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Big Clay Brick Kiln


tony Liberatto
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I was looking the wiki and looks like clay bricks are burned in a manner similar to the way charcoal is made.

I think it would be cool if we were able to make a mound Kiln for firing Bricks.

We could lay down the raw bricks in the same way as we do metal ingots, and have the fire under and inside.

It would be a way to mass produce clay bricks to make it more affordable. 

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How can traditional brick making by firing clay in wood fired ovens be improved?

 

To start with, one needs to use the right terminology. Bricks are fired in kilns. Ovens are for food and don’t get very hot. Sometimes the term is “burned” in a kiln. Baking is for bread.

Wood fired kilns can be designed to be as hot as any other fuel source. It is the design of the kiln and the not the fuel that makes the temperature. Many traditional Korean or Japanese wood fired kilns get to much hotter temperatures than most brick clay would be fired. It can be up to 1400°C (2,500 °F). Most brick clay is fired at around 1800- 1900 F. Some brick, if it is the right kind of clay, is fired to 2300 F. Besides the kiln design the biggest factor with making brick is the type of clay being used.

Fired brick has been used for about 5,000 years and does not need to be reinvented. All the different sorts have already been created. Usually brickworks are located where a clay deposit is found. Clay is too heavy to be transported far in most cases. Sometimes trams or rail brings the clay a short distance. We have Chinese brickmaking manuals from as early as 1103.

This is a Chinese wood fired brick kiln.

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Here are German kilns in the 1400. They used wood too.

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This is a oven from Pompeii made of fired brick. It is still in good shape.

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The brick in these Roman baths built about 1800 years ago is still doing fine.

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Bricks are usually made with a “clay body” that is designed to make a stronger brick. Using straight clay from the ground is unlikely to be as strong unless you happen to be lucky. Usually clay and sand are mixed a a correct ratio. Sometimes several types of clay are used to get different qualities. It is the type of clay body and clay that determines the quality of brick. And the ratios of sand to clay. Too much sand and the brick will make it too brittle. Too little sand and it will crack and warp and shrink too much. In general about 25% sand is used. Clay with enough iron to make the brick red will tend to be stronger. The iron oxide helps flux the clay. Sometimes lime is added. It too is a flux for the silica in the sand. It also helps with shrinking as it drys. Too much lime and the brick will melt too much. Sometimes organic matter or coal dust is added to help in firing.

The main new way of making brick was invented with brickmaking machines in the 1880s. This did not improve the bricks, it just made them faster.

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As you can see charcoal or Coal are not needed for the production of Clay bricks.

Edited by tony Liberatto
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Yea, this is really good mechanic you are suggesting! Hm, you say similar way to how we make charcoal... So lets say 3x3 area where middle is empty (for firepit) and bricks stacked all around but not higher then 2 blocks (for single burn)? As well as access to firepit for refilling fuel.

I like that one would need to add lime for making the bricks stronger. If we come to do that, how would you call them? Also, what would that mean gameplay - wise? If you break a regular brick block (with no lime added) would it fall apart and you loose some bricks in process, but if lime was present in recipe player would get the whole block back?

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I think Lime was not a must have, the author explains that the main thing was the correct proportion of clay and sand, with sand at 25%. Red clay was stronger because it had iron. I do not believe the game needs to get that deep into the components of each clay type and having different strengths for different clays.

As far as gameplay I think to have 4 different clay types, Brown, Red, Blue, and Fireclay is plenty. Let them have the same properties, aside for Fire-Clay.

In the end, my idea is about using wood for burning clay and making it in a way that allows for mass production of clay bricks. 

Let people that endure the game and got to the end of the tech tree, be free to build with many different materials.

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Ya, I think requiring any admixtures for the bricks themselves is just too much for such a 'basic' building material (unless factors aside from appearance come into play at some point).   If the player needs bricks and mortar to make brick blocks, that should surely be plenty of material requirement.  I do think it'd be a good idea to add at the very least red clay, for red bricks.  Have clay appear by type in large regions similar to stone, so that a player can be pretty assured of having plenty of clay nearby, rather than having the different clay patch colors all mixed in the area.  I'd try to keep clay occurrence similar to how it is, rather than have it show up more often with the addition of new types.

For firing, I'd say perhaps each stack of bricks has to abut at least two stacks of firewood.  That lets the player kind of play around with the most efficient method.  Worst case scenario, your bricks are costing 1:1 firewood to brick (assuming bricks stack to 64 like ingots).  But with a little thought the player should be able to reduce that cost to more like 1 firewood for 2 brick.   I'd suggest requiring all the sides touching the brick have to be stone or brick or something like that.  Basically *not* dirt, sand, or gravel.  This makes it take a little more planning, but lets the player use cobble, which is not difficult to get.

Edited by redram
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I reeeaaaaly like the direction this post is taking! ^_^ Always felt like bricks could need more interesting and realistic approach.

I have a suggestion - what if clay deposits are really, really large and their color is that is determined by the color of the rock underneath? So claystone would could have red clay deposits, where as granite / andesite etc blue? Fireclay has to be evenly distributed I guess. It would be cool to somehow encourage players to build their kilns around clay deposits, since transporting clay was difficult back then. Later in game wagons can be used. 

