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Fire Brick Storage

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  • Fire Brick Storage

    I am getting ready to begin my build in a month or two. I have a few sources for fire brick near me that have pretty good prices. Superior Clay $1.27 including tax and two Whitacre Greer, one for $1.40 and the other for $0.83. I like the $0.83 one

    I know it sounds like a no brainer as to which one to buy. My question is, some of the dealers, not all, store the bricks outside exposed to the weather. I was under the impression this was not a good way to store fire brick. With the porosity and the whole freeze/thaw cycle thing weakening the brick itself. Am I thinking correctly? The last thing I want is to build my oven and have it start spalling and crumbling apart after I use it for a while.

    Cooking and baking in my dome when it is finished sounds like a great time...trying to replace crumbling bricks in the dome does not

    Thanks to everyone on this site. I am learning so much from you guys.

    David
    "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli." - Peter Clemenza

  • #2
    Re: Fire Brick Storage

    I think bricks of all sorts, including firebrick, are always stored outside. They are called brickyards for a reason. You need to get them damp before using them, after all. As for freeze cracking, I think any cracking from repeated freeze cycles will be visible to the eye, as in broken. I wouldn't worry about it. Builders use reclaimed bricks which have been outside for decades.
    My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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    • #3
      Re: Fire Brick Storage

      I had the same concern and carefully covered my brick pile before and during building, but now I have had some extras sitting out in a small stack in the yard through several freeze thaw, hot sun, rain, etc, cycles and you would never know the difference. They seem unaffected.

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      • #4
        Re: Fire Brick Storage

        We used to set old brick out in the weather for a couple of seasons if possible just for freeze/thaw before cleaning. I have seen a few old common brick that spalled due to freeze/thaw. The vast majority of them were fine though. The only thing that turned loose a little easier was the mortor.
        I can't add much about firebrick other than we reused many of them in BBQ pits. Not in domes but they seemed to hold up just fine in that case.
        I don't care what folks say behind my back........They are either braggin' or.......lyin'


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        • #5
          Re: Fire Brick Storage

          I would like to recommend strongly against using brick that had gone through freeze thaw cycles. I know Minnesota winters are much more severe than other parts of the country/world.

          But here is my experience, I was able to acquire 700 free fire bricks that had been used in a fireplace and had been piled in a backyard for several years going through a number of harsh winters.

          The bricks were left uncovered and when I acquired them I moved them to my backyard and also left them out in the weather. When I finally decided to build the oven I built it out of these bricks that had gone through the freeze thaw cycles.

          As you can see from the photos results were quite drastic. My mortar joints remained solid, but the bricks cracked through and caused enough structural issues to the dome that I decided to tear down and start over again.

          I would highly recommend you not use bricks that have been through a freeze thaw cycle or at least as many as my bricks had experienced.

          Chip
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          Chip

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          • #6
            Re: Fire Brick Storage

            I do not see any damage on those bricks indicative of freeze-thaw. Freeze-thaw damage will be spalling or even entire faces popping off, not cracking.

            As a rule, brick stored outside in any weather will not suffer from the effects of freeze-thaw, even though they may be damaged by the same conditions once laid.

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            • #7
              Re: Fire Brick Storage

              Those brick look like a brick that I have seen used down hear as a backer brick in fire places. I have a couple hundred used ones stacked under the hill right now. The ones that I have weigh just a little more than an insulated brick but not near as much as a fire brick. The only reason that I have them is that they were just a little more stronger than the 50-75 year old lime mortar in which they were originally laid.
              If so, all some one would have to do is buy one firebrick that they trusted. Set them side buy side with the used brick. A couple of strikes with a trial should tell the tale.
              I don't care what folks say behind my back........They are either braggin' or.......lyin'


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              • #8
                Re: Fire Brick Storage

                Originally posted by Tscarborough View Post
                I do not see any damage on those bricks indicative of freeze-thaw. Freeze-thaw damage will be spalling or even entire faces popping off, not cracking.

                As a rule, brick stored outside in any weather will not suffer from the effects of freeze-thaw, even though they may be damaged by the same conditions once laid.
                The reason you do not see any spalling or faces popped off is because these bricks were cut down to only use what appeared to be the good parts. I have no other explanation other than freeze thaw to explain what happened to them.

                I started with 700+ bricks, I only had 150 left at the end of the dome and many times only got one usable piece out of a brick due to surface imperfections (I guess you could call it spalling) or chips.

