The Brick Directory Blog. Articles mentioning 'bricks' - brick making, Articles and Words taken from news agencies and newspapers, magazines and books about brick and other building materials including reference ('how to') and sometimes amusing 'brick related' stories. The blog is linked with helping you get in contact with every brick, paver, tile and stone manufacturer in the UK and Ireland.

Monday, 26 April 2010

What is a brick workout?

What is a Brick Workout? A brick workout is when you do one workout immediately after another. For example, you could do a swim followed by a bike or a bike followed by a run.

Brick Wall collapse

Brick wall collapse. See video by clicking on this link. TORONTO — Red bricks, black boards and strips of pink insulation blended in a massive pile of rubble near Yonge Street in Toronto on Friday after the facade of a building collapsed over the lunch hour

Brick matching

How to match your bricks? First and foremost, bricks are made from clay, and the clay deposit that the brick came from can become depleted and / or the characteristics of the clay may change as the quarry is extended. Alternatively, the brick company the original bricks came from may have gone out of business, or the brick itself may have gone out of style. Brick styles change over time.

It is possible that you may get lucky and find perfectly matching bricks at your local brick merchant. The chances are the task will be a bit more difficult though. Unfortunately, there is no national database of brick colors and textures, although goes some of the way, but that does not mean that you have to settle for mis-matched bricks.

The first thing that you should do is take some high resolution pictures of the original bricks, as matching from memory is impossible. You should E mail copies of these photos to brickmakers and specialist brick merchant in your area. Try to remember what year you bought the original bricks, and who you bought them from, as the more information you give the brick merchants, the better the chance of them being able to help you. A always let the brick people know the dimensions as Imperial size bricks typically 73mm depth may not be readily available but some handmade brick companies should be able to make them for you

If no-one can find you an exact match of your bricks, then find ones that at least match the color. Finding bricks that are a very close color match is definitely possible with a little looking around. Matching bricks by color is much preferable to matching bricks by texture. You can see texture differences when you stand close to a brick surface, but rarely can you see differences when you stand back 50 or 100 feet. Color mis-matches stand out from any distance.

Once you have found some potential matches, get some samples and take them back to your home for a proper evaluation. Then, be sure to stand back at least 10 feet when judging the quality of the match, as your eyes can sometimes play tricks on you when you look at the bricks up close. Ask a few other people for their opinions on which is the best match, and note down their answers.Remember its not just the bricks you’re hoping to match but also the mortar, texture colour and pointing

Villagers steal a Russian church — brick by brick

AP Nov. 13, 2008 Villagers steal Russian church — brick by brick

Dismantling, sale of building to local businessman a 'grave sin,' says priest

MOSCOW - Wanted: One missing Russian church. Last seen in July. Reward for its return. Orthodox officials in a central Russian region say an abandoned church building that was to be put back into use has been stolen by local villagers.

Orthodox priest Vitaly of the Ivanovo-Voskresenskaya diocese said officials last saw the two-story Church of Resurrection intact in late July. Sometime in early October, however, people from the nearby village of Komarovo, northeast of Moscow, dismantled the building, he said.

Villagers apparently sold it to a local businessman, one ruble (about 4 cents) per brick, Vitaly said. Orthodox priests use only one name.

"Of course, this is blasphemy," he said. "These people have to realize they committed a grave sin."

Vitaly said police were investigating the theft.

The 200-year-old building, which no longer had its icons and other religious valuables, was a school for disabled children during the Soviet era before it was closed down in 1998 and turned over to the church.

Vitaly said the diocese was thinking of reopening it for services.

The Orthodox church has experienced a major resurgence in Russia and has restored or built thousands of churches.

In poorer, rural regions, vandals or petty thieves regularly steal gilded icons or donations from churches and sell them for alcohol or drugs.

Chinese brick making equipment in use in Russia

“Chinese companies are making high quality and reasonably priced brick production equipment that are able to meet competition,” Eugeniy KOLESOV, the General Director of Optim Consult Company which joins 12 Chinese Trade Associations, believes. “Though most Chinese equipment is not of popular brand (as many German and Italian goods), the goods turnover with China is obviously growing,” he adds.

“The Chinese brick industry is developing rapidly; and on the other hand there is a surge of interest in housing development in Russia, besides, lots of projects such as the World Student Games in Tatarstan in 2013 are being implemented. All this creates favorable conditions for the effective cooperation,” Yang ZHISING, the representative of the Chinese Machine Building Association says. “The brick production equipment is in great demand currently and the Chinese companies should get ready to penetrate the Russian market more actively,” the Chinese expert thinks.

“The customers will take more interest in the Chinese building goods and mostly the building equipment will be in demand but not the finished product,” Jung ZHINSHEN, the Deputy Secretary of the Chinese Building Materials Dealers Association, supposes. “In fact, it is much cheaper for our customers to purchase some equipment and make the building materials themselves then to buy the ready-made bricks in China,” he says.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

History of Stone

Stone is a material of variety, nuance and unrivalled durability. Used appropriately and with regard to its nature it can enhance the architectural style of a building and last thousands of years. Geological Consultant, Francis Dimes of outlines the geological characteristics of the material and the principles of its selection for use in conservation and restoration work

Often considered the aristocrat of building materials, stone is arguably the traditional building material of Great Britain. Stonehenge, of a quartzitic sandstone known as sarsen, dates back to about 1800 BC, a lasting testament to its durability. Yet this was a relatively late arrival compared with the magnificent limestone temples of Malta which date back to before 4000 BC, or the stone houses near Jericho, constructed in about 6000 BC.

Any rock, anywhere, has been used for building if only on a restricted local scale. A study of the geological map of Great Britain shows that the country has a great variety of rocks. But not every rock may be used successfully. Thought must be given to its weathering properties and to its nature, which may allow the rock to be worked to a fine surface and detail. It follows that some knowledge of the local geology will be of help in understanding the relationship of a building, the country in which it stands and the stone of which it is built.

Any stone can be placed geologically (and thus scientifically) into one of three groups. Only when the nature of the rocks in these groups is known can the stone be properly used.

Igneous rocks are those which cooled and consolidated from a fluid melt (magma) of rock material. The magma may have cooled quickly to give fine-grained rocks or slowly, to produce coarse-grained crystalline rocks. The nature will depend also on their chemical composition.

Many have been found in Great Britain, but only one - granite - has been used on any scale. South-West England and Scotland are the great granite producing areas for building.

Sedimentary rocks were originally deposits of sediment (the eroded material from pre-existing rocks) laid down, mostly, on old sea-floors. When compacted and cemented, sedimentary rocks result. Their composition depends on the nature of the original sediment, but only sandstones (composed of quartz grains) and limestones (chiefly of calcium carbonate) have been used on any scale. In general terms, limestone predominates in southern Britain and sandstone in the north, but some limestones such as Portland stone have been used ubiquitously; and some sandstones, for example York stone are widely used especially for paving.

Metamorphic rocks result from the modification of pre-existing rocks by heat, pressure or both. The one which has been most widely used in Britain is slate. Other indigenous metamorphic rocks have been little used. Slate is found chiefly in Scotland, the Lake District, North Wales and Cornwall.

There are constraints inherent in stone which demand that the material is properly used in accordance with its unique characteristics. Igneous rocks may contain minerals which on exposure to the atmosphere may break down with consequent damage to the stone. Rising salts, also, may cause spalling. Of prime importance with sedimentary rocks is the placing of the bedding plane so that it is at right angles to the thrust imposed upon it. Metamorphic rocks may have deleterious (harmful) minerals present. The greatest restraint in the use of stone is that of the jointing. All rocks are jointed and the size of a block that can be wrought from a quarry is controlled by joints.

Such constraints are minor compared with the benefits: Stone from all these groups, whether used in classical idiom or in contemporary form, will have a durability other materials cannot match, provided it is properly chosen and properly used.


The first requirement when a stone building is considered for conservation or restoration is to determine the nature of the stone. Many historic buildings will have archival records which should be scanned for references to the source. Where that does not produce any answers a geologist should be consulted to determine the nature of the stone. The next stage, the determination of the 'provenance', the source of the stone, may be much more difficult. Again it is best referred to a geologist with specialist knowledge of the geology of stone for building and decoration.

Once the provenance is established (which may not always be possible), a search of the area for still working quarries then follows. Those quarries in Great Britain known to be producing dimensional stone are listed in The Natural Stone Directory (see Recommended Reading). If the stone is still available, can it be obtained within the time-frame for restoration?; and can it be obtained in suitable sizes? It must also be recognised that stone from a present day quarry, whilst geologically the same, may in fact present a slightly different appearance from stone quarried in the past. Nevertheless, to preserve the integrity of the building, the same geological stone is always to be preferred.

