A mason uses several types of rules to measure their work, commonly though, two basic specialized rules apply.

The Mason Rule and the Modular Rule are designed to work with building materials found today as well as in the past to provide speed in laying out the required spacing to construct the walls.

First, all work on building starts with a benchmark.  The benchmark is the point that all other points originate from on a structure.  Typically, set by an engineer or a surveyor, this point has secure reference points for recreation if damaged or lost.

The Spacing Rule

The spacing rule was the first masonry related rule that was used by masons.  Typically used as a folding rule, the mason used numbers and lines found on the rule from 1 to 0 (0 meaning 10) to layout the courses of work.  Most commonly the mason would use the numbers 5 and 6 to keep the mortar bed thickness near 3/8 inch.  The spacing rule gives the mason the total number of courses to be constructed which is helpful when stocking the wall or mixing of the mud.  This rule was easier for the mason to keep track of material laid each day, allowing for an easier way to keep track of materials and labor invoices.

The spacing rule is still used today on a limited basis.

The Modular Rule

The Modular Rule has numbers and lines based on standard modular materials typically found in today’s commercial market.  The modular system is based on
16-inch vertical increments.  Concrete Masonry Units can be laid out using a Modular Rule.  Both rules have standard inch increments on the reverse side starting from 1/16-inch increments to 72 inches.

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