Family Adopts A 6-Year-Old Later Finds The Truth About Her Depression Refractory Mix For The Backyard Foundry.

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Depression Refractory Mix For The Backyard Foundry.

This old fashioned cast refractory mix for crucibles or cupolas

Furnaces were adopted by cash-strapped foundry owners during the Great Depression, when everyone was suffering financially, so there was a lot of improvisation, and now backyard founders can save money and make their own beer like the old-timers.

First, you need to mix the clinker, that is, old broken refractory bricks without slag, divide them into 50% pea size and 50% walnut size. Place the clinker mixture in a vat or drum and fill the drum with water until the clinker is completely covered; soak until there is no sign of air bubbles.

Follow the next few steps carefully, as quantities are calculated by volume, not weight.

Take “three rolls” of the now very moist 50/50-grog mix, and add “two rolls” of good fireclay. (The measured volume can consist of anything from small tin cans to large buckets, depending on how much you may need) Mix thoroughly and temper molding sand as you would with a water glass mixture of 50% water glass and 50% water. Water glass is the old name of sodium silicate.

The final clinker and clay mixture should have about 6% moisture and it should easily form a ball in your hand, if it is crumbly it is too dry and you may need to add more water. Watch carefully though, because you don’t want it to get muddy. Finally put your mixture under the plastic and let it sweat and age for about 72 hours, or about three days. Now is the part where you can actually start installing the mixture into your cupola or gas stove.

With the inner metal or wooden form in place, the mixture can now be placed around the furnace wall cavity and lightly tamped into place until the lining is complete. Smooth it on top and let it air dry for a day or so.

Before you start tamping the mixture, to aid drainage and ventilation when the refractory is cured later, drill a series of 1/4″ holes in the casing to help expel any moisture as the mixture dries. After a few days, you can Light a small fire in the furnace and begin to slowly dry and cure the refractory lining.

The drying stage is probably the most important part of the whole process, requiring bold printing. If you dry the refractory too quickly it will crack and flake off and ruin all your good work.

When the steam stops from the vent, a larger fire is established where the molten bed or zone is located. (10″ to 14″ from the bottom of the cupola) Turn on the blower, which will add heat and vitrify or glaze the tamped mixture into a solid lining.

Best not to use borax when varnishing the lining, borax is a flux and will have the effect of dissolving the lining, which you don’t want to happen. This home brew refractory lining that you make and install in your furnace will never need to be replaced, except for the area around the melting zone. You may need to replace a small ring after each melting process.

In a gas furnace it will last for many years.

good luck.

Colonel Croucher.

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