You’re probably familiar with an all-purpose hammer or a claw hammer. It’s a simple striking tool with a head featuring a flat face for driving nails and spikes. Specialized hammers may have a claw on the head opposite the striking face that can be used to pry out nails once they have been driven.
These types of tools, general as they are, belong to a class of much broader striking tools and specialized hammers that are meticulously engineered to provide very precise functions in the hands of skilled users. One of these is a brick hammer, which may also be called a mason’s hammer.
Brick hammers, like claw hammers, have a flat striking face, just like claw hammers. However, at the opposite end of the head, in place of a prying claw, they have a flattened, chisel shaped striking head. This is used to make precise cuts and alterations in pieces of stone or brick, in a surprisingly accurate fashion.
Not to suggest that there isn’t a significant amount of skill involved in the process, because there is, but the manner in which cuts and alterations can be made to a piece of stone or brick can be pretty succinctly described. You’ll need a piece of the same (brick or stone) and you’ll also need a brick or mason hammer to accomplish this.
First, plan out in your mind the piece of the stone that you wish to remove from the stock. Then, taking the chiselled face of the mason hammer, and using a sharp, abrupt movement, make small marks in the stone. Create a series of marks around the stone that you intend to remove from the stock, girdling the stone. The idea here is to remove very small pieces or chips of stone from the stock, creating a natural boundary along which a fracture will travel when the stone is struck.
Once you have completely encircled the section of the stone you wish to remove, turn the hammer around and orient the flat face toward the stone. Using a sharp but powerful stroke, hit the stone squarely along the boundary. It should break cleanly along the outline you have created using the chiselled face.
Of course, it could take a few, or many, tries before you can get this right. Masons and bricklayers spend their whole lives becoming proficient in the use of mason tools like these. That is the basic process for making alterations to a piece of stone or brick as specified, but don’t expect it to be easy!
For those of you looking for the tool itself rather than a blank tutorial on how to use it, you’ll find quality awaiting you at Stortz.com. John Stortz & Son has been providing high quality, specialized tools to its customers for over a hundred and fifty years, including but not limited to masonry tools like brick hammers. Visit their website listed above to see what they offer, and if you have any questions on any of their products, give them a call at 888-847-3456.