Craft:Brick and tile making
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Bricks are blocks of earth that are used to build a variety of buildings. Bricks are fired to increase their strength and prevent erosion, although in some poor lands in the Khinasi they are simply dried in the sun for lack of firewood or other material to burn. These sun-hardened bricks do not generally last long except in the driest areas. Bricks are generally made anywhere that the stone is of poor quality or hard to extract. Brick homes, like homes of stone, are more expensive than homes of wood but last longer and are more robust.
Bricks are best made from the correct mix of clay, sand, and other grades of earth. The correct mix is key, for too much clay will cause the brick to crack when fired, and too much sand will cause it to crumble or fail to hold together at all. Some Khinasi sun-fired bricks add straw to help bind the brick together.
- The first step of brick making is puddling, the earth, clay, sand, etc is mixed together and a small amount of water added. The mix is then trampled together until it has a smooth consistency.
- The second step is to force the mix into moulds slightly larger than the desired bricks. Generally the clay mix is rolled into a rectangular shape (or whatever brick shape is desired) and cut to fit the mould before being pressed into the mold itself, this pre-shaping ensures that the mould is completely filled. Once filled, the excess clay is trimmed of with a wire bow or a damp stick. Two methods may be used to prepare the mould before adding the clay, sand moulding involves brushing the interior with sand to clean it, the other involves using water ? the later is called slop moulding and is used less often as the bricks take longer to dry.
- The third step is to leave the bricks out to dry somewhere hot and dry in Khinasi lands this may take 1-2 weeks and bricks are often piled out in the open (with gaps in the pile to allow air to circulate). In the Rjurik Highlands and Brechtur the bricks are kept under cover and the drying can take a month.
- The fourth step is to fire the bricks. There are two typical methods for the firing, firing with wood or with Charcoal.
- In the wood method the a stack (called a clamp) of bricks is built in which the bricks are criss-crossed to leave cavities for air passage and at ground level on the windward side of the stack. The stack is then plastered with mud, except for fireplaces (of no more than a yard across) and some small vents at the top on the leeward side for the smoke to escape. Well-dried wood is then placed in the fireplace and kept burning for a week. The method is common only where wood is cheap and plentiful as the firing uses a great deal of it.
- The second method uses charcoal. A clamp of bricks is built, but with wider spaces than the wood method. Charcoal is then laid in the spaces between the bricks. When the clamp is at least seven feet high (and as long or wide as is desired) it is plastered with mud. As wth the wood method small holes are left in the mud at the top on the leeward side to allow the smoke to escape, and slightly larger holes at the bottom on the windward side to draw the fresh air in. The charcoal is lit, and will burn for several days, after a week or so the clamp will be cool enough to break open.
Note. Wheelbarrows designed to carry bricks are side-less to make it easier to load and unload the bricks.
Tiles are thin, flat bricks, they re often shaped with lips or curves that allow tiles to inter-lock if the tile is intended to go on a roof ? pantiles for example are curved twice, half the tile is placed over a man's thigh and folded over the contour, then the tile is reversed and the fold repeated resulting in a tile which has one convex and one concave curve, these can then easily be formed into inter-locking tiers for a roof preventing any water from entering the structure.
Tiles are fired in a kiln to maximise the firing temperature and make the tiles as hard and impervious as possible. When the kiln is hot, salt is thrown into the fire, the resulting gas then hardens the surface of the tile and glazes it. Tiles are often hardened on only one side in this fashion, particularly tiles that are to be laid on a floor.
Tiles for use inside wealthier homes are often glazed or painted to add colours, or have embossed or sunken designs. A favoured Khinasi trick for tiles on exterior walls is to add mica or quartz dust to the tile mix to create tiles that sparkle in the bright sunlight.
, 05-02-2010 at 09:14 AM|
Last edited by , 10-23-2011 at 01:53 PM
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