What things would we find in a Bricklayer`s Bucket?
Well i am sure we would find many things in the bucket, some i am sure that have nothing to do with work. A bricklayer tends not to use the traditional tool box`s other trades love to use, normally it is just a bucket of tools, spirit level and the obligatory radio (DAB, if you are posh)
The right tool makes any job easier and that is no exception in Bricklaying. There are many tools you could buy when starting and i will try to put you on the right track for the essential tools you will need. If you are just starting, there are a few basic tools that will get you started. I have found from experience that cheap tools for Bricklaying will just not last. Bricklaying by nature is very hard wearing on tools and you will regret buying the cheap option, as these will wear out in no time. There are some essential tools you will need and i will try to list them out for you in this article.
The bricklaying trowel will become an extension of your arm in time. You will spend many hours of your life holding it, if you buy nothing else from a shop; buy your trowel from a builder`s merchant so you can get the feel for it. Trowels come in many shapes and sizes and cost. Don`t buy the cheapest or the biggest, big trowels can make your brickwork look messy and be difficult to handle. A bricklayer will tend to have 2 trowels, one for face brickwork and one for mass blockwork. I have written an article How to Choose a Brick Trowel
This is another tool you should not buy cheap. A good spirit level can set you back £80 and is worth every penny, cheap levels tend to be very weak and due to the nature of bricklaying, will always leave you with the fear they have gone out of level. I find a 1200mm level is the best for building corners and a smaller 600mm for general levelling, especially when setting out the first course of blockwork to make sure that course is upright.
Line and pins is again something you will use all time, apart from building a corner, you will spend most of your working life running in brick`s and block`s to a very tight line. My only advice would be not to buy the plastic type, buy a good hard steel pin and good quality nylon line. Be careful not to get knot`s in any line, these will catch on the edge of your brick and be very annoying.
Club Hammer or more commonly referred to as a lump hammer is a tool that again is often used, especially when laying blockwork. They range in different weight`s and material, a lot of them today are an all-in-one construction and are less prone to the handles falling off and causing injury. A good medium weight is a good idea; although i have seen people use cut-down sledge hammers. Remember to put on those Safety Glasses when using any impact tools.
The Tape Measure is a very important part of the tool bucket and again come in many different sizes, i tend to buy the rubber cased variety, as with working at height you do tend to drop them, the all plastics ones just fall to pieces. Tape measures come in many different lengths, i tend to go for one between 5m and 7,5 m.
The bolster must be a good quality tool; these tools take an awful lot of punishment in their daily life. The normal width would be 100mm as this is the general size of the width of a brick and block. There are other small chisels you may use, but i would buy these as you need them to avoid getting dozens of chisels you will never use. Remember to put on those Safety Glasses when using any impact tools.
The brick hammer is a very useful tool, this tool is often used to trim a brick after it has been cut with a hammer and chisel. Some bricklayers will do the whole cut with this hammer, be aware that this tool needs some practice, be careful of your fingers with this.
These come in many sizes and shapes and will just tend to be used for a variety of pointing called “bucket handle” and can be used for both face brickwork and blockwork. Please be sure to read my article on Types of Brickwork pointing and don`t forget to brush off your pointed work.
Health & Safety
Please be aware of the dangers that are always involved with using impact tools and were you come into contact with chemicals that are contained within cement. Always follow the relevant Health and safety advice at all time.