                Your mileage may vary... I am just saying I would not use firebrick stored outside on another oven. It was hard enough building it the first time. but I did get better at cutting and laying the bricks for the second version.

                And my oven performs very well today so I am still happy.

                Chip
                Chip

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                • #9
                  Re: Fire Brick Storage

                  Originally posted by Gulf View Post
                  The ones that I have weigh just a little more than an insulated brick but not near as much as a fire brick.
                  They do have about 3/4's the density (weight) of the bricks I purchased and are significantly softer than the ones I have in the oven now. They are not nearly as light as insulated fire bricks though.

                  Chip
                  Chip

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                  • #10
                    Re: Fire Brick Storage

                    Originally posted by mrchipster View Post
                    They do have about 3/4's the density (weight) of the bricks I purchased and are significantly softer than the ones I have in the oven now. They are not nearly as light as insulated fire bricks though.

                    Chip
                    I'm sorry about the comparison in weight to modern day insulated brick. The brick that I have and what I think you originally used were the insulated brick of their day.

                    Edit: I think that I can locate a brick or two under the hill which show ample signs of spalding due to freeze/thaw as Tscarborough is referring to. I'll try and get a pic after work tomorrow for future reference.
                    Last edited by Gulf; 02-06-2012, 07:03 PM.
                    I don't care what folks say behind my back........They are either braggin' or.......lyin'


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                    • #11
                      Re: Fire Brick Storage

                      David,
                      Going back to your post. I had two different price ranges of brick available to me when I began my oven. The cheaper was $1.45 each and the other was $1.85. The $1.45 was wire cut. Some curved, some straight, most all of them had a little roll where the wire exits. Due to price consciderations and since the dome cuts were to be 1/2 brick or less I chose the cheaper. I chose the higher price brick for the floor though. There was a consciderable difference in the quality. The higher price brick were consciderably more uniform and square.
                      I don't care what folks say behind my back........They are either braggin' or.......lyin'


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                      • #12
                        Re: Fire Brick Storage

                        99.9 percent of refractory firebrick are dry pressed. I have never actually seen a wire cut fire brick for that matter. This is done for several reasons, the primary one being consistent sizing, as the standard for mortar joints in refractory applications is less than 1/8".

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                        • #13
                          Re: Fire Brick Storage

                          T,
                          I am a very close to being a "1 percenter" so, I guess it is fitting that my oven is built out of ".1 percenters"
                          Here is a wire cut firebrick.

                          Chip,
                          The bricks on the left are what I acquired out of a (two story, four fireplace, single chimney) build which was constructed around from the turn of the century up to about the 1920s. The fireplaces were actually built for coal instead of wood. They were very small and still had the coal grates in place. Wish that I had of hung on to them! These bricks were used as what I call as a backer brick to the true fire brick lining the fire boxes. The freshly broken brick is wet from the recent rains. It would appear a little lighter and a lot chalkier if it were dry. The bricks on the right are what I call "spalding". In this case damaged from freeze/thaw not fire damage. They have been setting under the hill, in the elements for 28 years. I have several hundred brick still left which have all been exposed to the same conditions. Most show no signs of damage.

                          David,
                          Sorry about hijacking your thread. But what I really meant by chiming in was to advise you about choosing the cheapest brick. If I had of chosen the higher priced brick, I would have probably saved money and a lot of time in the long run. My advice to any one who had a price range as varied as yours would be to buy one brick at the first two places I stopped at, take them to the third, and set them side buy side. Make note of the dimensions as well as the quality.
                          I don't care what folks say behind my back........They are either braggin' or.......lyin'


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                          • #14
                            Re: Fire Brick Storage

                            My bricks looked almost identical to the white ones on the left. Probably the same type of brick. They were in about the same condition, with some mortar attached and chips out here and there. Some of the bricks when cut would crack at odd angles and I threw those out. But I fear that there may have been other internal flaws.

                            Chip
                            Chip

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                            • #15
                              Re: Fire Brick Storage

                              Gulf,

                              No problems. I am just happy to see everyone talking about it on here and having a few others say they thought the same at some point. Hopefully that is proof I am not totally crazy. It's all good.

                              Thanks to all who answered. I appreciate it. If it is helping me, which it is, to have some of my beginner questions answered then I will be able to pass on whatever I learn to another in the future.

                              The middle priced brick is right by me, barely any driving, and they keep them covered. (Superior Clay) I will probably go there. Plus I just found out they are open on Saturdays so I do not even have to miss work.

                              David
                              "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli." - Peter Clemenza

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