Video – Building George’s House: Oyster Slaking

In this video, stone and brick mason Ray Cannetti and his crew turn burnt oyster shells from last summer’s lime rick burn into powdered lime to use in mortar in the reconstructed Washington house chimneys.

Learn more about the Washington House here and view other videos, photos, and blog posts about the project at here.

Photos: Building George’s House – North Chimney

Brickmasons Ray Cannetti, Robert Hall, and Kevin Nieto recently finished building the second of three chimneys for the Washington house at George Washington’s Ferry Farm. Located on the house’s north side and made from hand molded brick by the Old Carolina Brick Company, this chimney includes two fireplaces. One fireplace each on the first and second floors.  These images show Kevin working on the second story’s fireplace as well as the entire chimney after it was completed and the scaffolding around it was removed last week. To see photos of the east chimney being built click here.

Photos: Building George’s House – Lime Rick Burn

Recently,  expert artisans Bill Neff and Kenneth Tappan along with staff from The George Washington Foundation built a lime rick — a large crib of wood and oyster shells — at George Washington’s Ferry Farm.  This past Saturday, the rick was lit on fire to produce lime for stone and brick work as part of constructing the Washington house.

In eighteenth-century Virginia, near the coast, oyster shells were abundant and commonly burned in one-time-use oyster ricks – different than lime kilns constructed of brick – to yield the lime required for brick and stone masonry. After heating, the burnt shells are slaked with water, causing them to break apart into lime. Mixed with sand and water, as well as sometimes brick dust, clay, charcoal, and bits of shell, lime was the binder in early mortar.

Here are photos of the building and the burning of the lime rick.

Read more about the lime rick burn in this article by The Free Lance-Star.  Learn more about constructing the Washington house interpretive replica herehere, and here.