The lost art of tuckpointing reborn in Toronto.

Busting the Toronto clouds at more than 50 floors each, the twin columns of Casa II and Casa III chart the course of a new city.

The twin columns of Casa II and Casa III. Dave LeBlanc/ The Globe and Mail

And while the Casa trio– Casa I, at 46 storeys, is throughout the street– stand out for the plain geometry of their wraparound verandas, another set of straight lines much, much closer to the Charles Street sidewalk should have the attention of harried passersby.

As typically occurs with new developments, considerable dedications to the love and care of old buildings were protected by the city from developer Cresford prior to structure licenses were issued. And while that’s not news in itself, the semi-detached, 2nd Empire homes at 62 and 64 Charles St. E., developed by specialist Arthur Coleman and painter Thomas Smith in 1885, now boast an outstanding example of the lost art of tuckpointing.Crisp geometry like this hasn’t been seen on a brick wall for perhaps a century. Not to be puzzled with run-of-the-mill pointing or repointing, tuckpointing (the terms are frequently utilized interchangeably, which is incorrect )involves a multistep procedure using lime-based mortars that leads to a wall worn a sharp grid of thin, raised “ribbons “between each brick.

The Charles St. houses boast an excellent example of

the lost art of tuckpointing. Dave LeBlanc/The Globe and Mail”It’s to offer the impression that the building was constructed with extremely tight joints, “states Barkley Hunt, 43, of Hunt Heritage Ltd., one of just a handful of individuals in Canada who can tuckpoint according to techniques established in England in the early 18th century. “And actually it’s not– the joints are actually big– however it’s purely cosmetic.”

All the rage by the “second decade of the 19th century,” composes historic preservationist/educator Michael Shellenbarger in a 1993 essay titled Tuck Pointing History and Confusion, the approach was necessary since of the “bad quality of bricks, especially in London.” Irregular and of odd sizes, tuckpointing was a way for the middle classes to achieve the appearance of the “pricey rubbed, assessed, and pushed” brickwork of “royalty or the very wealthy.” By the mid-19th century, tuckpointing was also used “significantly” in the conservation and remediation of “old decayed work.”

Since most homebuilders associated with the building and construction of Toronto’s Cabbagetown or The Annex (and a lot of areas built during the Victorian boom) came from the United Kingdom, tuckpointing ended up being standard practice here, regardless of our better stock of brick.

Antoni Pijaca advises a trainee on the art of tuckpointing. Indeed, when acclaimed, Melbourne-based master tuckpointer Antoni Pijaca concerned Toronto to teach members of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, Hunt Repair and AGE Architects in March, 2017, PERIOD’s Scott Weir took him on a tour of his Cabbagetown area, where the Australian states he was “able to reveal him remnants of tuckpointing on the majority of the brick homes there.

“Regrettably many of the brick was sandblasted and the tuckpointing is missing out on.”

A great deal of that occurred, includes AGE’s Daniel Lewis, throughout the “restoration fad of the 1980s.”

So, will tuckpointing remove in the 21st century? In Spite Of some Charles St. “walkway superintendents” dismissing Mr. Hunt’s tough work on the Coleman/Smith semis by labelling them a “doll-house,” Mr. Hunt thinks “we’ll see a growing number of it” because of its historical precision. It might, unfortunately, be out of reach other than for those with really deep pockets: Mr. Hunt approximates it costs $50 to $60 a square foot for tuckpointing, compared to routine repointing at $15 to $20.

That’s because the procedure is complex: Mr. Hunt and his team start by steam-washing all brick (and stone) to remove carbon and algae spots; this likewise opens the brick’s “pores” to accept a colour-wash. Next, old mortar is removed to a certain depth using an Arbortech saw. After that, harmed brick is changed, often by turning back to front.

Barkley Hunt of Hunt Heritage works on a tuckpointed brick outside. If the structure was initially tuckpointed, proof of” stopping mortar” (more on that in a minute)on the brick deals with need to be discovered. If so, powdered pigments are blended to match and then disposed into a witches’ brew of alum, stale beer and crystalized bunny hide glue for the colour-wash process, which can “reek” due to the fact that of the beer.

The two-step mortar application starts. Joints are filled with newly-tinted stopping mortar applied flush with the brick’s face, even smearing onto the face a little. When Mr. Hunt first started practically a decade earlier, this liberal application freaked him out: “To some individuals, it looks kind of rough, however this is how it was done; I was saying ‘God, this is terrible, it’s the reverse of whatever I’ve been taught!'”

Tools and ingredients utilized in tuckpointing. PERIOD Architects

Prior to the stopping mortar is dry, a straightedge is used to carve a groove (called a scribe or real estate) down the centre. It enjoys this channel that the bright, lime putty ribbon is “tucked in,” gradually, with a tuck iron. While it’s still soft, a “frenchman” (ribbon knife) is utilized to sculpt away excess to create the crisp, straight line.

On a big wall, this process can take weeks. When complete, nevertheless, a sort of mason’s trompe l’oeil has actually been attained: “The linear-ness and the lighter colour of the ribbon, it alters the appearance of the brick,” Mr. Hunt says. “I have no idea how, and this occurs over at the [previous] Selby [Hotel] too, you can see the wall just comes alive.”

Tuckpointing provides brick exteriors an eye-popping look however is an expensive procedure.

With a secret mortar recipe created with our freeze-thaw cycle in mind, it’s a great bet Mr. Hunt will be among just a few bringing life to Toronto’s heritage walls for the foreseeable future. Whether he can convince penny-pinching house owners to pony up is another concern.

“It’s certainly different to take a look at since people just aren’t used to it,” he finishes. “It’s tough to encourage people to spend money on the front of their house, whereas a kitchen area might offer itself.”

Hunt Heritage is in action at the previous Selby Hotel on Toronto’s Sherbourne Street or on Instagram @huntheritage. Melbourne’s Antoni Pijaca is found @tuckpointer. Hunt Heritage and Daniel Lewis of AGE won a 2017 “Award of Excellence” for their deal with 62– 64 Charles St. E in Toronto.


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