The men in our kiln brick department have cemented enough bricks to make the equivalent of entire neighborhoods of houses. They make the process look utterly simple.
When cementing firebricks together, make the cement seam as thin as possible--1/32” – 1/16”. This is because the firebricks expand more than the cement. If the seam is too thick, it will break due to the difference in expansion between the bricks and the cement.
The ideal way to cement bricks together is along flat surfaces, because sliding the surfaces together after applying the cement makes a thin seam.
First, the bricks you are cementing should fit as precisely as possible. Rub the surfaces with a sanding block, and then rub them against each other until they slide smoothly. Vacuum all surfaces.
We use K Bond cement, diluted with roughly 1 part water to 4 parts cement. Pour the cement into a 12" x 36" galvanized tray.
Do not spray or soak the mating brick surfaces in water. That is unnecessary, because by dipping into a tray, you can coat the entire brick surface with cement in several seconds leaving plenty of time to work with the cement.
Of the two surfaces you are cementing, dip only one surface into the cement tray. Leave the mating surface dry of cement.
After dipping the bricks into the tray, do not wipe off excess cement. Also, do not be concerned with trying to cover the entire brick surface with cement. The cement may cling to the outer edges and not the inner section of the surface that you have dipped. That's okay.
Slide the mating surfaces together. If the cement is mixed with the proper proportion of water, the brick surfaces will slide together smoothly. To achieve a 1/16" - 3/32"-thick seam, slide the surfaces back and forth about 5 times, sliding about 3" before changing the direction. Each time you change directions, the seam will become thinner.
Allow the cement to dry. After 24 hours you can lift the brick sections without breakage.
Last week’s kiln pointer was “Opening a Kiln at Higher Temperatures.” You can read it at this link:
(Or go to www.paragonweb.com and select Support, and then Kiln Pointers from the drop menu.)
Brad Bachmeier in Fargo, North Dakota wrote, "Related to your last article, how much am I going to shorten the life of my elements by raku firing in my electric and opening up at 1800 F? After I get the pieces out and the kiln closed up, it is around 1300 F."
Brad, from our experience, you will not reduce element life to a noticeable extent by opening the kiln at 1800 F. We sell kilns to heat treaters, and they routinely open the kilns at that temperature range to remove steel parts. Judging from our sales of replacement elements, the element life of their kilns is excellent.
NEWS: KILN MAINTENANCE SEMINAR
On June 2-3, 2006, Paragon will hold a 1-1/2 day Basic Repair and Maintenance Seminar at the Paragon kiln factory in Mesquite, Texas. This is about 30 minutes east of Dallas.
The seminar includes two lunches, one restaurant dinner, and a 3-ring notebook of maintenance data on Paragon and Duncan kilns. The seminar fee is $95. To register, please call 800-876-4328 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are flying and don't want to rent a car while you are here, ask the receptionist about Paragon's airport and hotel pickup schedule.
With best wishes,
Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. - Better Designed Kilns 2011 South Town East Blvd. Mesquite, TX 75149-1122 Voice: 972-288-7557 & 800-876-4328 / Fax: 972-222-0646 email@example.com / www.paragonweb.com
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Copyright 2006, by Paragon Industries, L.P.