Chiseling is tedious, painstaking and, for cement-covered joints, frustratingly slow.
Holding the hawk up to the wall, he scrapes fresh mortar into the joint with a narrow tuck-pointing trowel.
He doesn't fill the fresh mortar into the joint in one pass.
At the Rogers house, John Machnicki takes chisel and hammer and starts raking the joints clean to a depth of 1 inch.
He takes care not to break the brick's hard fire-skin, which protects the relatively soft core.
The 36-year-old City Council member defeated incumbent Mayor Betsy Hodges and 14 other candidates in Tuesday's election. A native of Virginia who was drawn to Minneapolis after running a marathon here, Frey presented himself as a future mayor in the mold of R. Rybak — visible, willing to compromise and relentlessly enthusiastic about the city.
The right repointing technique ensures the work will last.
As always, both Machnickis are proud of that, although it once caused them some trouble.
Mario Machnicki recalls: "We sent a bill to a customer after one repointing job, and he complained, 'You haven't even done the work yet!
"The mortar bonds better to the clean, chiseled surface of the brick," his brother says.