A tuck pointer is a narrow-bladed pointing trowel which is mostly used for filling masonry joints with mortar (a mixture of cement or lime with sand and water, used in masonry to bond bricks and stones). It can also be used to apply mortar or caulk (a waterproof sealant used to fill gaps and seams) to difficult areas.
Tuck pointers are known by a wide variety of names, including pointing irons, brick irons, striking irons, joint fillers, brick joint smoothers, slicker jointers, repointers, finger trowels, tuck point trowels and margin trowels, but they all do the same thing! Many masons work with tuck pointers for years and only ever know them as ‘thin pointing trowels’, but ‘tuck pointer’ is the original term.
Tuck pointers get their name from tuckpointing, a historical method of filling mortar joints (the space between bricks) to disguise irregular or damaged bricks and create the illusion of a finer join.
Tuck pointers are still used for tuckpointing by some skilled professionals, but they are now mostly used for repointing – the act of removing cracked mortar from brick joints and applying new mortar, to make sure that the right amount of air and moisture passes through a wall. You can learn more about tuckpointing and repointing by reading What is tuckpointing?and How to repoint a wall with a tuck pointer.