Bricklayers Tool Kit
The bricklayer's tool kit must be used with great care and properly maintained, firstly, because of the safety aspect arid secondly, because the tools can be of great expense.
When purchasing tools, consideration must be taken on how often the tools will be used. With every day use, the tools have to be made to be able to withstand the work. Often this is not the case with less expensive tools.
Below is a list of the tools, how they should be used and properly maintained:
These come in various shapes and sizes ranging between ten and fourteen inches. One side of the trowel has a more rounded edge, this being for rough cutting, however, this use is not advised for the beginner. The measurements are the actual blade size, the width of trowel also varies and beginners will find a narrower trowel easier to use. The rounded side on the trowel makes it suitable for both left and right handed operators. When the trowel is not in use for a period of time, clean it off dry and apply a light coat of oil to avoid rusting.
A smaller version of the brick trowel but with both edges being straight, these are used for certain types of pointing or to add a finish to the brick work and should be maintained as the brick trowel.
This will be the most expensive part of the tool kit. It is used to check the brickwork as it is laid to check that the bricks are level (horizontal) and plumb (vertical). These also come in various sizes. The typical sizes for everyday work are 900 or 1200 millimetres long. They are available in wood or metal, the metal ones are easier to keep clean as they are easy to wash to remove mortar.
Similar to the Spirit Level above, it has two bubbles, (one for leveling, the other for plumbing) but is smaller. It is very handy for decorative panels and soldier brick courses.
Line and Pins
These are used as a wall is being built up to provide a guide for the bricks between the pins. The pins are tapered at the ends to allow them to be inserted into mortar joints. It is important that the line is kept free of knots and clean of mortar.
The line is also used (without the pins) with the corner blocks (below) where a wall is being built up between corners.
These are used in pairs as an easy method of holding the line up between corners of the brickwork. These are inexpensive as you can make your own.
Another less expansive tool but of great use. It is used for holding the line up over long lengths of walling to remove any sagging. The plain end is held down with a brick on top of laid courses and the string line is threaded through the cut outs.
Club (or lump) Hammer
Used with either a bolster or cold chisel. It is essential that the head is secure and checked regularly to ensure it never comes loose.
Always wear eye protection goggles when using.
Used for cutting bricks. Eye protection must be used at all times it is used. The end of the handle should never be allowed to burr over after repeated hammering. This is known as a mushroom and can splinter when being hit. The handle end should be kept free from mushrooms by a grinding wheel which can also be used to keep the cutting edge sharp.
Similar to a bolster but with a smaller blade, used more often for cutting into brickwork after it has been laid e.g. for letting in services. Again maintenance and safely procedures should be followed the same as for the bolster.
A small hawk is used when pointing a lot, and makes it easier to hold the mortar.
Inexpensive as you make it yourself. A length of timber with the vertical spacing of the bricks marked along one edge. Used when working from both ends of a wall to ensure that the courses are equal.
Brick Bat Gauge
Another inexpensive tool which is able to be made. Easy to use when a lot of cutting is required and maintains a regular size to the cuts. The one illustrated is made for the three most basic cuts used. Half bat, three quarter bat and closer.
Brick Hammer and Comb Hammer
Two similar types of hammer, one with a fixed head, the other with detachable blades. When the teeth have worn down, the blades can be renewed. They can be used for a number of jobs:
- Tidying the edges of cuts to leave a clean edge.
- For what is known as chasing, i.e. letting cables into walls before plastering - although electric chasing tools are now more commonly used.
Again, safety is of the utmost importance. Goggles must be worn at all times and hands and fingers must be kept clear.
The types most commonly used by bricklayers these days. Very convenient sized and is easily transported via the belt or pocket. When used in wet conditions it must be wiped after use to prevent rusting.
Used for putting a finish to the joints in brick work. A half-round joint is also known as a bucket handle finish. Two types are shown, these can now be bought from shops but an old pail or bucket handle can be bent to a suitable shape.