Masons, bricklayers and stone workers use many tools that are common across all trades so your standard Klein levels, foldable rulers and tape measures or your standard locking pliers and clamps will do just fine in most cases. Of course, you’ll want your specialized masonry tools to be the highest quality masonry tools available, so make sure to find one that’s a high quality brand, and make sure that they’re well known for making durable tools.
Perhaps the most iconic and recognizable tools of masons are the trowel, chisel and masonry hammers. Trowels come in a lot of different varieties, but the most common would be the masonry trowel which is pointed at the end and the corner trowel which is flat at the end and obviously designed for corners and tight spots. The masonry trowel is used the most and is designed for precision spreading of mortar as a brick structure is made. The masonry trowel comes in a few different sizes, one of the most common being in the 4 ½” x 2 ¼” size. Choosing the right width and shape of the trowel is important as that helps to determine how much mortar you can use and how it spreads, key things to consider when you want to have just the right amount.
With chisels, you’ll notice there are again quite a few options. Blocking chisels are for splitting bricks and important if you want a clean cut. The width of the cutting surface helps ensure that that the cut will go across the entire width of the brick being cut, at least on relatively thin bricks. These should be used in conjunction with the heavy mashing hammer, a mallet or a standard sledge hammer. Cold chisels, besides being an Australian band, is a tool used by masons to cut through pieces of non-heated metal like rivets, bolts and other fasteners that just won’t come loose. They’re called cold chisels because they cut through metal that is not heated. The cold chisel is typically used with a ball peen or club hammer. Other chisels such as the tooth chisel, among many others, are each used for specialized tasks, so choose accordingly.
Masons also use quite a few different hammers for everything from demolition to chiseling to chipping off small pieces of bricks. Masonry, perhaps more than any other trade, seems to have one of the widest variety of hammers. Sledge hammers and mallets will help with demolition work and will be used for striking chisels. Masonry and bricklayer hammers have a couple different functions. The edged side is used for chipping off extra stone pieces left over after splitting bricks, or perhaps even to split bricks that are small enough. It can also be used to cut bricks quickly when speed is needed. The blunt side is simply used for breaking various stone and concrete blocks or even driving nails. It’s a versatile tool that can be adapted for a lot of jobs.
While there are many other tools used for masonry, these are among the most useful and important. Getting a good start with high quality trowels, hammers and chisels will help you become a successful mason and stoneworker. As you add these to your tool box, make sure the tools you buy are ones you can depend on.