Part of being a construction professional is making sure that you have the most important tools for every job. In some cases, the proper masonry tools and equipment help you be more efficient while working on different projects. In others, they are the difference between working safely and taking on unnecessary risk. Whether you are running a large business or are a small independent contractor, it’s key that you have a full arsenal of masonry tools at your disposal. Here’s a look at all the essentials, and a few added bonuses that keep you efficient and protected.
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Top Masonry Tools
When it comes to stone masonry tools, this is the key place to start. The mason’s hammer has two distinct sides, each with its own specific purpose. That flat end is used like other conventional hammers, for hammering in nails. The other side is a sharp end like a chisel. This cuts lines around stone or brickwork. In practice, both sides complement each other to provide a mix of soft and hard strikes. You can also use the sharp end for cleaning after work is done.
As we just mentioned, after using your hammer, you often will have crumbs of concrete or rock chips in your work zone that need to get cleaned away. The sharp end of your hammer can be used in a pinch, but on a larger scale, you’re better off using a wire brush. This is generally combined with a shop vacuum to ensure that all debris is removed.
Masonry cutting tools are essential to cut through hard materials like brick. Most masons use a circular saw with a diamond blade due to the durability. On top of durability, an expert hand is required to avoid damaging the surface under the brick. Power saws can either be used in a handheld style or like a table saw.
In masonry, having exact alignment on horizontal and vertical lines is essential. This is where levels come in. There are a few ways to do this, both the most common options are the spirt level. This plastic/wood tool has a tube with an air bubble inside. You then put the level on the surface of a masonry project and look at the bubble. If the bubble is in the middle of the tube, the surface is leveled. Other options include a water level, which is a flexible plastic tube with water inside. This is great for checking the level at two different points.
Arguably the signature tool of masons, there are a few different ones that you need to be aware of. The main trowel is the V-trowel, also known as the square-notch trowel. This tool has two straight sides and another two notched sides. These are designed to dispense mortar around a flat surface at even rates. While a V-trowel is necessary on just about any masonry site, there are others that have more specialized use. The margin trowel is a good example. This is a longer, thinner trowel used specifically to put small amounts of mortar on stone and spread it. This is good for things like stone veneers where you don’t want mortar spilling over the side.
These are used to make mortar joints, small spaces between bricks where the mortar is visible. These are flat-metal bars that can either look pointed, round, or flat, depending on the joint needed.
Made of steel or hard plastic, there are pans used to carry mortar, as well as mix it and lift it when needed. There are similar variants for other common materials like sand, cement, or concrete.
In some situations, you may need to split a large number of blocks, to the point that just using your hammer isn’t entirely effective. This is when you should look into using a mashing hammer and blocking chisel. Made from steel, you can put these exactly where you need to make a split, rather than hoping that you aim your masonry hammer correctly.
This is important to spot check essential measurements in a pinch. Many masons combine this with other equipment like a masonry square and the aforementioned levels.
These tools are used to maintain an existing level that has to be extended, and can be up to 16 inches long.
We also need to give a nod to all the protective gear you need while working on a masonry project. While different tasks and job sites may have specific needs, some of the general things you can always expect to see are:
— Hard hats
— Eye protection (goggles)
— Ear protection if around power tools often
— Respirator masks to avoid breathing in dust
— Steel-toed boots
— Harnesses/other protection if working at heights
Be sure to look up the local regulations in your area to make sure you have all the PPE you need.
Final Thoughts on Masonry Tools
Lastly, let’s talk about an additional piece of equipment that may not fall under masonry hand tools, but is extremely important nonetheless—project management software. In many ways, software helps you get the most out of your existing tools, and then some. Project management software can help you keep track of your worksite teams from your office, compare your bids to your actuals to make sure your work is actually bringing you profit, as well as putting all your necessary information in cloud storage, making sure everyone is on the same page.
However, when you put this much trust in a piece of software, you need to have something that you trust, and that means using eSUB. Our platform is a perfect match for masonry companies of any size or niche. In addition, we use a modular format which means you only buy what you need, rather than a bloated suite of software.