The Significance of the Masonic Trowel
An implement of Operative Masonry, which has been adopted by Speculative Freemasons as the peculiar working-tool of the Master's Degree. By this implement, and its use in Operative Masonry to spread the cement which binds all the parts of the building into one common mass, we are taught to spread the cement of affection and kindness, which unites all the members of the Masonic family, wheresoever dispersed over the globe, into one companionship of Brotherly Love and an old custom in an Oxford Lodge, England, gave it prominence as a jewel, and as a symbol it goes back to the practice of the Ancient.
Today this implement is considered the appropriate working-tool of a Master Mason, because, in Operative Masonry, while the Apprentice is engaged in preparing the rude materials, which require only the Gage and Gavel to give them their proper shape. the Fellow Craft places them in their proper position by means of the Plumb, Level, and Square; but the Master Mason alone, having examined their correctness and proved them true and trusty, secures them permanently in their place by spreading, with the trowel, the cement that irrevocably binds them
together. The Trowel has also been adopted as the jewel of the Select Master.
But its uses in this Degree are not symbolical. They are simply connected with
the historical legend of the Degree. An example of the trowel can be found on most of the Master Mason Rings
- Source: Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry