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Old 05-18-2010, 08:05 PM
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Location: Chesterfield, VA
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Default HELP! No fireclay...so what to level the pad?

I have called all over around here and can't find plain fireclay. I need to level the vermicrete pad so i can lay the floor. As I understand it. the fireclay that is called for is not refractory cement so it would just be an underlayment of powdered clay to level out the pad. I saw on here that someone reccomended using the dried mortar but my concern would be that the floor bricks would set to it and that would mean that I couldn't swap out a broken brick later on. So I can't find the clay. How about digging up red clay and using it? or how about using sand or some other material . Help me out. What should I be looking for to take care of this?
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:44 PM
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Default Re: HELP! No fireclay...so what to level the pad?

I'm a bit confused. Why do you need anything to level the vermiculite? It's pretty much a slurry, so it will level to your forms. If that's not the case, you can use brick dust, pounded mortar, or sand to level the brick. You will be able to replace a brick with any of those options if that is the concern.

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Old 05-19-2010, 03:07 AM
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Default Re: HELP! No fireclay...so what to level the pad?

You can really use any powdered clay. Pottery suppliers can provide you with ball clay which is a suitable alternative for the kind of temps we fire to. Mix it 50/50 with sand and use it either as a wet layer or dry. It is only needed to adjust the height of the floor bricks so that you have a level floor. Don't mortar between the bricks, they should be free to expand and move
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Old 05-19-2010, 07:31 AM
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Default Re: HELP! No fireclay...so what to level the pad?

Quote:
Pottery suppliers can provide you with ball clay which is a suitable alternative
The same pottery supply that will sell you the ball clay will also have fireclay, and it will be cheaper to boot.
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:47 AM
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Default Re: HELP! No fireclay...so what to level the pad?

I too am faced with not being able to obtain fireclay. All that I have contacted and told me they sell fireclay actually sell the mortar that they call fireclay.
So what I have decided to do with the advice from those in this forum is to go as far as I can and pre-cut as many brick as I fill comfortable and collect the shavings (fireclay) and add that to my sand. And if I don't collect enough, I will just use sand to level the floor. Aside from adding some "stickyness" to the sand to help keep the brick from shifting during some of the construction, I don't see where it really is that important.

Gary
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Old 05-19-2010, 06:23 PM
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Default Re: HELP! No fireclay...so what to level the pad?

YES!!! You guys are lifesavers. I called a couple places today and ended up going to Campbell's Ceramic Supply in Richmond, right by the raceway. $12.95 for a 50 lb bag of fireclay.
Les, my vermiculite, while quite sloppy when I shoveled it in an smoothed it out is not perfectly flat. I did a "dry run" last night with the floor bricks and a soldier course to get a feel for it and it looked wonky and rundown. Not the look I'm going for at the very beginning. I will mix in a little bit of sand and smooth the fireclay out to obtain that dead flat surface I need to really get this thing started correctly. Thanks again everyone. I never considered the pottery supply.
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Old 05-23-2010, 09:42 PM
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Location: Burna, KY
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Default Re: HELP! No fireclay...so what to level the pad?

I mixed fireclay sand and water to the consistency of thinset mortar and used a notched trowel to apply. I had problems with leveling the brick because it dried almost immediately. How did it work for you?
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Old 05-23-2010, 11:05 PM
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Default Re: HELP! No fireclay...so what to level the pad?

it worked pretty well. I spent a good portion of Saturday afternoon pouring out dry clay and smoothing it out. I didn't use any sand. just the clay. I laid my bricks then pulled up a few to adjust height. The clay pulled a lot of moisture up out of the vermiculite and got hard pretty fast. I had to scrape and carve it out to get soem of the pricks properly leveled. All in all I think I did ok with it. Certainly can't beat the price,, once you locate it.
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Old 05-24-2010, 12:24 AM
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Default Re: HELP! No fireclay...so what to level the pad?

I used nothing. When I laid my bricks I just settled them on the vermicrete with a tap of the rubber mallet. once finished a few extra taps on the high bits levelled everything sweet!
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