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HELP! No fireclay...so what to level the pad? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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  • 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?
    WCD

    My slow journey to pizza.
    http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f21/...ing-12769.html

  • #2
    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.

    Les...
    Last edited by Les; 05-18-2010, 09:46 PM.
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    • #3
      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
      Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.

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      • #4
        Re: HELP! No fireclay...so what to level the pad?

        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.
        My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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        • #5
          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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          • #6
            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.
            WCD

            My slow journey to pizza.
            http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f21/...ing-12769.html

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            • #7
              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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              • #8
                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.
                WCD

                My slow journey to pizza.
                http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f21/...ing-12769.html

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                • #9
                  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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