Old 06-29-2007, 01:19 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 257
Default Re: Tapered Cuts

Originally I didnt plan to make any radial cuts (other than cutting whole bricks in half/thirds/quarters as necessary), as Im using tapered bricks to form a natural 1100mm (43) dome shape. I was still going to end up with triangular mortar joints between bricks on each course.

But my brickie has done one or two domes and has encouraged students (he teaches bricklaying at a TAFE college here) to cut tapers on each of the dome brick courses where the bricks butt up against each other. After he explained how to do it, and with the convenience of a wet brick saw at my disposal, I have decided to go down the same route. So Im effectively manually tapering tapered bricks!

This is how the tapers were calculated for the first perimeter ring around the floor, which consists of normal, rather than tapered, firebricks:
External diameter = 1330mm (52.4)
External circumference = 1330 x π = 4178mm (164.5)
Number of (half) bricks required = Ext Circ/brick width = 4178/115 = 36.3
Internal diameter = 1100mm (43.3)
Internal circumference = 1100 x π = 3456mm (136)
Difference in circumference = 4178 3456 = 722mm (28.5)
Total taper for each brick = Difference in Circ/No of bricks = 722/36.3 = 19.9mm (bit over )
So half this (9.9mm or a tad over ⅜) needs to be removed from the inside of each connecting face.
I set up all these calculations on a spreadsheet, and plan to do the same for subsequent courses.

When it came to cutting the (half) bricks, I marked one brick, and adjusted the stop on the brick saw table to be just under the brick width of 115mm (114.6mm as calculated). I then clamped a G-clamp to the stop to give me the desired 9.9mm of taper. Like JC, I cut one taper, then flipped the brick upside down and cut the other. It took probably an hour or so to run through the 30 half bricks for the first ring. Easy peasy! See pics below for a better explanation of the setup.

At this stage, Im not sure how Im going to cut tapers for the upper rings, as these cant be laid flat on the brick saw table, but must be lifted on the outside face to simulate the angle theyd rest in when fixed in the dome. Id like to rig up some sort of support so I can just rip through them as easily as the floor ring.

One mistake I have spotted since doing the first ring is that I didnt allow for the thickness of the 1mm or so mortar joint. Ah, the benefit of hindsight! Early days yet.

Cheers, Paul.
Attached Thumbnails
Tapered Cuts-dsc_0085-medium-.jpg   Tapered Cuts-dsc_0083-medium-.jpg   Tapered Cuts-dsc_0087-medium-.jpg   Tapered Cuts-dsc_0092-medium-.jpg   Tapered Cuts-dsc_0095-medium-.jpg  

Last edited by Hendo; 06-29-2007 at 09:20 PM. Reason: typo & change font of Pi symbol
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Old 06-29-2007, 08:01 AM
Balty Knowles's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Santa Cruz
Posts: 62
Default Re: Tapered Cuts

Originally Posted by JoeT62 View Post
I love that idea. Simple enough for even me! Looking at your photos, it looks like you also tapered the soldier course as well? Also, do you make wedge cuts on all four surfaces to get the trapezoid? Or just the two lateral surfaces and one of the superior or inferior?
I cut just the bottom face to form the wedge shape. In this way when you line up the top face with a straight edge from the center then the face of the brick is perpendicular to the center point.

I also used this method to strike the angle to cut the soldier course. Be careful I found this seriously changes the radius of the dome & you'll need adjust the radius with each subsequent course.


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Old 06-29-2007, 11:34 AM
Unofornaio's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Central, California
Posts: 323
Default Re: Tapered Cuts

Hendo- thanks for the link.
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