. HALF-ROUND OR ‘BUCKET HANDLE’ JOINT FINISH

A half-round joint is produced by ‘ironing’ the joints with a rounded jointer or jointing iron. The reference to ‘bucket handle’ comes from the historic use of galvanized metal bucket handles, which bricklayers adapted into jointing tools. Modern half-round jointing irons are commercially available but many bricklayers make use of a length of 13mm diameter mild-steel bar that is cranked to provide a handle. The diameter of the bar should ideally exceed 10mm, to avoid joints being ironed excessively deep and to maintain a consistent depth of finish.

. HALF-ROUND OR ‘BUCKET HANDLE’ JOINT FINISH

Fig. 154 Half-round joint finish.

When applying a half-round joint finish, all the vertical cross-joints should be done first. Care should be taken to keep the jointing tool straight and not to dig in to the centre
of the cross-joint, as this will give the joint a concave appearance through its height. Once all the cross-joints have been done, the bed joints should be jointed. Care should be taken to ensure that all mortar squeezed out at the arrises of the bricks is carefully and neatly trimmed off with the pointing trowel or tip of the brick trowel.

Jointing the bed joints will have the effect of ‘closing off the top and bottom of all the cross-joints, making it necessary to revisit the cross-joints and, using the heel of the jointer, ‘tuck in’ the top and bottom of each one. This is often referred to as ‘topping and tailing’ the cross-joints and gives a uniform and continuous finish with the bed joints.

When ironing the joints, it is important to ensure that the jointing tool stays in contact with the arrises of the bricks above and below the bed joints and either side of the cross-joints (see Fig 155). This ensures good contact between the mortar joint and the bricks at their arrises, an even depth to the joint finish and a continuous surface to the joint, which should not suffer from ‘tramlines’ or ‘misses’.

. HALF-ROUND OR ‘BUCKET HANDLE’ JOINT FINISH

Fig. 155 Correct use of a half-round jointing iron.

. HALF-ROUND OR ‘BUCKET HANDLE’ JOINT FINISH

Fig. 156 Poor-quality half-round joint finish with ‘misses’ and poor ‘topping and tailing’ of cross-joints.

The use of half-round jointing tends to be quite forgiving of minor deviations in the bricks or brickwork, since it produces a rather homogenous surface over the face of the wall where bricks and mortar joints blend in to each other. In addition, half-round jointing is simple and quick to apply and provides a good level of weather resistance. For all these reasons, it is by far the most common joint finish in use today.