However, it is not always possible to find the stone required. In that event a geologically appropriate stone should be sought, and the re-use of original or reclaimed stone should be considered. Although many masons object to 'second-hand' stone, there appears to be no scientific reasons why the material should not be re-used, provided that bedding and other criteria are observed.

The matching of stone from a provenance other than the original is a specialist task. Again, advice should be sought from geologists with experience in this field. It may be necessary at this stage, for thin-sections to be cut for microscopical study, or for X-ray diffraction techniques to be used. Guidance will be given by the specialist.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Bricklaying bonds

Bricklaying Bonds

Many different bonds are used in bricklaying: some of the main ones are shown here. Although bonds are not a reliable guide for dating, their variations can give an indication of the trends of time and place.

Bonds were selected for reasons of aesthetics, strength or economy. English was one of the first to be used and was common throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. Flemish became popular in the 18th century particularly when used as a design feature with alternate coloured bricks. Rat trap is not a strong bond but fewer bricks went further and its use may have been encouraged by the 18th century brick tax.

Bare on the Bricks

by Stephanie March 1st 2010

Bare on the Bricks was not a normal fundraising event. If you were anywhere near Court Street, a5hens county in the US on Saturday at noon, you know that. Hundreds of people ran down the busy street in barely anything for a great cause. The event's overall goal was to raise funds and donations of clothes for local Athens clothing banks and the relief efforts in Haiti.

Boomtime for bricks in Afghanistan

A seven-year-old boy, Roman, sorts bricks at the Sadat brick factory in Kabul where he works every day from 8am to 5pm. Child labour is common in Afghanistan's brick factories where adult workers, desperate to make more money, enlist their children to help with some of the easier jobs.

Read more:,in-pictures,news-in-pictures,in-pictures-boomtime-for-kabul-brick-factories-afghanistan-sadat#ixzz0lkQ9gtig

Bangladesh Adopts Green Brick Kiln Technology

Bangladesh Adopts Green Brick Kiln Technology
Vamban News 5th April 2010 Dhaka, 

– In an effort to reduce carbon emission, Bangladesh is looking at smokeless brick making technology to replace the over 150-year-old traditional method in the country. The new technology has been introduced by the UNDP as part of its project ‘Improving Kiln Efficiency in the Brick Making Industry’.
The UNDP, which started its pilot project in 2006, will contribute $25 million in the next five years for 15 new projects in the country. ‘The innovative technology that is being used to replace the existing 150-year-old system will simply make the brick making industry so efficient that when this is replicated across Bangladesh we will have huge benefits for both the people and the global environment,’ Stefan Priesner, UNDP’s Country Director, said Sunday. UNDP said that the new system could reduce production costs, improve product quality, lower local pollution and, most importantly, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Xinhua reported. According to UNDP, brick making is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Bangladesh which produces around 6.0 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
High carbon emission level is caused by the outdated technology and substandard fuels such as high sulphur coal, tires and wood energy in kilns, it said, adding that in Bangladesh it takes about 23 tonnes of coal to produce 100,000 bricks whereas in other country it takes only 7.8 to 8 tonnes.
‘The traditional technologies of manufacturing bricks are heavily polluting the environment and in light of the economic growth in Bangladesh there is a huge pressure to manufacture more and more bricks,’ Priesner added.

7000-year-old bricks discovered in China

21 February 2010
7000-year-old bricks discovered in China

Bricks dating back 5,000 to 7,000 years have been unearthed in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, adding between 1,000 to 2,000 years onto Chinese brick-making history, archaeologists claimed. "The five calcined bricks were unearthed from a site of the Yangshao Culture Period dating 5,000 to 7,000 years ago. Previously, the oldest known bricks in the country were more than 4,000 years old," Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology researcher Yang Yachang said. Only parts of the bricks, including three red ones and two gray ones, have been recovered, Yang said.

Yangshao Culture is a Neolithic culture that flourished along the Yellow River, which runs across China from west to east. The culture was named after Yangshao, the name of the first village discovered of the culture, in 1921 in central China's Henan Province. Archaeologists used to believe the ceramics were applied to architecture in the Shang Dynasty (1600 BCE-1100 BCE), which had been proved wrong by the new discovery, Yang said.

