15 Essential Masonry tools For Your Home And Their Uses

Being a home owner comes with a lot doing DIY renovation projects over your house all year long. These renovation and DIY projects include activities like carpentry, finishing, masonry and other maintenance works. Masonry among them is a very popular one and there are a lot of essential masonry tools you can buy for your home and just use whenever in need.

Masonry tools, simply are the tools that assist you on proper assemblage of several masonry units including stones, bricks, mortars, and involves activities like dressing of stones, cutting of bricks, handling of mortar and so on. These masonry tools are very essential for your home in the daily life, since you never know when you will be having an inconvenience in your house and you cannot afford to wait for the handyman for a long time period. These tools have standardized names assigned by civil engineers and architects, but since, these are very necessary and have been around for years, a lot of them have vernacular names and these differ in the places of origin.

Since masonry tools are so important, explained below are the 15 essential masonry tools for your home and their uses.

  1. Trowel
  2. Setting out Square or Mason square
  3. Plump Rule and Bob
  4. Spades
  5. Mortar Pans
  6. Bevel
  7. Pick Axe
  8. Crowbar
  9. Chisel
  10. Mallet
  11. Masonry Saws (Hand Saw, Circular Saw)
  12. Jointer
  13. Nicker ( Broad Tool)
  14. Wedge and Feathers
  15. Drag

1. Trowel

Photo Credit: Amazon

Trowels are the small pie-shaped tools that are attached to a handle, and is one of the most essential tools for your home. Trowels are usually made up of stainless steel containing a plastic or a wooden handle. The ends of these trowel can be either bull nosed or pointed, and these are used for lifting and spreading mortar in joints during masonry construction. Trowels in masonry come in different kinds and sizes.

Trowels are sometimes modified into corner trowels, which are further divided into outside corner trowel, and inside corner trowels. Outside corner trowels usually have a shorter flange, and can have a sharp 90 degree angle or a rounded edge. On the other hand, the inside corner trowels are more popular than the outside ones since they corner aids used on the outside corners.

2. Setting out Square or Mason Square

Setting out Square or Mason Square
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Setting out Square or Mason Square are also essential masonry tools in case you do a lot of construction works involving brick lining, stone walls and mortar spreading. A setting out or mason square lets you set out right angles at the corner of your masonry wall. Setting out such right angles is very important in construction because it helps in making the walls perfectly perpendicular to one another. This tool has an “L” shape, and is usually made up of flat steel, each arm of about 0.5 m long.

3. Plump Rule and Bob

Plump Rule and Bob
Photo Credit: Amazon

Not just aligning and adjusting the direct perpendicularity, it is also important to keep the verticality of the walls maintained so that you don’t end up having crooked walls, or even worse holes on the walls. To mitigate this, is what makes the Plump Rule or Bob one of the essential masonry tools for your home.

It is made up of a string tied to an inverted pyramidical weight at the bottom known as bob, and a straight wood board having uniform edges known as a plumb rule. Towards the center, there is a groove provided, which is an area to place the plumb bob. Whenever the rule is placed vertically with the wall, the plumb bob is supposed to be in the groove line, that indicates the perfect vertical wall. In case the plumb ball does not fall on the groove line, the wall will not be deemed vertical.

4. Spades

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We all are pretty well aware of how important spades are in our homes and how they are always useful whenever you have any sorts of renovation or self reconstruction works, making them a very essential masonry tool you have to definitely have in your garage. From digging up your backyard to mixing mortar for walls construction, foundation trenches, the spades really are the master of construction too.

A usual spade consists of a metal plate supported by a long wooden handle. They are used to mix mortar and also to place cement, mortar, concrete in head pan. And then, you have to act your body as a fulcrum lifting the mortar by the strength of your arms. It is a very handy tool that you will not regret having in your garden store.

