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Home   »    Masonry Tools/ Plastering Tools

Masonry Tools/ Plastering Tools

There are different kinds of tools in masonry and plastering jobs. Some simple hand tools are still used to carry out simple tasks in the masonry trade . There are a wide variety of masonry and plastering tools. It is to be noted that tools used in masonry are solely designed to be used only in masonry and cannot be used for other purposes. The saying "the right tool for the job" is appropriate in masonry trades. Trying to use a hammer or a wood chisel to cut stone is like “beating your head against the wall.” Here we give below a few of the complete line of masonry and plastering hand tools that are popularly used.


Uses of masonry tools
Different hand tools are used to do a wide range of masonry jobs which include:
  • Brick and block laying
  • Chimney construction
  • Cutting stone masonry
  • Laying of stone masonry
  • Footing, slab and form installation
  • Glazed tile installation
  • Design on hearth and fireplace
  • Plastering
Types of masonry tools
  • Tamper: The tamper tool is used in masonry for pressing exposed aggregate into concrete and also compact the soil before pouring concrete. It is usually in the shape of a long or short handle attached to a flat blade surface. When imprinting concrete with texture mats or skins, this tool is used to securely tamp down the mat and ensure a good outlook.




Buying tip
It is better to look for a tamper having a cast iron base or urethane base coated with rubber. This will prevent tearing or marring of the texture mat. There are some tampers available in the market having shock-absorbing composite handles which can minimize impact to your arms.


  • Straightedges: Straightedges are used to strike off or remove freshly placed concrete and make the surface as level as possible before finishing. Straightedges are made of various metals like aluminum, magnesium and even wood. They are available in various lengths and cross sections.


    Buying tip
    • When you go for wooden straightedges, go for straight and warp-free. Otherwise, they can lead to undesirable ruts or crowns in the concrete surface.

    • Magnesium and aluminum straightedges are popular because they are light and won't warp or bow. They are easier to clean compared to wood straightedge because concrete won't stick to them.

    • When you buy metal straightedges, look for those with capped ends to keep out wet concrete. They can have wooden or plastic plugs in the ends, but when they fall, they allow the concrete to enter. Straightedges with welded metal end caps are a better option.

    • For more comfortable grasping, buy straightedges with kerfed edges. They won't dig into your hands while using. There are also keyhole-shaped straightedges with flat bottoms and rounded tops for easier gripping.

    • To help you gauge surface slope while working, you can go for straightedge with built-in or clamp-on bubble levels.

  • Floats: Floats are widely used in masonry jobs. The main purpose of using floats is to fill voids, level ridges, and smooth the surface in preparation for troweling. The tool can also be used to work in dry-shake color hardener. It can also be used to bring paste to the surface by pushing down the coarse aggregate. Most floats for decorative concrete work are made of aluminum, magnesium, or wood. Less common float materials are rubber, stainless steel, and laminated wood or canvas resin. There are bull floats for working in large areas of concrete. They are usually 8 inches in width and 3 to 10 feet in length. There are hand floats in length from 12 to 24 inches and in width from 3 to 5 inches. Most floats are available with rounded or square ends. Round-end floats are perfect in tight corners and help to minimize lap marks.


    A bull float and a hand float

    Buying tip
    • There are magnesium bull floats with top reinforcement ribbing. They are good because they add strength and prevent distortion.

    • In most cases you can buy bull float handles separately. They are usually made in aluminum, magnesium, or fiberglass in different lengths from 4 to 10 foot. They can also be interlocked to create longer lengths. Buy fiberglass handles if you your work area is in overhead power lines, because fiberglass won't conduct electricity.

    • You also may be required to purchase bracket assemblies as not all bull floats come with these assemblies for attaching handles. For better control, go for an adjustable tilt-action bracket. This will help you to change the float pitch with a simple turn of the handle.

    • On hand floats, always go for replaceable handle so that it can be replaced if it splits or breaks. The handle also should be positioned for good balance. It should also allow adequate knuckle clearance and have a comfortable grip.

    • Wood hand floats are available in wide variety like teakwood, redwood etc. Each type of wood may produce a different surface texture. And it is always better to experiment.

    • Rubber floats are another good options for producing textured finishes because they bring more sand to the surface.

  • Steel trowels: To produce a smooth, hard, dense slab surface, steel trowels are used after floating. Similar in appearance as hand floats, there are only two differences—one in the blades which are thinner and the other in the handles which are open rather than closed. The most common types of steel used in blade are stainless, blue, and high-carbon steel. Blue steel is thin and lightweight, so the trowel flexes slightly under hand pressure. Stainless steel blades will not stain or rust concrete surfaces. Steel trowel dimensions range from 10 to 24 inches in length and 3 to 5 inches in width.


