Hand Stone Mason Tools

Written by agustus miller
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Hand Stone Mason Tools
Stonemasons use a variety of hand tools to sculpt and install stoneworks. (work in progress image by sumos from Fotolia.com)

Stonemasons use a variety of hand tools to work a piece of stone into the size and shape desired. These hand tools work on marble, limestone, slate, granite and other workable stone types. Harder stones, such as granite and marble, require tools that have been tempered, fit with carbide tips or electroplated with diamond particles to maintain their forms when working with the stone.

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Hammers and Mallets

These tools are used to strike chisels and bushing tools in order to work the surface of stone. Their weights range from 1 ½ to 1.81 Kilogram. Some masonry hammers have carbide tips and are used directly on the face of the stone to remove large, rough areas.

Chisels and Pitching Tools

Chisels are made from tempered steel for increased durability. Chisels and pitching tools that are used to shape granite and other hard stones have carbide tips. Point chisels are used to rough-out a basic form when beginning on a sample of stone. Tooth chisels or claw chisels carve the surface of softer stones in preparation for finishing. Pitching tools or handsets have flat, square ends and are used to remove large areas of stone.

Power Tools

Stonemasons use a variety of power tools on stone. The choice could be due to the stone's hardness or to achieve a desired effect. Hammer drills add a hammer-like action to normal drilling with bits. The holes they create can be used to split the rock if a plug and feather system is inserted and driven into the stone with a sledgehammer. Pneumatic hammers act like jack hammers to split and pulverise the stone. They can be used with chisels or bushing tools. Power saws cut through the stone with or without the aid of water as a coolant. For harder stones, diamond blades are used with power saws. Routers spin router and profiling bits at high RPMs into the surface or over the edge of a piece of stone.

Rasps, Files, and Rifflers

These hand tools are used to file down or shape small areas of stone. Their metal shafts can be tempered or electroplated with diamond to work on harder stones. The shape of these tools varies from pliant belts to flat or triangular shafts.

Bushing Tools

Bushing tools look like chisels with more detailed carving ends. They are used with mallets and hammers to pulverise the surface of the stone to give it texture or shape. Bushing tools can be into pneumatic hammers for quicker results.

Grinders and Polishers

Grinders quickly remove stone. They can be fitted with curved wheel or flat disc attachments. For harder stones, the grinder's attachments are electroplated with diamond, so they don't wear out as quickly. Softer stones like soapstone can be worn down and textured using sandpaper. Polishers use smooth discs and pads to buff the surface of the stone.

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