brick work and bricklaying a diy guide pdf

I began as a bricklayer in 1984, on the recommendation of
my father (one rainy Tuesday afternoon, as I recall, in
Nottingham’s Victoria Shopping Centre), who saw the
practical and financial worth of such a course of study, and
my career path has stayed within the construction industry
ever since.

It has been a varied career, which has encompassed
bricklaying, health and safety, estates management and
many years of teaching brickwork as a vocational craft
subject. In all those years, however, I have never found one
craft book, among the many excellent works by expert
practitioners, which gives someone new to bricklaying all
the underpinning and practical knowledge needed in one
simple, accessible volume, at the same time providing a
basis for further reading.

It is with this in mind that I decided
to write this book! It is intended to provide an overall
appreciation of the materials and the basic practical skills
associated with the craft, to enable the reader to undertake
simple practical bricklaying projects of his or her own.

The use of bricks and the ancient craft of bricklaying have
been in existence for thousands of years. The oldest
shaped mud bricks, discovered near Damascus in Syria,
date from as far back as 7500BC. Mud bricks were
extensively used by the civilization of Ancient Egypt and the
first sun-dried clay bricks date back to 4000BC, having been
discovered in Mesopotamia (now Iraq).

The Chinese also were experts in stonemasonry and bricklaying, the most
iconic example of their work being the Great Wall of China,
which was begun in the fifth century BC and is claimed to be
the only man-made object visible from outer space.

The Romans made use of fired bricks and the Roman
legions, who were known to operate mobile kilns,
introduced bricks to many parts of their empire, including
Europe around 2000 years ago. Great innovators in many
areas, the Romans developed bricklaying as a craft,
including the use of mortar and different types of bonding
arrangements; however, with the eventual decline of the
Roman Empire, the craft of bricklaying declined with it.

It was not until the latter half of the seventeenth century,
after the Great Fire of London in 1666 in fact, that the
English again started to use bricks in building and it took
almost another 200 years, until the middle of the nineteenth
century, before the mechanized production of bricks began
to replace manual methods of manufacture.