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When buying cement finishing equipment, it's very important that you use high-quality tools. The work you do is only as good as the tools you're using. See the links under Tool List in the FAQs for our recommended vendors.

Tool Tip #1:

Trowel Maintenance

The condition of your tools affects your final product. Day-to-day use of your trowels will wear on their edges, which results in a poor concrete finish. To prevent this, file your trowels' edges regularly. Here's how:

  1. Secure a 10Ē flat metal file to a flat surface.

  2. Hold the trowel with both hands.
    Run the trowel edge smoothly across the length of the file.

  3. Repeat this process as many times as necessary to create a straight edge.
    Do the same for the other side.

    Keep your trowels in good shape; your work will be neat and professional.

Tool Tip #2:

Hammers & Sledges

Picking the right hammer is critical to your well being and productivity. Wood handle or Metal handle hammers? Most Cement Masons choose metal shank hammers. These will not break when pulling nails from the forms.

If you choose a wood shank hammer you must be careful on how hard you pry on things. Too much pressure and you break the handle. Sometimes you will need to use a nail puller ďcatís paw or flat barĒ to help pull nails with a wood handled hammer.

Another consideration is a curved or straight claw hammer.

This is a personal preference. The only drawback to a curved claw, in some areas itís hard to grab the nail head with the claws due to restricted work space.

Do you like a smooth head or a waffle head? A waffle head grabs the nails with less chance of your hammer slipping from the nail head when you hit it. (Keep your fingers out of the way; the waffle head has no mercy on your finger nails.)

Choosing a weight of hammer helps you to be more efficient. 16 to 22 ounce hammer is a good medium weight. As you use your hammer itís not uncommon for Cement Masons to purchase more than one type of hammer.

Sledge Hammers

Should I use an 8 pound or a 12 pound sledge? Apprentices usually start with an 8 pound hammer until they develop the skill and confidence to move to a 10 pound or 12 pound hammer. A heavier hammer does more of the work because of its weight.

Decide handle length. A quick easy way to determine the handle length is to stand the hammer next to your leg. Cut the handle at the top of your knee cap. Not too long, not too short.



Cement Masons Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee