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WEEKEND: The build up to a barbecue.

LOVE tasty fresh char-grilled food but hate having to find somewhere to store the barbecue once summer's over?

Then why not build your own brick version outside? When choosing the location, take into account accessibility,any overhanging or nearby foliage and areas that are exposed to the wind.

And when cutting bricks, make sure you are wearing protective goggles and gloves. Remember too that cement contains lime and can cause burns or irritation.

If not building directly onto a patio, dig a trench about 12 inches wide by nine inches deep. Stamp down the soil at the bottom and, to cut down on the hard work,fill the hole with ready mixed coarse cement, to which you just add water.

Use a board that's at least three feet square to do this. Make a well in the mound of dry concrete mix, then gradually pour water into it from a watering can,followed by a shovel scoop of dry mix from the base of the heap.

Keep adding more mix until the well is full, then repeat the whole process until the mixture is thoroughly wet and the same colour all the way through.

Shovel the concrete mix into the trench and smooth and press it down with the edge of a small board, checking that it is reasonably level.

Cover with sacking to protect from frost and direct sunlight, then leave to harden for two days.

Mix the mortar in a similar way to the concrete,adding a plasticiser if you want it to be smoother and more userfriendly.

Lay a row of bricks on top of your foundation,buttering the bottom and edges of each one and constantly using a spirit level. Then,build up the corners of the structure to three or four blocks tall before filling in the gaps.

Stretch a string line across the two corners to be sure they are in line.

Stop after every third row to create a flush and neat finish on the mortar between the bricks. This is called pointing. Do the vertical joins fist,followed by the horizontal ones,and then lightly brush away any mortar on the bricks' surface.

Once you only have two or three more rows of brick to go,build in some brackets to hold the fuel tray and then above it, the grill. Cap the barbecue wall with coping stones or hard engineering bricks for a more durable finish.

Give the mortar at least two days to harden before using the barbecue.
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 24, 2004
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