As far as trades go, construction is definitely one of the harder ones to pin down in a historical context. Electricians have only existed as long as electricity has been around, and plumbers have only existed since the advent of plumbing. Construction, however, is a much more general idea. The first construction workers were some ancient ancestors who used rocks and wood to assemble a structure as we finally moved out of caves into homes we made for ourselves. So it's safe to say we've been doing construction for thousands of years.
These days, we're not making a lot of buildings out of straw and mud thanks to our incredible advances in technology. We have laser levels! We're also able to work on a much more massive scale than one tiny building at a time. Our biggest construction machines can move tons of material, lift enormous walls and dig humongous trenches. The Burj Khalifa in Dubai stands 2,717 feet tall in a testament to the fantastic kind of construction work the human race is capable of pulling off. If you have any interest in construction, then you also need to have some knowledge about the tools of the trade. If you think you know construction equipment, then take our quiz and show your stuff!
This massive, chainsaw-looking machine is used in heavy construction. What is it called?
A trencher, as you might expect, is used to dig trenches. It cuts into asphalt or pavement and can dig those trenches to lay piping or cable on a construction site. There are also small versions for smaller jobs if you don't need to cut through the pavement.
Do you know the name of this tool that can help you with cutting jobs?
A bolster can be used like a chisel to precisely cut bricks or metal. It's what's known as a "cold chisel." For brick use, you need to make a line, score it, and then hammer the bolster in to break the brick cleanly.
What's the name of this tool that people in construction and carpentry make use of all the time?
A circular saw is a handy item on any job site for cutting frames, planks and assorted wooden items. It was invented over 100 years ago for use in splitting timber, and it was initially called a "rip saw."
Do you know the name of this piece of heavy equipment that can rotate a full 360 degrees?
An excavator is a pretty standard piece of construction equipment. The most common use is for digging out holes and lifting the rubble, but they can also be fitted with jackhammer ends to break stone and asphalt.
Can you name this versatile tool that sometimes gets used as a weapon in movies?
Crowbars are tools that seem to have an endless number of uses from digging into the soil to pulling out nails. They're also one of the oldest tools you'll ever come across — even Shakespeare wrote about them.
Tell us what this piece of equipment that's a little scorpion-like is called.
A backhoe loader is a pretty recognizable tool with a digging bucket on one end and a shovel in front. These tend to be much smaller than equipment like an excavator and are therefore more common in urban construction areas.
Safety is everyone's responsibility on a construction site. Tell us the name of this ubiquitous safety item.
Hard hats have been a part of construction for many years now. Franz Kafka, author of "The Metamorphosis," was actually credited with creating one of the first hardhats for civilian use even though there's no evidence to support that claim.
Do you know the proper name for this temporary structure used in the construction process?
Scaffolding is pretty integral to any building and maintenance as it affords workers a chance to access parts of construction at a significant height while offering support and the ability to have tools and equipment readily available.
This tool is especially useful in masonry work. What's it called?
The cleverly named tile cutter is specifically designed to split tiles to whatever necessary size or shape is needed for a job. It works by scoring a line in the tile then clamping down with pressure to split it apart.
Do you need to move a load of stuff from here to there? This will help you do it!
Sand screen machine
Construction sites are always full of heavy, bulky and awkward items. If you need to transport something a little more safely, a wheelbarrow is a great way to do it and save yourself a potential injury.
When you need some foundation support forced deep into the ground, use this. What's one name it goes by?
Pile drivers have existed for quite a while, and early versions of the device were made with simple wooden frames and counterweights. Modern versions may be hydraulic or use a diesel and air hammer system to force poles into the ground.
Is any construction tool more iconic than this bulky item? What is it called?
A sledgehammer is an invaluable tool in construction and, of course, destruction. Useful for knocking out walls of all kinds, it's also handy for driving in spikes and supports thanks to the impressive weight of the hammerhead.
Can you tell us the name of this tool that helps you get a clean finish for your work?
A nail punch is a handy tool if you're looking to hide all the nails in the work you're doing. Line the nail punch up with the hammered-in nail and hit it with the hammer to force the nail head just below the surface so it can be covered seamlessly with wood filler.
This creepy-sounding tool will come in handy for sealing things. Do you know the name?
A skeleton gun is basically a frame for something like a tube of caulking or silicone sealant. Place the tube in the gun, and it will allow you to control and lay a bead of whatever it is that you're using.
If you want to move a lot of dirt, you'll want this machine. What's it called?
Bulldozers are some of the heaviest machines on a construction site, and they're designed for incredibly heavy work. They're so powerful there are actually armored, military bulldozers in service around the world.
This tool is essentially a merging of two other common tools. What's the name of it?
