How many shovelfuls of sand should be used to mix Type N portland cement/lime mortar?
Mortar usually is mixed by proportions. The number of shovelfuls of sand required depends on the size of the shovel, how full the shovel is, and the moisture content of the sand. When shovels are used to measure quantities, the mix proportions can vary considerably. I do not recommend this method of measurement. Sand should be measured using 1-cubic-foot wood boxes filled level with the top. Mortar proportions should conform to ASTM C 270. Typically Type N mortar is made by using 5 to 6 boxes of sand for each cubic foot of portland cement and hydrated lime.