A trowel is one of several similar hand tools used for digging, smoothing, or otherwise moving around small amounts of viscous or particulate material.

Hand tools

In gardening, a trowel is a tool with a pointed, scoop-shaped metal blade and a handle. It is used for breaking up earth, digging small holes, especially for planting and weeding, mixing in fertilizer or other additives, and transferring plants to pots.

A bricklayer's trowel (also known as a pointing trowel) is a flat-bladed tool with a handle and flat metal blade, used by masons for leveling, spreading, or shaping substances such as cement, plaster, or mortar, as well as for breaking bricks to shape them or smoothing a mold. A tuck pointing trowel is longer and thinner, designed for packing mortar between bricks. Brick trowels are traditionally made of carbon steel, but some newer versions are made of cast stainless steel, which has longer wear and is rust-free.

In archaeology brick or pointing trowels (usually 4" steel trowels) are used to scratch the strata in an excavation and allow the colours of the soil to be clear, so that the different strata can be identified, processed and excavated. In the United States, the Marshalltown trowel is favoured, but in the British Isles the WHS 4" pointing trowel is the traditional tool.

Several types of trowel are used in concrete construction. The float trowel or finishing trowel is usually rectangular, used to smooth, level, or texture the top layer of hardening concrete. A flooring trowel has one rectangular end and one pointed end, made to fit corners.

A gauging trowel has a rounded tip, used to mix measured proportions of the ingredients for quick set plaster.

A pool trowel is a flat-bladed tool with rounded ends used to apply coatings to concrete, especially on swimming pool decks.

Margin trowels and notched trowels are used to apply adhesive and grout when applying ceramic or stone tile to a surface.

A smaller but similarly shaped tool called the palette knife is used in oil painting.

Power tools

A power trowel is a type of Light Construction Equipment, used by construction companies and contractors, serving as a finishing equipment for concrete works.


The trowel is an important symbol in Freemasonry.

In 1978, Mr Edward Welfare, himself a freemason and scout-master, opened what was believed to be the UK's first dedicated trowel museum in Norfolk.

The trowel is the nearest that the archaeological profession has to a uniform symbol. It is incorporated into the designs of many archaeological association logos and publications.

External links

* [ A history of the Sheffield made WHS trowel]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Trowel — Trow el, n. [OE. truel, OF. truele, F. truelle, LL. truella, L. trulla, dim. of trua a ladle; probably akin to Gr. ? a stirrer, ladle, G. quirl a stirrer, MHG. twirel, OHG. dwiril, Icel. [thorn]vara, AS. [thorn]wiril. Cf. {Twirl}.] 1. A mason s… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • trowel — [trou′əl] n. [ME truel < MFr truelle < LL truella for L trulla, small ladle, scoop, trowel < trua, stirring spoon, ladle, prob. < IE base * twer , to stir > TURBID] any of several small hand tools for spreading, smoothing, scooping …   English World dictionary

  • trowel — ► NOUN 1) a small hand held tool with a curved scoop for lifting plants or earth. 2) a small hand held tool with a flat, pointed blade, used to apply and spread mortar or plaster. ► VERB (trowelled, trowelling; US troweled, troweling) ▪ apply or… …   English terms dictionary

  • trowel — mid 14c., tool for spreading plaster or mortar, from O.Fr. truele (13c.), from L.L. truella small ladle, dipper (mid 12c.), dim. of L. trua a stirring spoon, ladle, skimmer. The gardening tool was so called since 1796 …   Etymology dictionary

  • trowel — 1. noun a) A mason’s tool, used in spreading and dressing mortar, and breaking bricks to shape them. I need to dig a hole for these begonias; would you pass me that trowel? b) A gardener’s tool, shaped like a …   Wiktionary

  • trowel — n. a bricklayer s; gardener s; plasterer s trowel * * * [ traʊəl] gardener s plasterer s trowel a bricklayer s …   Combinatory dictionary

  • trowel — trow|el [ˈtrauəl] n [Date: 1300 1400; : Old French; Origin: truelle, from Late Latin truella, from Latin trua large deep spoon ] 1.) a garden tool like a very small ↑spade 2.) a small tool with a flat blade, used for spreading ↑cement on bricks… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • trowel — [[t]tra͟ʊəl[/t]] trowels 1) N COUNT A trowel is a small garden tool which you use for digging small holes or removing weeds. 2) N COUNT A trowel is a small tool with a flat blade that you use for spreading things such as cement and plaster onto… …   English dictionary

  • trowel — UK [ˈtraʊəl] / US noun [countable] Word forms trowel : singular trowel plural trowels 1) a small tool with a curved blade that is used in gardens for digging small holes or digging plants out of the ground 2) a small tool with a flat blade used… …   English dictionary

  • trowel — I. noun Etymology: Middle English truel, from Anglo French, from Late Latin truella, from Latin trulla ladle Date: 13th century any of various hand tools used to apply, spread, shape, or smooth loose or plastic material; also a scoop shaped or… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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