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fire brick

Jim Lea


Joined: Aug 01, 2011
Posts: 114
Location: Southern Sierra Nevada's
Ace hardware here in town is going out of business. Good people and a bummer to see them go. But they had fire brick on sale for .53 cents a brick. He swore up and down its fire brick. Brand is Pacific and it is called fireback.
So... I'm all excited and bust out my RMH book by Inato and see that he is using a much larger brick that is blonde in color. My Ace owner said that they make it in reds too. Mine is a typical "brick" size. About 4x3x9 (w,h,l). Close anyway. I don't feel like getting up to find a tape and go measure.

Finally my question. Did I get taken? Or, is this the real thing? I have only seen fire brick in tan and beige colors before this. I took a bit of a gamble. My fear was that it might be bought before I got back. So I plunged in.
Jim


CA, Southern Sierras, alt. 4550 feet, zone 9ish. (still figuring it out), 3 mo. grow season. Regular wind to 20 mph. SANDY soil with scrub oak,pine,and juniper. 2 seasonal creeks.
Daniel Truax


Joined: Jan 07, 2012
Posts: 61
They do make red, black, brown, grey and they typical blond firebrick.

Firebrick usually has really square edges, that chip easily, and the sides are much straighter & smoother than clay brick.

Typical N. American regular brick is 8x4x2¼. Typical firebrick is 9x4.5x2 or 2¼ with split brick & again the thickness.

So it could be legit, if so get it all and sell the rest you don't need to others on craigslist.

-Dan.
dan murf


Joined: Feb 17, 2012
Posts: 50
Location: Michigan West Side
I just recently bought some cheap Firebrick. I could easily tell because of the weight of them. I think it was half that of a normal brick. The lighter the brick the higher the heat they can handle but more fradgle they become.
Murf


"to Tinker or not to tinker, that is the question!"
If you build it better than the one profiting from it, don’t tell them, they'll get pissed! "I challenge anyone to challenge me" ... Murf! "I am responsible for the comment in this comment section"
Ken Peavey
steward

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2092
Location: FL
    
  49
At 53¢ each I'd buy every one they had.

Color is not so important if your objective is function. Colors come from additives and inclusions. Perhaps the clay used in the blend had a bit more iron. Whats important is the alumina content. Ace has a pretty good reputation. If they call it firebrick, it probably is. If you want confirmation, call the company to find out the brick temperature rating.

There are insulating firebrick out there. Light as a feather, yet withstands tremendous heat without fracture.

3 years ago I found a source of firebrick for a buck each. Bought them all-700 pieces. A month later, sold 200 on Craigslist for $3 each.

Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas.
http://farmwhisperer.com
Ernie Wisner
volunteer

Joined: Oct 16, 2009
Posts: 788
Location: Tonasket washington
    
  23
Common or fire brick that is a good price.


Need more info?
Ernie and Erica
Wood burning stoves, Rocket Mass Heaters, DIY,
Stove plans, Boat plans, General permiculture information, Arts and crafts, Fire science, Find it at www.ernieanderica.info


Jim Lea


Joined: Aug 01, 2011
Posts: 114
Location: Southern Sierra Nevada's
Thanks for the feedback guys. I bought a pallet of 336. At that price. In a week I think they may go down to .35. I'll buy a thousand more at that price. If I feel I can move them on Craigslist. First ill do as mentioned and get some info from the Mfg.
Thanks again,

Jim
Jim Lea


Joined: Aug 01, 2011
Posts: 114
Location: Southern Sierra Nevada's
Okay,

Did some looking on the pacific clay site it says that the brick meets ASTM C-1261-10 standards. I looked that up and see that in fact that standard is written for residential fire brick used in a fire box...

I feel better having read your feed back and now seeing this standard. Now I have plenty of brick to start playing.

Ernie, if you read this, and you were me would you just make a heat rise out of brick and forgo the insulated steel riser? I know I loose a bit of performance but in your opinion is the convenience worth it? since I have the brick.

Jim
Ken Peavey
steward

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2092
Location: FL
    
  49
Those will be ideal for relining a wood stove-probably why Ace had them in stock. Residential firebrick will handle temperatures up to 1200-1500 degrees. They will serve well for woodstoves, brick ovens(!), rocket mass heaters, and fireplaces. Regular retail price would easily be in the $4-6 range. They will break easily, being made for heat rather than support, so stack them neatly. Most importantly: KEEP THEM DRY. Water is the enemy of firebrick. Wet fire brick will crumble when fired, can be soaked and dried repeatedly as long as it is bone dry when fired up. If you cover the brick with a tarp, it can hold in moisture. This might not be enough to soak the brick, but it can allow mold and mildew to grow. If you want to sell them, that mold and mildew can create an undesirable appearance. They need to be under a roof.

Congrats on your find. Hope it works for you.

