CtG

JABOD creation

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How did you cut the notches in your bricks?  I tried just chiseling off corners, and ended up with broken bricks, but you have a nice clean hole through the two of them...

 

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I started with a 1/2" masonry bit in my hand drill, then I hand-worked the openings with the corner of a sharp chisel bit- in my case, a rail spike. I used a 12oz ballpein to lightly strike the spike, with the edge canted slightly to only place the corner on the point needing removal. Be careful how you support the brick, and also be alert to how the stress forces may affect the brick. They are super brittle, so exercise patience and caution. You aren't removing chunks at a time, more like grains and chips. If my diesel mechanic hands can do it, so can you! 

 

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Good adobe is 1/3 clay and at least 1/2 sand. Put  subsoil in a jar, add water and shake. Let it settle and you can see the sand, clay and wilt settle out to judge how to amend it .

If you need durability and strength he addition of horse manure works well 

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In New Jersey in colonial times they used to mix animal hair into the plaster for greater strength.  A local house had some examined to see how much was things like domesticated animals and how much was game animals as an indication of farming and hunting at that place and time.

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Well I guess I’ve just got to make some bricks now... 

Irondragon: when you say 2:1 is that by volume or weight?  My father just reminded me this evening that I’ve got 30-40lbs of clay in their garage left over from college, and I’ve still got sand around from other projects. 

Edited by james austin

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The way we soften rock hard 25 pound blocks of clay is to put them in a large plastic bag (the bag they come in works if there are no holes) add a cup of clean water then put the bag of clay in a 5 gal bucket. Add water to the top of the block and let it sit for about a week. The outside of the bag water will exert pressure on the water inside the bag evenly and it will penetrate the clay better.

Charles is right about adding a little wood ash. In essence what you are making is fire clay.

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The learning! The learning! 

I have 2 buckets of clay-ish dirts, one from the shop and one from a customers excavator undercarriage haha

I did a bit of a wash experiment (3rd bucket with 1/3 "dirt" and 1/3 water) to get the detritus out of it, and am letting it settle now. It came out looking like slick, and my squirrel-cage mixer for my drill acted like a course mesh to isolate pebbles, leaves, and twigs. 

Is it necessary? I have no idea!! However by golly I'm giving it a shot! 

 

Pretty clear that I'm isolating the clay. No idea if I need to, but today's experiment was certainly worth the go. 

 

Anywho...

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On 1/14/2020 at 3:14 PM, ThomasPowers said:

In New Jersey in colonial times they used to mix animal hair into the plaster for greater strength

When I used to do fire demo/resto I would run into old horsehair plaster and lathe all the time. I hated to demo it. It gets so heavy after the fire department soaks it down. By the end of the day every shovelful would feel like it weighed a ton.  I don't think I could do ten or twelve hours of that anymore, I'd fall over dead.

Pnut

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CtG, we have an arroyo behind my next door neighbor's place and when it flows it leaves large puddles that dry up and make very large and thick clay plates as it cracks. I've collected a 55 gallon barrel of them for when I need a higher clay content than the soil has.

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