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Tobias Brace
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Location: Colorado
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So I have a grey clay in my yard that I am told is shale. It tests pretty good, roll, wrap etc. but I wanted to get some insight from the experts as to if this was okay to use or not.
 
thomas rubino
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Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Tobias; You need to make some practice bricks to see how well they hold together.
 
allen lumley
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Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Tobias Brace : Welcome to Permies.com our sister site richsoil.com, and a big welcome to the Rocket and wood Stoves Forum Threads! You can expect to
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Tobias Brace
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Location: Colorado
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Thanks Al,,
 
Tristan Vitali
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Location: south-central ME, USA - zone 5a/4b
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I remember reading elsewhere on the board that gray/blue clay (bentonite) isn't so great - think there was video from ernie and erica related to this as well. The issue is cracking as it responds more dramatically to heating/cooling cycles. I too have a lot of gray clay derived from shale here and there's some in my mix - I've seen quite a bit of cracking around the barrel and over the manifold as well as around my burn tunnel/feed tube where the perlite insulation was a bit thin and I'm sure it's the gray clay doing it's thing. Overall, if you have enough of other types of clay, you should be ok as long as it's mixed out well. Straight gray/blue clay would probably not work out too great.

Here on my property, it's a 1-3" layer of the stuff pretty much right at the surface, then mixed out between gray and reddish clays as you go down another 2 to 4 feet. I've yet to find the bottom of my very heavy clay (something like 90-95% by jar test, and yes, property is WET) but it seems most of the bentonite-esque clays are closer to the surface.

As others said, test bricks will help - make sure to do some thermal shock tests on your bricks as well though. Heat them up to a few hundred degrees and let them cool off a few times so you know how it will react to normal cycling.
 
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