Building the Second Course

Begin the second course with the quoin brick, which is laid to gauge, level and plumbed on both faces (see Fig 132, E).

Construct the rest of the second course and check for level along the length of each arm.

Having completed the second course, the bricks in subsequent courses are not levelled across their width but the face plane of both arms must be ranged in from the plumbing point (which is known to be vertical) down to the first course (which is known to be square and straight). Ranging in is another example of lining in brickwork between two known reference points and is achieved by using the spirit level as a straight-edge and ensuring that the face of each brick fully touches the level throughout its length and height (see Fig 132, F). Ranging in the face plane of every course will identify any bricks that are sticking in or out of alignment and needing widthways adjustment. It will also identify any bricks that need their level adjusting across the width; the face of such bricks will appear ‘twisted’ against the edge of the level by displaying tapering ‘V’-shaped gaps. (It is a similar problem to that encountered when plumbing brickwork; see Fig 130.)

Some bricklayers will leave ranging in until after the corner has been built rather than ranging in every course individually. This is, however, bad practice as bricks that are ‘twisted’ in terms of face-plane alignment cannot be altered once more bricks have been laid on top of them. It can be helpful to think of ranging in as the creation of a triangle in perfect vertical alignment, where the base is the straight line of the first course, the upright side is the plumbing point, and the hypotenuse (longest side) is the ranging line between the two. Such a concept can only become a practical reality by ranging in one course at a time.