Who would buy these:
masons who build brick ovens or masonry fireplaces
hobbyists involved with metalworking, blacksmithy, firing ceramics
fireplace/woodstove repair outfits
DIY folks
goofball permie types-be sure to post pictures of your completed project and mention you have surplus for sale.
makers of maple syrup or cane syrup
Jim Lea


Joined: Aug 01, 2011
Posts: 114
Location: Southern Sierra Nevada's
Good ideas on who to sell to Ken. Also I had not yet thought of making an oven with them. Just may do that. I remember seeing a brick pizza oven that was in a bee hive shape. It appealed to me at the time. It was on YouTube maybe three years ago. Time lapsed. May have to look into that.
You guys have been a help. Thanks for the input. I'll keep you posted as I work with it but have other pressing things to do first.

Jim
Ernie Wisner
volunteer

Joined: Oct 16, 2009
Posts: 788
Location: Tonasket washington
    
  23
yes by all means build it from brick. you dont lose much performance and it lights better because it stays warm longer.
Peter gallo


Joined: Dec 11, 2011
Posts: 35
Considering "ripping" the 12 used fire bricks I have with a wet saw... to 1-1/4" thickness. Any suggestions on strategic uses for them for RMH ? They are 4" x 8"... larger than the bricks I will use for the stove.

I already have the 1/2" thick chunk of steel for the heat riser, so I'm considering using them for the floor of stove, with a perlite mix insulation as the foundation. -Peter
Ernie Wisner
volunteer

Joined: Oct 16, 2009
Posts: 788
Location: Tonasket washington
    
  23
Ok folks Again the metal heat riser is an option...... thats all it is, it has up sides and down sides. the largest up is actually time building it the down is you will be replacing it in a few years. brick tends to be the exact opposite.

metal heats fast brick heats slow, metal loses heat fast and brick tends to hold it longer, metal will heat to temp then burn then melt. brick will get to temp and hold it for hours and its really really hard to melt bricks.

this insistence on the metal heat riser is really strange to me.
gani et se


Joined: Apr 24, 2011
Posts: 211
Location: Douglas County OR
    
    1
Thanks Ernie for talking about the metal heat riser. I have wondered whether it would be easier to "sell" an RMH to the building department as a masonry heater if it didn't have a metal barrel. Hmm, time for me to do a little research about masonry reg.s in douglas county.


Intermountain (Cascades and Coast range) oak savannah, 550 - 600 ft elevation. USDA zone 7a. Arid summers, soggy winters
Jim Lea


Joined: Aug 01, 2011
Posts: 114
Location: Southern Sierra Nevada's
Thanks for your thoughts on metal vs brick Erie. I guess I never would have even thought of metal for the heat riser if it had not show up on the back of Inato's book. I just re read it again last night to have the info fresh on my mind. There just is not much written about the pros or cons of the two. Your input here likely will save me time in the future having to replace metal

Thanks.
Jim Lea


Joined: Aug 01, 2011
Posts: 114
Location: Southern Sierra Nevada's
I'm a construction manager by day, but certainly not a mason. I totally understand the post above that mentioned keeping the brick dry. Makes sense. Moisture inside turns to steam and POP goes your brick.
Now... Inato says to soak the brick so the mortar does not dry to fast as the brick leeches it. Any of you a mason that knows? Maybe a quick dunk to wet the surface? Or a low slow first burn if this is even possible? Thus drying rather than cracking. Then get hotter burns later as they dry out?

Jim
Ken Peavey
steward

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2092
Location: FL
    
  49
I'm a foreman for a refractory contractor.
Firebrick does not absorb water like a sponge-it's not porous, but it will take in some water in the outer regions because of the structure of the crystals. Soaking the brick before mortaring offers little gain. There is enough liquid in the mortar to moisten the brick for a good bond. The only thing soaking will do is increase the curing time before you can fire it. If you want to work with it wet, a quick dunk will do or swipe it with a moist towel. Firebrick will be fine with water-it gets cuts with a wet saw. We wipe them with a cloth after cutting to sop up excess water. Once you go to firing you need it as dry as possible. Put a fan on it for a couple of days to help with drying-small enclosed spaces take a little longer.

If moisture is a concern you can apply a thin coating of your mortar to the surface exposed to flame. Mix a bit of your mortar with water to make a slurry, then brush it on the brick as if it was paint. The brick has a crystallized structure, the mortar does not-it will readily allow moisture to escape. What you end up with is a sacrificial layer. Heat from the first firing would pop off this layer while slowing down the heat transfer to the brick. This buys time for any remaining moisture in the brick to escape without eroding the surface of the brick. This method would not be advisable for an oven interior as the layer does not come off all at once, some will remain. Each firing would remove a little more, even if its bone dry, because the abuse of the flames will hammer it off-it will end up on your pizza. For a rocket mass heater, go for it.

Ernie Wisner
volunteer

Joined: Oct 16, 2009
Posts: 788
Location: Tonasket washington
    
  23
I just dip the brick in clay slip and build. We dont mortar fire brick as a rule. fire brick fits tight all by itself so its overkill to add mortar unless you are doing arches or something else that you need millions of tiny wedges. please remember mortar is not rock glue!
it is to hold things apart and act like wedges to give a good stable footing in the masonry. All of your brick work still must be built with the idea that gravity is your glue.
 
 
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