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chimney with bad brick mix

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This 40 yr old chimney has leaked from time to time lately into the fireplace.

A roofer pointed out to owner that he had brick problems there, and recommended a mason.

Mason looked, called for two men, two weeks, estimated cost to cut out and replace 60 bad brick, $16,500.

Looks like original mason used a mixed bag of reclaimed brick, and the softies are disintegrating.

Could this column be lathed and stuccoed over with a new cap?

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Yeah, it's a pile of mush in there, but $16K for chopping out 60 bricks and replacing them?!? Is there some compelling reason why so much?

I'd fabricate a nice sheet metal cap that drains, hemmed edges, and a drip profile with a kick at the bottom. It'll hold together for a long time if you can just get the water off.

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