Brick hammers, which are also sometimes known as mason’s or stonemason’s hammers, are only one of the many tools we sell here at John Stortz & Son. Like many of the tools we sell, they are tools that, though highly specialized, can really serve a huge range of functions.
The chief purpose of these types of hammers is to aid bricklayers, masons and stonecutters in working with their rough materials, which are stone and brick. Consisting of a head with a striking face (similar to most hammers, but square in cross section) and an opposed cutting edge similar to an adze or a chisel, a brick hammer is an extremely useful tool for making fairly precise cuts along stone or brick.
Truly, in the hands of a skilled mason or bricklayer, a bricklayer’s hammer is a precision tool. If you’ve ever watched one making scores around a piece of stone or brick before precisely removing just the exact portion desired, you know firsthand just how precise they can be.
Still, not all of these types of hammers are created equal. If you’re looking for high quality in a stonemason’s hammer, weigh these factors in your purchase decision.
Handle Material and Grips
Here at John Stortz & Son, we offer bricklayer’s hammers with two different types of handles, being wood and synthetic. Our synthetic hammers come with two styles of grips, being a swollen, ridged sure grip and a smooth grip.
Some tool users prefer wood for a few different reasons. When it is affixed properly to the head (see below) it offers good feedback and is very comfortable. Wood can break, but when it is cared for properly, it will last for many years. And, even when it does break, you can easily replace the handle.
Synthetic is tough and can be engineered to offer a very comfortable, very secure grip. We offer smooth grips and textured grips in our synthetic-handled brick hammers, depending on your personal preference.
Weight is another thing to consider in a stonemason’s hammer. Remember that though a heavier head can deliver more force and impulse, it is also more difficult to apply to stone with precision. This is a matter of personal preference, but is something to “weigh” in your purchase decision.
If you take a look at the picture of one of our Wood-Handled Brick Hammers, you will notice that the heads are pinned to the handle with not one but two steel safety wedges. Others might use just one (or even none at all) but our design is superior for safety and longevity. It’s a small value add, but something that craftsmen with experience will notice and appreciate.
The heat treatment, as well as the quality of the steel used to make the head of a stonemason’s hammer, are also very important considerations. A steel that is high in toughness and heat treated properly will last a lot longer and be much more effective as a tool. Stone and brick are very hard.
This matters more so with respect to the cutting edge than with the face of the tool, as a cutting edge that will remain sharper longer will be more precise and stand up better to hard use. Just like with a knife, the better the heat treatment (and the chemical composition of the steel) the better the edge retention. Plus, we are constantly working with masons for feedback to improve our designs.
Balance is also a big indicator of quality in a stonemason’s hammer. Weight is important too, but a hammer that is poorly balanced will cause you to fatigue prematurely, and worse, it will be difficult to use with precision.
The entire purpose of these types of hammers is to make precise cuts, alterations and removals of stone, and without a well balanced tool, that becomes needlessly difficult. All of our mason’s hammers are expertly crafted and perfectly balanced – superior in every way, as we say.
All other things being equal, the wider the cutting edge of the blade, the less work you will have to do scoring brick or stone before you can deliver the breaking blow. With a thinner cutting edge, you would have to make more cuts – wider saves time, and that’s a feature you can find on our Washington Pattern hammers.
Brick hammers are extremely useful tools, and the features above will only make them more useful when it comes to working with, and making precise modifications to, brick and stone.
However, a good brick hammer can be a lifetime investment that you can also use for driving stakes and nails, for scraping and clearing, and much more. Buying quality the first time will save you from replacing a poor quality model after only a few years. Sometimes you get what you pay for – and with tools, it’s best to make a one time investment that will last a lifetime or close to it.
If you have any questions about our mason’s hammers or want to learn more about our other tools, please reach out to us at 888-847-3456.