Queen Closer

Both English and Flemish bonds are referred to as ‘quarter-bonds’ because the overlap of bricks from one cross-joint to the next is a quarter-brick. The quarter-bond is achieved by introducing a ‘Queen Closer’ next to the quoin or stopped-end header on alternate courses.

Queen Closer

Fig. 91 Queen Closer.

A Queen Closer is cut from a header and is 46mm wide on face. In the same way that two headers, with an allowance for a 10mm cross-joint in between, are equal to the length of a stretcher, two quarter-bricks with an allowance for a 10mm cross-joint will be equal to a header – in other words, the width of a brick less a 10mm allowance for a cross-joint, then divided by two. For example, 102.5 – 10 = 92.5 and 92.5 + 2 = 46.25mm; this would be rounded down to 46mm as it would be impossible to cut bricks on site to an accuracy of 0.25mm.

Practically, as a good guide to get the right size gap (2 x 10mm cross-joints + 46mm = 66mm) for a Queen Closer, place a dry brick on edge tight up to the end or quoin header. Lay the next brick to the other side of the temporary brick-on-edge, and tight up to it. Remove the brick-on-edge and a gap of 65mm will remain. While this is technically 1mm too narrow, the loss of 0.5mm in each cross-joint either side of a Queen Closer is of little or no consequence.

On external return angles (corners) in English and Flemish bonds (see Figs 92 and 93), it is the tie brick (identified in red) on every ‘through-course’ (identified in purple) that joins the wall together at that return angle. The other part of the return, which essentially stops at the back of the through-course, is known as the ‘stopped course’. For clarity, both ends of the return walls are shown as stopped-ends utilizing a Queen Closer next to the end header on alternate courses. In addition, the through-courses are shown in a darker shade than the stopped courses.

Queen Closer

Queen Closer

Fig. 93 Flemish bond corner/return.

When constructing one-brick walls, it is usual to lay all the bricks on the outer/face side of the wall on each course first and then ‘back in’ the stretchers that appear on the back of the wall. Fig 94 shows the bricks (in red) that would be laid last on each course. When backing in, it is not uncommon

to lay the brick and to get it ‘level’ by merely ensuring it sits flush with the bricks around it – this is checked either by hand or by using the flat back of the trowel blade. When backing in, the bricklayer must be careful not to disturb the adjacent or surrounding bricks. For this reason, a cross-joint should not be applied to the back/common face of the brick (in other words, at the collar joint between the front and back bricks), as this could result in the front brick being pushed outwards. Instead, the collar joint is left empty and, when the whole course has been backed in, a trowel-full of mortar is ‘fired’ into the collar joint to fill it. This should not be done too vigorously as it may disturb the brickwork; there should be just enough force to fill the collar joint and nothing more.

Fig. 94 Backing in bricks.

Queen Closer

Queen Closer

Fig. 96 Flemish bond junction wall.

Junction walls in English and Flemish bond follow much the same bonding principles as corners. Figs 95 and 96 show alternate courses for‘T’ junctions in both English bond and Flemish bond with main tie bricks shown in red in each case. The tie bricks essentially tie in the junction wall to the main wall on alternate courses. In both cases, the Queen Closer placed at the heart of the junction on alternate courses enables the junction wall to be tied in and quarter-bond to be achieved on the junction wall. Again, for clarity, all three ends of both walls have been shown as stopped-ends utilizing a Queen Closer next to the end header on alternate courses.