5 Off-Grid Steps To Making Your Own Brick
Image source: Pixabay.com
Over the years, I’ve used logs to build cabins and sticks to make furniture, but my proudest moment was the first time I successfully made a small pile of bricks. I kept making more over one summer and eventually used them to construct an outdoor, wood-fired oven and grill. It was nice to know that if I ever needed brick and none were available that I had the know-how and raw materials at hand.
While the bricks I made were all of even size and had great structural integrity, they were like many homemade things – a little rough around the edges. This was mostly due to my primitive “firing” method, which is the last step in the brick-making process. I also took a simpler approach to the use of clay.
Some approaches recommend gathering clay and letting it dry over the winter and then crushing it into a powder. I harvested the clay, wet it down a bit, and immediately began to work it. This left some pebbles in the clay to be incorporated into the final brick. Brick-making purists would frown upon my shortcut, but for my purposes the bricks came out fine and I didn’t mind seeing a pebble here and there.
How to Make Rustic Bricks
1. Find clay
Finding a good source of clay is critical to this brick-making approach. Where I live the clay runs six to 12 feet deep under the topsoil until it comes to bedrock. I learned the hard way that my property was “blessed” with clay every time I tried to plant a tree or bush.
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You also can find clay along river banks. Keep in mind, however, that clay is very heavy and so it’s best if you can find a source that’s close to home. I took my harvested clay from my backyard and piled it on a 4 feet x 8 feet sheet of plywood. I then put on an old pair of gym shoes and while holding a bucket of water began to squish and knead the clay with my feet while occasionally pouring some water on the clay to loosen it up. It’s a messy process, but not difficult.
Be careful with the amount of water you use. You don’t want clay soup, but rather something with pliable, elastic consistency.
2. Mix in sand
The proportion of sand to clay should be four parts clay to one part sand. I had to eyeball this to estimate the volume of clay in my clay blob. I then sprinkled the sand over the clay and once again did my clay dance to incorporate the sand. I also used a shovel to toss the clay/sand to incorporate it better.
3. Mold the bricks
Image source: Pixabay.com
Now comes the fun part and if you have kids they might enjoy helping. What you’ll need is a form/mold made from wood that’s 4 inches wide, 8 inches long and 2 1/4 inches high. It should be open at the top and bottom. You can make your bricks any size you want, but this size is believed to be the old-world standard. You also can make a form with numerous compartments of this size.
An old trick I learned is to dust the inside of the mold with charcoal dust. This helps the clay mix slip out when the form is lifted. The black charcoal dust will burn off during the firing process and not affect the color of your bricks.
As a work surface I used a 2 feet x 4 feet sheet of plywood that I greased with oil. Any oil will do; I used vegetable oil. This will help the brick to release after it has dried and also will burn it off.
Place your mold to one side of this work surface and remember that this brick will have to dry on this smaller sheet of plywood. I usually leave about two inches between each wet brick.
After dusting the mold with the charcoal, start slopping the clay mix into the mold, patting it down as you go. To get a clean top surface use a length of bailing wire stretched across the frame of a small bow saw and drag the taught wire slowly across the top of the brick.
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Let the clay rest in the mold for about 20 minutes and then gently lift the mold straight up. Ideally your clay consistency will have enough integrity to not bulge on the sides. But results can vary. The first time I did this, I got it perfect. My second batch was too wet and I had to let the clay/sand dry overnight on the big board.
You need to let the bricks dry at this point. In my case, I simply moved the small board of about eight bricks into the sun. If you think it’s going to rain, either cover the bricks with a tarp or move them inside. I usually let mine dry for three to four days before going to the final step.
There are all sorts of opinions, approaches and kilns for this firing process. I decided to keep it simple and primitive. I laid down on the ground a course of long, equally-sized logs about four inches in diameter. I put my eight bricks on top. I then began to stack firewood around and over the bricks. It was the usual structure of kindling leading to larger woods and I stacked enough wood to make a bonfire about three feet high. Then I started the fire and let it burn.
