We don’t really do brick work at Hammerhead, but sometimes we will to help out a friend. Last fall, our good friend Doug asked us to build him a walkway with a large supply of bricks he had salvaged over the years.
Reclaimed bricks can be challenging to set because they vary greatly in size. Even ones from the same company can be different shapes. Some aren’t even proper rectangles, but have a weird bend in them. And they are always different thicknesses. That variation is part of their charm, but requires some strategizing to get things to set right.
One thing we did here was sort the bricks into matching pairs, to make the the duos that alternate to create the pattern. We also put in several lateral lines to break up the pattern, which effectively resets the build every few feet. It’s easier to fudge the math in a pattern that’s made up of 60 bricks than a pattern of 600. The small errors don’t magnify too quickly. And by using this pattern, we were able to highlight a handful of very cool bricks that Doug had found and saved. Back before everything was all the same and on sale at a big box hardware store, brick-making companies had their own designs and many would have their names on the bricks. For the hardcore brickologist, there’s a huge amount of history in those impressions. My favorite says COMMUNITY. That one is at the street end of the walkway.