When building a wall over 1.125 metres in length it is always advisable to use a line and pins, for this will ensure a neat job. Before bringing these into use however, it is first necessary to build the corners, and making sure that they are vertical or ‘plumb’, in alignment and also to ‘gauge’.
If we assume the building of a straight one-brick wall, firstly, erect approximately six courses of brickwork on the corners and then begin to use a line and pins. Some bricklayers also like to work with corner blocks which basically hook around the quoins or corners that you build at each end of the wall.
When laying bricks to a line, always ensure that a trace of daylight can be seen, between the line and the bricks. This prevents the laying of the bricks ‘hard to the line’ which if continued would eventually place the wall out if alignment to a considerable extent. To keep the wall flat and to prevent hatching and grinning, imagine the bricks are being laid between two lines, one being the edge of the previous course laid to a line.
If a wall exceeds 9m in length, it is necessary to use a ‘tingle’ to take the sag out of the line. The tingle brick should be as near the centre of the wall as possible, and must be sighted through from corner to corner every time the line is raised one course, to ensure that the string line is being supported at the correct level. A tingle achieves its purpose up to a wall length up to about 12 metres. Beyond this it is advisable to divide the wall into two parts and to erect part of the wall in its centre to act as a corner. This should be located at a vertical movement joint or be beneath a pier, and is termed a ‘lead’.
Raising The Corners
On larger sites ‘corner bricklayers’ must always keep ahead of those running the line, so that there is always somewhere to fix line and pins or corner blocks throughout the day. It is preferable if corner bricklayers continually raise small quoins, say, only six or seven courses ahead of the line, to avoid the quoin courses getting out of face plane alignment with the rest of the walling.
Quoins or corners must be large enough to resist the pulling power of the line each time it is tightened up. They must also be of sufficient height to allow accurate ranging-in with a spirit level.
I must also stress that there are also other methods of bringing walls up without the need of building corners. At least not after the first 6, or 7, courses anyway. Profiles can be used at the ends of the brickwork and a line is then run across in between. The same procedures as above would then be followed to bring the main wall in. Working with profiles actually speeds up the work rate as the bricklayer doesn’t need to rely on anybody or himself to build up the corners. The profiles just clamp on to the corners of the brickwork and are actually quite easy to fit and use.
When the wall is up and the mortar has firmed, the joints can then be finished with either a jointer tool or pointing trowel depending on the finish required. You may also want to clean up the brickwork as required with a good brick cleaning solution that abolishes mortar staining.