5. Mortar Pans

Mortar Pans
Photo Credit: Amazon

Now that we have talked about a series of essential masonry tools in your home and their respective uses on the mixing and application of mortar, it is also equally important to have a pan in mixing the mortar too. It is one of the most commonly tools in construction sites too, and is available either of iron or plastic. Physically, it is a vessel made up of rigid plastic or steel used to hold or carry sand, cement, mortar, concrete, etc. Oftentimes, it is also in mortar mixing and lifting mortar in construction sites.

6. Bevel

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It is somewhat similar to the Setting out square, in a sense that these both are used in measuring and setting angles, The Bevel, however, is concerned with setting out inclined angles , and is one of the most essential and useful masonry tools for your home. It is made up of two slotted steel blades, that are fixed with each other via a thumb screw. It has two rules or arms joined together, openable to any angle.

7. Pick Axe

Pick Axe
Photo Credit: Amazon

Pick Axe is a T-shaped tool that is essentially used for prying, making it one of the most essential masonry tools for your home. It contains a long pointed-head on either sides of the handle, and is generally made up of a metal head, and attached perpendicularly to a longer handle, usually made of wood. It is used in rough dressing of stones, and for splitting the stones in the quarry.

8. Crow Bar

 Crow Bar
Photo Credit: Crow Bar

A crowbar is also known as a wrecking bar, and is a tool made up of a metal bar having a single curved end and flattened points. These essential home tools, usually have a small fissure on one or both ends, and is mostly used while dressing the surface of stones. A crowbar has an iron edge having a number of teeth ranging from 3 mm to 9 mm. Crowbars open nailed wooden crates or pry boards apart with much efficiency.

9. Chisel

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Chisel are one of the most essential masonry tools you need to absolutely own as a home-owner, as they come in hand at a number of occasions. They are used alongside mallets and hammers and are used for normal split, and roughing out of the stone. Chisels, on the market, are available in numerous sizes and types varying with bladed, flat, tapered and other shaped chipping points. The blade of a chisel is generally made up of iron or metal with the handle made up of wood. There are three main types of chisels popular in the market; a blocking chisel, a wood-handles chisel, drafting chisel and tooth chisel, and all of these have different specializations.

A blocking chisel is usually made up of heavy-duty steel, and about 8 inches long. These are designed to split large number of blocks at once, since it lets you place the chisel right where you want to make your split, and then make a hit on it, unlike a masonry hammer’s hit that will not ensure where your hammer will exactly hit.

A wood handles-chisel, on the other hand is used in dressing soft stones, having a characteristically shaped cutting edge of blade on it’s end, perfect for carving and cutting by hand. Similarly, the drafting chisel is used for cutting a border or line at the edge of any stone with the grooves made at all the four edges of the stone. These kind of stones are used at the plinths of the building.

Similar to the previous ones, a tooth chisel is also the chisel used for stone dressing, and has a long shaft with a toothed cutting edge on one end. On chiseling, it is again hit with a mallet or a metal hammer. The number of teeth in the cutting edge differs and can be between three and five. This type of chiseling prepares the surface for finer works.

10. Mallet / Wooden Hammer

 Mallet / Wooden Hammer
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It is the fundamental masonry tool you need to definitely have when working with materials like stone into various forms, making it an essential masonry tool you need for your home. It is basically a wooden hammer, used for driving chisels alongside wooden heads. Often times, the head of a mallet is sizeable. While doing anything masonry, a lot of bricks and rocks need to be split in smaller parts, and a regular hammer lacks the strength to split these, and you might even need a mashing hammer with pounding heads on both sides of the hammer head.

11. Masonry Saws

Masonry Saws
Hand Saw

Saws are widely used tools for cutting through even the hardest and sturdiest of materials, and it’s no big brainer to think how essential of a masonry tool it is for your home too. There are a lot of saw types available on the market, specialized on cutting different kinds of things and differing on the other aspects too. Check out our article on the types saws of saws and their uses.

The most popular kinds of saws in the masonry arena are Hand Saws, Circular Saws, Cross-cut saws, Frame Saws, etc.

Hand saws are oftentimes used for cutting soft stones, and comes with a wide cross-cut toothed steel blade having a wooden/plastic handle at one end.

