To build your first self-supporting brick arch is a rewarding experience. They allow people to build huge structures such as the great cathedrals in Europe. Brick arches are structures held together primarily by gravity. There are different types of arches. Sprung arches are those that require extra strengthening due to their angles. Such arches create outward pressure on the side walls, which would collapse unless strengthened. Arches require molds or forms during their construction.
Things You'll Need
- Kiln bricks ( #1, #2, #3 arch bricks as well as straight bricks)
Build the side walls of your structure up to the level at which you will start placing the arch. support the sides with an extra layer of bricks if you have straight walls.
Calculate the approximate number of bricks you will need for the arch to fill the space between the walls. Order enough of a variety of arch bricks (#1,#2,#3 bricks), keeping in mind the number of bricks you need for each row. Each number has a different cut so you can combine bricks in a way that best suits your particular arch. High quality Italian pizza ovens Shipping Worldwide
Plan to build you arch with the bricks in rows, end to end, along the length of the structure from front to back. The rows will connect on the face of the bricks. The thinner edge of each arch brick will face the inside of the kiln and the thicker edge, the outside.
Measure the distance between the walls at the top. Mark these points on the edge of a piece of plywood. Stand up the plywood with the marked edge up and hang a length of rope or chain from the markings. Adjust the length until you get the curve you want for your arch. Gently lay down the plywood and outline the arch formed by the hanging rope or chain .Cut out the arch shape using a jigsaw and cut one or more such pieces to form the ribs of your form. Nail on enough one-inch by two-inch strapping to the correct length of the arch. Attach them close enough so that the bricks won't fall through when building the arch. Place the form in between the walls and raise it to the correct height using blocking. Make sure it is in the correct position and well-secured.
Set out your bricks on top of the form, starting with one dry-fit row across the top. Avoid using straight bricks. If you have to use straight bricks in the arch, avoid using two straight bricks side by side as it will weaken the strength of the arch.
Ensure that the brick faces are touching as you try different combinations of arch bricks. Write down the order of bricks you used to create the arch on a piece of paper. Double-check that you have enough bricks to construct the arch using this combination.
For added strength, stagger each row as you place the bricks with mortar. Cut bricks in half to create staggered rows, as needed. Work up from the sides and place the top, middle row last. These are your key bricks that will complete the arch.
Remove the blocking underneath the form and lift it out to complete the arch. It should support itself at this point.
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