MASONRY TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
Masonry involves the use of a wide selection of tools and equipment. A set of basic masons tools, including trowels, a chisel, hammer, and a jointer, is shown in figure 8-1.
A trowel (figure 8-1) is used to pick up mortar from the board, throw mortar on the unit, spread the mortar, and tap the unit down into the bed. A common trowel is usually triangular, ranging in size up to about 11 inches long and from 4 to 8 inches wide. Generally, short, wide trowels are best because they do not put too much strain on the wrist. Trowels used to point and strike joints are smaller, ranging from 3 to 6 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide. We will talk more about pointing and striking joints later in the lesson.
A chisel (figure 8-1) is used to cut masonry units into parts. A typical chisel is 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 inches wide.
A masons hammer (figure 8-1) has a square face on one end and a long chisel on the other. The hammer weighs from 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 pounds. You use it to split and rough-break masonry units.
Figure 8-1.-Basic masons tools.
As its name implies, you use a jointer (figure 8- 1) to make various mortar joints. There are several different types of jointerrounded, flat, or pointeddepending on the shape of the mortar joint you want.
You use the square (figure 8-2, view 1) to measure right angles and to lay out corners. Squares are usually made of metal and come in various sizes.
The masons level (figure 8-2, view 2) is used to establish "plumb" and "level" lines. A plumb line is absolutely vertical. A level line is absolutely horizontal. The level may be constructed of seasoned hardwood, various metals, or a combination of both. They are made as lightweight as possible without sacrificing strength to withstand fairly rough treatment. Levels may be equipped with single or double vials. Double-vial levels are preferred since they can be used either horizontally or vertically.
Figure 8-2.-Square, masons level, and straightedge.
Levels are shaped similar to rulers and have vials enclosed in glass. Inside each vial is a bubble of air suspended in either alcohol or oil. When a bubble is located exactly between the two center marks on the vial, the object is either level or plumb, depending on the position in which the mason is using the level. In a level, alcohol is the more suitable since oil is more affected by heat and cold. The term "spirit level" indicates that alcohol is used in the vials. The vials are usually embedded in plaster or plastic so that they remain secure and true. Shorter levels are made for jobs where a longer level will not fit. The most popular of these are 24 and 18 inches long.
In a level constructed of wood, you should occasionally rub a small amount of linseed oil into the wood with a clean cloth. This treatment also stops mortar from sticking to the level. Do not use motor oil as this eventually rots the wed.
A straightedge (figure 8-2, view 3) can be any length up to 16 feet. Thickness can be from 1 1/8 inches to 1 1/2 inches, and the middle portion of the top edge from 6 to 10 inches wide. The middle portion of the top edge must be parallel to the bottom edge. You use a straightedge to extend a level to plumb or level distances longer than the level length.
Other masons tools and equipment include shovels, mortar hoes, wheelbarrows, chalk lines, plumb bobs, and a 200-foot ball of good-quality masons line. Be sure to keep wheelbarrows and mortar tools clean; hardened mortar is difficult to remove. Clean all tools and equipment thoroughly at the end of each day or when the job is finished.