#11  
Old 09-16-2009, 09:33 PM
cynon767's Avatar
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Default Re: Jamie's build

Things are inching along. I have the first few courses set, and have gotten the inner arch put in. I'm glad I decided to do the stripey brick thing, even if nobody but me ever sees it. It makes me feel like it's more of a personal artistic endeavor this way.

Here's the dry fit of the arch-
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  #12  
Old 09-16-2009, 10:00 PM
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Default Re: Jamie's build

It was at about that time that a friend of mine offered to lend me his tile saw, in return for the thickness planer I had been lending him during his house remodel. I had originally intended to cut all the bricks by chisel, and had actually gotten as far as doing the floor and the first two courses this way.

Because of the striped pattern I was doing, the floor and soldier course were of a different brick than the second course. I had gotten my bricks at a clearance sale at the local yard, and they were a few short of the full bill to do it all in the red; so, I decided to get enough of the yellow to do two accent stripes. This led to a couple of interesting discoveries: the yellow bricks are rougher in texture, which was why I didn't just use them for floor... the smooth surface of the red is much, much better; but along with that, the red are a fair bit harder than the yellow. This meant that I would be looking at a whole lot of hand cutting that would only be getting harder after my easy yellow stripes were done. So, naturally, I jumped at the chance to use the saw.

It's only a generic 7" tile saw, so I'm pretty limited in fancy cuts. I had to add an extender to raise the guard up enough to even fit a brick under it. The amount of time it is saving, though, is immense. Since I'm a stay-at-home dad and limited to working mostly in the odd hour here and there when my daughter is napping, the difference is huge.

Since I'm limited in my ability to carve bricks mechanically, I'll probably still be doing a lot of chiseling for the area where the dome meets the arch; but that's a small price to pay. Besides, at this point I'm getting pretty good with the chisel- this is one of my attempts at making a piece to fit the arch transition:
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Last edited by cynon767; 09-16-2009 at 10:37 PM.
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  #13  
Old 09-16-2009, 10:34 PM
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Default Re: Jamie's build

So here's the current state of affairs- five courses up, inner arch set. I've been cutting the bricks on a single diagonal, following a pattern similar to the one Lars used. This was initially because of the labor savings for hand cutting, and I've just kept with it even after I got hold of the saw.

I am considering switching things up as I move into the higher courses, and following the advice given by many to go to using 1/3 bricks. If I do so, I will have to give some thought to how to arrange the cuts. Not sure about that yet.

The curve of the dome looks like it will be a little steeper than I initially intended; I have been building without a form and went a little more vertical in the first two courses than I had intended. I steepened the next two slightly to compensate, and am hoping that I don't weaken the dome too much that way.

I started off using the wedge-and-fill grout bag method, but found it was less precise than I had hoped. Since I had gotten a good deal of practice with the trowel this summer, I decided to go freehand, and found it much easier, more thorough, and surprisingly more accurate. I was able to get a good solid bed of relatively evenly-spaced mortar down beneath the bricks, and thus far have had good luck with it. There are a few inconsistencies, but I'm still hoping for the best.

The contrasting stripes in the entryway were a stylistic decision; since the yellow bricks I was making the stripes in the dome with were slightly different dimension than the reds, I was basically committed to stripes. When I found some white firebrick that matched the reds in size and texture, I decided to continue the theme to the front and integrate them into the archway.

This last course was probably the last I'll be able to set totally freehand... a few of the bricks started to sag as I was setting them, leading to a few misalignments. I'll probably be using the stick method to prop them up for future courses; I'm probably too hopelessly out of round to start using an "indispensable tool" now, as none of the evenly-spaced bricks it laid would fit with the old ones.
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Jamie's build-img_8328.jpg   Jamie's build-img_8334.jpg   Jamie's build-img_8338.jpg   Jamie's build-img_8339.jpg  
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  #14  
Old 09-17-2009, 11:02 AM
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Default Re: Jamie's build

Jamie,

Beautiful work! I love the brick base. Keep us up to date!
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  #15  
Old 09-17-2009, 11:10 AM
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Default Re: Jamie's build

You are coming along now...just don't strain your wrists with too much chisel work...physical therapy is more expensive than an angle grinder...

Drake
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  #16  
Old 09-17-2009, 01:35 PM
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Default Re: Jamie's build

Very nice Jamie!

I agree with Ken; Love the brick base, it looks super cool.

Good luck and keep posting pics.
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  #17  
Old 09-17-2009, 02:47 PM
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Default Re: Jamie's build

Ken, Bill- Thanks! The brick facing on the base was kind of a natural, since there was so much other brick in the yard to match it. Plus, I found them on clearance for $40 for the pallet, so I figured what the heck.

Speaking of brick decor, I really like what you did with your facing and chimney, Bill. I love the niche for Hephaestos with the herringbone/wheatstalk brick pattern.

Drake-

Seriously, though, the chisel is both easier and faster than I thought it would be for carving complicated angles. Granted, I'm sure an angle grinder would be faster still, but I'm on a shoestring for the rest of the project. As far as the wrists and whatnot go, I think the strain of lifting and carrying all those bricks and bags of cement back and forth has been harder on me than the chiseling. I wake up with stiffness in my elbows and back like never before. On the up side, except for the stiffness, I'm in better shape than I've been in for at least 6 or 7 years. I've probably lost 10 or 15 pounds and put on a good bit of muscle, all from doing something I wanted to do anyway. Hey- beats going to the gym!
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  #18  
Old 09-27-2009, 03:09 PM
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Default Re: Jamie's build

A couple more rings up, and I'm past the arch. I had some of the "oval"-shaped distortion that some others have mentioned, where the arch bricks transition to the dome, and have been trying to correct for that. I put in a little partial course at the front of the dome just above the arch to try and take it out, but now the hole is distorted in the other direction; too flat in front. I will probably shave down a few bricks at the front on the next course to try and get it back to good before the final few courses.

I also put in the entryway and front arch. I decided to keep it simple and just made two parallel arches, and will keep the space between them for a full-width vent transition. I figure the more area I have to work with before throating down to the chimney the better. For the curve of the outer arch I used the same form I had used for the inner, augmented with wedges to adapt to the new curve.

I picked up my chimney flue pipe this weekend... there was another sale at my local supply yard, so I got two pieces of 8x13 oval tile. I also ordered the soil for our garden beds, which, since we built them as tall as we did, will require a good deal of fill; but between the sale price and the fact that it's a free delivery for that much bulk, it works out pretty well.
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Jamie's build-img_8536.jpg   Jamie's build-img_8540.jpg   Jamie's build-img_8543.jpg   Jamie's build-img_8575.jpg   Jamie's build-img_8565.jpg  

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Last edited by cynon767; 09-28-2009 at 09:11 AM.
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  #19  
Old 09-27-2009, 03:21 PM
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Default Re: Jamie's build

After trying in vain a few times to cut pieces to fit the final arch transition, I decided to make a cast of the angle with clay and carve bricks to match.

I basically took a brick and cut away half of one face using the wet saw and chisel. Then I put a big glop of fireclay in the indentation, pressed the brick into place, and held it there for a few minutes while it dried. Once it was solid enough to hold its shape I pulled it away, leaving me with this cast which I then eyeballed a copy of out of brick with the hammer and chisel.

Here's a couple of shots of the cast. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the final bricks themselves, as it was getting dark and I was losing light, and couldn't stop to photograph.
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Last edited by cynon767; 09-27-2009 at 03:27 PM.
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  #20  
Old 09-27-2009, 05:38 PM
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Default Re: Jamie's build

its looking good.. your doing a grand job there with the whole garden makeover...


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