Mortar question

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peterm
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Mortar question

Post by peterm »

Question:

Brick vertical head joints were typically tinted to match the brick color. What about vertical mortar in a soldier course... would this be the standard gray mortar color, or tinted?

Thoughts, examples?

pharding
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Post by pharding »

It is likely that all vertical joints were the same mortar color regardless of where they fell in the wall.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

SDR
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Post by SDR »

I find no examples to contradict that statement. One example at random would be Pope.

At Wingspread, Harold Price, Jr, and Lewis, all brick mortar is tinted. Other examples show no tinting to the mortar. At Sturges, the rowlock courses which cap exterior masonry masses are neither filled nor tinted -- though the remaining brickwork has tinted head joints . . .

SDR

peterm
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Post by peterm »

I'm a bit confused, SDR. You say you find no examples which contradict Paul's thesis, but then cite Sturges which has untinted vertical rowlock. Am I misunderstanding?

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Huh. I should have noted that Sturges has no tinted mortar at all on the exterior (unless the tint has faded) while on the interior the head joints are tinted; all head joints are filled, inside and out, but the rowlock courses are not. Makes a nice textural effect, in black-and-white photos, at least.

"FLLW - MCM," the Weintraub/Hess volume, shows several Usonians with perfectly ordinary, orthodox brickwork without raked bed joints, including Goetsch/Winckler, Harper, and Greenberg; two further examples are Lewis and Baird.

SDR

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

I think Sturges may have been repointed by Larson. The interior shot in Weintraub/Hess shows some joints near the floor not tinted, while others are tinted.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

I have the impression that Wright's houses demonstrate almost every possible permutation of the type(s) he conjured up; there are exceptions to virtually every rule he proposed, and the work is endlessly varied in detail. He seems to have wanted to try everything -- once, at least. Point to anything on the Standard Detail Sheet, and you can find an alternate to the detail in one house or another. This practice began early; the same variety can be found in houses of the Prairie period. Even in the Textile Block and Usonian Automatic realms, where there are few examples of each type, the same restless exploration is evident.

And this excludes the variations introduced by owners and builders, when they altered the architect's intention; I doubt that Wright specified the non-Usonian brickwork cited above, for instance, though he may have accepted it . . .

Are there examples of rowlock and/or soldier courses at Lamberson, Peter ?

SDR

peterm
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Post by peterm »

I wouldn't expect that Wright changed his mind often about a detail such as whether or not row lock and soldier course mortar joints should be filled and tinted. In this case, it might be more logical that the variation would have been created by the individual mason doing the work.

At Lamberson, all row lock joints (window sills and top course of chimney mass) on the exterior were treated exactly like the head joints (flush and tinted). The soldier course only appears in the interior as the bottom course of brick of the fireplace hood. It, too, is flush and tinted.

I brought up the topic because I noticed that some row lock and soldier courses in other Usonians appeared to be raked.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Everything we know about the way that Mr Wright designed suggests that, as soon as a good solution to a problem had been identified and committed to paper, the hunt began for a better one. Again and again we read about his tendency to re-design; "It may have been good enough yesterday, but not today," he is supposed to have answered one apprentice.

And rather than start with a new sheet of paper, Wright had the drafter erase and re-draw. Some have rued that choice, as a record of the architect's design decisions was erased along with yesterday's pencil lines . . .

SDR

peterm
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Post by peterm »

Two photos of Dobkins showing what appears to be tinted and flush mortar on sills and soldier course (or rowlock?...) at fireplace:

Image


Image

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Image

peterm
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Post by peterm »

My question here was whether the bottom course of the Dobkins fireplace might be a bit taller than a standard rowlock... It appears to be equivalent to two courses of modułar brick, taller than the standard 3 5/8" dimension of a modular brick in a rowlock position. It looks closer to 5"...

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Per the photo above, the rowlock brick is the same as the stretcher.

peterm
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Post by peterm »

I don't think so, Roderick, unless you are referring to the exterior photo, where the rowlock is standard.

Per the fireplace photo, it might be the same as the short side of the special corner brick, but not as long as the full size stretcher seen at the right of the photo..

2 1/4" plus 3/8" mortar plus 2 1/4" (equaling a bit under 5") is the approximate vertical dimension of two courses of modular brick. The typical length of a modular stretcher is 7 5/8", and the width 3 5/8". I am suggesting that the vertical dimension of the bottom course above the opening of the fireplace is greater than 3 5/8", but less than 7 5/8".

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

I measured the length of the rowlock brick above the fireplace opening, directly from the posted photo, which equals two stretchers less one mortar joint. The brick ratio is 2 to 1, right?

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