Repointing a (lot of) garden wall: angle grinder?

Folks,
In the autumn, I removed several decades' growth of ivy from a garden wall. Not surprisingly, this has revealed badly-damaged mortar in several places, so major re-pointing is required. The wall was built in the mid-1930s, using a lime mortar, so I will be using that for the re-pointing.
Unfortunately the wall is quite long, so there will be a considerable amount of raking out to be done. I seem to have three choices:
a) Pay someone to do it.
b) Get a lump hammer, a chisel and wave farewell to a large chunk of the summer.
c) Have a play with an angle grinder...
Realistically, option (a) isn't going to happen so it's (b) or (c).
Any experiences (good or bad) to share about using an angle grinder for this sort of work? Any suggestions about a sensible price to pay, features it should have and tips/techniques?
Many thanks, Peter
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On Wed, 20 Jan 2010 17:30:12 +0000, Peter Kemp

Plenty of good news :-) You are making too much work for yourself
If it is lime mortar then you shouldnt need to use an angle grinder, which is just as well because it is difficult to use one without damaging the bricks Find or make something which can be used to rake out any loose mortar, leave in situ any mortar that is still doing the job Then point the bits which need it ONLY the bits that need it
This sort of pointing job looks much better if it is done on an as and when basis because a complete repoint looks horrible for ages, whereas patch repairs seem to fit in or mellow much more quickly for some reason. It must be an eye/brain thing I think
When someone is being paid to do the job, then they will often want to repoint the whole lot, because they dont want to be called back by an upset client because 'another bit has failed'. When you are doing the work yourself that is not an issue, so do the bad bits now and if you have to have another go in a few years time then so be it
Anna
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On Wed, 20 Jan 2010 18:00:09 +0000, Anna Kettle wrote:

I've noticed that - I think my head expects houses to look a bit 'distressed' and random, and that's why I can't stand new builds - they just look too clean and clinical, somehow. The more 'aged' the better, so long as it's not outright falling down.
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On 20 Jan, 18:00, snipped-for-privacy@googlemail.com (Anna Kettle) wrote:

Agreed on both of those.
How do you feel about mortar rake chisels on SDS drills?
(Personally I favour a). We have a stonemason living opposite, and his prices are very reasonable)
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On 20 Jan, 17:30, Peter Kemp wrote:

http://www.easipoint.co.uk/easipoint_ancillary.html#mortarout
They also do gun injected mortar http://www.easipoint.co.uk/walling_lime_putty.html
Used on the Grand Designs French manor house. http://www.easipoint.co.uk/masonry_repoint.html
Owain
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On 20/01/2010 17:30, Peter Kemp wrote:

d) Multimaster type thing? or SDS chisel?
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Peter Kemp wrote:

I've used a 4" angle grinder with a cheap diamond disc to remove old pointing. With care it can be done with incredible precision. It creates sh1t loads of dust though.
Current bargain buy seems to be the Site (made by Makita) @ 22! http://www.screwfix.com/prods/51570/Power-Tools/Grinders/Site-SMA900-2-4-Angle-Grinder-240V
I've got one & its a good piece of kit.
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On Wed, 20 Jan 2010 20:07:02 +0000, "The Medway Handyman"

SMA900-2-4-Angle-Grinder-240V
There is an angle grinder attachment that works a bit like a router bit - might be slightly more controllable? Might be even better if the angle grinder had variable speed.
This is what I was thinking of:
http://www.machinemart.co.uk/shop/product/details/carbide-raker-8mm - x-60mm-pk-2/path/14-angle-grinders-polishers-accessories
I've not used them - and I'm watching with interest as my front wall needs a bit of remedial...
Cheers
Tim
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On Wed, 20 Jan 2010 17:30:12 +0000, Peter Kemp wrote:

