1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Masonry

MASONRY,[1] 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 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 for use with chisels; the iron hammer, used in carving, in shape resembles a carpenter’s mallet but is smaller; the waller’s hammer is used for roughly shaping stones Hammers and Mallets. 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 ℔, 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 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 Saws. 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 harder and the latter on the softer varieties of stone after the rough hammer dressing. The pitching tool has a wide Chisels. 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, by the bricklayer and other tradesmen, comprising the rule, square, set square, the bevel capable of being set to any required angle, compasses, spirit level, plumb-rule and bob and mortar trowels. GaugesSetting-out and Setting Tools. and moulds are required in sinking moulds to the proper section.

Masonry Nippers.jpg Masonry Lewis Bolt.jpg
Fig. 1.—(1/2 in. = 1 ft.) Fig. 2.—(1 in. = 1 ft.)

The nippers (fig. 1), or scissors, as they are sometimes termed, have two hooked arms fitting into notches in the opposite sides of the block to be lifted. These arms are riveted together in the same way as a pair of scissors, the upper ends having rings attached for the insertion of a rope or Hoisting Appliances. 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 employed; 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 obviously in 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 bricklayer, 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 chipping 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.—There 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.

Masonry Rubble Wall.jpg
Fig. 3.

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.

EB1911 - Masonry - Fig. 4. - Coursed Rubble.jpg
Fig. 4.

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 “snecks.”

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 according to the district in which the building operations are being carried on, being rubble stonework in stone districts and brick or concrete elsewhere, the whole Backing to Stonework. 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 brickwork. (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 prevents 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 either squared, broken, or round flints are used. This, when executed with care, has a distinctly decorative appearance. Walling. 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, an unstratified rock quarried in Kent, is in great favour for facing the external walls of churches and similar works (fig. 5).

EB1911 - Masonry - Fig. 5. - Kentish Ragstone Walling.jpg
Fig. 5.

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.

EB1911 - Masonry - Fig. 6. - Three Forms of Keyed Joints.jpg
Fig. 6.

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 ochre to tone it down. After six months or more the work is cleaned down with water and stiff bristle or wire brushes. Sometimes muriatic acid much diluted with water is used.

Technical Terms.—Of the following technical terms, many will be found embodied in the drawing of a gable wall (fig. 7), which shows the manner and position in which many different members are used.

Apex Stone.—The topmost stone of a gable forming a finial for the two sloping sides; it is sometimes termed a “saddle” (fig. 7).

EB1911 - Masonry - Fig. 7. - Building Plan.jpg

Fig. 7.

Blocking Course, a heavy course of stone above a cornice to form a parapet and weigh down the back of the cornice (fig. 8).

EB1911 - Masonry - Fig. 8. - Saddled Joint.jpg
Fig. 8.

Bed.—The bed surface upon which a stone is set or bedded should be worked truly level in every part. Many workmen to form a neat thin joint with a minimum amount of labour hollow the bed and thus when the stone is set all weight is thrown upon the edges with the frequent result that these are crushed.

Coping.—The coping or capping stones are placed on the top of walls not covered by a roof, spanning their entire width and throwing off the rain and snow, thus keeping the interior of the wall dry. The fewer the number of joints the better the security, and for this reason it is well to form copings with as long stones as possible. To throw water off clear, and prevent it from running down the face of the wall, the coping should project an inch or two on each side and have a throat worked on the under-side of the projections (fig. 7).

Cornice, a projecting course of moulded stone crowning a structure, forming a cap or finish and serving to throw any wet clear of the walls. A deep drip should always be worked in the upper members of a cornice to prevent the rain trickling down and disfiguring the face of the moulding and the wall below (fig. 8).

Corbel, a stone built into a wall and projecting to form a cantilever, supporting a load beyond the face of the wall. It is frequently richly ornamented by carving (fig. 7).

Skew Corbel, a stone placed at the base of the sloping side of a gable wall to resist any sliding tendency of the sloping coping. Stones placed for a similar purpose at intervals along the sloping side, tailing into the wall, are termed “kneelers” and have the section of the coping worked upon them (fig. 7).

Corbel Table, a lino of small corbels placed at short distances apart supporting a parapet or arcade. This forms an ornamental feature which was much employed in early Gothic times. It probably originates from the machicolations of ancient fortresses.

Dressings, the finished stones of window and door jambs and quoins. For example, a “brick building with stone dressings” would have brick walls with stone door and window jambs, heads and sills, and perhaps also stone quoins (fig. 7).

