Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thinking Mortar

Mortar...I'm thinking about mortar. It's inevitable - I'm doing some research and writing about cobblestone houses (detail at right is of one of the Belleville area's exquisite examples) in preparation for a wee article, and I am obsessing about the composition of the soft lime mortar that would make a pile of fist-sized rocks into a home that would last almost 200 years - it's all about sticking, folks. Today I ordered what looks to be an amazing book on the cobblestone buildings of western New York state (cousins of our Quinte and Paris Ontario cobblestone houses).The book, Cobblestone Quest by Rich and Sue Freeman, includes detailed car and bike trips of the area around Syracuse where 75% of the cobblestone buildings in that country are centred. Hmmm, road-trip?

Also studying the building materials section of T. McIlwraith's excellent book Looking for Old Ontario - tossing around delicious terms like post and beam, nogging, common bond and shale foundation blocks, with increasing understanding ...celebrating the resourcefulness and skill of our ancestors, and the enduring beauty they created.

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