Previously on Dougintology...
This house was built between 1870 and 1890. The mortar used back then was lime based. But much of that lime has washed away leaving sand between the bricks.
In March I started uncovering the bricks.
Then I destroyed a cart getting some mortar.
After ten days I showed a picture of my progress.
It was easier to work upstairs during the winter than during the summer. The summer is miserable. But with cooling weather I've been making myself get something done almost every night. It's "almost" because there's still some hot humid spells.
This picture was taken two nights ago.
All the cement was torn off the face of the bricks. I started chipping out the mortar but soon switched to a drill. These days I drill holes in between the bricks to loosen up the mortar a bit more. This also tells me the relative hardness of the mortar. Some is still pretty hard so I only go in half an inch. Some offers no resistance and I punch clear through the wall. Some bricks came out completely but most stayed. The worst damage in this room is the chimney. Drilling and milling around the chimney is like drilling into Rice Crispie Treats.
The work was being done in zones. I'd clear an area, blow out the dust with a wet-dry vac in reverse, let the dust settle, pack mortar, repeat elsewhere. This was intended to help prevent the wall from falling on me or at least keep bricks from falling out where I didn't want them to. But it turns out that precaution is only necessary in the chimney. In this room anyway. The next room will likely be worse. I started here because the room was already empty after the back wall was replaced.
I'm having to be careful, particularly around the round thing in the chimney. This house had a wood burning stove, once upon a time. That's where the exhaust went. If the house were a bit bigger I'd put one back in or get a corn burning stove. As it is I just don't have the room.
Compare to this pic from March.