Diaper, a square pattern formed on the face of the stonework by means of stones of different colours and varieties or by patterns carved on the surface (fig. 7).

Finial, a finishing ornament applied usually to a gable end (fig. 7).

Gablet, small gable-shaped carved panels frequently used in Gothic stonework for apex stones, and in spires, &c.

Gargoyle, a detail, not often met with in modern work, which consists of a waterspout projecting so as to throw the rain-water from the gutters clear of the walls. In early work it was often carved into grotesque shapes of animal and other forms.

Galleting.—The joints of rubble are sometimes enriched by having small pebbles or chips of flint pressed into the mortar whilst green. The joints are then said to be “galleted.”

Jamb.—Window and door jambs should always be of dressed stone, both on account of the extra strength thus gained and in order to give a finish to the work. The stones are laid alternately as stretchers and headers; the former are called outbands, the latter inbands (fig. 7).

Label Moulding, a projecting course of stone running round an arch. When not very large it is sometimes cut on the voussoirs, but is usually made a separate course of stone. Often, and especially in the case of door openings, a small sinking is worked on the top surface of the moulding to form a gutter which leads to the sides any water that trickles down the face of the wall.

Lacing Stone.—This is placed as a voussoir in brick arches of wide span, and serves to bond or lace several courses together (see Brickwork).

Lacing Course, a course of dressed stone, bricks or tiles, run at intervals in a wall of rubble or flint masonry to impart strength and tie the whole together (fig. 7).

Long and Short Work, a typical Saxon method of arranging quoin stones, flat slabs and long narrow vertical stones being placed alternately. Earls Barton church in Northamptonshire is an example of their use in old work. In modern work long and short work, sometimes termed “block and start,” is little used (fig. 7).

Parapet, a fence wall at the top of a wall at the eaves of the roof. The gutter lies behind, and waterways are formed through the parapet wall for the escape of the rain-water.

Plinth, a projecting base to a wall serving to give an appearance of stability to the work.

Quoin, the angle at the junction of two walls. Quoins are often executed in dressed stone (fig. 7).

EB1911 - Masonry - Fig. 9. - Rag Bolt.jpg
Fig. 9.

Rag-bolt, the end of an iron bolt when required to be let into stone is roughed or ragged. A dovetailed mortise is prepared in the stone and the ragged end of the bolt placed in this, and the mortise filled in with molten lead or sand and sulphur (fig. 9).

Sill, the stone which forms a finish to the wall at the bottom of an opening. Sills should always be weathered, slightly in the case of door sills, more sharply for windows, and throated on the under side to throw off the wet. The weathering is not carried through the whole length of the sill, but a stool is left on at each end to form a square end for building in (fig. 7).

String Courses, horizontal bands of stone, either projecting beyond or flush with the face of the wall and often moulded or carved. They are frequently continuations of the sills or head lines of windows (figs. 5 and 7).

Scontion.—In a thick wall the dressed stones forming the inside angles of the jamb of a window or door opening are termed scontions.

Spalls, small pieces chipped off whilst working a stone.

Templates, slabs of hard stone set in a wall to take the ends of a beam or girder so as to distribute the load over a larger area of the wall.

Tympanum, the triangular filling of masonry in a pediment between the cornices, or between the horizontal head of a window or door and the under-side of the relieving arch above it. It is often panelled or enriched with carved ornament (fig. 7).

Throat, a groove worked on the under-side of projecting external members to intercept rain-water and cause it to drop off the member clear of the work beneath (fig. 8).

Weathering.—The surface of an exposed stone is weathered when it is worked to a slope so as to throw off the water. Cornices, copings, sills and string courses should all be so weathered.

Voussoirs, the wedge-shaped blocks of which an arch is built up.

Methods of finishing Face of Stones.—The self face or quarry face is the natural surface formed when the stone is detached from the mass in the quarry or when a stone is split.

Saw-face, the surface formed by sawing.

Hammer-dressed, Rock-faced, or Pitch-faced.—This face is used for ashlar-work, usually with a chisel-draughted margin around each block. It gives a very massive and solid appearance to the lower storeys of masonry buildings, and is formed with little labour, and is therefore the cheapest face to adopt for ashlar-work (fig. 7).

Broached and Pointed Work.—This face is also generally used with a chisel-draughted margin. The stone as left from the scabbling hammer at the quarry has its rocky face worked down to an approximate level by the point. In broached work the grooves made by the tool are continuous, often running obliquely across the face of the block. In pointed work the lines are not continuous; the surface is rough or fine pointed according as the point is used over every inch or half-inch of the stone. The point is used more upon hard stones than soft ones (fig. 7).

