written by: Suvo•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 9/22/2010
This clay brickmaking guide will show you how to make clay bricks in six simple steps.
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Red clay bricks have been in use for quite some time now. You will usually find this procedure is mainly for building adobe. Bricks cover up the major portions of the building walls. Continue reading to discover the six steps involved in clay brickmaking:
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Soil testing: You need to test the soil from which you plan to prepare the brick. The proportion of sand to clay in the soil should not be more than 50% (minimum 30%). But how to test that? A simple method is to mix 10 teaspoons of the soil to a glass of clean water, stir it completely, and keep it overnight. You will see two clear layers of clay and sand. From the size of each layer you can find out the proportion.
Prepare the mold: Wooden (ideally beech wood) planks and nails are used to prepare brick molds. The standard size of a brick is 14" x 10" x 4". You can make molds for single brick as well as multiple bricks.
Prepare the clay: Dig the required amount of soil and ship it to the brickmaking site. Test if the soils need to be mixed with some additional amount of sand. Remember the sand plays an important role for removing the brick from the mold. Mix a sufficient amount of water to the soil to make it clay. The clay should be solid enough to hold its shape, but at the same time it should be liquid enough to fill in the mold.
Make the raw brick: Pour the prepared clay into the mold and let it set for half an hour. After that it should easily come out from the mold as raw brick.
Sun drying: The raw brick should be kept on dry sand in the sun for drying by solar energy. This is an important step for making adobe brick. Leave the brick until all the exposed edges become white. After that turn them on their edges. This whole process may take at least three weeks. The final moisture content of the adobe clay brick will be around 10-15%. At this point, the adobe bricks will be ready to use.
Fire Drying: In case you want to make fired red clay bricks, you need to cure the brick in a oven (kiln) under 1800 degrees Fahrenheit temperature for seven more days.
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Brickmaking is an ancient art. If you want to make your own homemade clay bricks, then it is better that you use sun-dried adobe technique. This is simpler because a special oven (kiln) is required to make fired red clay bricks.