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Author Topic: Help with 6-1-1-1 mortar!  (Read 1396 times)

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Offline BANTAR1000

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Help with 6-1-1-1 mortar!
« on: March 31, 2018, 12:03:40 PM »
I'm using the home brew refractory mortar,

6- Sand
1 - Fire Clay
1 - Hydrated Lime
1- Portland Cement

Can someone explain what this should look like on the brick.  I thought it would "stick" to the brick, but it is not at all.  I just put some on my first layer of the dome and just wanted to be clear.

I was told "peanut butter" consistency, and that's what I did.  I put it only on the sides of the first row of bricks.  and pushed the brick together.  How soon will I know if Ive done it right?  Thanks -John

Offline BANTAR1000

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Re: Help with 6-1-1-1 mortar!
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2018, 12:26:21 PM »
I think I may have mixed it too dry...  Maybe other peanut butter has different textures!  LOL The first two pics are the original mix, and the second two are the wetter mix.  Even so, how long should It take before I know whether or not it's worked?
« Last Edit: March 31, 2018, 12:29:08 PM by BANTAR1000 »

Offline shuboyje

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Re: Help with 6-1-1-1 mortar!
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2018, 12:39:36 PM »
Second mix looks good, but you need to soak the bricks in water otherwise they will suck the moisture out of the mortar. 
-Jeff

Offline vtsteve

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Re: Help with 6-1-1-1 mortar!
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2018, 01:05:55 PM »
A bit of "moisture suck" is desirable, it helps hold the brick in place after you press it into the mortar. But, the mortar must remain moist enough to cure... if you were in AZ at 110F, you'd want the bricks saturated, but you may only need to dunk them if your weather is still on the cool/damp side.

http://www.masonryconstruction.com/products/materials/mortar-workability-is-crucial_o

Quote
To a bricklayer, the most important property of mortar is its workability. It must be freeflowing--without the segregation of water or solid materials in the mix. But too much water in mortar impairs its strength. So how much water is the right amount? The percentage of water used in mortar depends on the composition of the mortar, the moisture content of the sand, the type of units being laid, and the consistency desired. WHAT IS WORKABILITY? To obtain a workable mix, the laborer needs to add enough water to produce mortar that is "fat" and "sticky" and will resist the removal of substantial amounts of mixing water by the suction of the units. Workable mortar is easy to fluff up with peaks like whipped cream. Workable mortar clings to vertical surfaces and resists flow during the placement of masonry units. The workability of the mortar has a profound effect on the productivity and craftsmanship of the bricklayer. In order for bricklayers to do their best, mortar makers must do their best.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2018, 01:18:41 PM by vtsteve »
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Offline BANTAR1000

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Re: Help with 6-1-1-1 mortar!
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2018, 01:31:58 PM »
Thanks guys.  Bricks are totally foreign to me.  I took all the mortar off and soaked the bricks, I tested a couple other bricks and will go back at it tomorrow just to see if it's better.  I met an old retired brick mason and when I told him what I was doing he looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Most people start with a wall!  Then they add a 90 degree angle to make another wall.  NOT a sphere!"  lol

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Offline vtsteve

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Re: Help with 6-1-1-1 mortar!
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2018, 05:01:23 PM »
You could tell him it's easier, because it's a wall that's not straight, and out of plumb, and falling onto itself all the way around.   :-D
« Last Edit: March 31, 2018, 05:04:10 PM by vtsteve »
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Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Help with 6-1-1-1 mortar!
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2018, 05:27:07 PM »
There is no standard specification for the amount of water (or for that matter sand) for a given mix design of mortar, refractory or otherwise.  There is for concrete, given a few knowns such as the amount of moisture in the aggregates (usually expressed by weight), but even these do not apply to mortars.  Mortars have to be adjusted to conditions, and those conditions can change from hour to hour, much less job to job.  A good mud man can make consistently consistent mortar by texture alone.  There is no real way to teach the skill, it is one that has to be learned.

You have the basic formula, and the common comparison to peanut butter, but that applies more to it's stickiness than to the amount of water in it.  Mixing mortar to resemble the physical texture of peanut butter will always be too dry.  It needs to stick like peanut butter not feel like it.  For a hard fired non-absorbent brick it will be drier, for an absorbent brick like firebrick it will have to be wetter.  Unless you are laying brick in temps above 100 degrees with a wind and/or low humidity, you do not need to soak the brick, and shouldn't.  You adjust the amount of water until the mortar is sticky like peanut butter on the material you are laying.

Offline BANTAR1000

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Re: Help with 6-1-1-1 mortar!
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2018, 06:49:41 PM »
You could tell him it's easier, because it's a wall that's not straight, and out of plumb, and falling onto itself all the way around.   :-D

I love it and will!   Now I went back to my test pieces.  About 8 hours later.  The two sets of bricks are still holding together but when I hold just a piece of the mortar it crumbles to dust...   hereís a vid I made of it:


Offline vtsteve

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Re: Help with 6-1-1-1 mortar!
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2018, 08:12:58 PM »
...but when I hold just a piece of the mortar it crumbles to dust...


