I have been hunting for clay sources, and cannot seem to locate any. Our property is comprised entirely of "Silt Loam", with a layer of clay over a foot down. Our place is smallish, and I can't bring myself to dig a big hole in the middle of the yard to harvest clay, so it has to come from elsewhere. I called a friend of mine, who owns a topsoil and landscaping company, to ask if she has clay for sale. She said that she has what they would call a "clayish silt". Is silt a suitable medium for cob? I have read conflicting ideas about this on the web. Should I just go ahead and try the snake test/ball test/settle test, or is it obviously a bad idea and not worth the experiment? I am a total cob noob.
You can refine your silt/clay mixture to remove the silt, if need be. Just get your mud good and agitated and pour it into some container with a leaky bottom. The silt will settle out first, and then when the water has mostly drained out, you can scrape cleaner clay off the top. Remember, this is playing in the mud, not rocket science. A little bit of silt is not going to ruin your mudpie, but only through the experience of working with it are you going to discover how to get what you want. It's definitely worth the experiment.
Lauren : I have to remind myself just how big Montana is, it really seems like a hot bed of R.M.H. builds ! Your true test will be with the test bricks that you make,
if you drop them from waist high and they only chip your silt content is low enough, a brick that shatters or crumbles, or can be easily turned back into powder when
rubbed against another brick is also a major fail!
You can try calling a Excavation Contractor, and explain that you want clean fill, it will get you past the secretary to the boss, tell them it's an art project and you are
willing to come and get it yourself ! Hope this helps ! For the Good of the Craft ! As always, your comments and questions are solicited and are Welcome ! Pyro AL
Success has a Thousand Fathers , Failure is an Orphan