=============================================== Consider using a mortar pick / rake:
http://www.machinemart.co.uk/shop/product/details/mortar-pick-hickory-handle
Most people seem to use this two-handed, dragging with the handle whilst guiding one end of the metal head with the other hand. It's quite easy to manage once you've tried it.
If the old mortar requires the use of a hammer and chisel then it probably doesn't need to come out.
Cic.
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It is lime, you want a rake, not a grinder.
Piece of 2x4 with M10x75 through it and two handles like a scythe, if it doesn't work you can always use it to cut through the ice the previous car driver will have judiciously polished to a lens grade surface on that off camber road junction in the forthcoming 2010-the- ice-age winter.
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Use the proper tool... http://www.screwfix.com/prods/16590
If the mortar doesn't come out easily with this, it doesn't need repointing. Use the nail to limit depth to about 1/4" into the pointing (and certainly no more than 1/2" - that's no longer repointing). When you've raked out a joint, finish off by running the tool along with the nail pressing against the brick edge to make sure it's clear to take new mortar. Be careful not to let it jump out and scratch the brick surface though, particularly if you have soft facing bricks (unlikely in a garden wall with lime mortar which is still standing).
You'll need some nails to use. IME, large masonary pins last well in the tool, but you break the odd one whilst fitting it in. Ordinarly nails are easier to install, but wear very quickly in use.

Wrong tool. You don't want a power tool for this.
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Andrew Gabriel wrote:

Hope for a long hot summer and regard it as therapy.
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On Thu, 21 Jan 2010 10:49:25 +0000, Stuart Noble

All seems very sensible advice. We I look at my pointing, my first though is "oh no, so much wall, 100's of yards to cut out and redo."
If I look again at the dodgy bits, it's probably only 1/5 or 1/4 of the total pointing.
Next question - anyone got any tips on colour matching new to old pointing? I've seen some old patchups which are obviously "wrong" - very grey compared to a fairly yellowy older pointing. Dod the old have too little cement, or perhaps had some lime in lieu of some cement? The newer stuff seems very cement heavy.
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wrote:

ISTR that your bungalow is 1930s Tim, in which case the garden wall is probably built with lime mortar not cement mortar. Even if it were built with cement then the cement would be a lot weaker then modern cement so I recommend that you use a hydraulic lime / sand mortar
Cement grey will pigment the mortar quite strongly. Hydraulic lime is white so the final colour will be a paler version of whatever sand you use. If you want to be fussy, then you could get hold of a few different sands and make up samples
Anna
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On Sat, 23 Jan 2010 08:54:59 +0000, snipped-for-privacy@googlemail.com (Anna Kettle) wibbled:

Hi Anna,
It's a 50's build - was lime common then (with or without cement)?
I think I do agree on the possibility that whatever is in the walls right now *might* be limebased - it's too light for most cements.
Cheers
Tim
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wrote:

It is likely to have lime in and could have cement in. The big changeover from lime to cement as setting agent happened after WW2 when the priority was to build houses quickly and a generation had missed out on craft training
I doubt if liquid plasticisers had been invented, so hydrated lime would certainly be added to a cement mortar as a plasticiser
Quick setting is not a priority for garden walls, so if lime was cheaper than cement and the work was done by someone who knew about lime from before the war, then it could easily have been done with lime as setting agent and no cement.
Its not a perfect test, but extract a bit of lime from the wall and bend it. If it crumbles then it is putty or hydrated lime mortar, if it snap!s then it is hard cement mortar. Chances are that it does something in between in which case it is a weak cement or a hydraulic lime or a mix of lime and cement
Anna
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My 1963 bungalow has light-coloured gritty pointing, but I'm sure it isn't lime (or if it has lime in it, it has cement as well). When I had a window bricked up we experimented with grit sand and a proportion of lime in the cement mortar and got a close match - sorry I have no idea of the proportions used - I wanted a close match in quality also, so I left the bricklaying to a professional ;-)
Cheers Richard
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Anna Kettle wrote:

Not something you can just pop out and buy though. None of the builders merchants in my area stocks hydraulic lime.

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I'm still using a large bag of it I bought from Travis Perkins about 8 years ago (but stored indoors in the dry).
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Andrew Gabriel wrote:

hydrated lime is the key word.
All BM's stock it.
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