What is the meaning of the headless craftsman logo?

3-18-2020

In today’s fast-paced world, we are continually trying to make things better, stronger, and faster. The same can be said for mortar. In our rush for improvement, we disregard thousands of years of historic proof that lime-based mortars are more durable than Portland cement-based mortars. This paper intends to take the mystery out of mortar mixes.

Surprisingly, when asking masons in the field what they were using as a mortar, Their answer was a type N. They were repointing an early 1905 brick masonry structure. So, I asked why that type. Their answer “what the architect told the boss to use.” In my usual inquisitive way, I asked: “what is the original mortar”? They didn’t know or seemed not to be concerned. “We just do what we’re told. Keeps it simple!” Amazing to me, these guys were craftsman with an ability to repoint the mortar efficiently and it looked pretty good when they were finished. They had no idea of why they were actually installing this mortar other than the original mortar was in need of replacement.

That’s my problem with the production crafts mason in today’s hurry-up world. “They need to do it fast and move on.” Production first, looks second, and knowing historically what is correct is not a concern.
The mortar that was originally used on the structure was a type L mortar. Just one-part hydrated lime and three parts sand. A soft, ductile, absorptive mortar that was compatible with the soft brick masonry. The repointing mortar that the masons were using is considered too hard and dense for the surrounding masonry to survive movement and freeze-thaw destruction. Therefore, the deterioration of the 100 years plus building was accelerated by a lack of knowledge. The lack of knowledge by the mason that was actually doing the work of restoring the very work his brotherhood had built was destroying their work.
Learning and actually understanding the reasoning of using the correct mortar and placing the thinking ability back on the mason was certainly needed. Therefore seeing the headless mason just doing what they’re told and not knowing or completely understanding is why we designed the headless craftsman logo.

The teaching logo is to demonstrate that the craftsmason is not just a doer. They are an integral part of the masonry restoration project. The masonry teams’ approaching a restoration project needs all of the team to work together to ensure the longevity of our buildings.

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