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Old 11-10-2009, 02:24 PM   #1
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School project help: Make a brick

My son brought home this assignment. Make a brick out of dirt, grass, sand, etc....

Anyone ever done this? What did you use? We aren't allowed to buy clay, tile grout or cement.

Help for the engineering challenged.......
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:35 PM   #2
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Barb,

I googled and found this:

Step 1Begin by collecting the perfect dirt for brick-making. You will need to dig down at least one foot, collecting deeper, lighter colored dirt and not the top soil. Sift the rocks and twigs from the dirt and place it in a wheelbarrow. You can use a household strainer to sift the dirt, if desired.

Step 2Add grass or straw to the dirt. As a general rule you should add one part grass or straw to six parts dirt. The grass or straw should be cut short, no longer than 3 inches in length.

Step 3Stir in water slowly, mixing well. Add only enough water so that the dirt is thick, not runny, about the consistency of biscuit dough. It is important to mix thoroughly, preventing the dirt from clumping up and forming brittle, dry patches in your finished brick.

Step 4Shovel the mud into your chosen mold. Molds can be made from many things such as old milk cartons, ice cream containers, pie pans or you can make your own mold from scraps of wood.

Step 5Place the molds, full of mud, in the sun to dry. When partially dry you can add decorative touches, such as hand or foot prints, glass beads or shards or anything you can imagine. Once the bricks are dry enough, remove them gently from the mold and place them in a dry, shaded area to complete drying. Placing them in the shade for the final drying will help prevent cracking.


TC
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:41 PM   #3
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Wouldn't it be a good idea for your son to research it first. Give him the opportunity to brainstorm and look for solutions and then if he can't come up with anything, help him with ideas.
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:48 PM   #4
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Ditto what Magic Mom said. Then maybe the student can do some online research to see what might work. I think the point of the assignment might be missed if you give him the answer.
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Old 11-10-2009, 03:17 PM   #5
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Thanks TC....HE googled and found alot of nothing..
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Old 11-10-2009, 03:25 PM   #6
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Many bricks in developing countries are made out of horse or cattle waste.
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Old 11-10-2009, 03:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pembo View Post
Thanks TC....HE googled and found alot of nothing..
I googled 'mud brick making' and found lots. 'Adobe making' also turned up several useful links.
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Old 11-10-2009, 03:28 PM   #8
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He probably didn't try the right search terms.

Try "making mud bricks".
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Old 11-10-2009, 03:45 PM   #9
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I always thought making mud brick in the sun is adobe.

Real bricks are baked in an oven. Fired just like pottery.

Mikeeee
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Old 11-10-2009, 03:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JR6ooo4 View Post
I always thought making mud brick in the sun is adobe.

Real bricks are baked in an oven. Fired just like pottery.

Mikeeee
I think you are right. Also, living in Ohio, I don't know how much sun the OP is going to get this time of year.
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Old 11-10-2009, 03:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Many bricks in developing countries are made out of horse or cattle waste.
I love the idea of a kid taking in a brick like that. Maybe there'd be a few less of these little projects.
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Old 11-10-2009, 04:39 PM   #12
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I should mail you some red Georgia clay. We had to make some bricks out of that once, it works really well, but its so obnoxious
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Old 11-10-2009, 05:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JR6ooo4 View Post
I always thought making mud brick in the sun is adobe.

Real bricks are baked in an oven. Fired just like pottery.

Mikeeee
They are, but you can roughly duplicate that firing process by making an earthen dome kiln with fires inside. I rather doubt that the OP's child is being asked to make a fired brick; I'm betting that this is an exercise in doing it the primitive way.

Adobe is a kind of sun-dried masonry, but there are others. The best ones do contain dirt, straw, and manure -- the manure tends to contain a fair amount of oil and makes the brick more resistant to water erosion. Animal hair works pretty well to add strength, too, as does Spanish Moss.
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Old 11-10-2009, 06:16 PM   #14
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OP, I have no advice for you. I just wanted to say. . .

I HATE STUPID PROJECTS LIKE THIS!!


If the teacher wants the kids learn about how bricks used to be made then make it a flippin class project. He/She can figure out how to make them, buy the supplies, and let their classroom be filled with mud and straw and manure and whatever else is needed.

If the purpose is to learn how to Research how bricks were made then make it a writing project. I swear the only time we had projects like this were once a year for the Science Fair. And I was educated just fine.



Rant over.
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Old 11-10-2009, 06:53 PM   #15
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recogniize this one?




it is actually just a sliver of a brick. the long side is maybe an inch...

highlight below
it is from President Lincoln's home in Springfield, IL

I bought it at a gift shop. it comes glued to the certificate of authenticity.

Mikeeee
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