purpose-built-tools-vs-makeshift-tools

Purpose-built tools vs. makeshift tools      

Shop for Brick Jointers

Purpose-built tools

Masonry tools A purpose-built tool is one that has been designed and manufactured for a specific application.

A purpose-built jointer makes it easy to achieve a consistent mortar finish as these tools are specifically designed to run smoothly across mortar, whilst offering a suitable hand position for guidance, a factor that becomes important when jointing large areas of brickwork.

For more information, see our section: What are the different types of brick jointer?

Makeshift tools

Makeshift tools A makeshift tool is one used in place of a regular tool as a temporary measure. You may see everyday objects commonly adapted for mortar finishing, common substitutes include: bucket handles or pieces of rubber hose.
Cutting Costs

Why use a makeshift tool?

You may wish to use a makeshift tool to avoid the initial purchase cost of a purpose-built brick jointer, or to create a tool that is otherwise unavailable.

A few makeshift tools used when brick jointing and raking are listed below:

improvised depth guage

Improvised depth gauge

An improvised depth gauge (pictured left) simply consists of a square section cut out of a wooden plank with a nail in. This can be used for raking out a joint.

If you are able to make the required tool, this could save you money otherwise required for the purchase of a brick rake. However, be aware that it may be hard to produce a consistent motion and stop-start grooves may be noticeable in the mortar.

Broken fireplace poker becomes a brick jointer

Homemade jointing tool

If you are resourceful, you may wish to make your own jointing tool. However, do consider that a mortar joint may not be properly compacted by a makeshift tool which has the incorrect radius for the mortar gap.

Single joint requiring repointing

Repointing a small area

You may wish to only repoint one specific joint. In this instance it is of course reasonable to use a flat makeshift tool in place of a jointer for a quick fix. However, do consider that you may need to match an existing mortar pattern.

Section of rubber hose

Using rubber hose to tool the mortar joint

Rubber hose should be avoided. It can wear down and leave small pieces of debris in the mortar, or cause discolouring.

Wooden dowling

Using wooden dowelling to tool the mortar joint

Wooden dowelling is best avoided as it wears quickly and any rough edges can leave inconsistent markings in mortar.