When the fire is first out, don’t even think about grabbing one of the bricks. They can often remain hot for up to a week. Once you’re satisfied they’ve cooled, rinse them with water, scrub with a brush, and you’re done. Until you decide to make the next batch, that is.
Have you ever made brick? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:
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Brick | Islands Wiki | Fandom
Type of block
Bricks are blocks made by smelting clay.
- 1 Obtaining
- 1.1 Smelting
- 1.2 Breaking
- 2 Usage
- 2. 1 Crafting ingredient
- 3 History
- 4 Trivia
Clay can be smelted into bricks in a campfire, small furnace, blast furnace, desert furnace, or industrial smelter.
|1 Clay||1 Brick|
|Brick Breaking Data|
|Max Hits Needed|
|Blast Furnace||50 Brick
20 Iron Ingot
|Workbench Tier 2
Workbench Tier 3
Workbench Tier 4
|2 Brick Stair||1 Brick||Workbench Tier 2
Workbench Tier 3
Workbench Tier 4
|2 Brick Slab||1 Brick||Workbench Tier 2
Workbench Tier 3
Workbench Tier 4
|Flower Pot||20 Brick
|April 24, 2020||Added bricks.|
|May 8, 2021||Changed the texture of bricks.|
|May 21, 2021||Changed the texture of bricks.|
|May 20, 2022||Bricks can now be used to craft blast furnaces.|
- Bricks are the only kind of brick block that cannot be cut in the stonecutter or industrial stonecutter.
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Do-it-yourself clay bricks: Significant construction savings
In this article we will tell you how to make clay bricks with your own hands. This building material can be easily and budgetarily made independently.
Many of you know that red brick is a quality building material, but it is not at all cheap. I’ll tell you a secret: you can simply make it yourself, without incurring special costs.
- Raw material preparation
- Brick molding
- Brick drying
- Furnace device. Method 1
- Furnace device. Method 2
- Brick firing
Pottery has long been considered a craft. The people who owned it provided the inhabitants with vessels for storing food, jugs for liquid and loose bodies. Over time, artisans learned to produce various items of dressing from clay: tiles, dishes, etc. These items also included refractory bricks – a product that is used as a building material.
White bricks are made from sand and lime, while red bricks are made from clay. A brick made of clay has a number of advantages, such as environmental friendliness, resistance to various climatic conditions. It also has good sound insulation, high strength/density, excellent wear resistance, etc.
It is clear that a building material with such consumer properties is not cheap. We’ll talk about how you can save money by making clay bricks yourself.
To make a brick, you will need oily and non-oily clay (clean), a small amount of burnout additives (sawdust, chopped straw), plywood, mold boards, water and cement.
Of the tools you need an ordinary shovel, a hacksaw for wood, a construction sieve, a hammer, a container for mixing and an iron strip (as an option – a construction trowel). Nothing supernatural is required.
Raw material preparation
Prepare clean clay. Remember: the greater the plasticity of the clay, the easier it is to form a brick. There are many options for increasing the plasticity of clay. The simplest of them is keeping it moistened.
To do this, take a container, fill it with chopped raw materials, previously cleaned of small stones and grass clods. While stirring, gradually add water to it until the clay is completely soaked. Then leave the composition for aging, covering the container with polyethylene, for 3-5 days.
After aging, check the resulting clay solution for suitability for further processing. It should easily peel off from the hands, and not change the dowry shape. Try to roll a piece of the finished material with a bundle, as thick as a pencil, and wind it on a thick stick. The mass should not blur or smear, tear or crumble. With this simple test, you can determine the need for supplements. If the clay crumbles, add water, if it spreads, mix dry additives.
It is preferable to use low-fat clay, however, if there is no choice, you can reduce its fat content by adding sand, peat chips, sawdust or grain husks. The amount of additives varies from 3 to 15%, depending on the filler, and for the most accurate determination, it is necessary to make trial batches.
How can I test clay for fat content? There are many different ways, here is one of them:
- Take 0.5 kg of clay and gradually add water to it, stirring occasionally. When the composition is sufficiently saturated with water, it will begin to stick to the hands. From the material obtained, make a cake, the size of a small saucer, and a ball, the size of a walnut. Leave them to dry for a few days.
