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tiles: just any old sand?

updated wed 21 apr 04


primalmommy on mon 19 apr 04

OK, I have several hundred pounds of clay, maybe 5 or 6 different colors
of clay all thrown together in big plastic storage tubs, been through at
least 2 winter freezes. It's wet and gloppy but when I plaster-dry it
and slice it, it is wonderfully marbled. Would make nice tile.

I am building little boxes out of scraps of wood left over from 21
daisy/brownie scouts making birdhouses. If I mixed sufficient sand/grit
into that clay, put it into those boxes about 5/8 inch thick, and did
the mortar-and-pestle pounding routine with the end of a 4X4.. do you
suppose it would make a suitable floor tile? I have a bunch of boxes and
all the time in the world to let them dry, gradually or sandwiched or
any other way. Trial and error is my current plan, and whatever doesn't
work I will use to frame my studio door or something. "tile the world"..
What I wonder is whether I can use the kids' old sandbox sand for mixing
into the claybody. I can sieve out the ancient cat poops. If it's
silica, will it turn glassy at ^6 and cause problems? its just the stuff
that comes in bags at the home depot marked "play sand". (that's right
up there with bottled water in the can't believe-you-can-sell-this

I also plan to use my 4X4 pestle to crush all my bisque rejects -- and
maybe the ones from the class barrel at the guild -- into little groggy
bits. Any notion how finely they should be screened? Would my regular
old metal window screen work? I use it to "grate" chunks of local clay
for glaze experiments.. maybe larger chunks are ok too? There are
several pounds of drowned spiders, pine needles and clay tools in there
besides, which will lend body I am sure.

(refusing to sign my name here just to see if Vince will bark at me)

p.s. typing one handed and laboriously because one of the little chicks
is wimpy and runty and not very smart, even given the pea-sized brain...
she is about the same size as a marshmallow peep, bright yellow, with a
little fuzzy mohawk because one day will be a sultan breed, white with
an extravagant topknot... but now she's a tiny bantam in the brooder
among large breeds and keeps getting run over by the rowdier boys..
stands in the water dish and then gets wet/chilly and peep peep peeps
for assistance. When I hold her in my cupped hand she gets these dreamy
eyes -- (mmmmmommy...wwwwarmmm) and curls in an impossible ball like
she's still in her cozy egg.. shuts her little eyes and goes right to
sleep.. I tried to pillow her in my skirt to type with both hands but
she wakes and PEEP PEEP PEEPs until I hold her the right way again. Poor
incubator chickies, raised by humans who don't know a happy peep from a
sad one or a scared one.. don't know which bug to offer, ehich seed, how
much protein, how much greens.. i'm doing the best i can for not being
the right mama..
just took a photo with one hand.. go see...

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Snail Scott on tue 20 apr 04

At 11:16 PM 4/19/04 -0700, you wrote:
>...If it's
>silica, will it turn glassy at ^6 and cause problems? its just the stuff
>that comes in bags at the home depot marked "play sand"...

The silica sand won't melt at ^6, but play sand
often includes other stuff which will melt, as
well as iron flecks wich will leave spots. Not
major ones in an oxidation firing, but a little.
Wedge a little into a sample and test-fire it
before committing the whole batch. You never
know what's in it. The quality control on play
sand is minimal, and the content can vary a lot -
that's why it's cheap.

-Snail Scott
-Reno, Nevada, USA

p.s. OK, OK, I'm signing! see?