A stonemason has his own set of tools that he uses to complete any form of stonework. But this does not mean that Freemasons do not have tools of their own. Just because they do not lay bricks or work on stone inside their lodges does not mean that they do not need anything else. In fact, aside from the different Mason regalia used in rituals, there are also tools associated with each degree that a Mason lands on.
- 24-inch Gauge
A gauge (or a ruler) is used to measure the hours of each day. At this degree, Masons are taught to divide their day into three, spending 3 hours on sleep or refreshment, 8 hours on the service of God and others in need, and 8 hours on work and the usual vocations.
- Common Gavel
The common gavel, unlike other gavels, has one end that comes to a point. For normal stonemasons, this is used to chip away edges on bricks and stones. But for Freemasons, it symbolizes the art of chipping away the different vices and other superficial desires of the heart.
In the US, this is often left out. In the UK however, this continues to be an important symbolism in the Entered Apprentice degree. In real life, stonemasons use the chisel to remove flaws from a gem. In this Masonic degree, it symbolizes how the human mind can become more beautiful through the endless journey towards more knowledge.
A 90-degree ruler, it asks Masons to make sure that they square their actions through their morals and values.
The level has become a symbol of equality among Masonic brothers. It also shows that every Masonic brother shares the same goal and will be judged by the same laws.
Also called as a plumb line (for stonemasons), it reminds Masons to stay just, honest and upright.
The trowel symbolizes the need to spread brotherly love, with the theoretical cement it is spreading symbolizing the strong unity or bond among brothers.
Although the pencil seems to be a common tool in an actual stonemason’s job, in Freemasonry, it symbolizes how God has everything that people do written down. On the judgment day, this list will be consulted and will be the basis for how one will be judged.
The skirrit, in stonework, 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.
The compasses are among the most popular symbols of Freemasonry, and also proves to be one of the most important tools. It reminds Freemasons to know the limits between good and evil based on the rules of the Great Architect of the Universe.
Seeing how these tools help in every degree of Freemasonry, it is no wonder that they are also among the most common symbols that appear on important Masonic regalia.