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PAbuilder 01-23-2013 06:40 AM

Brick Jack Arch - options for cutting brick
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First time post here, thanks for any help

I'm working on a project in which I've got a home addition in solid masonry with a 'demolition' style brick veneer. All openings have a jack arch (a leaning brick lintel type arch-see link below) which I've laid out, cut the templates for, and I'm ready to get started. I want to cut the brick according to my template but the problem is cutting with a table saw ruin's the 'demolition' style finish of the brick. These bricks are made slightly irregular with a very rough textured surface. After cutting the brick I'm left with a smooth surface with blade marks. This is not a problem with the voussoirs because of the fact that the cut side is covered with mortar and placed next to the next brick. HOWEVER, I've got a 8" brick return and the under side, or head, of the arch is exposed. The leaning bricks of the jack arch must be cut at the bottom for a straight finish and it's here the cut surface is shown and looks horrible. I need a way to:

a) cut the brick with the saw and refinish it to give it a more natural texturized look


b) cut the brick with something other then a table saw which will not have the same affect on the surface of the brick....if this is even possible.

Thanks for any help. Here's a great link for laying out a jack arch and my help clarify my post. I've posted two pics as well showing the brick's natrual finish and the effect of the table saw. Thanks for any help or advice!!

jomama45 01-23-2013 09:22 AM

I understand the problem, and I'm afraid you probably won't be able to get a perfect match after the cut. There are a number of ways to minimize the marks though, including media (sand) blasting, dressing the cuts with your brick cut-offs, or potentially tumbling the cut brick. For tumbling, I've set a bunch of brick in a concrete barrel mixer in the past and let them spin for a few minutes, with decent results. The problem I see with this in your case is that the return is going to be a potential weak point, and you could break a few of them in tumbling them.

Maybe Tscar or Stuart will weigh in with better suggestions.............

Tscarborough 01-23-2013 11:19 AM

Cut with saw and then dress with brick scraps or a bushing hammer.

Tscarborough 01-24-2013 11:09 PM

I forgot the most important step: rub some dirt on it.

Mountain 01-30-2013 07:00 PM

At Mutual Materials, a brick factory in Gresham Oregon, we had a gigantic tumbler, like you would use for mixing concrete. We would load the bricks off the rail cars from the kilns into that and tumble them to get the used demolition look.

I would warn you now some of the bricks completely break, but the bricks tumbling against each other very quickly gives you the used appearance. We were doing this with brand new bricks straight out of the kiln and by the the time they came out they looked really good and used. You might try this with your bricks to get the desired look.

If your brick has lime on it make double sure you wear a respirator, full length sleeves and gloves. I have permanent scars on my wrists from the lime getting in under the edges of my gloves and mixing with the sweat. After doing three days of that it would literally eat all the skin off of my wrists. Not one of the best jobs I ever had, but still I found a lot of it quite fascinating.

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