Squares

Bricklayers will often have a small wooden square for the purposes of checking small work – for example, checking that individual bricks in a brick-on-edge coping are being laid square across the top of the wall at 90 degrees to the front wall line. Such a square, 150mm x 150mm, can be cut in one piece from the corner of a sheet of plywood.

Squares

Fig. 69 Steel builder’s square and small wooden square.

Squares

Fig. 70 Wooden builder’s square.

A bricklayer will usually also have a larger square with arms that are around 700mm long, either manufactured in steel (Fig 69) or home-made from wood (Fig 70). The steel version does not need any kind of brace between the two arms, making it easy to use when squaring brickwork on both internal or external corners. A wooden builder’s square, being made from three separate sections, needs a brace that ties the two arms together, so it is a little more awkward to use when squaring an external corner. Because it is home-made from three pieces of timber, its accuracy may be questionable. Moreover, with use and exposure to weather, a wooden builder’s square can warp and can also come loose at the joints, and this will further compromise accuracy. On this basis, a steel builder’s square is generally preferable. ‘Long-arm’ versions of both steel and wooden squares are used for the setting-out process on site.