Building at Liberty & Main
Does anyone know what's going on at the old dog groomers at Liberty and Main?
It's been fenced off for a few weeks now.
3 weeks ago
Quick Check ;-)
2 weeks ago
Jim L - why?
Can it be fixed or is it coming down?
Before they painted it you could see there was virtually no mortar between the bricks.
In reference to the mortar joints on the building , corner of main and liberty streets, the joints you are seeing is a very specialized mortar and style used on this building...the mortar joint style is called a " Butter joint"
If you look the brick itself is also a very unique brick..
PS, Look up " Butter joint in masonry "
This is a very unique masonry style and would a shame to see it taken down.
Joe ll, you know your masonry ,that's right that is butter joint brickwork. There is a bank in Washington, NJ that has that.
2 weeks ago
I learned something new today! Butter Joints!
I'm always open to learning new things.
A picture of that building in its heyday:
"Butter joint" is more a nickname for "thin joint masonry" used mostly by historians and conservationists imho. It refers to the idea of a thin mortar between the bricks, reminiscent of the thickness of butter on toast. The mortar would be different, but not particularly due to the thickness of the joint (at least in those days), but because that was essentially what was used on all mortar joints at the time, regardless of joint thickness. The bricks could be just unique from the maker or of the special type made for a rubbing technique, mainly used in England, so it could have been an English immigrant bricklayer that constructed it and some of the other local structures such as the one mentioned in Washington made that way. It would be interesting to research that further when I have the time.
Virtually all (especially modern) masonry construction is made by "buttering" bricks with mortar before setting them into place in the wall. Once the mortar is mixed to the proper consistency, a trowel is used to "butter" or push the mortar onto the 4 sides of the brick (or block) that will face downward, then the ends of the brick are buttered on the edge that will be facing downward. Kind of hard to explain, unless you watch a bricklayer in action, then it's easier to understand what I mean.
Standard modern mortar joints are 3/8 inch thick and most "joining tools" are made for that thickness as are rules, etc. Mortar thickness can range between 1/8' to 3/4', but many building codes state the joint should be no thicker than 3/8", and no thinner than 1/4" for optimum strength and durability. A number of historic buildings were made with thin joints mainly because the components of the mortar (lime mortar, as opposed to modern Portland cement based mortar) were more expensive and harder to obtain.
Funny thing is that there's a resurgence of thin joint masonry in Europe, but that's because they use a special adhesive mortar and the bricks or blocks have to meet exacting tolerances. Part of the reason for the thickness of a standard thickness mortar joint is to make up for irregularities in brick sizes. The advantage of modern thin joint masonry is that it allows for faster load bearing of the walls, as the special mortar sets up faster and stronger (but with more flexibility) than standard Portland cement mortar. Apparently up to 90% of new construction in Europe is made this way: https://www.thomasarmstrongconcreteblocks.co.uk/thin-joint-construction.html
Normally, there are also two other important things about brickwork besides joint thickness. First is the "Bond", which is the pattern the bricks are laid in. That pattern can be for strength and/or decorative purposes:
The second thing is the type of joint, which is how the mortar is dressed after the buttered bricks are lain in place. The mason/bricklayer normally uses the edge of their trowel to lightly scrape the face of the brickwork after setting the bricks in place, according to his line to make the squeezed out mortar flush with the surface of the brick. After the mortar "sets" a bit, one of the bricklayers , an apprentice or another laborer uses a joining tool to press the mortar inward, creating one of several types of joints, that create a finished look, as well as improve the strength and water resistance of the joint between the bricks.
This could actually be an example of "Tuckpointing", which started in the 1700's to make it look as though a mortar joint was thinner than it actually was, using mortar that matches the color of the bricks themselves, but during the joining process, a thin bit of white colored material is pressed into the mortar:
Now it makes me curious to see the joints more closely. While I worked closely with masons and had adult brick and blocklaying training classes at a tech school in NC, that was years ago and I never pursued it as a vocation, even though the instructor asked me to go into business with him. At the time, going back to college was more important. Just another path not taken, lol.
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