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A brief history of scutching tools

A brief history of scutching tools

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Scutch hammer shaping a brick Scutching tools used to be known as ‘scotching tools’ and have been used for decades within the bricklayer’s trade for the finishing of a brick (smoothing the edges) after it has been cut with a brick hammer.

The scutch (either the hammer or chisel version) would be used to take off any of the rough edges that were left.

Wonkee Donkee says "The word ‘scutch’ is also a northern English and Scottish word for giving somebody a beating.'
Brick layers scotch Traditionally, a scutch/scotch was a scutch hammer, whereas the scutch chisel is a more recent invention. However, they are both now classed as scutching tools.

The name for a scutch hammer evolved from scotch to scutch during the early part of the 20th century as the tool was transformed into a more durable version.

Previously, a scotch was made up of a stock, blade and wedge. In comparison, todays ‘ready-made’ scutching tool (hammer or chisel) is not held together with a wedge of hard wood.

Brick hacking axe From the mid-19th century, bricklayers started to use a scutching tool instead of a brick hacking axe to finish a brick. This was because a scutching tool did not need to be sharpened as often due to its replaceable head, and it could cut harder bricks than the brick hacking axe.

Brick hacking axes shouldn’t be used on dry stone walls for example, whereas a scutch can be.

Scutch Hammer and Brick Axe A scutching tool is better for this job than a brick axe because of its replaceable cutters (scutch combs or droves) which means that you do not need to keep sharpening it or buying a new tool, just the cutters.

A brick axe on the other hand needs constant re-sharpening when cutting hard bricks.

Hard and Soft Brick A hard brick is a brick that has been burnt in the middle of the furnace (when creating the bricks) which makes it harder and more durable than soft bricks (bricks that can only be used in interior walls due to their lack of burning in the furnace).

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