- Visually inspect finished products after 2-3 days. First of all, inspect the cake. If damage, tears and cracks are clearly visible on it, then the clay is very oily and needs to be supplemented.
- Then extend your arm in front of you and drop the ball. As a result of the normal fat content of the clay, the ball will remain unharmed.
- There are also types of clay that are too thin and are of poor quality and strength. To obtain a high-quality composition from such types of material, it is necessary to mix clay with a higher fat content to them, periodically adding it in small portions. To reach the desired result, check the property of the solution after each addition of clay.
- After you have determined the required proportions of the composition, you can start molding bricks.
It is important that the molds used inside are smooth, without roughness and damage. Before use, treat their inner surface with water so that in the future you can easily remove the finished material.
Molding of the workpiece is carried out by laying the clay mass in molds with its subsequent tamping.
During the drying and firing process, the brick will dry out and therefore decrease in size, so choose your shapes carefully. For example, to make a 25 x 12 x 0.65 cm brick you would need a 26 x 13 x 0.75 cm mold. It must be flat and clean.
After a while, the clay will shrink, so add mortar to the mold until it is completely filled. Then remove the excess clay with a trowel or any rail, and smooth the surface. Try to pack the solution as tightly as possible, and do not go beyond the form.
Molds are available with or without a bottom. To make several products at once, you can use a mold in the form of a plate, and after molding, simply cut it into bricks of the required size. Moisten the tool with which you will cut the bricks with water or oil first. It can be a metal tape or, for example, a string.
Leave the resulting blanks to dry a little. On average, this process takes 1-2 hours. By the way, if you use hot water when preparing a clay solution, the drying process will be much faster.
After a few hours, evaluate the quality of your work.
If the raw material is not strong and breaks easily, it means that an excess of inclusions was added during the preparation of the mixture. In this case, it is necessary to change the composition of the batch.
If there are lumps and traces of non-mixing in the mass, add water and increase the mixing time. Inclusions of grass and stones in the composition indicate poor cleaning of the clay. If the brick sticks and deforms, add dry additives to the composition. This indicates its high humidity.
If the blank is separating, then you did not compact the clay hard enough into the mold. Different sizes of raw material can indicate several factors: the forms have become unusable (worked out), the prepared composition has high humidity, the top of the raw material is poorly smoothed (cut off).
How to make bricks with your own hands, you can also watch the video:
Since the formed brick contains a large amount of moisture, it will decrease in volume during the drying process. If some parts of the raw material dry out faster than others, then cracks and gaps will form on the brick. To prevent this, it is necessary to ensure that water evaporates evenly both from the surface and from the inside of the brick.
If you plan to dry the bricks indoors, this can be achieved by controlling the temperature where the material will be dried. Drying raw material is recommended in several stages:
- Slow drying – used when the workpiece is still soft and damp.
- Faster drying – applied after the brick has sufficiently hardened.
The dryness of the air, its speed and temperature are the main criteria that must be controlled for successful drying of raw material. The higher these figures, the faster the brick will dry. Accordingly, with slow drying of raw materials, these figures should be lower. It is also important to regulate the amount of air passed through the room.
With natural drying, climatic conditions cannot be controlled, so the most important requirement in this process is to prevent rain (or any other moisture) from entering the workpiece. You can use a regular PVC awning or a thick film to protect the bricks from precipitation.
If, as a result of drying, you find that many bricks have cracks, it means that the prepared mass was oversaturated with moisture. The deformation of the raw material indicates that it was forced to dry. Unfired brick is still quite fragile, so be careful when working with it.
If the workpiece dries unevenly, you have made too dense masonry. Discharge it.
Oven assembly. Method 1
Let’s look at how to make a do-it-yourself oven designed for firing a large number of bricks.
To prevent heat loss, check the groundwater level at the site before construction. It must be at least 2 meters.
The foundation is laid first. Its depth should be about 0.5 meters, and its width – 0.6 meters.
