Among the various brick products are soft-mud, stiff-mud bricks or wire-cut, dry pressed bricks, and sand-lime bricks.
Stiff-mud brick are made with either clay or ground shale, and tempered to a stiff consistency when adding water. The bricks can be made in nearly any size and when mixed with water will form a stiff mud brick. The brick will feel dry to the touch and must be void of water prior to placing in the kiln.
- The bricks are manually stacked. Then they are transferred to a holding room where they are heated to 100°F, for an hour.
- Brick surface textures are made by scratching with steel points or embossing designs by rollers on the bricks.
- Then they are sent through a tunnel dryer, before entering natural gas fired kilns.
WARNING: If the green brick is not dried, or contains moisture, it could turn to steam in the kiln and blow the bricks apart.
- Once in place, the outer kiln door is closed and the inner door opened to allow the bricks to enter a preheat zone. Then a firing zone, and a forced draft cooling zone. Most normal bricks require 24 hours at 1500 degrees F to bake.
- Because the top of the kiln is hotter than the bottom, the color of the brick varied from darker colors at the top to lighter colors at the bottom.
- After exiting the kiln, the bricks are transferred to a waiting area. After cooling enough to be handled they are sorted by color and stacked on pallets.
- Colored enamels are formulated from various oxides and ceramic stains, which are mixed in a glaze mixing room. Glazed brick received an even coat of color over the entire surface. These bricks are then baked to 450° for 3 hours.
Bricks are relatively easy to make and add Old World charm to nearly any motif you are looking for.