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  1. Sawdust is easier to get everything a consistent size: a certain blade cutting certain woods will make every particle very close in dimensions to every other. Charcoal, though, can be made much finer and consistent. Just smashing it with a mallet in a bag could produce small -- if somewhat inconsistent -- particles. A roller ball mill could make very consistent sizes. I wager you could buy charcoal that's been through a mill, since it's a key ingredient in gunpowder. I might try out crushing charcoal to different sizes for some different tests.
  2. Thank you for the good info! Especially for helping point me to more in depth information and the past experience of others. Part of the goal is to experiment. Even a deliberate failure can be useful, so I could see why one method failed versus another. Since I'm using a gas kiln, is there any particular reason to avoid charcoal? Do you think the less visible holes are due to smaller holes or just less voids in general? How could they achieve such light weight insulation with fewer voids? I can definitely see smaller voids giving better strength and durability, though.
  3. I'm making a kiln for my wife for the first time. I've done a substantial amount of research and am more or less making it from scratch. It has taken me a lot of reading to get to my design, but I've just started construction. I'll let you know how it goes and can chat about tips once I finish it and we have the first firing, probably two weeks out. Just know that you will still spend about $150 minimum even making it yourself.
  4. Hello all! I am making refractory bricks for a kiln I'm working on. These are going to be pretty standard hard/heavy bricks. Researching the composition and other fire bricks got me interested in experimenting with making soft fire bricks. I'm planning to make three experimental bricks right now: 1. Two parts perlite, two parts high alumina clay, one part pure silica sand 2. Two parts sawdust, two parts high alumina clay, one part pure silica sand 3. Two parts crushed charcoal, two parts high alumina clay, one part pure silica sand For each, I plan to do an initia
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