The walls, 0.5 m thick, are laid out in such a way that after half the height of the stove they narrow, creating a chimney. You can make a furnace for firing blanks both rectangular and round. For the construction of walls, you can take not only burnt bricks, but also raw bricks.
Together with the brickwork of the oven, after 2/3 of its height, lay the raw blocks in columns, observing the gaps between them and taking into account the slope of 30 ° C. With such an inclination, gradually laying the walls and raw, you will get a chimney. The stove will be more efficient if you make it high, as the exhaust gases will create more warm air.
You can install a pipe on the stove – the draft will be better. After the final laying out of the walls and raw materials, treat the stove with clay mortar. Cover the opening that you left for the firebox with a door.
As for the firebox, it can be made inside or in front of the stove. If the stove is large, you can make more fireboxes.
The bottom of the furnace (BODY) is covered with a layer of crushed stone about 10 cm.
Furnace construction Method 2
If you will burn a small amount of brick, then for this you can use a regular barrel with a capacity of 250 liters.
Cut out the bottom of it and place it on legs (0.2 m high) over the fire. The pit for the fire pit must be at least 0.5 m deep. Such masonry will contribute to uniform heating of the raw material. To prevent cold air from entering the barrel during firing, cover it with a cut-out bottom.
More detailed recommendations on the firing sequence of raw materials and temperatures will be described below.
Both in the first and in the second method of constructing a furnace, the same rules for firing raw materials apply. You can burn it both on wood and on coals.
At the first stage, the bricks are dried. It lasts from 20 to 40 hours at temperatures up to 120 °. Then, on a low heat (from 600 to 650 ° C), the raw material is kept for 30–40 hours. The fire is gradually brought to 900–1100 ° C. This temperature will give the product not only heat resistance and strength, but also increase resistance when soaked in water. The final stage lasts from 25 to 30 hours at the maximum temperature reached.
During firing, remember that extreme temperature fluctuations are unacceptable. Ready bricks can be removed only after complete cooling. On average, the cooling process lasts 40-50 hours.
If you notice that the lower rows of masonry do not fire well, and the fire goes along the top of the stove, most likely you have not distributed the fuel correctly. Make the rows of masonry denser.
If there are a lot of cracks on the product, discharge the cage. Perhaps you also allowed a sharp temperature drop.
If the finished brick has enlarged and begun to collapse, the problem lies in the white inclusions of limestone contained in the clay used. Replace the material, or grind it more thoroughly.
The scratches on the brick indicate an artificial intervention in the cooling process, as a result of which it happened too quickly.
If the brick is weak (breaks, crumbles), it is possible that the raw material was affected by an excess of vapor condensation (parking occurred). Extend the drying time of the workpieces.
If the brick is not burnt or burnt in some places, you have made too sparse or too dense masonry. There may have been a failure in the traction system of the oven. If the raw corners are beaten off, try to be more careful with the workpiece at all stages of processing.
- When constructing the oven, fire precautions must be taken into account. Do not place the oven near wooden structures and flammable objects.
- Choose a place to build the stove so that you have maximum visibility during work.
- Check ventilation if necessary before starting work.
- Avoid sudden temperature fluctuations during firing.
- Monitor cooling rate and final temperature.
- Do not open the oven ahead of time.
- Do not touch hot stove surfaces.
- Keep children out of the oven.
- Do not throw explosive objects into the building.
- Decide on the sequence of actions.
- In case of emergency, check escape routes and first aid kit.
