Mortar on horizontal of red brick

I’ve combined your two posts into one, Wally.

I’m sure you’re misreading Step 2 in the instructions. Look at the entire step:

I can understand that the boldfaced part of the step may be throwing you off. So, what you want to do is:

  1. Place each brick on one of its sides (the narrow part).
  2. Apply ⅜ inch mortar to narrow side (which is now the bottom) and one wide side (which would ordinarily be the bottom).
  3. Place and level the brick on the narrow bottom.
  4. Do not apply mortar to the end that is now facing into the hearth. You need that “bare and square” for the later step of inserting your firebrick hearth.

If you look closely at the illustration, you’ll see mortar on the bottoms of the bricks.

If you prefer, you can place a bed of mortar under the brick (3/16 inch) and on the narrow bottom (also 3/16 inch) to assure leveling and adhesion. Again, make sure the mortar in the bed does not extend past the brick, because you need space for your firebrick in a later step.

I hope this helps, Wally, and glad you asked before you placed any bricks!

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Can you place mortar on the bottom of the brick to level the outline