On the other hand, a circular saw can either be hand held or affixed to a fixed substratum. It is usually powered by electricity, and has and is provided with a toothed or abrasive blade/disc, having the ability to cut through different materials like wood, stone, brick, metals, plastic, etc. via a rotary motion, spinning the blade around an arbor.

Circular Saws

Cross-cut saws are generally useful in cutting through hard stones, since they have a thicker blade, and large, beveled teeth. Traditional 2-man crosscut saws, also known as felling saws, contain a handle on each end and are designed for two people to cut stones at once.

Like the formerly discussed ones, Frame Saws are also very popular and essential masonry tools, and are used in cutting large blocks of stones. They have a rather narrow and flexible blade, that can be held under tension by a rectangular frame known as sash or gate. This saw blade is required to be held perpendicular to the plane of the frame, making sure the stone passes through the center of the frame.

12. Jointer

Jointer | Picture Credit: Amazon

Jointers are also one of the most essential masonry tools for home, and are used to make mortar joints, which are the spaces between bricks where the mortar is seen. Most of the jointers have an appearance of a long, flat metal bar that has been bent a little midway. These jointers may be round, flat and pointed, and their usage depends upon the kind of joints to be made.  

13. Nicker

Nicker | Picture Credit: Amazon

A nicker is also a very important masonry tool you could have in your home, if you are interested in home renovation projects often. It is made up of high quality steel, and has a thicker blade beveled on both sides in order to create a cutting blade. To use a nicker, you have to hold it at right angles to the stone and then hit it with a hammer, resulting in the stone splitting.

14. Wedge and Feathers

 Wedge and Feathers
Wedge and Feathers | Photo Credit: Amazon

Very old, but still gold, this wedge and feather tool is still very widely and one of the best tools to cut through stones. It is a three-piece set tool, each one consisting of a metal wedge, also known as plug and two shims, also known as feathers. These feathers are tapered and curved around side the top and the bottom, and when arranged on the wedge’s either sides, the cumulative width of the set is exactly the same on both ends. These are used for cutting stones, after being bored with a jumper.

15. Drag

Drag | Photo Credit: Crawshaws

Last but not the least, these drags are also an essential masonry tool for your home, and are used to evenly level a stone surface. It has blade sets at alternating angle, set between 15 and 30 degrees, over the wood block’s length. These blades are toothed to give even surface removal of surface material, and some of them can even be fitted with special blades following convex surface.


All in all, these were some of the essential masonry tools for your home along with their uses that can really assist you big time in carrying out any kinds of construction or home renovation projects. Masonry tools over the years have been widely specific, with a particular tool being perfect for a particular activity.

Before making a purchase on any masonry tools, either professionally or either for your home-DIY project, you need to be very familiar with their usage and their methods of use. After tallying the functional requirement, and the market service only can you reap the utmost benefit of the product, with effective working too.

We have read hundreds of reviews on online shopping sites about these products for you, and have come up with the most popular and the most-in-demand products in the market. This will limit your knowledge on essential masonry tools not just in theory, but this knowledge will come in handy when there is a real deal too.

If you are still skeptical on the topic, PLEASE feel free to ask us down in the comment box, and we will promise to assist you through.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the commonly used masonry tools and materials?

Some of the commonly used masonry tools and materials include Trowel, Setting out Square or Mason square, Plump Rule and Bob, Spades, Mortar, Pans,Bevel, Pick Axe, Crowbar, Chisel, Mallet, Masonry Saws (Hand Saw, Circular Saw), Jointer, Nicker ( Broad Tool), Wedge and Feathers, and Drag.

What is the most important tool in masonry?

A lot of tools have their own importance in masonry and the basics and most popular ones are discussed in the article above. Materials that is very important in any kinds of masonry work include trowels, spades, shovels, mortar mix bucket, mallet and so on.

What tools are needed to lay bricks?

The tools that are needed for brick laying include brick trowel, pointing trowel, spirit level, plumb bob, hammer ( lump, brick, scutch), tape measures, corner blocks, mortar mixture, etc.

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