Wildcat Creek Brick Company

Saturday, January 24, 2009

More bricks pressed

With the warmer temps here lately, I have managed to press another 38 bricks for the furnace.

I am trying a different red stain mix on some of the brick faces. Its a mix of redwwod deck stain like before, a small amount of yellow water based paint and a couple table spoonfulls of portland cement. I want to see if it helps give the face of the brick a harder, sealed surface than just using the red stain alone would.
Im also messing around again with the ingredients on a few sample bricks. So far Ive settled on a mix of about 50% brown clay, 40% sifted creek sand, and 10% portland cement.
For the test sample I have went with 25% brown clay, 25% yellow clay, 40% sand and 10% portand cement. The yellow clay comes from the same hillside but its in a seperate band Ive uncovered below the brown clay. It seems to be stickier than the brown is and I want to see if it will be more water resistant mixed into the brick. I will let you know my findings.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Brickmaking in Carroll County Indiana

Found this photo looking thru the historical files online for Carroll County. This photo was labeled to be from around 1882. The bricks were being made for local construction projects.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Xenia schoolhouse.

This little old schoolhouse is only about 5 miles from my home. It is at a crossroads of two rural county roads and the only thing left of the small town of Xenia in Carroll county, Indiana. What I find interesting is that it is so small, yet a two story structure. Why was it made this way? Most schoolhouses of the time were bigger one room, one floor structures. Any thought as to that? Ive seen the map for this town in an old book my dad has for Carroll county. If I can find the picture of the old plate map for the town of Xenia, I will post it here for you to see.

Another thing I noticed. Ive seen this before on other old brick buildings. The brick about a foot above the ground is weathered and peeling away. Im sure its from the cold and water freezing in the brick. But why at that exact height? Why not all the way to the ground? I know that when I build my garage with my brick, I will have a concrete wall from the foundation slab up about 1.5 to 2 feet so I can avoid this brick damage. Anyone out there that can explain more about why it happens like it does here?

I put this post together from memory of when I was a kid and had seen the old maps of the county. I couldnt find the books so far and was starting to doubt myself. I went online searching for info on the town of Xenia in Democrat township of Carroll county. On all of the later maps, say maybe 1880's and later, Xenia doesnt exist. But on one map it showed the image of a town layout at the crossroad where Xenia was without labeling it as such. Then I finally came across an older map from 1852 which vindicated my childhood memory. There it was printed out, Xenia!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Building the inside brick arch.

I used an old water pressure tank as my arch form.

I had some trouble pulling the old tank out the next day. It had gotten stuck where the welded beads of the tank rubbed against the bricks. I was finally able to wiggle it out without cracking any of the bricks or mortar joints. Lucky me.

I still have alot of mortar work left to do on the inside of it. But it will have to wait for the weather to warm back up some. Next few days are gonna be below zero with wind chill.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Furnace bricklaying progress and other stuff.

I layed another course of bricks and set the crossbars for the steel grate into the mortar.

Here are views from outside the old shed.

These are my other toys I will be using to build my garage this spring.
Frontloader bulldozer
And mixers.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Radial brick progress

The first batch of pressed earth radial chimney bricks are partially cured and hard enough to handle now. So I thought I would lay them out in a circle to get a feel for how they will look in the chimney this spring.

The steel ring in the inside diameter is about 14" dia. It takes 8 bricks to make one ring thick at that diameter. I have some room for adjusting their positions to make larger and smaller ring diameters. The base of the chimney will be this thickness and will taper as it gets taller. I am thinking of the top having an inside diameter of about 10". To do that I will have to use some half bricks with the others to get a smaller circle. If I do it right, it should be a smooth transition from big to small at the top.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My brick furnace plans and more examples

Here are my early plans for my aluminum melting furnace made out of my bricks.

It has the furnace inside the barn and the chimney outside with a brick duct passing thru the wall to the outside. The firbox is below and the heated chamber is above.

I found this outdoor brick oven furnace surfing the internet. It was made out of compressed earth bricks much like I am doing. It is alot of the inspiration for my version.

I really love the look of these old towering chimneys!

My chimney will be much shorter than these 100+ foot tall monsters. Im thinking at most about 20 feet tall.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Pressing radial bricks

Before I ever can begin on my garage, I still have to finish my brick aluminum casting furnace first. I want to build the brick chimney for the furnace like a scaled down version of the old time round ones factories had. To do that I need to make special bricks called "radials".

They are curved on at least their outer face. Usually also taper inward from the outside to the inside circumferance of the brick chimney diameter. That way the mortar joints will be more of a normal thickness when the bricks are layed out in a circle.

I dont want to have to build another press just for the radials. I came up with the idea of just adding a steel insert to divide the brick into parts to get a usable curved shape. It worked! I didn't bother curving the inside brick face, though I could have if I wanted to bother with the extra shim work.

I made up a removable curved 'frog' insert for the radials also. The frog helps with the bonding of the bricks with the mortar joints.

Here is the finshed product. Just needs to cure out and dry. Also needs stained to the desired red color I want. I dont really like the dryed clay brown color these bricks end up with.

Here is a batch of them to expiriment with the layout.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

More bricks

I took the time to photograph the brick entrance building at the Frankfort, Indiana 4H fairgrounds today.

The brickwork is very much in the style I wish to build my garage in.

It looks to be very old. Im guessing sometime after the Civil War, 1860s or 70s. I noticed that the bricks themselves are larger than normal red bricks of the time usually are. That too is like what I want to do in my construction work.

I really love the archwork! Maybe I will be able to do that over my garage doors and windows.

I had some time to lay another course of bricks on the chimney too. Notice the opening for the ash cleanout door. I plan to fill the center with concrete up to the level at the base of that door.