Bricklaying tools are often used for other aspects of masonry work. The wide range of tools can be grouped into a few basic categories: trowels, string lines, joint tools and hammers.
Used to pick up and spread mortar, brick trowels are the largest of the trowel family. They normally measure 10 to 11 inches in length. The two long edges of the trowel can be straight or have a slight curve, known as a Philadelphia pattern.
A gauging trowel is smaller than a brick trowel, usually measuring about 7 inches from heel to toe. They have a distinct rounded nose that is ideal for finishing large joints and general patching of mortar.
At about 6 inches from heel to toe, the pointing trowel is the smallest trowel a bricklayer will use. It is designed for pointing work.
Some masonry jobs will require a much heavier mallet. Use a rubber mallet to knock blocks, slabs or other heavy masonry materials. The rubber head will cause little or no damage to the surface even when a heavy impact is required.
A brick hammer is specially designed for “dressing” bricks and masonry. Use the chisel-shaped peen opposite the square driving face to chip away sections of masonry.
Joints are key components of masonry work. Not only are they integral to a wall’s structure, but they also form part of the design, particularly in the case of brickwork. Usually a jointer is used only for new pointing. Different thicknesses allow different joint depths. This example is a double-ended brick jointer, providing two options for joint depths.
String Line and Line Pins
A string line is an essential bricklaying tool; it enables bricks to be laid level and straight. Usually they are held in place with line pins or line blocks. The flat-bladed steel pins are pushed into drying mortar joints at opposite ends of the wall. The string is then tied between the pins to form a guide line.
Often bricklayers use these L-shaped blocks, made of wood or plastic, to position guide lines. A continuous slot at one end of the block holds the string line in place. The shorter arm of the L-shaped tool lips around the end of the wall.