Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Making handmade bricks (part II)

Never got around to posting these. And I will be brief. Someday i will put it all together.
Digging the "clay" .  Truth be known it is more silty than clay.  It is what we have.  Willifred digging the clay and pounding into fine clumps.
We mix with about 40% volcanic sand.  Sifting out stones. 
What gets sifted out.  A stone in a raw brick will cause the brick to burst during  firing.
Stacking the bricks.  Black bricks are charcoal dust 'brickettes", our fuel source. 
more brickettes and you can see the sprinkling of the dust.

Close up of the sand.
The kiln is built up with measured charcoal dust between layers.  Kiln  is started  by firewood in the opening like in the old days.  using a pipe to push firewood way in on the second day.

After a few hours doors are closed up until folowing day.  then more firewood added.  sometimes air vents are left and sometimes it is closed up completely.

The first part is getting the moisture out of the bricks.  Above picture it is mostly steam rising out of the bricks.  It takes about 48 hours or more for the moisture to get out of the 28,000 bricks.  Then the heat needs to rise slowly up to 1300F

Look closely and you notice the heat waves on top.  this is about 3 meters high
Me standing on the wall looking down when the burnign has reached top


  1. Great post. Thought you might be interested in brick making in Mexico:


    and also:


    Keep up your good works.

    1. Thanks Ches for reading and thanks for the good links.

  2. Did you use any binder to hold together the charcoal dust in the charcoal dust briquettes?

    1. We dont add anything as binder, but there is some soil mixed in with the dust. That said they are delicated and easily fall apart. I would like to try molases and rotting plant material. I also have a wooden press but ...... time.

      That said I bought pressed sunflower cake (the waste product after extracting cooking oil). They make a pressed briquette. I was hesitant to try it as they sell by the ton and it seemed expensive. It is very hot and burns long! It will raise costs slightly but now i can almost get away from wood completely. I can throw them in the tunnels and they dont break. put small pieces around edges. smells good burning too.

  3. I am also trying to get away from using wood completely, thanx for the response.

    1. where are you located? you can email me erikrowberg at
      gmail dot com