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Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 843 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MASONRY,2 the art of building in stone. The earliest remains (apart from the primitive work in rude stone—see STONE MONUMENTS; ARCHAEOLOGY, &c.) are those of the ancient temples of India and Egypt. Many of these early works were constructed of stones of huge size, and it still remains a mystery how the ancients were able to quarry and raise to a considerable height above the ground blocks seven or eight hundred tons in weight. Many of the early buildings of the middle ages were entirely constructed of masses of concrete, often faced with a species of rough cast. The early masonry seems to have been for the most part worked with the axe and not with the chisel. A very excellent example of the contrast between the earlier and later Norman masonry may be seen in the choir of Canterbury Cathedral. In those times the groining was frequently filled in with a light tufa stone, said by some to have been brought from Italy, but more probably from the Rhine. The Normans imported a great quantity of stone from Caen, it being easily worked, and particularly fit for carving. The freestones of England were also much used; and in the first Pointed period, Purbeck and Bethersden marbles were employed for column shafts, &c. The methods of working and setting stone were much the same as at present, except that owing to difficulties of conveyance the 2 The English word " mason " is from the French, which appears in the two forms, machun and masson (from the last comes the modern Fr. form mason, which means indifferently a bricklayer or mason. In O. I-I. Ger. the word is mezzo, which survives in the German for a stone-mason, Steinmetz. The med. Lat. form, machio. was connected with machina—obviously a guess. The Low Lat., macheria or maceria (see Du Cange, Glossarium, s.v. macio), a wall, has been suggested as showing some connexion. Some popular Lat. form as macio or mattio is probably the origin. No Teut. word, according to the New English Dictionary, except that which appears in " mattock," seems to have any bearing on the ultimate origin. 842 stones were used in much smaller sizes. As time went on the art of masonry advanced till in England, in point of execution, it at length rivalled that of any country. Tools.—The mason's tools may be grouped under five heads—hammers and mallets, saws, chisels, setting-out and setting tools, and hoisting appliances. There are several different kinds of iron hammers used by the stone worker; the mash hammer has a short handle and heavy head Hammers for use with chisels; the iron hammer, used in carving, and Mallets, in shape resembles a carpenter's mallet but is smaller; the waller's hammer is used for roughly shaping stones in rubble work; the spalling hammer for roughly dressing stones in the quarry; the scabbling-hammer, for the same purpose, has one end pointed for use on hard stone; the pick has a long head pointed at both ends, weighs from 14 to 20 lb, and is used for rough dressing and splitting; the axe has a double wedge-shaped head and is used to bring stones to a fairly level face preparatory to their being worked smooth; the patent axe, or patent hammer, is formed with a number of plates with sharpened edges bolted together to form a head; the mallet of hard wood is used for the finishing chisel work and carving; and the dummy is of similar shape but smaller. A hand saw similar to that used by the carpenter is used for cutting small soft stones. Larger blocks are cut with the two-handed Saws. saw worked by two men. For the largest blocks the frame saw is used, and is slung by a rope and pulleys fitted with balance weights to relieve the operator of its weight. The blade is of plain steel, the cutting action being supplied by sand with water as a lubricant constantly applied: There are perhaps even more varieties of chisels than of hammers. The point and the punch have very small cutting edges, a quarter of an inch or less in width. The former is used on the Chisels. harder and the latter on the softer varieties of stone after the rough hammer dressing. The pitching tool has a wide thick edge and is used in rough dressing. Jumpers are shafts of steel having a widened edge, and are used for boring holes in hard stone. Chisels are made with edges from a quarter-inch to one and a half inches wide: those that exceed this width are termed boasters. The claw chisel has a number of teeth from one-eighth to three-eighths wide, and is used on the surface of hard stones after the point has been used: The drag is a semi-circular steel plate, the straight edge having teeth cut on it. It is used to level down the surfaces of soft stones. Cockscombs are used for the same purpose on mouldings and are shaped to various curves.. Wedges of various sizes are used in splitting stones and are inserted either in holes made with the jumper or in chases cut with the stone-pick. The implements for setting out the work are similar to those used, Setting-out by the bricker and tradesmen, square, set squa e,othe bevel capable of being set the to and Setting any required angle, compasses, spirit level, plumb-rule Too/s. and bob and mortar trowels. Gauges and moulds are required in sinking moulds to the proper section. Nippers . Lewis Holt. The nippers (fig. I), or scissors, as they are sometimes termed, have two hooked arms fitting into notches in the opposite sides of Hoisting the block to be lifted. These arms are riveted together Appliances. in the same way as a pair of scissors, the upper ends having rings attached for the insertion of a rope or chain which when pulled tight in the operation of lifting causes the hooked ends to grip the stone. Lewises (fig. 2.) are wedge-shaped pieces of steel which are fitted into a dovetailed mortise in the stone to be hoisted. They are also used for setting blocks too large to be set by hand, and are made in several forms. These are the usual methods of securing the stone to the hoisting rope or chain, the hoisting being effected by a pulley and fall, by a crane, or by other means. Scaffolding.