The smooth surface and rough surface of most well preserved red bricks are vertical to each other, and the rough surface was designed to be stuck to other materials, Yang said. "It is still unknown whether the bricks were in a square or rectangle shape as none of them are complete," he said.

The site, covering an area of more than 200,000 square meters, was to be cut through by a new highway, said Shao Jing, assistant researcher of the institute. The salvage excavation was launched in August 2009. As of February, more than 2,300 square meters had been excavated, Shao added. More than 150 sites, including houses, ash pits, ash grooves and kilns, had been found in the area, Shao said. "The bricks were all discovered in ash pits, which were garbage containers for the ancient people. For the modern archaeologist, these garbage containers are treasure troves of artifacts," she said.

The world's oldest unearthed bricks date back 8,000 to 10,000 years. They were discovered in Middle East and they were adobes which had not been calcined. Thus, the brick-making history of human kind should be about 10,000 years, Yang Yachang said.

Source: CRIemglish (20 February 2010)

New Technology for Brick Production in Vietnam

New Technology for Brick Production in Vietnam using coal tailings
April 11th 2010 Vietnam Business News
In order to conserve resources, reduce environmental pollution, create jobs and contribute to the coal industry, producing bricks from coal tailings is being utilized in many coal factories.According to the statistics, every year millions of coal-tailings are thrown into landfills. Coal tailings contain approximately five to eight percent of usable coal, therefore, throwing away coal-tailings is wasteful and leads to illegal coal exploitation at landfill sites. This reality has forced the coal industry to find another way to deal with coal-tailings.
In addition, using clay to produce bricks has been known to destroy agricultural soil and harm the environment. Every year, there are 24 billion bricks needed in the construction industry. To lay these bricks, 36 million cu.m of soil is used, which is equal to 1,800 ha of cultivated land. Exhaust fumes from bricks contain numerous toxic substances, which are extremely harmful to the environment and to people’s health.
After discovering that coal-tailings’ chemical components were similar to that’s of the clay, scientists discovered the technology to make brick from coal-tailings. The technology has been used in many countries. In Vietnam, the project to use coal-tailings to produce bricks has been successfully implemented by the Institute of Mining Science and Technology (under Vietnam National Coal Mineral Industry Group).
Initial success has urged the scientists at the Institute of Mining Science and Technology to apply the technology to produce more than 23,000 bricks from coal-tailings at the Cua Ong and Hon Gai Coal Factories. Nguyen Quoc Thinh from the Institute of Mining Science and Technology said that coal-tailings can be adequately used to produce bricks, which can be used in the construction industry. Coal-tailing bricks are similar to clay bricks in terms of their physical qualities and design.

Madonna to Lay Bricks Of New Malawi School

Madonna To Lay Bricks Of New Malawi School

2:31pm UK, Monday April 05, 2010 Hazel Tyldesley, Sky News Online

Madonna has arrived in Malawi to lay the first brick of a new school funded by her charity, which supports poverty-stricken children in the southern African country. Madonna and her adopted children during a visit to Malawi last year.The Raising Malawi Academy for Girls promises to be a family and support centre, allowing female students to attend regular classes as well as giving them access to medical care and regular meals."The Academy will be much more than just a school — in a country where one million children have been orphaned due to Aids, the Academy will educate, protect, and empower young girls," the charity said.
Madonna will be joined by economist Jeffrey Sachs, a development affairs expert who recently entered the debate over the so-called Robin Hood tax, saying it could help boost aid to Africa.The first item on the pop singer's itinerary in Malawi is a trip to a UN community initiative called the Millennium Village, which promotes sustainable development. Madonna has donated millions of pounds towards projects in Malawi and has also adopted two children from the impoverished nation.She won a court battle that had initially blocked her adoption of toddler Mercy James last year, but met criticism from children's charities that suggested the girl could be better cared for in her home country.The singer's £10m centre, located on the outskirts of the country's capital Lilongwe is set to open in 2011.

Animated Brick films site  is dedicated to brickfilming - making stop motion animation with LEGO or other brick like elements. Might try it with clay bricks.

