Bricklaying Tools

TYPES AND QUALITY

A bricklayer’s basic tool kit includes tools required for four general types of work: spreading; levelling and measuring; pointing and jointing; and cutting bricks and blocks. The tools covered here are those that a bricklayer should ideally possess in order to cover the basic craft skills; not all can be bought and a few will need to be home-made. There are a number of other tools that are used infrequently, as and when necessary, that would not be regarded as an essential part of a basic bricklaying tool kit. These are not detailed here but are referred to elsewhere at the point at which they are relevant.

Unless tools are being bought for one-off or very infrequent use, there is little advantage in buying cheap ones, since they will be of comparatively low quality, are unlikely to be robust enough to stand up to the rigours of frequent use and represent generally poor value for money. It used to be a general rule of thumb that a good-quality tool would have the maker’s name permanently etched, stamped or engraved into it. This still applies today but to a much more limited extent, due to the nature of modern mass production. However, the construction industry is quite conservative and many bricklayers continue to use tools that have been tried and tested and made to a high standard by well-known manufacturers for years. For example, Spear & Jackson is synonymous with the

manufacture of quality, solid-forged trowels, as Stabila is with the manufacture of spirit levels.

If tools are going to perform in the way they are designed to, they must be looked after, maintained, sharpened when required and not be misused or abused. Tools should be used only for the purpose for which they are intended, and at the end of the day’s work they should be cleaned, dried and properly stored away. Prior to storage, some tools, such as trowels and jointing irons, will benefit from being wiped with a lightly oiled cloth to protect them from rust. Tools will give many years of service and some will last a lifetime but only if they are used and maintained properly. On a building site, the condition of a bricklayer’s tool kit is a good indication of his or her quality of work and attitude!

Bricklaying Tools

Fig. 60 London Pattern broad brick trowel.