Need some help...

Discussion in 'General Conversation' started by Ictalurus Punctatus, Oct 24, 2007.

  1. Ictalurus Punctatus

    Ictalurus Punctatus New Member

    Messages:
    353
    State:
    Greensboro, NC
    I've decided to write a book. I'd kicked around a few ideas for some fiction, but never materialized past about half of an outline :eek:oooh:. Then it hit me. A how to book. I was thinking about 6-8 projects from flowerbeds, to outdoor grills and barbeque pits, to sets of steps, to small paving projects.

    Now begins the work. Research.... Have you taken on a masonry project in the past? Are you planning a masonry project in the near future? What would you want or need in a "how to" book? Is there something you've run across that stumped you in a masonry project? I've been doing this as my only career for 16 years and some things I take for granted, someone doing this for a weekend project might not know. I'm just looking for some sort of barometer to tell me how I should gear this book.

    Also, any authors out there who might have some pointers for someone writing a book in 2nd person... I welcome advice.

    Thanks for any input you might have.

    Jon
     
  2. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    Yea, I need a coupla hundred block laid.:smile2:
    I have a mixer, one of those nice wood 4 foot masonry levels and alot of time spent watching folks lay brick and block in the past 20 years but I having laid a few before on my own I think the secret is in the mix.
    DIVULGE THE SECRET.

    Is the premix good if you are laying small amounts or do you need a sand pile delivered?
     

  3. ryang

    ryang Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,380
    State:
    Blacklick, Ohio
    Name:
    Gary
    Jon even tho I cant stand the titles write so a dummy like me could understand it :big_smile:. I have pretty good mechanics (not enough to do anything) I understand how toos sometimes kind of. More along the lines I understand taking them apart but sometimes putting them together is where I get stuck LOL.
     
  4. Ketch

    Ketch New Member

    Messages:
    469
    State:
    Minnesota
    I agree that you should target everyone who knows nothing. If I know much about how to do something, I doubt I would buy a book on it.

    I did hear somewhere that a guy who writes for the "Dummy" series of books (or some other how to book, I really don't remember) likes to use teenagers as sounding boards. That you make it easy enough a 14 year old can do it (I think that was the age of his son).
     
  5. SSgt Fishslayer

    SSgt Fishslayer New Member

    Messages:
    1,241
    State:
    south carolina
    ok first of all i think you should really target the "suburbanites". you know the kind of people who cut thier grass once a week, even though it is a patch 5ftX20ft. the kind who want to know how to fix drywall, but dont even know what drywall really is. i kind who wouldnt mind putting in a patio, but has no idea where to start. thats what you should be focusing on, people like that.
     
  6. 223reload

    223reload New Member

    Messages:
    10,798
    State:
    Oklahoma

    I hear that ,I've been doing some type of construction for the past 30 years and theres not a lil bit of anything I dont know enough to get me by on . As for the average homeowner they might not be as fortunate as me.
     
  7. Ictalurus Punctatus

    Ictalurus Punctatus New Member

    Messages:
    353
    State:
    Greensboro, NC

    3:1 ratio of sand to mortar. Premixed bags are perfect for do it yourselfers who're building a small, 200 brick mailbox or something along those lines.

    The secret to te mix?.. It all depends on the circumstances of the day. There are many things to consider.

    Weather; 100 degree day, windy day "mud" needs to start out a little on the loose side (wetter) as it's going to set up a bit faster than normal. Rainy drizzly day, cloudy day, cold/cooler day, stiffen the mud up a bit, because it's not going to set up as quickly.

    Material; Are you laying 12" block which weighs around 56 lbs and requires a slightly stiffer mortar than usual to hold them up? Has your material been rained/snowed on? If it has then the mortar needs to be a little stiffer to accomidate for the additional moisture.

    Time of day; If the batch you're working on the last one for the day or just before you're getting ready to eat lunch? If so, then make the mortar a bit stiffer so that you can joint out immediately after laying up the last of it. That'll keep your joints from turning lilly white because you jointed out while the wall was too wet.

    It takes alot of experience to anticipate what consistency your mortar needs to be. I'd imagine it's not that much different than working with epoxy, or fiberglass resin. The easiest way to work it, is to dump the mortar stiffer than you think you might need it, and in small portions at first. You can always add a little water to your on hand mortar if you need to, and then correct subsequent batches of mortar.

    You're right though. The condition of your mortar can make or break a day's production numbers. It's, arguably, one of the top three things that contribute to a productive day.

    Hope this helps

    Jon