    • Philadelphia Pattern – allows a lot of mortar, so it’s is frequently used when working with block.
    • London Pattern – this is the standard trowel for brick layers.
    • Wide London Pattern – this is a multi-purpose trowel,  it has a rounded heel with allows more mortar to be forward, so it can be used by either a block or brick layer.
    Keeping a trowel clean between jobs is really important, so they maintain great condition for each job.
  • What is a groover?

    In masonry a groover is a machine that will cut through fresh concrete which will help control the location of cracks. The goal of the groover is to weaken the concrete so that cracks will occur where you want them and at the bottom of the cut. That will prevent them from showing on the surface.
  • What are brick tongs?

    Brick tongs are used to carry brick. They are designed to not chip the brick while it’s being moved from place to place.
  • What is a ferrule?

    Masonry trowels frequently have a metal band at the base of the handle closest to the tool of itself. That little metal band is called a ferrule and it’s an indicator that the tool is a little bit more quality. The ferrule adds strength and will prevent the handle from splitting.
  • What is a concrete broom?

    Concrete brooms are used to place a texture on the surface of concrete. They are used on sidewalks and driveways to give that slightly rough texture that will help prevent falling.
  • What is an edger?

    Edgers are what create your corner designs and curved edges on concrete. This will improve the appearance of the pieces as well as reduces the risk of damage to them.
  • What is a hand float?

    A hand float is used to prepare a concrete surface for use of the trowel. Floats are generally made from wood, aluminum, magnesium, cork or rubber. There are floats that are not used by hand, so you can see electric and gas floats so not all floats are used by hand.
  • What is a brick hammer?

    A brick hammer is designed to drive nails as well as break or chip stone and masonry. It has a flat head on one end and a is drawn our to form a chisel. Brick hammers weigh between 12 and 24 ounces.
  • What is a hand tamper?

    A hand tamper compacts concrete so it’s slightly denser. It is used on flatwork construction when the concrete is usually stiff and sort of hard to control. A hand tamper can also be used to push aggregate below the surface so it’s below the surface and not visible from the surface. This creates a smoother finish and a better result for clients.
  • What is a darby?

    A darby is a long flat rectangular tool made of wood, aluminum, or magnesium that is used to remove high and low spots in concrete. They are used to float the surface of concrete slabs immediately after the concrete has been screeded.
  • What are bull floats?

    A bull float is a piece of wood, aluminum, or magnesium that is used to remove any high spots or low spots. They allow the mason to cover large areas because they are usually 42 inches to 60 inches long. Bull floats are most often used outdoors.
  • What is a joint raker?

    Raked joints are only done by hand using a joint rakers. They are used to remove a portion of mortar just before it hardens.  They can be adjusted to cut different depths at the joints and create amazing finishes.
  • What is a screed?

    A screed is the very first used finishing tool used by a cement mason. It is used to vibration which drives the rocks down in the mixture and brings a layer of liquid to the surface to allow for a better finished product.

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