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April 15, 2010 8:03 AM CDT

Going Stainless

Stainless-steel hand tools for bricklayers


The most recent addition to Bon’s line of stainless steel tools is this wide bit brick hammer (#17-107).
The most recent addition to Bon’s line of stainless steel tools is this wide bit brick hammer (#17-107).

Every day, we come in contact with hundreds of products made from stainless steel. From the machinery we use and the buildings we work in, to the escalators and elevators that move us and our kitchen sinks and appliances. As another nod to the material, Bon Tool Co. has taken an interest in stainless steel, even obtaining a patent for its exclusive use in some finishing tools.

Like all types of steel, stainless steel is not a single metal but, rather, an alloy. It is made from two or more separate elements that are melted, or alloyed, together. A common element of all kinds of steel is a metal iron to which a small amount of carbon has been added. Stainless steel is unique because of the addition of metal chromium, which provides a bright, shiny gloss, and its corrosion resistance, a high resistance to tarnishing and rusting. This rust-resisting property is what really sets stainless steel apart from most other forms of steel.

To better appreciate the valuable properties of stainless steel, it is important to understand that stainless steel is a solid material. While many conventional steels are plated to protect their surfaces or to provide other beneficial surface characteristics, these coatings wear over time, and their intended benefit is undermined.

Bricklayers who choose stainless steel tools will appreciate the benefit of using hand tools that provide high strength and hardness throughout, have no plating that will wear away and will not rust.

By working with metal alloys over the years, engineers at Bon Tool Co. came up with the original Stainless Steel Brick Trowel, the first hand tool the company produced in stainless. It is the production of this trowel that launched Bon’s line of stainless steel tools.

The blade of the Stainless Steel Brick Trowel is made from a specially formulated stainless steel that has high chrome content. This formula makes the stainless steel trowels stronger and more durable than carbon steel trowels. The modified stainless formula provides constant elasticity over the whole blade. It is the elasticity and flexibility of the trowel that actually make it easier to use for longer periods. The added flex in the blade protects the mason’s joints and helps reduce overall fatigue from using the trowel.

The stainless steel barrels of this Bon jointer (#70-760) will not rust so there is no risk of dark spots on mortar.
The stainless steel barrels of this Bon jointer (#70-760) will not rust so there is no risk of dark spots on mortar.

Stainless steel is generally resistant to additives and is highly resistant to corrosion. Unlike carbon trowels, stainless steel trowels do not rust. This eliminates the risk of dark, rusty spots on finished mortar joints. The benefits realized in the production of Bon’s brick trowel led to the production of other stainless steel tools, including a steel convex jointer, stainless steel bullhorn jointer, stainless steel wide bit brick hammer and the stainless steel barrel jointer.

Consider that many carbon steel jointers are plated, and this plating eventually wears off. Otherwise carbon steel jointers are hardened, in which case only the surface of the jointer is made stronger. Eventually, the outer layer wears down, and the softer steel is exposed. Producing these tools in stainless steel provides hardness throughout, making the jointers longer lasting. In manufacturing the stainless steel bullhorn jointer, an extra finishing process was added to contour the edges and make the tool more comfortable in the hand.

More recently, Bon began production of a stainless steel barrel jointer that is sold complete with four stainless steel barrels, ranging from one-half-inch to 7/8-inch. The replacement barrels are available separately and are compatible with other leading brands.

One other recent addition to Bon’s product line is the stainless steel wide bit brick hammer with a head forged from one solid piece of stainless steel. The bit on this hammer measures an extra wide 2.25 inches, which exceeds the size of many others sold.

With stainless steel brick trowels in Narrow London, Wide London and Philadelphia patterns, bullhorn and barrel jointers, margin trowels, pointing trowels and bucket trowels, brick hammers, edger and groovers, Bon is currently manufacturing more than 50 stainless steel hand tools. In November 2009, the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted patent number 7,610,648 for Bon’s stainless steel concrete finishing tools and attachments. Patents are pending on Bon’s stainless steel masonry tools.

For more information on Bon’s line of stainless steel hand tools for masonry and concrete finishing, call 800-444-7060, or visit

Originally published in Masonry magazine.

About the Author

Masonry, the official publication of the Mason Contractors Association of America, covers every aspect of the mason contractor profession - equipment and techniques, building codes and standards, business planning, promoting your business, legal issues and more. Read or subscribe to Masonry magazine at


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