Brickwork, in building, the term applied to constructions made of bricks. The tools and implements employed by the bricklayer are: - the trowel for spreading the mortar; the plumb-rule to keep the work perpendicular, or in the case of an inclined or battering wall, to a regular batter, for the plumb-rule may be made to suit any required inclination; the spirit-level to keep the work horizontal, often used in conjunction with a straight-edge in order to test a greater length; and the gauge-rod with the brick-courses marked on it. The quoins or angles are first built up with the aid of the gauge-rod, and the intermediate work is kept regular by means of the line and line pins fixed in the joints. The raker, jointer, pointing rule and Frenchman are used in pointing joints, the pointing staff being held on a small board called the hawk. For roughly cutting bricks the large trowel is used; for neater work such as facings, the bolster and club-hammer; the cold chisel is for general cutting away, and for chases and holes. When bricks require to be cut, the work is set out with the square, bevel and compasses.
If the brick to be shaped is a hard one it is placed on a V-shaped cutting block, an incision made where desired with the tin saw, and after the bolster and club-hammer have removed the portion of the brick, the scutch, really a small axe, is used to hack off the rough parts. For cutting soft bricks, such as rubbers and malms, a frame saw with a blade of soft iron wire is used, and the face is brought to a true surface on the rubbing stone, a slab of Yorkshire stone.
In ordinary practice a scaffold is carried up with the walls and made to rest on them. Having built up as high as he can reach from the ground, the scaffolder erects a scaffold with standards, ledgers and putlogs to carry the scaffold boards (see Scaffold, Scaffolding). Bricks are carried to the scaffold on a hod which holds twenty bricks, or they may be hoisted in baskets or boxes by means of a pulley and fall, or may be raised in larger numbers by a crane. The mortar is taken up in a hod or hoisted in pails and deposited on ledged boards about 3 ft. square, placed on the scaffold at convenient distances apart along the line of work. The bricks are piled on the scaffold between the mortar boards, leaving a clear way against the wall for the bricklayers to move along. The workman, beginning at the extreme left of his section, or at a quoin, advances to the right, carefully keeping to his line and frequently testing his work with the plumb-rule, spirit-level and straight-edge, until he reaches another angle, or the end of his section. The pointing is sometimes finished off as the work proceeds, but in other cases the joints are left open until the completion, when the work is pointed down, perhaps in a different mortar.
When the wall has reached a height from the scaffold beyond which the workman cannot conveniently reach, the scaffolding is raised and the work continued in this manner from the new level.Fig. 1.
It is most important that the brickwork be kept perfectly plumb, and that every course be perfectly horizontal or level, both longitudinally and transversely. Strictest attention should be paid to the levelling of the lowest course of footings of a wall, for any irregularity will necessitate the inequality being made up with mortar in the courses above, thus inducing a liability for the wall to settle unequally, and so perpetuate the infirmity. To save the trouble of keeping the plumb-rule and level constantly in his hands and yet ensure correct work, the bricklayer, on clearing the footings of a wall, builds up six or eight courses of bricks at the external angles (see fig. 1), which he carefully plumbs and levels across. These form a gauge for the intervening work, a line being tightly strained between and fixed with steel pins to each angle at a level with the top of the next course to be laid, and with this he makes his work range. If, however, the length between the quoins be great, the line will of course sag, and it must, therefore, be carefully supported at intervals to the proper level. Care must be taken to keep the "perpends," or vertical joints, one immediately over the other.
Having been carried up three or four courses to a level with the guidance of the line which is raised course by course, the work should be proved with the level and plumb-rule, particularly with the latter at the quoins and reveals, as well as over the face. A smart tap with the end of the handle of the trowel will suffice to make a brick yield what little it may be out of truth, while the work is green, and not injure it. The work of an efficient craftsman, however, will need but little adjustment.
For every wall of more than one brick (9 in) thick, two men should be employed at the same time, one on the outside and the other inside; one man cannot do justice from one side to even a 14-in. wall. When the wall can be approached from one side only, the work is said to be executed "overhand." In work circular on plan, besides the level and plumb-rule, a gauge mould or template, or a ranging trammel - a rod working on a pivot at the centre of the curve, and in length equalling the radius - must be used for every course, as it is evident that the line and pins cannot be applied to this in the manner just described.
Bricks should not be merely laid, but each should be placed frog upwards, and rubbed and pressed firmly down in such a manner as to secure absolute adhesion, and force the mortar into joints. Every brick should be well wetted before it is laid, especially in hot dry weather, in order to wash off the dust from its surface, and to obtain more complete adhesion, and prevent it from absorbing water from the mortar in which it is bedded. The bricks are wetted either by the bricklayer dipping them in water as he uses them, or by water being thrown or sprinkled on them as they lie piled on the scaffold. In bricklaying with quick-setting cements an ample use of water is of even more importance.