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Rocket Powered Brick Kiln??

 
Posts: 91
Location: Eastern Ontario
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One of my long term permaculture projects is to get a 2-3 acre pond excavated in a field that I know sits on nice blue bentonite clay. The pond will provide me with fish and water for animals and irrigation should I ever need it.

So the question is what to do with all that clay. Would nt it be nice to to turn that clay into bricks and roofing tiles? I should have enough clay there to make all the bricks for my barn's foundation., and maybe tile the roof as well. This video gave me the idea that it should be possible to develop a rocket stove brick kiln -- he says they already make ceramics in his rocket stove pizza oven.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VypiS5X31aA#t=56

Has anyone ever turned their minds to a designing rocket brick kiln? For me a fairly small one of 100 brick/batch would be most manageable but in the developing world I belive a lot of wood gets burnt inefficiently making bricks. A rocket brick kiln could save a lot of trees .

 
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Posts: 244
Location: near Houston, TX; zone 8b
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Jeff,

All that nice Bentonite clay is keeping your pond from leaking. So, if you remove too much of it, you probably will loose the water in the pond. An outfit in Texas sells Bentonite clay for the very purpose of putting in the bottom of ponds. It expands something like 17 times (if I remember correctly) from its dry volume to its wet volume.

This expansion rate is probably what keeps Bentonite from being a popular brick making clay.

We did build a fireclay brick lined kiln for the purpose of drying out our castings. It's pretty big; it uses a 6" burn tunnel. Meybe we should have used an 8". We haven't worked with it closely enough to see how hot we can get it inside and how closely we could regulate its temperature. We just put our burn tunnels and other castings in there and keep the fire burning for a day. It goes to 250°F easily. We think that in order to produce temps a lot higher than that, we would probably have to augment with propane.
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Jeff Marchand
Posts: 91
Location: Eastern Ontario
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Thanks Cindy,

your comment about bentonite being not suitable for brickmaking made me think hmm do I really have it? I found a Govt of Ontario report on clay resources in the province and apparently my area has something called Champlain clay deposited by an ancient inland sea. It is not bentonite. I thought it was since it was blueish. The report says it has been used to make drainage tiles and flowerpots. I also says "the clay fuses at a cone of 03". I have no idea what that means but if they can make flowerpots and drainage tiles with it I will try to bake bricks with it.

Thanks for sharing pics of your kiln. What are you using as spacers? Bricks?

I plan on buying one of your Dragon heaters this summer. I have been emailing Sandra. I plan on using brick as a decorative veneer. Too bad my home made bricks are years away.
 
Cindy Mathieu
Posts: 244
Location: near Houston, TX; zone 8b
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My understanding is that a cone of 03 is not very hot, so it would be easy to attain. I read a little about cones and the glazes usually require cones of 10 or more. It has to do with how hot for how long and there really are cones that you put in the kiln to see how the various parts of your kiln are doing.

We are using pieces of vermiculite board as spacers, since we have leftovers from the heat risers.

Glad to hear you are going to buy one.
 
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