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  1. Mark there is some merit in what your saying but the refining is best done when its hot out. 90F+ speeds up the evaporation big time. The barrier to entry will be a lot lower if I have the clay on hand. Maybe start sooner. Perkolator. like that name. You are correct. Decades ago when I studied art ceramics was a few doors down, but I only spent about an hour at the wheel. Now that I am retired I would like to give it a go. Having the clay makes it that much less of a pipe dream. With luck I will end up with a pottery kiln for melting metal and there's no reason not to use it for clay. It will get a Arduino and thermocouple so I can program firing schedules. A wheel is only a treadmill away. One of my current projects is casting plaques for our local museum. It might be fun to do some of them in clay, The senior center has a kiln. Maybe I can use it if I get to the point to where I understand this clay better. I have visions of it melting and ruining my oven.. That would be another thread if I go that route. Yesterday a local well driller dropped off 100lbs of bentonite.
  2. Thanks MMR. Dry does seem to make sense. I have a cubic foot block that is solid enough to mostly support its own weight.. I am thinking of making some or all into 6x6 inch tiles. The dry tiles will be easy to store and move. And I have the option of rehydrating the clay or firing the tiles some time down the road. Howard
  3. Thanks for the info. So maybe line plastic milk crates with landscape fabric. The fabric breathes but doesn't rot. Once the blocks hold their shape I can remove them along with the fabric and make more. Drying would be an option but I am unclear on how one rehydrates it and if any of the plasticity gained from aging remains. I tried grinding it in a mortar and pestle and it was difficult. Howard EDIT: Curious about storing clay dry. How is this done. Does it have to be powered prior to use or can you just dump a dry brick into a bucket of water?
  4. What is the best way to store the clay I am extracting for a year or two? If the clay is kept wet will it grow sour smelling? Maybe a strange question but wet clay from about a month ago may be smelling bad. Is there a preservative I can add while the clay is still liquid? Will adding vinegar to the clay soup result in more elastic clay? The rest is about what I am doing and how I am doing it. So feel free to stop here. Howard I have been processing my local soil to make green sand for sand casting. The green sand is 80% sand and 20% clay. Our soil is closer to 80% clay and 20% sand so I am getting a fail amount of clay as a byproduct. Not sure but I think it would be classified as brown earthenware clay. The clay become elastic if you work it a while. I made a small clay cup a bit smaller than a shot glass and placed it on top the burnout oven while melting aluminum, dried not fired. It seems to be quite strong. That's all I know about the clay. Currently I have at least 100 lbs or more of the clay. I will end up with much more if I save all the clay from the rest of my processing. In time I may make tiles or pavers from the clay. Thinking a wood fired kiln but that is not going to happen this summer. Once I have a kiln I may try my hand at throwing pots. Depends on the muse. The following details how I am processing the soil to get clay and green sand. The greensand is made by tumbling earth with water in a concrete mixer. The liquid is strained with a colander to remove the chunks and placed in a tub with a tap. The mixture is agitated to get the clay in suspension, the sand rapidly settles and the clay solution is run off though the tap. The tap has an upward facing elbow so I can select a stand pipe tall enough to leave the sand behind. The mixtures runs through a window screen on its way to a 2nd tub. The clay in the 2nd tub is left to settle overnight. The next day I open a tap similar to that on the 1st tub and drain off the water. After a few days the clay in this 2nd tub is dumped into another tub where the water evaporates. When the clay get solid enough to mound up I move it to the sealed trash bag. Thanks for reading.
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