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  #21  
Old 10-31-2008, 07:38 AM
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Default Re: BA's Dome! Let the games Begin!

Looks good, Bill. I like the stone on the right too. It goes with your pavers. I always check my level for level on the wall before I start- we had one we didn't know was off, and it made for a very long day straightening walls once. Lesson learned, although it was painful...
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  #22  
Old 10-31-2008, 07:40 AM
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Default Re: BA's Dome! Let the games Begin!

I agree, it doesn't sound quite right. My heatstop was quite nice, no "Pebbles". It was fairly smooth, like peanut butter (OK, maybe a little grittier than that), but went on sticky, and was definitely firm by the next morning, although not quite white yet. It's been cold here, rather than your hot, humid FL. I don't know if that makes a difference. At this point, I don't think you have much choice but to wait and see what happens. My guess is that it will set up fine, but may take longer.

I'd be curious what others have to say.
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  #23  
Old 10-31-2008, 08:50 AM
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Default Re: BA's Dome! Let the games Begin!

Can you pull the bricks you set yesterday apart? Can you make a fingernail mark in the mortar between bricks? While it may still be damp looking, you should NOT be able to do either of those things nearly 24 hours after the fact. I wouldn't think that you should have been able to break that ball up by hand, either. Maybe a smaller one, but not the size of a nickel. Mfiore's heatstop sounds like it's performing like mine, even with the temperature difference (I did my mortar in the summer), so that isn't it. I did have a few lumps, but apparently not like yours.

You did the right thing soaking the bricks, no problem there. I'd park myself at the place you bought the heatstop and complain mightily. Then I'd go look for fireclay, lime and portland, and sand and make my own. (or, even better but more spendy, get Refmix from FB!) Making your own is easy, it works well, and isn't 70 dollars a bag. If you're doing a lot of cutting, dry out the dregs from the saw and use it for your fireclay. That's what I did at the end. If you've cut a lot, you should have enough to get started, and since you're doing a lot more cutting than I did, you should have plenty. I would mix up a batch of the dry ingredients, like about a gallon's worth, and mix small quantities of mortar from that. Kept me from having to worry about it getting messed up by water or humidity (although I didn't notice a humidity issue, even in July/Aug.).
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  #24  
Old 10-31-2008, 01:06 PM
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Default Re: BA's Dome! Let the games Begin!

Thanks for the advice and encouragement everyone but I'm afraid it's bad news. I spoke to the owner /mfg of the heatstop, Bob Rutkers I believe his last name was. Very nice guy but after a long, long detailed conversation he feels that it's bad mortar. I just went outside and could with my fingernail scrape out mortar. The dried gray blobs that fell off the back when assembling them yesterday was easily crumbled in my fingers as well. I drove over 100 miles today to get two new bags (white) from another company and hopefully they will work. The company I bought the original material from said they would take it back. Bad news is that I have to disassemble my work from yesterday, scrape off the mortar, and then reassemble with the new stuff. I tried to find some Refrax but no one in Tampa carries it. I am absolutely crushed and the wind has been taken out of my sails.... BUT, there is always tomorrow! No I'm not going to break out in song, more like break out my frozen mugs and hang out in my hot tub by my kegerator!

I'm too mentally exhausted to work on it today. I will try again in the morning. Just to be safe I mixed up a small batch of the new stuff to see what happens over night.
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  #25  
Old 10-31-2008, 02:10 PM
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Default Re: BA's Dome! Let the games Begin!

Sorry to hear about your setback. I'll support you remotely by also cracking open a beer
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  #26  
Old 10-31-2008, 02:17 PM
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Default Re: BA's Dome! Let the games Begin!

Better the issue you know about and can fix than the one you didn't know and get totally screwed by.... you were lucky you knew what it should be like from your previous experience! A lot of people would have shrugged, said "that's weird", and gone on, and not realized they had a real problem until they were fighting gravity.

My heatstop came in white bags, but I believe some people's were a different color. I think it didn't make a difference, just a variation with manufacture, apparently.

Enjoy your beer, start again tomorrow! You'll be incinerating bread like me in no time....
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Last edited by egalecki; 10-31-2008 at 02:18 PM. Reason: typo
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  #27  
Old 10-31-2008, 02:33 PM
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Default Re: BA's Dome! Let the games Begin!

Thanks Mike, Elizabeth,

I went outside, scraped off the mortar with ease and in no time had them looking new.
BA's Dome! Let the games Begin!-cimg0223.jpg
This is what Heatstop-50 should NOT look like 24 hrs after it was mixed. I simply added water and mixed it...AGAIN

BA's Dome! Let the games Begin!-cimg0227.jpg



BA's Dome! Let the games Begin!-cimg0224.jpgI don't think I should be able to do this. I know I'm strong but this is silly.

BA's Dome! Let the games Begin!-cimg0225.jpg This is not a good time to be around me...Not feeling too photogenic.

BA's Dome! Let the games Begin!-cimg0228.jpg Looks like new bricks; I think I'll mortar them up tomorrow.

BA...OUT
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  #28  
Old 10-31-2008, 03:44 PM
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Default Re: BA's Dome! Let the games Begin!

Sorry about your mortar issues, I know it must just be horrible. But there are lots of plusses.

The crappy mortar was pretty easy to get off from the sounds of it.
You figured out the mortar was crappy before you got real far into using it.
You shared your experience with everybody, so that novice builders (read folks like me) will learn from your experience and maybe avoid the same problem!!

Anyway, sorry about the setback for thanks so much for letting everybody know what to watch out for!

Travis
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  #29  
Old 10-31-2008, 06:43 PM
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Default Re: BA's Dome! Let the games Begin!

Thanks Travis,

I've seen my share of bad mortar in my years; this was not a good moment for me.

I'm very grateful I knew that this was a potential issue before I went too far. I cant imagine what I would have done if I got finished and the thing fell apart. I probably would have had a 'Clark Griswold' Christmas Vacation melt down when he got the 'Jelly of the month club' instead of a bonus. Yes, I was almost a two year old...

Thanks for the encouragement!
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  #30  
Old 11-01-2008, 04:49 AM
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Default Re: BA's Dome! Let the games Begin!

Confirmation on test.

Yesterday I took a small batch of the bad Heatstop-50 and then a small batch of the new, mixed them up in separate small paper cups, and today the result...

The old stuff is still wet, sandy, crumbly, and I could easily rub it apart. The new is lighter gray, hard as a rock, and when I tried to rub it nothing happened. I hit it with a fork handle and it 'pinged'. The old crap just made a thud and actually dented in almost an 1/8th of an inch.

Here's a tip when buying Heatstop-50 or any refractory mortar. If the guy takes more than 30 minutes looking for the material, don't buy it! I wish the bags had run dates on them; it would make it a little more comforting when paying $70.00 a bag!

I will say this about the owner Bob. He is a very nice, concerned, knowledgeable man. He did what he said he would do and went above and beyond to make sure I got what I needed and even offered to cover my costs if need be. That was not requested or necessary but he offered. The defective material was not a mfg issue, it was a storage issue. I'm happy that I was able to find more material; I'm even more happy that it set up over night. I would recommend his products as he stands behind them.

It's 7:AM and I'm heading for a HUGE build day!
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