Bricklaying tools for beginners.

You always hear people say “You need the right tools for the job.”, and they are right. With the right tools any job will become easier. Before you begin your project you will need some basic tools. The tools may vary when you are preforming different types of jobs, but in most cases you will see the tools that are listed below when building brick walls. Let’s begin with looking at the most common tool for brick builders.

The Trowel

This tool is the most common tool for brick builders and it comes in different sizes and shapes. For example the blade can have a length of 9 up to 12 inches and the with can go from 4 up to 7 inches. You can better buy one that is made of forged steel as they have a longer lifespan. The handle will either be made of wood or plastic. Wood handles are preferred over plastic as they  will have a raw classic look over time. The most common trowels are named Philadelphia and London.

Now you might think, “What is the difference between a small and a large trowel?”. Large trowels are used to spread mortar evenly on the brick wall. Smaller trowels are used to remove the excess mortar and for repairing old or damaged mortar joints. You will know once you have found the perfect trowel. To finish mortar joints you will need a different tool and there are also a lot of techniques out there to create the perfect finish for each customer. You can read more about the mortar finishes here.

Mason Hammer

The Mason Hammer is commonly used for splitting the bricks with the chisel side. You will need to give it light blows with the chisel side first to create your line and finish with a sharp blow with the flat side of the hammer for a clean cut. The chisel end is also used for pieces that have not fully come off yet. It is a skill that will require a lot of practice in order to get the hang of it. Also make sure to wear safety goggles as chips can fly around and can cause injures to eyes and face.

Blocking Chisel

When you have to split multiple bricks it is easier to use a blocking chisel. They are made of steel and can go up to 8 inches wide. You can make cleaner and easier cuts with the blocking chisel. Most of the time you can split your bricks with one blow. That’s why it is a great tool to carry when you are working on your brick wall.

Mashing Hammer

This tool is used to strike the blocking chisel for splitting bricks. It has two ends and has a weight between 2 and 4 pounds. A mashing hammer is used instead of a mason’s hammer as it is made of tempered steel which can split the chisel. As pieces fly off you cause injuries to your eyes or face. So we really urge you to use safety goggles for your own safety.

Masonry Power Saw

When you really have to split larger quantities of bricks you might want to grab a power saw. You have two types of saws that you can use. There is the hand held saw and the table saw. The hand held saw has nowdays replaced the chisel as it is capable to give cleaner and faster cuts. However they are not able to cut through an 8 inch block because most blades are only 6 or 7 inches high. That’s why there is the table saw. Here the blades can go fro 14 up to 20 inches high and are capable of cutting through almost any kind of brick.
Specially when you use diamond blades. Do note that you will need to use water when using diamond blades to prevent them from breaking while cutting your brick.

As saws run at high speeds they are very dangerous and can cause injuries. Use your safety goggles and dust mask. Remove any jewelry before operating a saw.

Spirit Level

Here we have one of the most commonly used tools for bricklayers. The spirit level is important when you are building your wall. There are all kinds of spirit levels as the vials can contain either oil or alcohol. We prefer one with alcohol as they are more accurate. They come in different sizes going up to 48 inches. Most bricks are about 16 inches long so a level between 18 and 24 inches would be perfect.
The purpose is to make sure that your brick wall is being plumb. Both horizontally or vertically and straight across. All these need to be level in order to have a straight brick wall.

Mason Line

In addition to the spirit level it is always helpful to have a maison line between two corners. This will speed up the job as you don’t always need the level. Make sure it is is very close to the bricks but leave enough room in order for you to remove any excess mortar without touching the line.

Steel Square

The steel square is used when building your corners. It has a perfect 90 degree angle and can go up to 24 inches. When building a room or garage you might want to grab a 12 inch for checking the openings for doors and windows. When they are not 90 degrees you might get trouble when fitting the doors and windows.

Jointers

This tool is a must have for bricklayers. It is used to finish perp and bed joints. Very helpful tool to make sure your joints are completely filled with mortar to prevent damages and leakages later on.  They come in different shapes and sizes and are between 3 and 8 inches long. Horizontal joints are commonly done with the larger jointers but vertical jointers are often done by the smaller ones.
Commonly used jointers are the V and the Concave joint.

Hand Broom

When you are done with building your wall is is useful to use a have a hand broom to clean any residue. Only when you are unable to remove a stain you will need to use a cleaning solution that is specially for walls to prevent any damges. Make sure to wash the wall with water to remove the cleaning solution.

Mixing Tools

For smaller jobs you don’t always need a power mixer to get going. However when starting on larger projects it is very useful to have a powered mixer. The will make the job easier as you will have a personally mixing assistant on to go. Once your mortar is finished you can put it on your board and start building that brick wall!