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Mortar Extraction Contraptions: Tools to remove mortar

Out with the old, in with new. I made that up just now. Prove I didn't.

Mortar is generally replaced when it's deteriorated, through the process of tuckpointing. Tuckpointing, sometimes referred to as pointing or repointing, is hard work. The existing mortar between brick, block and/or stone must first be removed to a proper depth for a lasting, quality tuckpointing job.

The best depth is arguable, but generally at least 1/2-3/4" deep OR to solid backing as needed. The ambiguity there is where controversy exists. What is a solid backing? Not here... Not now... I will not continue to digress.

Back on topic: Mortar is a strong material, removing it requires some tough guys with tough tools. The 2 most common method of mortar removal:

  1. Pre 1990: the raker bar. It's literally just a steel bar, bent with sharpened edges to rake mortar from joints. Dumb.
  2. Post 1990: Angle Grinders with diamond masonry blades. Yeah, they existed pre 1990, but they weren't very commonly available or affordable. I thank the masonry gods, every time I see a raker bar, that I was born at a time their use had faded.

Though the raker bar is dumb, it has practical uses.

  • It's definitely a safer method for those who are inexperienced in using a grinder.
  • For small areas where getting an electric source might be tough. Though, battery powered, cordless grinders are a thing now. Indoors, it's good because it will create a smaller dust cloud while removing the mortar.
  • If your crazy neighbor "Doc" gets you trapped back in the 1950s on wild adventure in his time machine and you're forced to seek a job in the masonry restoration field.
  • Also a great way to build some Popeye-esque forearms, for people who, you know, like that.

In my biased opinion, An Angle Grinder with a diamond Masonry blade, is where it is at and is also what is up.

  • Less safe = More Fun! I kid, Seriously, I kid. I would not recommend use of a grinder for mortar joint removal, or any use for the matter, without thorough training from a skilled individual.
  • Grinding mortar from joints is the most efficient way to get-r-done (sp?) Especially when you have the right blade for the job.
  • You don't have to have hulk arms to use a grinder for extended periods, just a bit of training and finesse. 
  • And I know I already mentioned it, but really it's worth a repeat, it's a super quick way to remove mortar, Quick = time reduction, and as a Masonry contractor, I've done the math, Time is Money.


Click one of the images below to find one or the other from our store.



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