As the old saying goes, you always need the right tools for the job. That’s as true for masonry as it is for any other methods of crafting or construction. But if you’re new to the profession or are looking to take on some DIY masonry, you may not be familiar with the tools of the trade just yet.
Simply checking out your local hardware store won’t cut it on this front because there are simply too many masonry tools to choose from.
Fortunately, you can check out this guide to get an idea of what types of tools you must have before beginning your upcoming project. That includes hand tools and power tools, both of which are needed for a project to go smoothly
6 Must-Have Masonry Hand Tools
First, let’s take a look at the six most important hand tools.
Though it looks like a pie-serving utensil at first glance, this hand tool is actually used to pick up and spread mortar across the desired surface. In fact, most trowels feature two tapered sides that allow a user to meter out how much mortar they are delivering onto their work surface.
Your V-trowel will see lots of use, so it is worth your money to spend a little extra on durability. Stainless steel will often serve well for this purpose, as do trowels with reinforced joints and wood handles.
Also, be aware that there are many types of trowels available. While it may be tempting to get an extra-large trowel or a special-use trowel at this time, it is best to wait until a specific masonry job calls for those tools.
A masonry hammer is another must-have that simply cannot be substituted with a standard claw hammer. That’s because a masonry hammer’s head is shaped for use specifically in this domain of construction.
To that end, a masonry hammer’s head includes a square, flat end that can be used for pounding nails as well as a sharp, chisel-like end. As you might expect, that end is best used to chip off or split masonry materials like bricks.
Even if you do pick up a masonry hammer (which includes a chisel on its head), you will still need to obtain a standalone chisel for your masonry toolbox. Specifically, you’ll want to pick up a blocking chisel that is capable of withstanding countless blows when used to split bricks and stones.
A blocking chisel that meets this standard will likely be made of thick stainless steel and measure about 8 inches in length.
There are also other types of chisels to choose from at this introductory stage. You may instead opt for a cold chisel, which is shorter than its blocking chisel counterpart. It also features a wider head, making it more able to split stones and bricks along an even line.
While this tool is simple to use and understand, it can make a major difference when it comes to keeping your working surface clear of masonry dust and debris. This is especially true of masonry projects that require breaking down some pre-existing materials first, given that that process will likely create a lot of debris.
Alignment is absolutely crucial in masonry projects, so it is imperative that you have a full arsenal of alignment tools at your disposal. At a basic level, this means obtaining and keeping a mason’s square close at hand.
These flat plastic tools make it easy to determine if your corners are perfectly squared.
Meanwhile, your alignment toolset should also include a mason’s level. For the most part, these levels operate like a standard level, save for the shape and style of their enclosure.
You’ll also want to keep a plumb bob on hand to ensure that your walls are perfectly flush while you are in the process of erecting them.
This slightly concave tool allows a mason to scoop out excess mortar between bricks, which in turn creates the mortar joints seen between the bricks after the mortar dries. As such, a jointer is a necessary tool for masons who want their projects to turn out as uniform as they are sturdy.
4 Must-Have Masonry Power Tools
Now that you know about the basic hand tools, let’s take a look at the must-have power tools that will help you with masonry jobs.
While these circular saws don’t typically cut all the way through larger masonry materials, they make it increasingly easy to achieve a clean break using a chisel.
These saws are also exceptionally able to withstand the heat and friction of stone-cutting due to their diamond-tipped blade teeth.
While this may not be a power tool in the traditional sense, a shop-vac will ensure that your working area is both safe and clean. Masonry dust is a considerable hazard on many job sites, so it is always worthwhile to keep a shop-vac available for the purpose of sucking up excess debris on the ground.
A shop-vac can additionally be used to draw up excess water that may run off during the process of cooling your cutting-based power tools.
Technically, any power drill available to you can be used as a concrete drill. All you need to do is obtain a set of masonry drill bits that make boring through concrete safe and efficient.
However, you can also choose to pick up a purpose-built concrete drill. These units typically feature a stronger motor and better leverage options that can deal with the heavy resistance faced when boring into the material.
Manual levels can often do the day-to-day work of keeping your masonry projects aligned. However, when absolute precision is necessary over the breadth of a large project, only a laser level can promise perfect results.
As long as they are properly calibrated, these compact levels can output precise guides that never waiver from a flush alignment. Laser levels do come in several forms though (including multi-line and tripod-mounted models), so be sure to figure out which kind your project needs before buying one.
At first glance, this may feel like a lot of necessary tools for taking on a standard masonry project.
If you’re taking on a DIY project, for example, you may only need the hand tools listed above. However, if you’re going to fully commit to masonry work, you’ll want all 10 of the tools listed above within arm’s reach.
Beyond this, the only other materials you’ll need to get started are your masonry materials (such as stones or bricks) as well as some mortar to bind those materials together. These several tools will make that process much easier, so don’t skip out on a single one of them if you want to be a successful mason.