O.K. here we go. Thanks to those of you that gave me some feedback. It helps to get another point of view when you are figuring things out and by reading your thoughts, I have just solidified my decision to get this sucker built. I am going to move forward and get to work this week…..tomorrow is layout and arch form building. Yup, there is going to be an arch. It will be a pointed vault made from the antique brick. I am going to make the springers and keystone out of the granite from New England. I will be using type N mortar in the arch only because of the compressive forces from the oven and finishes and the brick is on the soft side. I don’t really need a footing down here with little to no frost and zero movement in the winter. The mortar will serve as a protective gasket for the brick( good comparison Sean ).
The brick arch will travel through the base which will be cylindrical and dry laid with the fieldstone and some more of the granite. I will probably try a couple different styles on the stone….it depends what it lets me do. Most of what I have is leftover stone with no good face and it is kind of rough. I really like to have a variety texture and flow in my work if possible and I believe it creates a better overall effect. It’s like a great meal, which has many components that have very different tastes,colors and textures..when they come together, it makes you happy. That is the goal here…… happiness. I need to do this right now, even if we are planning not to stay. Because there is nothing like having a group of family & friends over to cook with fire and laugh till your face hurts. Speaking of great food and happiness……
Today, Mellissa (I breathe.. I’m hungry ) and I have been married for 19 years. I can’t believe it has been that long..cliche statement but true. I can’t take full credit for my direction in stonework….. because it was her that found the ad in the paper for a stone masons apprentice. We were having coffee and discussing what I was going to do now that winter shutdown was coming at the union construction company were I was working at the time. There was a paper on the table at the coffee shop so she started leafing through the help wanted while I got our stuff. “Look at this one, it’s pretty cool”, she said as I sat down. I don’t remember word for word but this was the caption…’Stone Masons Apprentice’ followed by ‘Learn a valuable trade from skilled artisans’. I had already started working with stone for the last two years, installing granite curbing and edging on bridge parapet walls with the guys I mentioned here. I loved it and growing up in stone country, surrounded by miles and miles of dry walls, I was eager to call the number in the paper to see what opportunities lay ahead.
Here I am 15 years later, still doing stonework and blogging about it no less. What would have happened had we not had coffee that day? What if Mellissa wasn’t with me that day and picked up the paper? I’m not really a news paper guy unless I’m looking at the weather section. My path would surely be different and I would have never:
Worked at all those beautiful homes, some so exclusive that I wasn’t allowed to take pictures.
Learned do’s and dont’s from many different characters, master stonemasons and craftsmen.
Experienced just about every discipline of stonework
Forged some lasting friendships and great memorys which I will never forget. Thanks especially to Mark F & Andy H!!
And much,much more…….
To my best friend and partner Mellissa I say Thank You. I love you….even more than wood fired pizza and stonework!