Figure 4-16.Cutting brick with a chisel.
head, but leave enough brick to cut accurately with the
Use a brick hammer for normal cutting work, such
as making the closure bricks and bats around wall
openings or completing corners. Hold the brick firmly
while cutting it. First, cut a line all the way around the
brick using light hammer head blows. Then a sharp
blow to one side of the cutting line should split the
brick at the cutting line (fig. 4-17, view 1). Trim rough
spots using the hammer blade, as shown in view 2.
The exterior surfaces of mortar joints are finished
to make brick masonry waterproof and to give it a
better appearance. When joints are simply cut to the
face of the brick and not finished, shallow cracks will
develop immediately between the brick and the
mortar. Always finish a mortar joint before the mortar
hardens too much. Figure 4-18 shows several types of
joint finishesthe more important of which are
concave, flush, and weather.
Of all joints, the concave is the most weather-tight.
After you remove the excess mortar with a trowel,
make this joint using a jointer that is slightly larger
than the joint. Use force against the tool to press the
mortar tight against the brick on both sides of the
The flush joint is made by holding the trowel
almost parallel to the face of the wall while drawing
its point along the joint.
Figure 4-17.Cutting brick with a hammer.
A weather joint sheds water from a wall surface
more easily. To make it, simply push downward on the
mortar with the top edge of the trowel.
A well-constructed brick arch can support a heavy
load, mainly due to the way weight is distributed over
its curved shape. Figure 4-19 shows two common arch
shapes-elliptical and circular. Brick arches require
full-mortar joints. The joint width is narrower at the
bottom of the arch than at its top, but it should not
narrow to less than one-fourth inch at any point. As
laying progresses, make sure the arch does not bulge
out of position.
It is impossible to construct an arch without
support from underneath. These temporary wooden