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Masonry mortar

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All,
I've decided to fill yet another annoying gap in my knowledge base.
What is general practice for specifying different types of mortar (M, S,
or N)?  Typically, I have specified these based on where they are
located (exterior, below or above ground; or interior, respectively).
Does the specified masonry strength play into the choice of mortar, or
only the end use?  Amrhein's book has some information, but not much
explanation.

Thanks for any help.

Mike Hemstad

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