August 7, 2012

Olympic Gold in the 12 Inch Block

A man who will never, ever be out of work unless he decides to take some time off.

HT: "This Guy Is the Bob Ross of Brick Laying" by John Farrier @ Neatorama

Posted by gerardvanderleun at August 7, 2012 12:15 AM
Bookmark and Share



"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Wow; just mesmerizing watching a true master working his craft. Done and done right. I've always respected men like this who perform tedious manual labor jobs with such dedication and skill. I remember my old man doing stoop labor in produce fields with these same traits and where he earned the reputation of being the best. Always try to be the best at whatever job you do he would tell me.

Posted by: Julio at August 7, 2012 1:11 AM

I'm being a part-pooper, I know, but what struck me about that was how astoundingly flimsy that wall is going to be when it's finished. Hardly any mortar used to keep it together!

OK if you like flimsy construction, I suppose.

Posted by: Fletcher Christian at August 7, 2012 1:51 AM

OK if you like flimsy construction, I suppose.

Remind me not to lean against any wall you might build. The cinder blocks provide the strength -- he used just enough mud to close the seams and insure they'd adhere, but not so much that the seams would be weak.

Posted by: BillT at August 7, 2012 3:56 AM

Not being an expert in industrial construction I suspect the wall is constructed to meet some rigorous local or national building codes, as dictated by structural engineers. And upon completion will be inspected and certified as such.

The amount of mortar used probably is not as crucial as the chemicals and other elements used in the mix.

What appears to be flimsy to an untrained eye probably has a wide margin of safety built in.

Posted by: Rocky at August 7, 2012 3:57 AM

Hate to be another part-pooper but as a onetime spec home builder I know many of out of work "Bob Rosses". One is now back home in Mexico, another slammed by over extension and others simply disappeared.

Posted by: polifrog at August 7, 2012 5:02 AM

I labored for my uncle's masonry business one summer...mixed and carried up a tall ladder everything that went into a couple of chimneys during which I realized I had better stay in school for a while longer.
FC, the cavities in the block can always be filled in with mortar if a more solid wall is required.

Posted by: Dave J at August 7, 2012 6:15 AM

I played at being a "hod carrier" one summer too Dave. I wrecked the old man's car so he fixed me up with a little summer job at sixteen to pay for it. F'ing hard work. I also did a couple of chimneys. The damn bricks and mud don't get up there by themselves do they Dave!

Posted by: I-RIGHT-I at August 7, 2012 6:56 AM

Dave J, perhaps I should have been more specific. What I really had in mind was putting mortar on the horizontal and vertical faces of the blocks; as demonstrated on the video, perhaps only 30% of the available bonding surface was actually used. The wall would look, when finished, a hell of a lot stronger than it actually is. Also, a wall with huge gaps like that in it would be much more susceptible to deterioration and weathering than one with mortar filling all the seams.

Having said all that, it might have been an internal wall and might have been strong enough for its intended use.

Filling in all the holes in the blocks with cement would make the use of hollow blocks pointless.

Posted by: Fletcher Christian at August 7, 2012 7:03 AM

That wall is not flimsy...each one of those 12" block weigh 47lbs, and that is a standard mortar joint construction on any job. Masons do work hard, but the laborer who mixes the mud, builds the scafford, stacks the block, distributes the mud to the the hardest working man on any construction site.

Try keeping up with a crew of masons working like that come in early and have everything set up and ready to go and you are the last to leave in the evening after cleaning everything up. There is a reason construction workers after 35 or 40 years of construction work end up on SSI.......they are physically worn out!

Posted by: bartdp at August 7, 2012 7:44 AM

Such attention to detail when building a wall of bricks and blocks is something i find unique to Western culture these days.

Go watch how the Asians would build a wall. (I exclude the Japanese here, because they turn everything into a (martial) art form. The difference is striking.

I remember watching master bricklayers in my youth whose errors in precision in laying bricks could be measured only by a micrometer. (I exaggerate, but not by too much)

Posted by: pdwalker at August 7, 2012 9:49 AM

The hardest I've ever worked in my life was during the summers I worked as a laborer supporting two bricklayers. Whatever shape I was in in June I was in wonderful shape by September. I've never slept that well since.

Posted by: Bill Jones at August 7, 2012 10:52 AM

Very nice work, though Bob Ross is mostly seen as an idiot by anyone who knows what their doing in construction.

Posted by: Adam at August 7, 2012 11:54 AM

Looks impressive to me, but I'll definitely defer to Sippican's judgement on this one.

Posted by: Jonathan Cook at August 7, 2012 12:20 PM

That's beautiful stuff there. I've been a contractor for 40 years and I still love to watch talented guys work their magic. For my money these guys are the real backbone of America.

But I'm sorry to say that you're very wrong about them never being out of work. The truth is that construction workers are the first to go when the economy gets bad. Here in south Florida our unemployment rate for construction workers is nearly 75%.

Fletcher Christian- You don't have a clue what you're talking about. That's an engineered wall and the blocks he's laying are 12 X 8 X 16s rather than standard 8 X 8 X 16s. Once dry it would take you about an hour with a sledge to knock a hole big enough to crawl through in it. The vast majority of homes in Florida are built just that way.

Filling the voids is done all the time in situations where more strength is needed.

Posted by: Rick at August 7, 2012 1:37 PM

Filling the voids is done all the time in situations where more strength is needed.

Isn't that what the rebar lying next to the mortar was for?

Couple of rows of blocks, rebar and fill.

Posted by: Bill Jones at August 7, 2012 4:11 PM

My parents' house was bricked by a team of German ex-patriots. Precision work, like the video. It was also amusing to see a team of brickies working to the strains of Beethoven on the radio.

Posted by: Brett_McS at August 7, 2012 7:26 PM

Oh, and they had the woodwork done by a group of Finnish ex-pats. Magnificent job. My Dad spent a lot of time in the building industry and he knew who did good work.

Posted by: Brett_McS at August 7, 2012 7:28 PM

It doesn't really go like that when it's 95 degrees inna shade and you're laying adobe mud bricks; and you're mixing your own mud; and shagging your own bricks. The mud mortar is mixed with as much sweat as water. It's more of a battle than a stately procession.

I should post a video of me doing that, but people would recoil in horror at the savagery of it all.

Posted by: Gray at August 7, 2012 10:49 PM

Dang! That was a thing of beauty. Makes it look easy, don't he!

Did you notice how he was holding that big-ass cinder block in one hand? This is why you don't want to get in bar fights with old geezers.

Posted by: SteveS at August 8, 2012 11:33 AM
Post a comment:

"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated to combat spam and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Remember personal info?