The Ten Books on Architecture, 7.2.2

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 7.2.1 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 7.3.1 ›››

Gwilt translation

2When the slaking is properly conducted, and care taken in the preparation of the materials, a hatchet is used, similar to that with which timber is hewn, and the lime is to be chopped with it, as it lies in the heap. If the hatchet strikes upon lumps, the lime is not sufficiently slaked, and when the iron of the instrument is drawn out dry and clean, it shews that the lime is poor and weak; but if, when extracted, the iron exhibits a glutinous substance adhering to it, that not only indicates the richness and thorough slaking of the lime, but also shews that it has been well tempered. The scaffolding being then prepared, the compartments of the rooms are executed, except the ceilings be straight.

Morgan translation

2But when the proper attention has been paid to the slaking, and greater pains have thus been employed in the preparation for the work, take a hoe, and apply it to the slaked lime in the mortar bed just as you hew wood. If it sticks to the hoe in bits, the lime is not yet tempered; and when the iron is drawn out dry and clean, it will show that the lime is weak and thirsty; but when the lime is rich and properly slaked, it will stick to the tool like glue, proving that it is completely tempered. Then get the scaffolding ready, and proceed to construct the vaultings in the rooms, unless they are to be decorated with flat coffered ceilings.