Kinds of pitsand

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Pitsand used in masonry dries quickly, the stucco coating is permanent, and the walls can support vaultings. I am speaking of sand fresh from the sandpits. For if it lies unused too long after being taken out, it is disintegrated by exposure to sun, moon, or hoar frost, and becomes earthy. So when mixed in masonry, it has no binding power on the rubble, which consequently settles and down comes the load which the walls can no longer support. Fresh pitsand, however, in spite of all its excellence in concrete structures, is not equally useful in stucco, the richness of which, when the lime and straw are mixed with such sand, will cause it to crack as it dries on account of the great strength of the mixture. But river sand, though useless in “signinum” on account of its thinness, becomes perfectly solid in stucco when thoroughly worked by means of polishing instruments.

Sand and its sources having been thus treated, next with regard to lime we must be careful that it is burned from a stone which, whether soft or hard, is in any case white. Lime made of close-grained stone of the harder sort will be good in structural parts; lime of porous stone, in stucco. After slaking it, mix your mortar, if using pitsand, in the proportions of three parts of sand to one of lime; if using river or sea-sand, mix two parts of sand with one of lime. These will be the right proportions for the composition of the mixture. Further, in using river or sea-sand, the addition of a third part composed of burnt brick, pounded up and sifted, will make your mortar of a better composition to use.

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