It dried out before it cured (because it wasn't kept moist between two bricks). Put a pat of mortar in a baggie, and leave it alone for a couple days. Then try *crushing* it. Mortar is weak in bending and tension, and the cured bond is only good for about 10 psi, but it's strong in compression -- that's why you stagger the joints in brickwork, so the mortar can "borrow" strength from the surrounding bricks/blocks.
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Offline BANTAR1000

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Re: Help with 6-1-1-1 mortar!
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2018, 11:48:06 PM »
Thanks so much!  I love how supportive this forum is.  I'm off the ledge! 

There's so much to this, it's driving me a little crazy!  I am soaking the bricks and will try again tomorrow morning. 

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Offline BANTAR1000

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Re: Help with 6-1-1-1 mortar!
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2018, 01:46:11 PM »
I went out this morning to just see how they looked and all the moisture was gone from my test pieces.  I picked up one side of the connected bricks and the other just stayed right where it is.  Not joined at all. I figure maybe I didn't mix it well enough.  I soaked a bunch of bricks over night, and tried the mix again.   I forgot that I couldn't find hydrated lime and used the trick to put water in a bucket and leave the lime in it.  It's been sitting for 6 months.  Maybe I didn't put enough lime in? 

I mixed the sand with the lime first and tried to get the lime putty as broken up as I could, then added fire clay, then added portland cement.  I mixed it up dry then added water.  It was much stickier this time than the first time.  I would hold my trowel vertical just to see if it would stay stuck to the trowel and for the most part it would.  So I put two bricks together and also made a "wall."  of two levels.  The mortar wasn't as sticky to the soaked bricks so I waited a few minutes and tried again.  Then I put the remaining mix in a baggie just to try that.  I will check them tomorrow and probably won't get to do anything else till Wednesday. 

I may have found a nearby source for the powdered hydrated lime.  Would it work much better in this setting or is the putty as good? 

Offline vtsteve

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Re: Help with 6-1-1-1 mortar!
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2018, 01:52:16 PM »
Put your test pieces in a bag/cover them with plastic - you don't want them to dry out, you want them to cure, which requires that they stay moist (for crystal growth). If it's hot/dry there (we still have rain/snow in the forecast) you may need to cover with wet burlap, then plastic, to retain enough moisture for it to cure.

I never did the lime putty thing, but the fact that you've got a sticky mortar now is an excellent sign! The 6-1-1-1 is by volume for dry ingredients; I don't know how the lime putty volume translates to its dry equivalent.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2018, 01:58:42 PM by vtsteve »
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Offline BANTAR1000

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Re: Help with 6-1-1-1 mortar!
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2018, 02:15:56 PM »
I don't have anything burlap, but dampened a towel and covered them, then covered the entire thing in plastic.  We shall see Wednesday morning.  I may try to see if I can find some powder hydrated lime this week.

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Help with 6-1-1-1 mortar!
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2018, 07:29:31 PM »
Putty is actually better than powdered type S lime, which for this application should still be returned to putty form.

Offline vtsteve

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Re: Help with 6-1-1-1 mortar!
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2018, 07:58:47 PM »
Putty is actually better than powdered type S lime, which for this application should still be returned to putty form.

Still one part by volume?
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Offline BANTAR1000

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Re: Help with 6-1-1-1 mortar!
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2018, 09:29:18 AM »
Now just for the heck of it, is this what i could have gotten in the first place?

Offline vtsteve

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Re: Help with 6-1-1-1 mortar!
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2018, 10:11:40 AM »
https://www.lowes.com/pd/QUIKRETE-50-lb-Hydrated-Lime/3567274

I can't find it on Home Depot's site anymore, but Lowe's still shows it and Lowe's shows it out of stock/unavailable for delivery.


Any decent masonry supply store should have it.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2018, 10:44:00 AM by vtsteve »
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Offline BANTAR1000

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Re: Help with 6-1-1-1 mortar!
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2018, 11:55:07 AM »
So I went out and checked on my tests this morning.  I picked up the bag of mortar and water and it crumbled from me just picking it up.  Then I started videoing.  Everything Crumbled and came apart.  Here's the vid:



This is frustrating!  But I figured I'd take pics of all the stuff I used JUST to make sure I'm not doing anything totally wrong.  The lime is the bag I put in a 5 gallon bucket and covered with water.  It's been sealed, sitting since September.  I'm looking at the sand.  When I looked on forno bravos forum I found instead of the 6111 mix, they're saying 3111.  Also is my sand too course?  I bought play sand thinking this was it... 

Thanks again for your help!

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Help with 6-1-1-1 mortar!
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2018, 03:38:44 PM »
That lime does have to be made into putty to work, and it will take several weeks or more to slake.  That is why they developed Type S lime in the first place.  Back in the day, a year before the masonry work was to begin, they would build a lime slaking pit on the jobsite, fill it with lime and water and basically bury it for a year.  That is the putty they would use to make mortar.

Offline BANTAR1000

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Help with 6-1-1-1 mortar!
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2018, 03:54:44 PM »
It is definitely a putty. Itís been sitting in a 5 gallon bucket with water for 6 months.  I took 1 part of the putty and mixed it in with the sand first. Then added the other ingredients.

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