Half-Round or ‘Bucket Handle’ Jointing Iron or Jointer
The term ‘bucket handle’ is a throwback to a time when bricklayers would remove a galvanized handle, with a half-round profile, from a bucket, then straighten it and use it as a jointing tool. Nowadays, there are various bespoke half-round jointers manufactured from steel and available to buy, but the term ‘bucket handle’ remains in use to describe both the tool and the joint finish.
Despite the availability of manufactured jointers, many bricklayers still prefer to make their own from a length of 13mm-section mild-steel bar, cranked to the shape of a jointer (see Fig 73). The ‘handle’ is provided with a grip by slipping on a short length of old hosepipe. Using 13mm bar means that the jointer is wider than the mortar joints, so it cannot be pressed too deeply into the joint. One key reason why bricklayers favour a home-made jointer is because manufactured jointers tend to have quite a short blade (around 100mm), so that it is difficult to keep the tool straight and true when jointing long bed joints. This tendency for a short jointer to ‘wander’ can result in a lack of uniformity in the joint finish. The blade of a home-made jointer can be made to any length required by the bricklayer – typically, it will be around 200mm long.
Fig. 73 Half-round mild-steel jointer.