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Firing fire bricks for a rocket stove  RSS feed

 
Jambo Reece
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Hi everyone

I'm struggling to get my fire bricks fired. Living in the city (london), most potters I know only have a small oven which they use for classes, and it's quite an undertaking for them to fire close to 100 bricks that I need. Plus, an exploding brick is far more damaging to their kiln than a piece of lightweight pottery, so I don't want to run the risk of damaging it.

I'm certain brick manufacturers in the UK make bricks in the tens of thousands, and won't be interested in firing mine.

So I'm kind of stuck. I spoke to a guy recently who said he made a stove from clay mixed with charcoal, and just let the heat of the fires eventually cook the surrounding clay, and burn out the charcoal. Is it an option to do this. i.e. fire your bricks whilst you're cooking?

Or can you suggest some other types of business who may be able to fire a small batch for me. I'm sure if I lived in the countryside it would be less of an issue, but if I'm going to disseminate the word of the rocket stove in cities, then this is a key issue I need to resolve.

Cheers
 
Satamax Antone
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Jambo, i think the easiest way, is to find salvage firebricks. Knowing UK, i'm prety sure there's some in a 50 mile radius, cheap enough, and in good condition, in suficient quantities. C'mon, you build everything out of bricks in uk.
 
Mike Cantrell
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London's a large place!

My town is only about 30,000 people, but we have two furnace companies. They build (and rebuild) industrial furnaces for businesses that heat things- platers, potters, heat-treaters, and so on.

In a place with such a rich industrial history as London, I'm certain there are similar outfits. And on the one hand, they may be willing to cook your bricks. On the other, they likely have a boneyard out back with great piles of used firebrick that you could have for a song.

It's another avenue to pursue!
 
Anne Christgau
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Good Morning from UK.
If you live in London everything is at a great price, you name it, you can get it but it will hit your pocket.
Salvage firebricks are expensive, although the more you buy the cheaper they are.
I live in South East London and most of the old buildings are made from yellow stock. Not much soft red around
and what there is is bought by architectural salvage companies.
Is it possible to make a temporary kiln that will last for one firing? Something simple enabling you to cook your bricks?

Good Luck and if I hear of anything will message you.

Anne
 
Jambo Reece
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Yeah, I know you would think London would have loads of places, but the historic manufacturing districts of London have long gone. Gentrification has seen bars and flats replacing any kind of practical businesses centrally. As Anne said, you can get anything you want in LOndon, delivered, but for a price. I think the fact is virtually no-one uses lightweight fire bricks, so they're a bit of a niche. I can buy house bricks for as little as 30 pence, but lightweight fire bricks average around £5 per brick once you factor in VAT and delivery.
I tried all the furnace manufacturers and kiln repair companies I could, but none of them had any seconds. I will probably build at least a couple of these stoves, and can't really afford £300 just on bricks for each stove. And using a potters kiln for 3 days would likely cost a similar amount.

I'll keep searching for used bricks, but I may have to go down the route of building my own kiln which is a step I didn't want to take right now.

The other option which I'm swaying more towards is using the firing of the oven to bake the bricks. This would be so simple. My friend claims his one works, but he lives miles away from me so I can't see it, but he's told me how he made it.

All I want to know is, what problems could this cause? Would the bricks not fire completely? And even if they didn't, would it matter? So long as the charcoal burned out, and the brick doesn't crumble, maybe this would work?

Cheers
 
Mike Cantrell
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The downside you'd be trying to avoid is big cracks in the bricks. That would let room air into your fire where you didn't intend (suboptimal) or let fire exhaust out into your room (dangerous).

Try it!
 
Jambo Reece
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Ok. Well I don't want to lose efficiency in any case, but this is an outside stove to replace my barbeque so the safety question not so important. As you say, best thing to do is try. I don't have many other options right now
 
Glenn Herbert
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The biggest issue with firing your bricks in place in an outdoor installation is that the outer surfaces will not get hot enough to turn from clay to brick, thus they will melt if they ever get wet. If you can insulate around these proto-firebricks, though, you may be able to get the whole brick hot enough to be water-resistant. The one part where you will not be able to get hot enough is near the entrance to the feed tube. In that location, though, you will need strong, abrasion-resistant bricks more than soft insulating bricks, so purchasing bricks for the areas that will be scraped by wood will give much better longevity. Just surround the abrasion-resistant bricks with plenty of insulation.
 
terry jones
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why not just skip firebricks and go to castable refractory?
 
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