Jackhammers, also known as pneumatic drills, are the powerful union of hammer and chisel in one remarkably aggressive package. They can be powered by hydraulics, compressed air or electric motors, and are chiefly used to bash rock to pieces.
When you need a flat surface for something like a dirt road, you want to use this machine. Do you recognize it?
If you've ever wondered how a dirt road gets flat and level enough to drive on, wonder no more! A grader also called a motor grader or a road grader can smooth out the surface of a road to keep it level and safe.
This kind of tool is so ancient it dates to pre-history. What name is it known by today?
Chisels are probably as old as the idea of using a rock to smash something. Modern chisels are made of hardened steel and can be used in woodworking but also for something like brickwork when parts need to be chiseled free.
If you need to roll something as flat as flat can be, why not use this machine?
Steamrollers date back to the 1800s, and they work on the time-tested principle that you can smooth and level anything by crushing it with incredible weight. The roller on a typical steam roller can weigh over 30 tons.
Want to keep your brickwork level? You might want to try this if you know the name of it.
End frames are helpful when you need to make sure your brickwork is perfectly even. The frames get mounted on the end bricks, and a line runs from one side to the other as a handy guide to line up everything.
If you want to bash something like Miley Cyrus, use this tool. What's it called?
The ultimate tool of destruction is the mighty wrecking ball. It's literally just a giant, heavy ball that you smash things with. It's generally used when you have an entire building made of brick that you need to smash to the ground.
Do you know the name of this power tool that shames a traditional hammer?
One of the most dangerous tools on a construction site, a nail gun is capable of shooting a nail at about 90 miles per hour. Some are capable of firing three nails per second, which is why the CDC says around 37,000 people a year go to emergency rooms with nail gun injuries.
You can't hope to move rubble without one of these. Do you know what it's called?
A dump truck is a pretty common sight on any construction site whenever rubble, soil, rocks and assorted other items need to be hauled from one place to another. Some dump trucks can carry 14 tons or more.
This equipment is useful when you need to make some solid foundations or walls. What is it?
A concrete mixer, sometimes called a cement mixer, generally comes in two varieties. There are the large ones that are carted around on the backs of trucks, and then the smaller units that are more portable meant for mixing small batches.
If you need one tool that can do a bunch of jobs, maybe this is the one you need. Name it!
An oscillating multi-tool is useful for any number of reasons on a job site. It can be used as a plunge cutter for digging into and splitting hardwood, a sander, a grinder, a buffer, a polisher and more.
Part of any construction job is making it look pretty when you're done. Name this tool that can help with that.
A concrete float is a very simple item for concrete finishing. You grab hold of the handle on the back and then simply smooth the float across your finished concrete surface like an iron to smooth it out.
If you want perfect angles, then you want this. What is it?
A mason square helps you get the perfect angle with your walls. You can lay bricks down with the mason square as a guide and then any subsequent bricks laid in relation to those first ones will be straight, too.
Lifting things will require the help of this machine. Do you know what it's called?
Cranes come in multiple sizes, but some of the biggest ones are used for massive construction projects like skyscrapers. The Taisun Gantry Crane in China is capable of lifting 20,000 tons, so these things are pretty intense.
Sometimes old school tools are the best, like this one. What's the name of it?
A good, old-fashioned handsaw can be all you need sometimes when it comes to some cutting on the job site. These things are so old that there are actually ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics depicting them in use.
Do you know the name of this tool used for trimming wood down to size?
A jack plane is a bench plane that you can run across the surface of wood the peel a layer off in much the same way you'd peel down a potato. The cut is rough and will need to be smoothed out later, but it's an excellent way to fit wood to size.
Tell us the name of this incredibly common item that'll help get you up high.
A ladder is an essential piece of equipment on so many job sites, and it's also a common one for injuries. In fact, they run ladder certifications courses in places like Europe just to ensure you actually know what you're doing on one.
Need to do a little intricate cutting? Then you need this thing. What is the name of it?
A coping saw is an excellent tool for doing intricate cutting work as the C-shape frame and the thin blade allow you to really get into what you're cutting and do some delicate angles and different shapes.
If you need a foot-long piece of wood, you'll have to use this tool to figure it out. Name it!
Line and pins
You can't get much done in any construction setting without measuring tape. There's an old saying that goes "measure twice, cut once" which speaks to the importance of measuring. It's the basis for getting anything done correctly.
Can you name this tool that isn't just for miners?
A pickax is usually associated with mining and busting rocks, but on a construction site it's great for digging into hard soil when you need it loosened up and a typical tool like a spade or a shovel won't work.
This tool is one of the last things you'll need for a flooring job. What is it?
A polisher is essentially just a large buffing tool that you can use to shine up something like floor tiles or any other type of flooring that could use a good shine on them to make them look clean and new.