Tooth-chiselled Work.—The cheapest method of dressing soft stones is by the toothed chisel which gives a surface very much like the pointed work of hard stones.

Droved Work.—This surface is obtained with a chisel about two and a half inches wide, no attempt being made to keep the cuts in continuous lines.

Tooled Work is somewhat similar to droved work and is done with a flat chisel, the edge of which is about four inches wide, care being taken to make the cuts in continuous lines across the width of the stone.

Combed or Dragged Work.—For soft stones the steel comb or drag is often employed to remove all irregularities from the face and thus form a fine surface. These tools are specially useful for moulded work, as they are formed to fit a variety of curves.

Rubbed Work.—For this finish the surface of the stone is previously brought with the chisel to a level and approximately smooth face, and then the surface is rubbed until it is quite smooth with a piece of grit stone aided by fine sand and water as a lubricant. Marbles are polished by being rubbed with gritstone, then with pumice, and lastly with emery powder.

Besides these, the most usual methods of finishing the faces of stonework, there are several kinds of surface formed with hammers or axes of various descriptions. These types of hammers are more used on the continent of Europe and in America perhaps than in England, but they deserve notice here.

The toothed axe has its edges divided into teeth, fine or coarse according to the work to be done. It is used to reduce the face of limestones and sandstones to a condition ready for the chisel. The bush hammer has a heavy square-shaped double-faced head, upon which are cut projecting pyramidal points. It is used to form a surface full of little holes, and with it the face of sand and limestones may be brought to a somewhat ornamental finish. The patent hammer is used on granite and other hard rocks, which have been first dressed to a medium surface with the point. The fineness of the result is determined by the number of blades in the hammer, and the work is said to be “six,” “eight” or “ten-cut” work according to the number of blades inserted or bolted in the hammer head. The crandall has an iron handle slotted at one end with a hole 3/8 in. wide and 3 in. long. In this slot are fixed by a key ten or eleven double-headed points of 1/4 in. square steel about 9 in. long. It is used for finishing sandstone and soft stones after the surface has been levelled down with the axe or chisel. It gives a fine pebbly sparkling appearance.

There are several methods of finishing stone which involve a great deal of labour and are therefore expensive to work, but which result in imparting a very stiff and unnatural appearance to the masonry.

Vermiculated Work..—This is formed by carving a number of curling worm-like lines over the face of the block, sinking in between the worms to a depth of a fourth of an inch. The surface of the strings is worked smooth, and the sinkings are pock-marked with a pointed tool (fig. 7).

Furrowed Work.—In this face the stone is cut with a chisel into a number of small parallel grooves or furrows (fig. 7).

Reticulated Face is a finish somewhat similar to vermiculated work, but the divisions are more nearly squares.

Face Joints of Ashlar.—The face joints of ashlar stonework are often sunk or rebated to form what are termed rusticated joints; sometimes the angles of each block are moulded or chamfered to give relief to the surface or to show a massive effect (fig. 7).

Joints in Stonework.—The joints between one block of stone and another are formed in many ways by cramps, dowels and joggles of various descriptions.

EB1911 - Masonry - Fig. 10. - Metal Cramp.jpg
Fig. 10.

The stones of copings, cornices and works of a similar nature, are often tied together with metal cramps to check any tendency for the stones to separate under the force of the wind (figs. 10 and 11). Cramps are made of iron (plain or galvanized), copper or gun-metal, of varying sections and lengths to suit the work. Cramps. A typical cramp would be about 9 in. long, 1 or 11/2 in. wide, and from 1/4 to 1/2 in. thick, and turned down about 11/2 in. at each end. A dovetailed mortise is formed at a suitable point in each of the stones to be joined and connected by a chase. The cramp is placed in this channel with its turned-down ends in the mortises, and it is then fixed with molten lead, sulphur and sand, or Portland cement. Lead shrinks on cooling, and if used at all should be well caulked when cold. Double dovetailed slate cramps bedded in Portland cement are occasionally used (fig. 11).

EB1911 - Masonry - Fig. 11. - Slate Cramp.jpg
Fig. 11.

Dowels are used for connecting stones where the use of cramps would be impracticable, as in the joints of window mullions, the shafts of small columns, and in similar works (figs. 7, 8 and 20). Dowels for bed and side joints may be used. They are of slate, metal, or sometimesDowels. of hard wood.