    Buying tip
    • Always buy trowels of varied sizes-as an assortment. Generally, a 14 x 4-inch or 16 x 4-inch steel trowel is preferable to tackle most decorative finishing jobs. But when you need to cover more area faster or on large projects , then a larger fresno is the most efficient. For corners, steps, and around floor pipes and drains that is in small patching jobs or in tight areas , go for an 8x3-inch midget trowel.

    • Most trowels come with a choice of straight wood handles or more comfort-grip or camel-back handles. Camel-back handles have a slight upward curve. This gives a knuckle clearance. Go for handles which gives you the most comfortable grip and the best control. You can also opt for handles with sturdy aluminum shanks that are securely riveted or fixed to the blade.

  • Fresnos: Fresno trowels are designed in such a way that they are attached to long extension handles so that masons don't have to walk out on the slab. Fresnos are efficient in rapid work over large areas, like driveways. However the only drawback is that do not achieve the same degree of compaction that can be achieved with hand trowels. However, that can be also be considered as an advantage when you must trowel slabs early for decorative work. In this way they can create a smooth finish without premature sealing of the surface. Fresnos are available in blue, stainless, or high-carbon steel, with rounded or square ends. But they come in longer lengths ranging from 2 to 4 feet.


    Buying tip
    • Fresnos can be purchased with or without brackets for handle attachment. For easier using, some manufacturers offer swivel brackets. These brackets rotate at 360 degrees so that the fresnos can work at any angle. There are easy-tilt brackets as well that eliminate bending and lifting.

    • If you intend to cut shallow safety grooves in flatwork surfaces, you can go for fresnos with evenly spaced V-shaped blades which are offered by some manufacturers and they cut shallow grooves 1/4-inch deep.

  • Edgers: Edgers are important masonry tools used to produce a clean edge along joints in concrete. It can also be used to produce a clean edge along the slab perimeter. Edgers help in creating a neat, rounded edge that's less prone to chipping or spalling. Thwy are availble in varied sizes. The general size range from 1 1/2 to 6 inches wide and 6 to 10 inches long. There is a lip on one side of the tool which is actually the edge and it ranges from 1/8 inch to 2 inches in radius and its depth is from 3/8 inch to 1 1/2 inches.

    Buying tip
    • Bronze edgers are thicker, heavier, and expensive compared to steel edgers. However there are heavy-gauge stainless steel edgers as wll that are said to be stronger than the bronze ones.

    • These tools are available with front and back ends that can be flat or curved upward. Curved ends help in preventing the edger from gauging the concrete.

    • Edgers having comfort-grip handles are slightly expensive than wooden handle edger but they are preferred because of the softer grip that helps in reducing hand fatigue.

    • To minimize bending and kneeling, there are walking edgers that are attached to long wood handles.

  • Groovers: Groovers as masonry tools are used to tool control joints in plastic concrete . They are made of bronze or stainless steel. They have a V-shaped bit that is used to cut the groove. They come with wood or comfort-grip handles like edgers. They areavailabel in various sizes ranging from 2 to 8 inches wide and 3 to 10 inches long, but the most common groover size is 6 inches long and 4 1/2 inches wide. Bi-directional groovers are also available. These grooves have double-end bits that can help in cutting forward or backward.

    Buying tip
    • There are bronze or heavy-gauge stainless steel groovers. They are popular because they provide the best durability and performance. There are tools with highly polished finishes. Such tools can glide more easily through the concrete.

    • The bit depth of the groover should be at least 1/4th of the slab thickness. This create a plane of weakness along which the slab can crack. So if you are working on a 4-inch-thick sidewalk, go for a groover with a 1-inch bit depth.

    • For stand-up use, walking groovers are available. They have the same features as walking edgers. Or you buy a special groover attachment that attaches to your fresno trowel or metal bull float . Using more than one of these attachments on a float or fresno helps in cutting multiple grooves in one pass.

Miscellaneous tools
  • Jointer: Used to forming seals in brick, block or stone.

  • Masonry Chisel: An important hand tool for cutting, scoring, or trimming brick or masonry.

  • Mason's Hammer: This tool is used to setting or cutting brick, block or stone. It is around to 15 to 24 oz. in weight with wooden, fiberglass or steel handles.

  • Brick Tongs: These tools are used to carrying a number of brick at once.

  • Brushes: They are used to cleans up joint and brick face.






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