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What is a Bush Hammer?

H. Bliss
Updated May 17, 2024
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A bush hammer is a tool resembling a meat tenderizer that is used by artists and construction workers to add a pocked texture to hardened material like stone or concrete. On a bush hammer, one end of the metal head is rectangular with rows of spikes designed to create tiny pocks in concrete when it is struck. The material is struck with the spiky head multiple times to achieve the desired texture effect. This type of texturing hammer can be either an electric power hammer or a manual hammer. Stone that has texture from a bush hammer is called bush-hammered, phrased like "bush-hammered marble."

Generally, a bush hammer tool designed for manual use will feature a heavy, two-sided metal hammer head with a hole in its center that seats it on a long, relatively thin wooden handle for gripping. Metal used for the heads of bush hammers is often tungsten carbide or steel. The hand-powered version is most frequently used in art, on softer sculpting stones like limestone and marble. Harder stones like granite can be bush-hammered by more powerful electric bush hammer machines, which can also be called scarifiers. The head for a bush hammer is sometimes purchased separately from the handle or hammering machine.

This type of texturing technique can be used to make stone floors non-slip by adding easy-to-grip areas to the surface of the floor. Bush hammering is especially helpful in concrete and stone floors used in rainy climates or near the entrances and exits to showers or pools. When using a bush hammer to add non-slip texture to a floor, extra attention must be taken to avoid adding uncomfortably rough or sharp texture to the floor that might injure patrons. A gently used sandblaster can dull any uncomfortable areas of floor texture that are created while bush hammering the material. Sometimes, stone that has been pre-bush-hammered can be purchased from construction materials suppliers.

Used occasionally in sculpting, bush hammer techniques are most often employed in the field of masonry. In the field of masonry, buildings are constructed out of blocks of material that are held together by a binding agent called mortar. Blocks can be made of materials like concrete, marble, and other types of sturdy stone. The stones are held together by mortar, a paste often made primarily made of wet sand and cement. One common example of a structure built using masonry techniques is a brick wall.

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H. Bliss
By H. Bliss , Former Writer
Heather Bliss, a passionate writer with a background in communication, brings her love for connecting with others to her work. With a relevant degree, she crafts compelling content that informs and inspires, showcasing her unique perspective and her commitment to making a difference.

Discussion Comments

By snickerish — On Oct 01, 2011

For strictly artistic purposes, can someone use a meat tenderizer instead of a bush hammer to create certain textures?

By runner101 — On Sep 30, 2011

A bush hammer seems to give certain cement and stone an aesthetic look as well as being functional too. The different texture bush hammer's give to certain types of concrete or marble can be very unique and beautiful.

Right outside a pool, I have noticed this bumpy texture, this is probably a result of a bush hammer. It may add a little roughness to the surface of the concrete surrounding the outside of a pool, but I am sure it has kept many people from slipping and falling because of the cement getting wet from the pool.

H. Bliss

H. Bliss

Former Writer

Heather Bliss, a passionate writer with a background in communication, brings her love for connecting with others to her...
Learn more
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