A drag is a tool used by stone masons and carvers to smooth and level a face of stone. It is used for a similar effect that a plane might be used in carpentry, that is, passed over a surface that has been worked flat enough with coarser tools such as chisels. Its use varies from that of the plane however, in that it is dragged rather than pushed. Drags are usually only used on relatively soft stone such as limestone. In the tradition of Southern English masonry there are two distinct types of drag; the simple 'English drag' and the more complex 'French drag'. It is possible that the use of these two distinct types of drag are also used in Northern France as the mason's trade encompasses both regions as a source of the finest limestones in Northern Europe.

English Drag

The English drag has the appearance of a sheet of steel, sometimes with fine teeth on the working edge. It can vary in size according to the size of the face to be flattened, but for most purposes is usually around 20 centimetres wide. It is made from high carbon steel with a high temper at the working edge, to avoid abrasion of the teeth. English drags can be made from cut sections of old tennon saws provided that they have fine teeth and the set of the saw has been removed. An english drag is used by pulling the toothed surface across the stone sideways (at right angles to the way a saw would be used) so that each tooth will abrade away any high spots. the process is complete when all of the teeth engage with the stone across the whole dragged surface ensuring a flat face. the worked surface will exhibit a series of parallel scores unless a smooth drag has been used to finish the work.

French Drag

The French drag is a development of the English drag, it consists of a short block of wood with a handle, it looks something like a chunky plasterer's float and is approximately the same size. Set into the working face of the drag are several small English drags, each one positioned at a slight angle to each other and to the face of the drag itself. Each working edge of these steel 'scrapers' is set to a uniform depth so that they all make contact when rested upon a flat surface. The french drag is used just as though it were a woodworker's plane, being pulled or pushed over the surface to be levelled. Owing to the angle of the steel edges the drag will make an unbearable screaming noise, a thousand times worse than fingernails scraping on a blackboard, if worked in the wrong direction.