—For rubble walls single scaffolds, resting partly on the walls, similar to those used for brickwork (q.v.), are emploed ; for ashlar and other gauged stonework (see below) self-supporting scaffolds are used with a second set of standards and ledgers erected close to the wall, the whole standing entirely independent. The reason for the use of this double scaffold is that otherwise holes for the putlogs to rest in would have to be left in the wall, and obviouslyin an ashlar stone wall it would be impossible properly to make these good on the removal of the scaffold (see further SCAFFOLD). Seasoning Stone.—Stone freshly quarried is full of sap, and thus admits of being easily worked. On being exposed to the air the sap dries out, and the stone becomes much harder in consequence. For this reason, and because carriage charges are lessened by the smaller bulk of the worked stone as compared with the rough block, the stone for a building is often specified to be quarry-worked. Vitruvius recommended that stone should be quarried in summer when driest, and that it should be seasoned by being allowed to lie two years before being used, so as to allow the natural sap to evaporate. In the erection of St Paul's Cathedral, Sir Christopher Wren required that the stone after being quarried should be exposed for three years on the sea-beach before its introduction into the building. The regular and determined form of bricks makes it to a large extent a matter of practice to enable a man to become a good brick-layer, but beyond these a continual exercise of judgment is required of the workman in stone, who has for the most part to deal with masses of all forms and of all sizes. Setting Stones.—All beds and joints should be truly worked and perfectly level. If the surface be convex it will give rise to wide unsightly joints; if concave the weight thrown on the stone will rest on the edges and probably cause them to " flush " or break off and disfigure the work. Large stones are placed in position with the aid of hoisting appliances and should be tried in position before being finally set. Great care should be taken to avoid fracturing or chip-ping the stone in the process of handling, as it is impossible to make good such damage. All stratified stones—and this includes by far the largest proportion of building stones—when set in a level position should be laid on their natural bed, i.e. with their laminae horizontal. The greatest strength of a. stone is obtained when the laminae lie at right angles to the pressure placed upon it. In the case of arches these layers should be parallel with the centre line of the voussoirs and at right angles to the face of the arch. For cornices (except the corner-stones) and work of a like nature, the stone is set with the laminae on edge and perpendicular to the face of the work. With many stones it is easy to determine the bed by moistening with water, when the laminae will become apparent. Some stones, however, it is impossible to read in this way, and it is therefore advisable to have them marked in the quarry. A horizontal line in a quarry does not in all cases give the proper bed of the stone, for since the deposits were made ages ago natural upheavals have possibly occurred to alter the " lie " of the material. For the shafts of columns especially it is necessary to have the layers horizontally placed, and a stone should be selected from a quarry with a bed of the required depth. An example of the omission of this precaution is visible in the arcading of the Royal Courts of Justice, London, where the small shafts of the front arcade in red sandstone have been turned with the laminae in a vertical position, with the result that nearly every shaft is flaking away or is cracked. Use of Mortar.—See BRICKWORK. Of whatever quality the stone may be of which a wall is built, it should consist as much of stone and as little of mortar as possible. Only fine mortar is admissible if we are to obtain as thin joints as possible. The joints should be well raked out and pointed in Portland cement mortar. This applies only to some sandstones, as marbles and many limestones are stained by the use of Portland cement. For these a special cement must be employed, composed of plaster of Paris, lime, and marble or stone-dust. Bonding.—Bond (see BRICKWORK) is of not less importance in stone walling than in brickwork. In ashlar-work the work is bonded uniformly, the joints being kept perpendicularly one over the other; but in rubble-work, instead of making the joints recur one over the other in alternate courses they should be carefully made to lock, so as to give the strength of two or three courses or layers between a joint in one course and the joint that next occurs vertically above it in another course. In the through or transverse bonding of a wall a good proportion of header stones running about two-thirds of the distance through the width of the wall should be provided to bind the whole structure together. The use of through stones, i.e. stones running through the whole thickness of the wall from front to back, is not to be recommended. Such stones are liable to fracture and convey damp to the internal face. Slip Joints.—As with brickwork so in masonry great care must be exercised to prevent the different parts of a building settling unequally. When two portions of a building differing considerably in height come together, it is usual to employ a slip or housed joint instead of bonding the walls into each other. This arrangement allows the heavier work to settle to a greater extent than the low portion without causing any defect in the stones. Footings.—The footings of stone walls should consist of large stones of even thickness proportionate to their length; if possible they should be the full breadth in one piece. Each course should be well bedded and levelled. Walling.