Thursday, February 6, 2014

Throwback Thursday

My dad was a bricklayer.  A woman he was working for in England talked up the wonderful opportunities for employment in Canada.  We ended up in Williams Lake because that woman's son lived and worked there, and my dad was going to work with him.  He did for a few months, but my mother wasn't happy there, and about 5 months after we joined him, in November, we left Williams Lake for the southwest corner of B.C. and the little seaside town of White Rock.  This photo was taken the next year, 1964, in May.


Larry and I have been doing a bit of sorting out/cleaning up in the garage.  Right now it is messier than when we started.   I have a box of my Dad's old tools, so we pulled that down from a high shelf and had a look through them.


I remember using these, I used to make stuff out of wood when I was a kid

Many of them were his old bricklaying tools.  I'm pretty familiar with most of them, and used some of them myself.   The trowels and brick chisel are in the middle.  To the left of the brick chisel are the brick jointers.  Skinny pieces of metal that were run along the concrete joint between the bricks to make them nice and smooth.  First though you had to make that indented joint.  See that thing that looks like half an old roller skate?  It had a nail sticking out between the two wheels.  You ran the wheels along the bricks, with the nail sticking into the partially set concrete between the bricks.  Pushing it back and forth cleaned out the concrete to the depth set by the nail, and then you smoothed it off with the jointer.  


That long metal thing to the left of the string wrapped around the little blocks of wood was a brick carrier.  You put a bunch of bricks side by side, long sides together.  The carrier was adjusted with that pin so that it fit over the bricks with a bit of room to spare.  When you picked it up by the handle, the end where the pin is swivelled, and put pressure on the line of bricks.  That way you could pick up and carry six bricks at a time, all with one hand.

I worked for my Dad a couple of summers.  The first when I was 12, and I made 50 cents an hour.  That was before my dad had a cement mixer.  The cement was mixed on a big sheet of plywood.  You would walk around and around it, using a hoe to pull and push the sand and cement back and forth to mix it together.  Then you would make a big hole in the middle of the pile, and add some water.  Round and round you would go again, pulling the dry mix down into the water, working fast to keep it all contained if the water broke through the outer wall of mix.  Round and round, working it all together.  Then the concrete was shovelled into metal bucket and carried to where it was being used.  If  only a small amount of concrete was needed, it was mixed in a wheelbarrow.  I carried lots of bricks up the ladder to the roof with that brick carrier.  I worked for my Dad again when I was 15.  He had a cement mixer by that time, thank goodness.  I made $2.50 an hour that year.  I guess I worked harder:)

In the end, we packed all the tools back into an old 7up box, and back up on the shelf they went.



  1. Oh I Loved my dad's drill like that, I used to sneak into his side of the basement and make all kinds of wood things. Electric drills just go too fast and you dont get the same communion with the wood.

  2. Now those are tools with a history! Being a dice collector I saw that in the photo right away:)

  3. My dad was a jack-of-all trades. He had so many tools. I remember him mixing concrete in an old wheelbarrow. I still have and use many of his old tool...they are the best!

  4. I could have used that brick carrier today as I moved a dozen bricks from one side of the yard to the other! I love all those old tools!


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