So...I decided to rebuild the delaminated section of wall over one of the kitchen windows, right? It's not getting me any closer to building the porch, but the scaffolding's there and now that I've poked around a little bit, I can say with 4,000% certainty that the wall was/is in ROUGH shape. Best I can tell, it's currently being held together by little more than hopes and dreams.
With the scaffolding kinda tight to the house I can't stand far enough back to get a good, straight on pic of the whole thing so this will have to suffice:
There's a few things working against me.
After replacing a few bricks and then rethinking all of it as I increasingly felt like my plan wasn't very good, I decided to start from a position of relative strength, the bricks on the left side of the window.
Yes, believe it or not, this section of brick is my "strength". It doesn't appear to have delaminated, at least not so badly that the wythes have come apart, and the cornice brick above it is relatively solid as well. That said, during mortar removal for repointing I did manage to pop a few bricks loose with relative ease.
Yesterday I attempted to reset the 3 missing bricks after stuffing as much mortar into the inner wythe as possible, but only 2 of them held solidly overnight. I didn't have enough mortar keeping the 3rd (top) one in place, which was a risk I knew I was taking. That's one of the drawbacks to my approach, only being able to sorta halfway mortar in the bricks so I can pop the bricks to the right free the following day.
Today I popped the poorly set brick free, and the 2 above it. This was big, and scary, because everything to the right is held in place by next to nothing and some amount of beating is involved in removing the incorrect mortar some jackass used previously to repoint the brick. Every blow, no matter how delicate, makes the loose brick shake and threaten to fall right outta the wall.
It probably sounds like the project will take forever, going 2-3 bricks at a time, but I really only have a couple hours to work between the end of my day at the regular job and darkness, and I have to address the inner wythe just as much as the outer wythe. It takes every bit of a full batch of mortar to accomplish that seemingly small quantity of work, but even getting 2 or 3 solid bricks in the wall goes a long way towards making this a substantially less scary operation.
What's exponentially more critical is getting some of the cornice brick mortared in. That's the stuff I'm really nervous about coming down (on top of me), so getting even a tiny bit of that nice and solid as I work to the right helps a ton. This is what all this talk looks like in real life:
Here's another look, showing which bricks are solid, which ones are not, and which ones are halfway in between:
That's kind of the pattern as I work left to right, and so far, it's kinda working like I thought it would. Tomorrow should be a big day; I'm going to remove the left 3 or 4 bricks from the arch and maybe 5 or 6 bricks above them, get the inner wythe all mortared back together, and then if things go well, try to reset as much of the removed brick as I can. If I can pull that off, that might enable me to go ahead and remove the rest of the delaminated brick and work a little more efficiently.
There's also a case to be made for slow and steady wins the race, so I might keep trudging along 2 or 3 bricks at a time.