EB1911 - Masonry - Fig. 12. - Slate Bed Joggle.jpg
Fig. 12.

There are many ways of making a joggle joint. The joggle may be worked on one of the stones so as to fit into a groove in the adjoining stone, or grooves may be cut in both the stones and an independent joggle of slate, pebbles, or Portland cement fitted, the joggle being really a kind of dowel. The pebble Joggles. joggle joint is formed with the aid of pebbles as small dowels fitted into mortises in the jointing faces of two stones and set with Portland cement; but joggles of slate have generally taken the place of pebbles. Portland cement joggles are formed by pouring cement grout into a vertical or oblique mortise formed by cutting a groove in each of the joining surfaces of the stones. What is known as a he-and-she joggle, worked on the edges of the stones themselves, is shown in fig. 13.

EB1911 - Masonry - Fig. 13. - He & She Joggle.jpg
Fig. 13.

Plugs or dowels of lead are formed by pouring molten lead through a channel into dovetailed mortises in each stone (figs. 14 and 15). When cold the metal is caulked to compress it tightly into the holes.

EB1911 - Masonry - Fig. 14. - Lead Plug.jpg
Fig. 14.
EB1911 - Masonry - Fig. 15. - Lead Joggle.jpg
Fig. 15.

The saddle joint is used for cornices, and is formed when a portion of the stone next the joint is left raised so as to guide rain-water away from the joint (fig. 8).

Two forms of rebated joints for stone copings and roofs are common. In one form (shown in fig. 7) the stones forming the coping are thicker at their lower and rebated edge than at the top plain edge, giving a stepped surface. The other form has a level surface and the stone is of the same thickness throughout and worked to a rebate on top and bottom edges. In laying stone roofs the joints are usually lapped over with an upper slab of stone.

Joints in Spires.—Four forms of jointing for the battering stonework of spires are shown in fig. 16. A is a plain horizontal joint. B is a similar joint formed at right angles to the face of the work. This is the most economical form of joint, the stone being cut with its sides square with each other; but if the mortar in the joint decay moisture is allowed to penetrate. With these forms dowelling is frequently necessary for greater stability. The joints C and D are more elaborate and much more expensive on account of the extra labour involved in working and fitting.

EB1911 - Masonry - Fig. 16. - Four Forms of Jointing used in Steeple Work.jpg EB1911 - Masonry - Fig. 17. - Joggled joint to flat arch.jpg
Fig. 16. Fig. 17.

Where a concentrated weight is carried by piers or columns the bed joints are in many cases formed without the use of mortar, a thin sheet of milled lead being placed between the blocks of stone to fill up any slight inequalities.

Moulded Work.—The working of mouldings in stone is an important part of the mason’s craft, and forms a costly item in the erection of a stone structure. Much skill and care is required to retain the arrises sharp and the curved members of accurate and proportionate outline. As in the case of wood mouldings, machinery now plays an important part in the preparation of stone moulded work. The process of working a stone by hand labour is as follows: The profile of the moulding is marked on to a zinc template on opposite ends of the stone to be worked; a short portion, an inch or two in length termed a “draught,” is at each end worked to the required section. The remaining portion is then proceeded with, the craftsman continually checking the accuracy of his work with a straight-edge and zinc templates. A stone to be moulded by machinery is fixed to a moving table placed under a shaped tool which is fixed in an immovable portion of the machine, and is so adjusted as to cut or chip off a small layer of stone. Each time the stone passes under the cutter it is automatically moved a trifle nearer, and thus it gradually reduces the stone until the required shape is attained.

Iron in Stonework.—The use of iron dowels or cramps in stonework, unless entirely and permanently protected from oxidation is attended by the gravest risks; for upon the expansion of the iron by rusting the stone may split, and perhaps bring about a more or less serious failure in that portion of the building. A case in point is that of the church of St Mary-le-Strand, London, where the ashlar facing was secured to the backing with iron cramps; these were inefficiently protected from damp, with the result that many of the blocks have been split in consequence of rusting. John Smeaton in his Eddystone Lighthouse used dowels of Purbeck marble.

EB1911 - Masonry - Fig. 18. - Stone Tracery diagram.jpg
Fig. 18.

Stone Arches.—Stone arches are very frequently used both in stone and brick buildings. (For general definitions and terms see Brickwork.) 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 10 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-Duc, Dictionnaire raisonné de l’architecture française; 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.) 

  1. 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 maçon, which means indifferently a bricklayer or mason). In O. H. 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.