The wall I was workin' on, it's ALMOST done. I still have another course or two to finish pointing but it can wait; the temperatures are dropping and miscellaneous odds and ends have taken a back seat to getting work chunked out in bulk. This is where I left off with the work on this wall a week or so ago:
As a side note, how awful is the upper cornice brick? No way that's original work, it had to have been redone, in a homeless man's version of half-assing things, some time in the past. Some day I'll make it right. That day won't be in 2021.
Anyhow, on to the last of the proverbial Mohicans, the wall just left (or south) of the wall in the previous pic. This wall contains the original doorway to the porch from the house as well as the majority of a beam pocket that the center roof rafter sat in. It looked like the arch brick and the surrounding area had delaminated a little bit, but not so much that it required a full rebuild.
Needless to say, it was in rough shape. There were quite a few broken bricks, not sure what that's all about. Maybe the bricks broke as a result of having the roof ledger nailed directly into the brick? If you've ever seen the old school square-cut nails that were used back then, you know how massive those suckers are. Regardless, this wall was more of the same -- rake out mortar, get new mortar back in the joints, rebuild what needs to be rebuilt as I go.
Friday I spent the afternoon removing mortar, but the wall started falling apart pretty quickly. I changed plans and focused on the really bad section -- in this case the center portion of the wall, from the arch on up to the lower cornice. I removed mortar and bricks, and wound up here:
Good times. I pulled out even more bricks after taking these pics.
As I always try to do, after cleaning things out as best I could, I stuffed as much mortar in that inner wythe as the available real estate would allow. Then it was on to resetting the removed brick.
Those efforts resulted in what you see below. The arch brick joint isn't the cleanest but the really bad spot, it's the original brick and original cut, and it's going to be covered up by the porch roof framing so whatever, it is what it is (it's really not that bad).
The important thing is that I was able to apply a lesson I learned the hard way: get the really bad section solidified before moving on to the next really bad section. It's easy to get carried away with the mortar removal because a lot of it comes out so easily, but even in bad shape, that's the only thing holding bricks in the wall.
Remove too much, the entire wall falls apart. Remove a lot in a concentrated area and leave the rest alone for the time being, things (mostly) stay where they're supposed to and a month doesn't have to be devoted to wall reconstruction.
That was Saturday. But it wasn't all masonry, there were some dog shenanigans mixed in:
She just turned 2 about a month ago, but I have a feeling she's going to be an energetic little girl for many years to come. Normally, I have to play "fetch" with her periodically while I'm outside working so she'll eventually get tired and let me get some stuff done, but she occasionally gets a little extra burst of energy and just runs laps around the yard with as many toys and sticks as she can carry. I wish the older dog would come outside with us, but he's been on so many excursions and adventures with me over the past almost 13 years that he's earned the right to lay around inside if he wants to.
Sunday was more of the same. Lots of brick removal, lots of cleaning out old garbage mortar, lots of putting bricks back in their rightful place.
When it was all said and done I wound up here, with the center section all (mostly) put back together. This is a really critical section of wall because the porch roof framing will attach to the house here, so having the wall come apart during mortar removal kinda worked to my advantage in that it allowed me to really address both the inner wythe and outer wythe.
I'll keep working to the right, although I don't think any more bricks will get removed. I do have the old beam pocket to origami some bricks into, but that'll be a project for the coming weekend along with, hopefully, getting the entire wall repointed.
After that, there will be some jackhammering in my future, as well as some hold-digging, and then...maybe, if the weather cooperates, some actual construction.