A stonemason has his own set of tools that he uses to complete any form of stonework. But this does not mean that the Masons do not have their own tools. Just because they don’t lay bricks or work in stone inside their cabins doesn’t mean they don’t need anything else. In fact, aside from the different Mason insignia used in rituals, there are also tools associated with each grade a Mason lands on.
- 24 inch gauge
A meter (or ruler) is used to measure the hours each day. In this grade, Freemasons are taught to divide their day into three, spending 3 hours on sleeping or cooling off, 8 hours on serving God and others in need, and 8 hours on regular work and vocations.
- Common mallet
The common deck, unlike other decks, has an end that reaches a point. In the case of normal beds, it is used to cut the edges of bricks and stones. But for the Masons, it symbolizes the art of eliminating the different vices and other superficial desires of the heart.
In the US, this is often omitted. In the UK, however, this remains an important symbolism in the degree of apprenticeship entered. In real life, stonemasons use the chisel to remove defects from a gem. In this Masonic degree, it symbolizes how the human mind can become more beautiful through the never-ending journey to greater knowledge.
A 90 degree rule asks Freemasons to make sure they square their actions across their morals and values.
The level has become a symbol of equality among Masonic brethren. It also shows that each Masonic brother shares the same goal and will be judged by the same laws.
Also called as a plumb line (for stonemasons), it reminds Freemasons to be fair, honest, and upright.
The palette symbolizes the need to spread brotherly love, with the theoretical cement that it is spreading symbolizing the strong unity or bond between siblings.
Although the pencil seems to be a common tool in the work of a bricklayer, in Freemasonry it symbolizes how God has everything that people do in writing. On the day of judgment, this list will be consulted and will be the basis for how one will be judged.
Skirrit, in masonry, is used to draw a perfect line on the ground. In Freemasonry, it is a reminder to stick to the goal of perfection that the brotherhood has set for itself.
Compasses are among the most popular symbols in Freemasonry, and it also proves to be one of the most important tools. Remind the Masons to know the limits between good and evil according to the rules of the Great Architect of the Universe.
Seeing how these tools help in all degrees of Freemasonry, it is no wonder that they are also among the most common symbols that appear on important Masonic insignia.