—T here are broadly speaking two classes of stone walling: rubble and ashlar. Rubble walls are built of stones more or less irregular in shape and size and coarsely jointed. Ashlar walls are constructed of carefully worked blocks of regular dimensions and set with fine joints. Random Rubble (fig. 3) is the roughest form of stonework. It is built with irregular pieces of stone usually less than 9 in. thick, loosely packed without much regard to courses, the interstices between the large stones being occupied by small ones, the remaining crevices filled up with mortar. Bond stones or headers should be used frequently in every course. This form of walling is much used in stone districts for boundary walls and is often set dry.without mortar. For this work the mason uses no tool but the trowel to lay on the mortar, the scabbling hammer to break off the most repulsive irregularities from the stone, and the plumb-rule to keep his work perpendicular. Coursed Rubble (fig. 4) is levelled up in courses 12 or 18 in. deep, the depth varying in different courses according to the sizes of the stones. The stones are dressed by the workman before he begins building, to obtain a fairly level bed and perpendicular face. Irregularly Coursed Squared Rubble is a development of uncoursed random rubble, the stones in this case being squared with the hammer and roughly faced up with the axe. The courses jump abruptly from one level to another as the sizes of the blocks demand; the interstices are filled in with small pieces of stone called "specks." For Coursed Squared Rubble the stone is faced in a similar manner and set in courses, the depth of each course being made up of one or more stones. In Regular Coursed Rubble all the stones in one course are of the same height. Block-in-course is the name applied to a form of stone walling that has some of the characteristics of ashlar but the execution of which is much rougher. The courses are usually less than 12 in. high. It is much used by engineers for waterside and railway work where a good appearance is desired. The Angles or Quoins of rubble-work are always carefully and precisely worked and serve as a gauge for the rest of the walling. Frequently the quoins and jambs are executed in ashlar, which gives a neat and finished appearance and adds strength to the work. The name Ashlar is given, without regard to the finish of the face of the stone, to walling composed of stones carefully dressed, from 12 to 18 in. deep, the mortar joints being about an eighth of an inch or less in thickness. No stone except the hardest should exceed in length three times its depth when required to resist a heavy load and its breadth should be from one and a half to three times its depth. The hardest stone may have a length equal to four or perhaps five times its depth and a width three times its depth. The face of ashlar-work may be plain and level, or have rebated, chamfered, or moulded joints. The great cost of this form of stonework renders the employment of a backing of an inferior nature very general. This backing varies Backing to according to the district in which the building operations Stonework. districts being carried on, being rubble stonework in stone districts and brick or concrete elsewhere, the whole being thoroughly tied together both transversely and longitudinally with bondstones. In England a stone much used for backing ashlar and Kentish rag rubble-work is a soft sandstone called " hassock." In the districts where it is quarried it is much cheaper than brick-work. (For brickbacking see BRICKWORK.) Ashlar facing usually varies from 4 to 9 in. in thickness. The work must not be all. of one thickness, but should vary in order that effective bond with the backing may be obtained. If the work is in courses of uneven depth the narrow courses are made of the greater thickness and the deep courses are narrow. It is sometimes necessary to secure the stone facing back with iron ties, but this should be avoided wherever possible; as they are liable to rust and split the stonework. When it is necessary to use them they should be covered with some protective coating. The use of a backing to a stone wall, besides lessening the cost, gives a more equable temperature inside the building and pre-vents the transmission of wet by capillary attraction to the interior, which would take place if single stones were used for the entire thickness. All work of this description must be executed in Portland cement, mortar of good strength, to avoid as much as possible the unequal settlement of the deep courses of stone facing and the narrower courses of the brick or rough stone backing. If the backing is of brick it should never be less than 9 in. thick, and whether of stone or brick it should be levelled up in courses of the same thickness as the ashlar. There are many different sorts of walling, or modes of structure, arising from the nature of the materials available in various localities. That is perhaps of most frequent occurrence in which Waling. either squared, broken, or round flints are used. This, when executed with care, has a distinctly decorative appearance. To give stability to the structure, lacing courses of tiles, bricks or dressed stones are introduced, and brick or stone piers are built at intervals, thus forming a flint panelled wall. The quoins, too, in this type of wall are formed in dressed stone or brick work. Uncoursed rubble built with irregular blocks of ragstone, au unstratified rock quarried in Kent, is in great favour for facing the external walls of churches and similar works (fig. 5). r7y' l y v?, ~!!U ' /r.. ~ r i i, ' !'Y i Kentish Roao,,s,lbr.e Wallino, cy0fi ashlar'£liindow dress 5: :irs3s and sTrin~s. Pointing.—As with brickwork this is generally done when the work is completed and before the scaffolding is removed. Suitable weather should be chosen, for if the weather be either frosty or too hot the pointing will suffer. The joints are raked out to a depth of half an inch or more, well wetted, and then refilled with a fine mortar composed specially to resist the action of the weather. This is finished flat or compressed with a special tool to a shaped joint, the usual forms of which are shown in fig. 6. ._ Keyed Joint's Stonewash.—To give a uniform appearance to the stonework and preserve the finished face until a hardened skin has formed, it is usual to coat the surface of exposed masonry with a protective compound of ordinary limewhite with a little size mixed in it, or a special mixture of stone-dust, lime, salt, whiting and size with a little p® o 1 ~~lE )11:1 CD Elevation 5C.CliO R
End of Article: MASONRY
WILLIAM MASON (1725—1797)

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