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Fire Clay in Canada

 
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Has anyone on the east side of Canada, Ontario or Quebec have a source for fire clay. Or is it called something else here because I can't find it anywhere. The best I can do is a pottery place that is high quality clay and very $$$$. I just want a bag of regular fire clay like the kind i see everyone use in the U.S. and widely availability at their big box stores. Why can't I find any here. Canadians please help me.
 
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Hi Anomika;  
While I don't have any direct information for you I do have some suggestions.

The best place to locate fire clay is at a masonry supply house. The kind that real masons use , not the fancy showroom that can order stuff. They should sell bricks , sand , fire bricks , fire clay, refractory cement.    Any large city should have one.
Next is small rural hardware stores will often keep a few sacks on hand for fireplace builders or repairs.

Locate a mason in your area. Look online or in a phone book for the masons union.  
Fireplace builders are another place to check. Call them up and ask where they get theirs... or maybe if they have an extra sack or two they might sell.

Big box stores in the US may carry or can order some in but it costs more.

Lincoln 60 is the brand most common out west. I pay from $7 - $24 for a 50# sack   $10 is most common.
Hawthorn fire clay is the another well known brand.
There may be more.

 
pollinator
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try these guys. if its not on the website call them they will point you in the right place. I bought ceramic blanket and castable refractory cement from them...
https://canadianforge.com/collections/refractory-supplies
 
Anomika Anderson
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Thanks David. Even if they don't have it. I found something else I want. KAST-O-LITE 30 LI PLUS - INSULATING CASTABLE REFRACTORY!!... OOOOOOHH AHHHHHHH.
 
Anomika Anderson
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Still no fire clay anywhere. Local company who only deals b2b apparently has it for sale but they are rude and plus they don't sell to individuals. I really don't have the space or time to screen my own clay if I was able to find it. Is this crazy that I think i need to ship a heavy bag of material that is abundantly all around us??? It must be for sale somewhere. I can buy potters clay but it's very pricey. Might be cheaper then shipping heavy bags of fire clay. IDK.
 
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Hi Anomika,   I know its often harder to find certain things in Canada that are easily available in stores across the USA. It really sucks! But don't give up!
I know you said you don't have the time or space but you may be surprised on both accounts how to get whatever amount of local free clay you will ever need....bucket by bucket if you have to. Snoop around construction or excavation sites, road cuts where the bank is exposed and talk to people who know the area. Strange as it sounds, its actually kind of fun to go on a clay hunt!
I remember thinking I would never find some myself in an area that seemed to only have silt, gravel and rock. When I finally found some, I almost crapped my pants and was embarrassed how I had driven by this road cut thousands of times and never knew! Anyways, good luck on your quest and hope you find some soon.

 
Anomika Anderson
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I haven't stopped looking. I thought I had hit the jackpot and spent several days lugging buckets of the stuff home. Washed it, screened it only to find out it was slite. (i think that is the name) basically very small sand. It looks and feels like clay but lacks the properties of actually clay and didn't work. Then I had to get rid of the stuff. And without having a large property to just toss it. dumping it became almost as hard as getting it here. Live and learn. Next time I will test a small amount before I got bringing backbreaking buckets of it home.
 
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thanks for the helpful info on the refractory cement, i finally found a manufacturer in canada, Target, here is the link to the product https://www.targetproducts.com/portfolio-item/ciment-fondu/
hope this helps!
 
Anomika Anderson
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This is not fire clay. it's calcium aluminate cement. which is interesting, so thanks, but i'm really looking for the safe, plain old clay you pull out of the ground. I know it exists because you can buy truck loads of topsoil, sand, gravel, all which have had the clay removed. So where did it go? I contacted one company with this question and indicated they had clay to sell, but then refused to talk to me because i wasn't a company. It looks like if i want to buy clay here, i'll have to open a phony brick shell company.
 
thomas rubino
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Or go for a ride on a forest road.  
Creeks are another place to find free clay.
Visit a large farm, they could easily have a clay bog on large acreage.
Not the boss but a worker on the provincial road crew could know where to find some.
A small contractor digging foundations...
Its out there someplace and its free!
 
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Check Plainsman Clays. They are located in Alberta but I think they have dealers a bit all over the place.
 
Anomika Anderson
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I have checked them, however it's very expensive. This is high quality pottery clay. i'm looking for cheap bags like 4 bucks of fire clay like they sell in the u.s. at their hardware stores. Perhaps I should call the manufactures and see if i can get a hardward store here to start carrying. I mean, i'm busy right. I don't have time dragging buckets of dirt home just to find out its slite. and i really don't have time call all these manufactures and hardward stores to try to get a product. So, i gave in and i'm building it out of brick. I too old and too busy to care anymore. if the brick manufactures have managed to make sure no one in canada gets their hands on clay so they can bind us to buying from them. i really don't care. they win. it's not exactly what i wanted. but hey, i'm learning how to lay brick. I"m still looking for bags of clay if anyone finds any, or if anyone else wants to go thru the effort of breaking the embargo on clay. I will gladly support you.
 
Steven McKraken
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Ok. Well I know Plainsman carries the bags of fire clay. That is where I got mine. Their main business is pottery clays but they do mine the fire clay too.
 
pollinator
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You can check if it is silt or clay very easily and quickly. put a tiny bit in your mouth, if it feels smooth it is clay if it feels gritty it is silt.
 
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I am in Ottawa. also looking for fire clay. This area has lots of clay, but it's wet. Do I use it wet?
 
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Hi Brian,

Welcome to Permies!
 
thomas rubino
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Hi Brian;  Yes, you certainly can use wet clay.  After all if you had dry fireclay you would add water to it.
First thing is to determine how "pure" your clay is.   Roll some in your palms into a snake.  Does it stay together?  Are there rocks in it? Is there other material? Is it perhaps sandy clay? Or very rocky dirty clay? A good clay will form a snake that stays together and is flexible.  There are places where the clay sand ratio is perfect as it comes from the ground... very rare...one can hope.
You have options at this point of drying your clay out to screen it or adding sand and mixing.
The common mix of clay and sand is one part clay to three parts of rough sand.
The question now becomes where you are wanting to use this mortar(cob).  Are you building the mass with it ? Or are you mortaring the core together?
If you are mortaring bricks there must be no rocks, only clay and grains of sand. It must be screened and clean!
If you are making cob for mass then it becomes almost easy. Small rocks, other detritus material , dirt , sticks its all ok.   If your doing a mass the cob is strictly to fill air space between the large rock that is your real mass.

Is this your first build? We would be happy to help guide you if you like.
 
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I don't know if looking into a landscaping materials company would be of benefit. Perhaps they sell clay by the truckload, and maybe even deliver? Just a thought.
 
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