Mixing The Mud
Mix It Up
The mortar quantity for one column light will depend on how thick you apply it. Assuming you will keep it between 1/2” and 3/4” of an inch, plus what it takes to fill between the wire, then a bit falls inside the center which is normal, mixing 15 quarts will do the job with a bit to spare.
The water is a bit trickier though because for many reasons the amount to add will always be a bit different. Like being able to judge the amount of dry mortar for a particular job though, with a bit of practice, you will be a pro.
Always have everything laid out and ready to go before you begin mixing mortar.
Bucket clean water
Type S Spec Mix
mixing tub or wheelbarrow
mixing hoe or shovel
water spray bottle
Heres a video of the mixing process. The written instructions are below as well.
1) Set a measuring paint pail in the bottom of your mixing tub or wheel barrel and pour 15 quarts of dry mortar. This is a dusty job, remember to wear your mask.
2) Add a small amount of water at a time and thoroughly mix it in before adding more water each time.
3) A cheap garden hoe works well to do the initial mixing but a shovel will do the job if you don‘t have one. As you get your mortar closer and closer to the right consistency, ad smaller and smaller amounts of water. It's a fine line between to dry and to wet and to much water will make the mix useless.
4) Once your mix is real close to the right consistency, ad small amounts of water or dry mortar to get it just right. Use your hands to really mix and fluff it, throwing handfuls of the mud into itself will entrap air in the mortar making it more workable by making it lighter, fluffier and stickier.
5) A good way to test your mortar for the right consistency is to make a mud ball and carefully break it in half without loosing the shape of the ball.
6) Another way to test the mortar is to stack it up. It should hold together without melting back into the bottom of the wheelbarrow. A sort of homemade slump test.