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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 848 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SECTION ON CENTRE LINE mss, 1 .- % Stone Arches.—Stone arches are very frequently used both in stone and brick buildings. (For general definitions and terms see BRICK-WORK.) They may be built in a great variety of styles, either flat, segmental, circular, elliptical or pointed. Each block or voussoir should be cut to fit exactly in its appointed place, the joints being made as fine as possible. The joints should radiate from the centre from which the soffit or intrados is struck, or in the case of an elliptical arch they should be at right angles to a tangent drawn to the intrados at that point. The extrados or back of the arch is usually concentric with the intrados, but is sometimes made thicker in one portion than in another; thus the arch may be deeper at the crown than at the sides, or at the sides than in the centre. In some cases two or more voussoirs are of one stone, having a false joint cut in the centre ; this is economical, and in some cases adds to the stability of the arch. Generally the arch is divided into an uneven number of voussoirs so as to give a keystone, the voussoirs being laid from each side of the keystone and fitting exactly in the centre of the arch. The keystone is not a necessity, arches being frequently formed with an even number of voussoirs; some architects hold that the danger of the voussoirs cracking is thereby lessened. Where lintels are used in a stone wall over openings of small span it is usual to build a relieving arch above to take the superincumbent weight of masonry; or the same purpose may be effected in walls of ashlar by a flat relieving or " save " arch, formed in the next course of three stones above the lintel, the tapering keystone resting between the two side stones which are tailed well into the wall. In very many cases it is desired to form square heads to openings of greater span than it is convenient to obtain lintels for in one piece, and some form of flat arch must therefore be adopted. The voussoirs are connected by joggles worked on their joints, as in fig. 17. The weight of the superimposed wall is taken by a lintel with relieving arch above at the back of the arch. Arches built to an elliptical form when used for large spans (if of flat curve they should bridge over 8 ft. or to ft.) are liable if heavily loaded to fail by the voussoirs at the centre being forced down, or else to burst up at the haunches. With arches of this description there is a large amount of outward thrust, and abutments of ample strength must be placed to receive the springers. Stone Tracery.—The designs of Gothic and other tracery stonework are almost infinite, and there are many methods, ingenious and otherwise, of setting out such work. Nearly all diagrams of construction are planned on the principle of geometrical intersections. In the example illustrated in fig. 18 the method of setting out and finishing the design is very clearly shown, together with the best positions for the joints of the various parts. The jointing is a matter which must be carefully considered in order to avoid any waste of stone and labour. It will be observed that the right-hand side of the elevation shows the method of setting out the tracery by the centre lines of the various intersecting branches, the other half giving the completed design with the cusping drawn in and the positions of joints. All the upper construction of windows and doors and of aisle arches should be protected from superincumbent pressure by strong relieving arches above the labels, as shown in the figure, which should be worked with the ordinary masonry, and so set that the weight above should avoid pressure on the fair work, which would be liable to flush or otherwise destroy the joints of the tracery. Carving.—Stone carving is a craft quite apart from the work of the ordinary stonemason, and like carving in wood needs an artistic feeling and special training. Carving-stone should be of fine grain and sufficiently soft to admit of easy working. The Bath stones in England and the Caen stone of France are largely used for internal work, but if for the exterior they should be treated with some chemical preservative. Carving is frequently done after the stone is built into position, the face being left rough—" boasted "—and projecting sufficiently for the intended design. See E. Viollet-le-Due, Dictionnaire raisonne de l'architecture francaise; W. R. Purchase, Practical Masonry; J. O. Baker, A Treatise on Masonry Construction; C. F. Mitchell, Brickwork and Masonry; W. Diack, The Art of Masonry in Britain. (J. BT.)

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