1. Methods.-To be truly efficient, the bricklayer should work with the
fewest possible motions. This requires study upon his part to determine just which motions
are unnecessary. A bricklayer may work twice as hard as he really needs to lay a given number
of brick. Each motion should have a definite purpose and should accomplish a definite result.
It is not only necessary to learn how to lay a brick correctly and to have the right quantity
of mortar both under and against it, but it is also essential to know how to do it the easiest
way, without wasting energy. Every bricklayer will develop methods of his own for working to
best advantage upon the job. The difference between workers in height, length of arm, strength,
and natural quickness of action will influence the handling of the trowel and the laying of brick.
Many systems have been devised for aiding the bricklayer in working to best advantage; none has been universally accepted.
2. Using the Mortar Board. - All mortar boards should be wet down before mortar is placed upon them
to prevent the wood from absorbing the moisture from the mortar, thus causing it to dry out
too quickly. The mortar should be kept turned up in the middle of the board, leaving the outer
edges clean. If it is spread out in a thin layer over the entire board, it will dry out quickly,
be hard to spread, and will prevent the picking up of a trowelful.
The mortar should be kept well
tempered at all times, that is, of the proper working consistency. Have the mortar board placed
where it is most convenient so that it may be reached with the shortest possible motion. Always
pick up mortar from the outer edge of the mortar pile and from the part of the board nearest the worker.
The board should be kept well supplied at all times. Some contractors find it
economical to hire a mortar tender to keep the mortar tempered.
3. Holding the Trowel.-The trowel should be held firmly, yet not tightly, fully grasped with
the right hand and controlled by the muscles of the fingers, wrist, and arm, so that it may
be rolled between the thumb and the forefinger to any desired position. The holding of the trowel is comparable
to the holding of a razor. The thumb should not go around the handle but should rest on top of
it, the first two fingers bearing most of the weight of the trowel.
The shank and ferrule should
be kept out of the mortar while working because the contact of the forefinger with the mortar
will hinder the worker and cause sore fingers: Some bricklayers find it convenient to hold the
trowel between the third and the fourth fingers with the blade away from the body, and pick up brick
with the thumb and first and second fingers when necessary.
4. Picking Up Mortar.-Pick up a trowel full of mortar each time but do not overload it as this
will cause the mortar to spill and make the scaffold and wall dirty. Take enough to bed from
three to five brick at a time. Lean over only as far as is necessary in order to pick the mortar
up with a practically straight arm. Lift the mortar in as straight a line as possible to
the place where it is to be spread on the wall, and make the force of its lifting help in throwing it.
Use a straight-arm swinging motion in picking up the mortar from the edge of the mortar pile, thus
not spreading the mortar over the mortar board and causing it to dry out. Zigzag interrupted motions
should be avoided; they waste time and strength. The young apprentice should not be too ambitious in the amount
of mortar he attempts to throw at the start; throwing enough mortar for one brick is sufficient for
the first attempts. Don't play with or roll the mortar before picking it up; it is waste motion and
tires the worker unnecessarily.
Continue to spreading mortar
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Methods of Brick Laying
Setting the line
Laying to the line
Plumbing a Corner
Laying Fire Brick
Foundations and Footings
Pilasters, Piers, Toothing and Racking
Brick Blocking, Fireproof Floors, Brick Columns
Pipes and chases, joist supports, anchors, door sills
Setting door and window frames
The Ideal Wall