When finished, take one of the bricks. Hit it lightly with a hammer. If the brick is the same on all sides, without damage, evenly burned, does not crumble and rings on impact, then you have successfully coped with the work and have seen from your own experience that it is quite possible to make a brick with your own hands.published by econet. ru
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How to make a brick with your own hands, Brick from clay and straw
How to make a brick with your own hands? It depends on what kind of brick, since a great many of them have been invented – raw and fired for the oven, elite decorative and with the addition of manure. But the basic technology for various bricks still has more similarities than differences: first, the composition of the mixture is selected according to the availability of materials in a given area, the recipe is refined and raw materials are harvested. For example, for the construction of a house, clay bricks require a very large amount of refractory quarry slate clay, while adobe bricks require clays with slightly different qualities and a specially prepared chopped straw filler. Then they knead, achieve uniformity and plasticity of the mass, mold, fire or dry the brick. Hand-molded bricks are made piece by piece and used for artistic decoration, and bricks for a fence or a shed can be made with your own hands from clay and sand. Nowadays, many secrets of the old masters have been lost, but interest in natural building materials is steadily growing: for example, in adobe construction.
Bricks made of clay and straw are often called adobe bricks, and straw (chopped wood, moss, sawdust and shavings, cut reeds or chopped fiber of natural insulation, etc.) is used as a heater. The binder in adobe bricks is clay; additions of quartz sand, peat or manure in a naturally wet state are also required. To make adobe stronger, cement and lime binders (fluff) are added to the batch at a modern private construction site.
Manure (or peat) for adobe is not a filler or a replaceable additive, but a stabilizing agent, and if it is difficult to get cow (horse) manure, then a special humus is prepared to replace it. The process is similar to building a compost heap, but the raw materials are taken very wet (vegetable tops and peelings, grass and leaves, various succulent weeds) and mixed with a viscous clay solution. Readiness of the stabilizer in normal conditions of heat and moisture – in about 3-4 months. Saman is the oldest invention of our ancestors and an excellent, warm home for modern followers of green technologies. Externally, an adobe house can be a barn, or it can be the height of aesthetics.
Stir adobe with feet in pits or large containers like bathtubs. There are special devices – soil mixers, similar to miniature concrete mixers.
Drying of adobe also has its own peculiarities: the brick is dried flat for three days, and then on its side, and every 2-4 days the bricks are turned over to the other side. In winter, drying adobe in the middle lane is impossible; for high-quality bricks, it is necessary to equip a heated enclosed space.
Clay and sand brick
For a good clay and sand brick, the most important condition for success is the availability of suitable clay. Clay for ordinary red brick should be sufficient, but not excessively greasy, but check the clay for fat content in several ways – visually, making a lump in the palm of your hand and observing its “behavior” when falling from a height and squeezing; pancakes with a diameter of 10 cm are molded and after special drying without atmospheric water and sun, they are tested for cracks – this is a standard way to test clays.
At a private construction site, it makes sense to make clay bricks in large volumes, having previously made a series of tests: they check the quality of the mixture of clay and sand at each stage of brick molding and drying, and make adjustments to the selection of the clay / sand composition. Clay bricks at home can only be made of two types – raw and baked bricks. But this is quite enough for any buildings on the site, decor and landscaping. Brick without firing is cheap and suitable for small buildings, fences, arbors, small forms.
The fired bricks of the craftsmen’s own product are not inferior to factory bricks and are suitable for building a house. Various types of hand-made bricks and hand-molded tiles are made piece by piece and sometimes have considerable value. Home bricks can be made in any size, but the time-tested standard form 250 * 120 * 65 mm always justifies itself. In homemade brick molds, you can make equipment for voids – conical or rectangular ledges. Such a brick is lighter without sacrificing strength, since it adheres well to mortar, is more convenient in masonry and requires significantly less raw materials. Considering that native clay is extremely laborious to prepare and expensive to buy in large quantities, many craftsmen prefer to mold hollow bricks.
Sawdust and cement bricks
Such bricks are usually called arbolite. In terms of technology, these bricks are one of the most difficult, since they require a number of conditions to be met in the preparation of wood filler:
For arbolite bricks, only fine, thin sawdust is needed. Chips are crushed before neutralization. Arbolit on small fillers is solid, connected and durable while maintaining some plasticity.
Simplicity of preparation of sawdust for wood concrete and low cost is a plus, in addition, bricks can be pressed from wood concrete “for oneself”, that is, in individual forms and of the desired size, the standard maximum dimension of blocks is from 200 to 300 mm in height and width; and 500 mm in length.