Finally, we start on the bricks. Lay down a bed of mortar and set the first six bricks in place. This is the back side of the wall. I am using Metropolitan bricks.They came from Columbia St. by the old Newport jail. I picked them up at a pile of rubble on 5th. St. Since this is a garden wall I just eyeballed them in place.
Five courses high. We use a tape measure, level and eyeball to keep it in order. The mortar is fairly stiff so the heavy stones don't squish it out. Note the metal tie strips that will tie the wall to the column.
Now Jesse is starting to build the column. We are using granite pavers that came from River Road over in Lower Price Hill in Cincinnati. The Bob Kitten (Sarah Fulmer) and I picked them up. 20 lbs.each. 100 per load. I paid the foreman a case of beer per load. Jesse has mixed up a batch of mortar. Fingers work as well as a trowel. The column is 19'' X 19" wide and will be about 6' tall.
After giving the concrete a day to set up, the next step is to strip the plywood forms. Back off the screws and with a spud bar pry off the forms. Backfill with dirt and voila you're ready to lay bricks.
A closeup of Jesse, me and the mixer. Note the cool brickers cap. Mary Tetrault knitted one for me and one for Becky. Both useful and stylish. Thanks. The mixer was also given to me. I am guessing it is from the 1970's. It took 16 batches for the foundation.
It is cheaper and more fun to mix your own concrete. It is also a lot of work. Becky and I went to Hafner's Supply.for the sand and gravel. It is free if you load your own. Then we premeasured everything into close to 100 buckets. It took about three hours to mix and pour about one yard of concrete.
We are pouring the footer. Into the mixer go three buckets of gravel, two of sand, and one of Portland cement. It is all spun together and then water is added. It too about 15 batches to fill up to the required 8" inches of concrete.
So we have torn down the fence. Then we dug a trench. It is 30" deep, below the frost line here in Kentucky. The wall is 8''wide, so the trench is 16", twice as wide. There is reinforcement steel at the bottom to hold the concrete together. Now we are ready to pour a base (footer 8' thick). By the way it was a lot of work to dig a 17' trench by hand. We carried the dirt away in buckets.