GERARD RECOGNISED THE NEED FOR THE REVIVAL IN THE SKILL OF HISTORIC BRICKWORK IN THE 1980'S
Dr Lynch occupies a singular position of eminence within brickwork having solely pioneered many notable craft revivals, such as.
Restoration and renovation of traditional constructed properties – many of national importance.
Revival in use of architectural enrichments on modern brick properties.
Raising skill levels of the craft of bricklaying – dealt a severe blow with the advent of NVQ modular training, decline of apprenticeships and time-serving.
Promoting increase in range of moderately costed rubbing bricks – present costs prohibit wide-spread use.
He is both an acknowledged master craftsman and a senior academic. That very rare combination linked to a lifetime wholly dedicated to his beloved craft, has seen him commit to an ongoing drive to master and then push to revive long-forgotten areas of craft knowledge, skills tools, equipment and materials to both enrich the craft and raise its prestige, but to also help to secure the best of remedial works on traditional brick-built buildings that are then wholly empathetic, in all respects, to that particular historic period.
One can now reflect on the enormous and highly significant positive impact his selfless drive has had on both his craft and the Heritage sector, at the highest possible level, when one looks at all of what he is solely responsible for correcting long-held misconceptions and reviving properly The Brick Axe.
Significant Craft Revivals
Pioneered By Gerard
REVIVING CUT & RUBBED BRICKWORK & REDISCOVERING THE BRICKAXE
Dr Gerard Lynch revived the skills and knowledge of 'Cut & Rubbed' work and until Gerard undertook extensive archival research and experimentation to fully determine correct practical use of the small brick axe used from the medieval period until the 18th century and the larger version that superseded it during the later 18th century, they were either unknown or wholly misunderstood.
Through his background as a master brickmason with over 40 years working bricks to size and shape post-fired, 'The Red Mason' was able to revive the brick axe, last seen in recorded use in the mid-19th century, and demonstrate how to correctly manipulate and utilise it. This has brought a whole new realisation as to how the 15th and 16th century 'Hewers' cut and rubbed their brick enrichments such as the riot of carved Chimney stacks that the Tudor period is renowned for.
SAVING FORGOTTEN KNOWLEDGE ABOUT SAND SLAKING
Gerard brought back to the attention of the conservatory world the forgotten knowledge and skills that surrounds 'Sand Slaking' and 'Hot Lime' mortars and the huge historical importance of the role of hydraulic limes in traditional masonry when there had been a mistaken over emphasis on 'Air (Pure) Limes' and slaking solely to putty.
RE-ALIGNED SPECIFIERS ON LIME RATIOS
Through his 'Myth in the Mix' paper Gerard recognised and alerted specifiers and users of traditional lime-based mortars how they were incorrectly interpreting the 1:3 mortar ratio as a hydrated lime:sand mix, where in fact historically writers were referring to quicklime:sand ratio, as quicklime increases in volume once slaked. This was largely responsible for the 'Lean' repair/restoration mortars that bore no resemblance to the lime-rich historic mortars.
Dr Lynch is an authority on historic building limes and lime-based mortars for brickwork: as well as early Portland cement binders. It was his pioneering work in such papers as 'Lime Mortars for Brickwork: Traditional Practice, Modern Misconceptions' (1997) among others, that shifted a lime revival that had become entrenched in believing and promoting all historic mortars based on pure, 'air lime' binders, always slaked to matured putty and mixed with 'well-graded' aggregate.
This paper and his countless lectures and demonstrations highlighted the use of various types and classes of building limes used on historic brickwork, of how most mortars for bricklaying were based on quicklime slaked within a volume-based measure of whatever aggregate was local and readily available, as 'hot lime' mixed mortar. Dr Lynch was simultaneously, over 20 years ago, the first authority to say that the modern method of applying matured slaked lime washes cold was not the traditional method and that his father and grandfathers - on both sides of his Irish family - always applied it hot straight from slaking.
He was also the first to realise how modern interpreters of records of traditional mortar mixes discussed within historic craft books - artisans, architects, engineers, historians - were misinterpreting the mix ratios given, such as the 1: 3, as being based on slaked, or hydrated, (to lime putty or a dry-hydrate) and had for years been using them secure in that
belief. He was able to elucidate in 'The Myth in The Mix' (eventually published in 1999) as well as to practically demonstrate that this was wrong and that first the ratios were based on quicklime.
Furthermore, that due to the expansion of quicklime during slaking within the aggregate all resulting hot-lime mixed mortars were to be found as lime-rich as historic mixes, and sharing with them the range of lime particles visually evident, rather than the lean, binder-deficient, modern mortars devoid of the lime inclusions that he had constantly been seeing and troubling him on his travels to heritage projects.
Dr Lynch is a highly-respected committee member of the Building Limes Forum (BLF)
RE-ALIGNED TUCK POINTING , REDISCOVERED BASTARD TUCK
Gerard re-aligned and educated on the finer finishes of Tuck Pointing from the many cruder forms that had begun to proliferate; and revived the skills of bastard tuck jointing and pointing.
Reviving Traditional Knowledge & Skills in Gauged Brickwork
Gerard revived skills and knowledge of high-level Gauged Brickwork from almost extinction during the late 1980's, Raising standards to a new high amongst the many he has taught.
DISCOVERED THE ORIGIN OF THE 'FROG' IN BRICKS
Discovery, through his extensive craft-led research of the Dutch origins of the term ‘Frog’ for the indentation in a brick, because the raised section of the ‘Stock-Board’ that causes the clay to be forced out in all directions to create a better moulded shape with sharp ‘Arisses'[Edges] is called the ‘Kick’ and is a contraction of the dutch ‘Kikker’ meaning frog; as it causes the clay to jump outwards.
DEFINING THE DIFFERENCE & CORRECT APPLICATIONS OF LIME & COLOURWASH
Dr Lynch rekindled an awareness of the once widespread historic use of colour wash [not limewashing] brick facades and re-defining the bond of then coloured joints, but to a much lesser scale, through applying a distemper with a fine brush, termed 'Pencilling'. Gerard also restored the knowledge of applying lime & colourwashes hot to provide better adhesion and increase ease of use.