Full Chisel Blog

July 31, 2014

300 year old Brick

Filed under: Alchemy,Finishing,Historical Material,Of Interest,Techniques,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 1:21 pm


Top viewbrick2

Side viewbrick2a

Other side view


End view

Eight and 1/2 inches long, 4 3/16 inches wide, and 2 3/16 inches thick, plus or minus a bit as it is 300 years old.   Sent to me by my friend Sir William from the East coast as an ingredient for an old recipe for cutler’s cement that calls for brick dust.

It is a very hard brick and if you look closely you can see the shells from the lime making process in the matrix of the brick.  The brick weighs 5 pounds. Seems a shame to grind it up, but it will give me a chance to test out my new cast iron mortar and pestle, and there apprently are more available.

I will report the results of the cutler’s cement recipe trials as they happen.



  1. Dear Full Chisel,
    Your recent post about the destruction of antique spinning wheels undertaken for a motion picture has moved me to write. I wanted to share this note about a recent theft of bricks from an historic landmark in Virginia (http://articles.dailypress.com/2014-05-29/news/dp-nws-rosewell-brick-theft-20140529_1_bricks-historic-places-rosewell-plantation) as a reminder to others that trade in historic goods–even building materials–may support a black market. I mean no criticism here; I hope that your experiment in cutler’s cement is successful and enlightening.

    Comment by Jonathan — August 1, 2014 @ 8:49 am

  2. I didn’t mean to imply that the brick is 300 years old, just that it could be, because my town has been here since at least 1685, and back then, people reused expensive building materials. It is of similar size, materials and manufacturing methods to the bricks in the foundation of my house, but the house is not three centuries old, yet. I have no provenance on this one or any of the others that are laying around. It’s size is larger than modern bricks. About the only thing I can say is that it’s older than any brick in Salt Lake City ;^). A good source of information on colonial period bricks can be found at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, history.org. Williamsburg artisans still make bricks using these methods and materials, and use them in the restoration of old buildings and in building reproductions of colonial era buildings. Ask Google to search for “Williamsburg brick making” if you want to learn more.

    Comment by William Duffield — August 1, 2014 @ 11:57 am

  3. Very cool find. I’m interested in hearing about how difficult it will be to grind up. And looking forward to reading something about making cutler’s cement. Good Luck!

    Comment by Jonny — August 4, 2014 @ 9:41 pm

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