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I like the transportation mechanic which you could accomplish by making much smaller stack sizes and optionally any of the overweight mechanics described in the forum. Having it be determined by the rock underneath could mean when it comes time to find firebrick for bloomeries the player must travel a great distance. In multiplayer that's not such a big deal because of player trading but in single player I could imagine a Let's Play titled, "The search for fireclay". Also if you want the clay to be processed on site you need to make the clay deposits large/deep enough or infrastructure cheap and easy enough that building infrastructure on-site is worthwhile.

One thing I don't like about the clay deposits right now is the large holes left by digging clay. This can be partially mitigated by smaller stack sizes, more clay dropped. The smaller stack sizes will slow down people trying to hoard stacks of clay. More clay dropped per block means deposits would last longer and therefore be dug up as a slower rate. 

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Lets not forget here that clay is used for things besides bricks.  I think it may hurt the early game to make clay too burdensome.   An anvil mold takes something like 32 clay right now!

Deposit color influenced by rock color I don't love honestly.  I may be mistaken, but right now it seems like granite and andesite are vastly more common as biomes than claystone or sandstone.  And what would be the associations of shale and chalk?   I can totally see linking the clay  biome borders to the rock biome borders.  I'm just not sure I like the direct color link.  Unless I'm simply mistaken and all stone types are equally weighted.

As for fire clay, I could get behind it appearing in larger patches in some biomes, and smaller in others.  Having small patches everywhere allows the player to progress, but still makes finding large patches an event, possibly.  I'm not so in love with it being strictly limited to some stones.  That really gets toward the flux/graphite limitations of TFC, which I felt like those limitations didn't help it's appeal. 

I think the clay holes thing would be remediated a bit if grass spread naturally.  People would be more likely to place dirt and let it 'heal' by itself  I think, in that case.  Though it'd be nice if there were also a way to upgrade low quality dirt somehow, so it can grow grass, to match nearby low quality dirt with grass.  Otherwise you risk making jungles giant medium-dirt stripmines.

Edited by redram
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Again the same thing as I have stated in other posts.  real life is by its nature balanced. People have been working clay sites for generations because it yields a lot of clay.  Clay is already abundant enough, and if the argument is to not make it too easy we can just make it so each block gives a lot more clay. this way one clay deposit will be enough for many players and it would make sense to Build a Brick manufacturing plant at the site.

The problem is that to actually work we would need a lot of other mechanics that are not in the game yet.

One of the main reasons people build brick Mills close to clay deposits is because clay is heavy, so it makes sense to make it there and only transport the final product.

Before we can consider making clay heavier and/or bulky (Less Stackable) we would need to have transport options. 

For now, I would suggest just to make it give more clay per block. 

One other thing that would help is to have grass growing on top of exposed dirt and clay. That would make those holes a bit less unattractive. the ideal would be if they got filled with water making beautiful ponds. Then the only thing missing would be the ducks.

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12 hours ago, tony Liberatto said:

Again the same thing as I have stated in other posts.  real life is by its nature balanced.

Not in a progression game context it's not.   And it's also not by it's nature fun.  An enjoyable game is going to require some 'modifications'. 

I do think that if clay yielded more per block it'd be good to have it always (or just sometimes?) underlaid with a layer of soil, rather than going down to bare rock.  That way, if we get natural grass spread, you don't have to rely on the player to place dirt to heal the wound.  The underlayer of dirt will already be there, and heal naturally by itself.

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Agreed, limiting clay transport without giving player other option (like transport) is not a good idea. So lets come back to this later!

23 hours ago, redram said:

I think the clay holes thing would be remediated a bit if grass spread naturally.

Right, we will look into this issue. Stone below clay and peat deposits are utterly ugly.
 

Oh and btw, I just realized, we could totally lay out flat layers of mud bricks for drying in sun!!! :D
download.jpg.4da7a6f39da11a746c2c32082d460d8f.jpg

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Ya, there was a TFC mod that had mud bricks and that's exactly how you dried them.  Lay them out for X hours in the sun (don't know if night or rain stopped the timer?).  It was a pretty popular mod from what I could tell, so I think they'd definitely be used in VS.

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Any brick that's not fired is also vulnerable to elements and even animals.  There is a building in the town I used to live in, where they did not fire the bricks to full hardness (back in the early 1900s) and today the building has problems with birds excavating cavities in the bricks to nest in.  So I definitly like the idea (that I think I saw mentioned in discord) that the 'weak' non-clay mud bricks fall apart if the player breaks the full block after it's placed.  I'd say even the better ones should have a chance of breaking.

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Mud bricks should be a low-cost building material available in the stone age.  Something that the player will want to upgrade as soon as possible, but at the same time that will give the player some protection. Even though weak, mud bricks last for some time, even 100s of years. I would not like to see the game go in the direction of considering block hardness, where one block is actually strong than others.

Bioxx try that with stone brick blocks, in the end, it just upset everyone that needed to break stone brick blocks when demolishing or remodelling a building. 

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