The Masonic gavel is an emblem of authority used by the
Master of the lodge to show his executive power over the assemblage by
punctuating its actions.
In this capacity, order is maintained and a
structured outcome to the proceedings is achieved.
The common gavel is also one of the working tools of the
In the operative stonemason era, the common gavel
was a tool used to hew (break) the rough edges from the stones (ashlars) in
order to perfectly fit them into place.
In speculative Freemasonry, the Masonic Gavel is used to
symbolically divest the heart and consciousness of all the vices and
superfluities (excesses) of life in order to ready ourselves as if we were
living stones, open to be shaped into a spiritual being that is pleasing to our
A True Masonic Gavel
What does a true Masonic gavel look like? The head
of the gavel is rectangular, flat on one end and can be slightly pinched (as you
see, below) or come to a point on the other
Photo Courtesy of MasonicGavels.com
All Rights Reserved
Not An Auctioneer's or Judge's Gavel
The lightweight, rounded-end gavels such as the one,
below, commonly used by auctioneers and presiding judges are inappropriate for use in a Masonic
If your lodge is currently using a gavel which looks like
the one, above, please give thoughtful consideration to replacing it with its
correct and historic Masonic counterpart.
Not a Setting Maul
A Masonic gavel should not be confused with the Setting
Maul, which is one of the working tools of the Fellowcraft. The setting
maul is a heavy wooden hammer with which the operative mason set (knocked) the
polished stones into proper alignment. In the third degree, it is also the
final weapon with which the Master was said to have been slain, and, therefore,
it is a symbol of violent death.
Traveling Gavel Program
In the United States, some districts or groups of lodges
which are geographically close to one another have what is called a "traveling"
Note: This gavel is not the Master's gavel. This traveling gavel is
usually engraved with the district or area's name on it.
The traveling gavel program is designed to promote
visitation of other lodges, as a group. Different districts and areas have
varying rules on how to obtain the gavel.
Traveling Gavel Program Basic Rules:
As a courtesy to the Master, he must be
informed of the intention of the visiting lodge members to attempt to obtain the gavel,
previous to the visit.
Each visiting member must be able to show his dues
card to the Master.
A minimum of 4 visiting members from the
must be present in order to obtain the gavel.
Should 4 or more members from 2 different visiting
lodges attend another lodge's meeting, (and be in possession of their dues
cards), the lodge with the highest number of visiting members "wins" the
If these requirements are met, the lodge in possession of
the traveling gavel "loses" it to the visiting lodge members, who take it back
to their lodge...fully expecting a visit by another lodge, who, again, if they
meet the requirements, will then take the traveling gavel back with them to
their own lodge.
The traveling gavel program promotes fellowship and social
interaction between lodges, each of whom compete to see how long their lodge can be in
possession of the traveling gavel.
Hand Made Solid Hardwood Masonic Gavels
A Masonic gavel may be purchased from numerous vendors who sell wooden and Masonic gavels. Some lodges purchase a gavel as a Masonic gift to an outgoing Master, for a Past Master, or as a
personal keepsake for use during your year as Master.
Gavels may be made of a variety of hardwoods,
such as cherry,
mahogany, walnut, hickory, maple, oak, ash, acacia or teak. Some are heirloom
can be handed down to your sons and your sons' sons...used within the lodge,
given as Masonic gifts or
used as traveling gavels.
As Masonic gifts, they are also an excellent token of appreciation for a Grand Master, outgoing DDGM,
(District Deputy Grand Master), DDGL (District Deputy Grand Lecturer) or other visiting dignitaries.
In addition, some wives purchase a custom gavel for their
husbands during his year as Master of the lodge as a Masonic memento to
commemorate his ascension into the East. After their year as Master is
over, some also choose to frame it under glass and hang it in a prominent place
in their home or office.