Barack Obama Austral Brick tribute

Sydney, Mar 23, 2010 (ABN Newswire) - Brickworks Limited (ASX:BKW) announce, Australia's leading brick company Austral Bricks(TM), today unveiled Australia's largest tribute to US President, Barack Obama, at Horsley Park on the M7, despite the postponement of his visit. Austral Bricks(TM) went ahead with the 100 square metre construction of the mural in the lead-up to the visit and following the postponement was announced, added the sign "Where the bloody hell are ya?" The wall will be still in place in June, the next scheduled date of the president's much anticipated visit. More than 6,000 glazed bricks were laid over a five day period by J&M Langon Bricklayers and features Austral Bricks(TM) Burlesque(R) and Dynasty(R) ranges. Austral Bricks' national marketing manager, Brett Ward said, "We decided to finish the construction of the wall and the sign with our tongues firmly in our cheeks. We are using Aussie humour as a token of the friendship between our two countries and commemorate the 70th anniversary of our alliance. "We hope our humour is taken the right way by our friends in the US and we will take down the sign as soon as the president steps foot on our shores mid-year", he added."The Brick Art(TM) mural demonstrates the versatility and contemporary nature of what can be achieved with bricks. Austral Bricks is excited about the opportunities that Brick Art(TM) can play in the creation of unique and interesting murals for architects and designers", said Mr Mark Ellenor, NSW General Manager of Austral Bricks.The Barack Obama wall is the latest Brick Art(TM) mural by the company, following on from the Michael Jackson Tribute that was built in September last year. The glazed bricks used in the mural are in colours not normally associated with bricks, including green, white, blue, leather and black from both the Burlesque(R) and Dynasty(R) ranges. Seven of the 10 available brick colours were used to create the impressive art piece.

Duffel bag full of pot bricks

June 9 2009 (Newser) – A Mexican surfer off a California beach was busted for trying to smuggle 24 pounds of pot on his board, reports the Los Angeles Times. When suspicious cops on the beach close to the Mexican border ordered the surfer to come ashore, he heaved a duffel bag into the water. It later washed up, packed with pot bricks worth $74,000, according to law enforcement authorities.

Those black plastic bricks called VHS tapes

The era of VHS is officially over
By Katherine Thompson
Posted Dec 22, 08 9:57 AM CST
(Newser) – Remember those black plastic bricks you used to pop into your entertainment system to watch movies? The nostalgic might want to snap a few digital photos, because tapes won't be with us for much longer now that the last VHS supplier has made his final shipment. The LA Times rewinds the history of a format film critic Leonard Maltin recalls as a "sea change." Videocassettes changed what Americans expected from entertainment, allowing people to choose what they wanted to see and then watch it at home, not to mention recording onto blank tapes. But thanks to DVDs and, increasingly, Blu-ray discs, the last VCRs are on shelves now. Says the last supplier standing: "I'm not sure a lot of people are going to miss VHS, but it's been good to us

Method may "make it possible to build bricks from straw'

By Rob Quinn
Posted Mar 15, 2010 3:16 AM CDT

(Newser) – Spider silk is yielding secrets that could pave the way for incredibly strong building materials, researchers say. MIT scientists found that the silk uses a unique crystal structure that makes it both strong and able to bend without breaking. They believe it is possible to copy that structure to turn ordinary materials like wood or straw into flexible and strong "super-materials," the Telegraph reports. Researchers found that nanocrystals 3 millionths of a millimeter across turned the inherently weak building blocks of spider silk into a material that is, pound for pound, stronger and less brittle than steel. They believe applying the same process to carbon-based building elements will create even stronger materials, potentially revolutionizing the whole field of synthetic materials.

Court: Lego Can't Trademark Bricks' Shape

By Nick McMaster
Posted Nov 12, 08 5:14 PM CST

(Newser) – A European Union court ruled today that Lego can’t trademark the shape of its iconic toy building blocks, Bloomberg reports. The court supported a 2006 decision by the EU trademark agency that said because the raised circles on Lego blocks serve a “utilitarian function,” they are ineligible for trademark. Lego plans to appeal to a higher court. Lego says the design of the bricks make them “highly distinctive” and aesthetic in nature, and therefore eligible for a trademark. A precedent-setting decision in 2002 held that Royal Philips Electronics was not infringing on Spectrum’s Remington trademark by producing an electric shaver with a triangle-shaped head similar to that of a Philips shaver.

Bangladesh Brickmaker Beheaded to Redden Bricks

Fortune teller calls for human sacrifice

By Mary Papenfuss
Posted Mar 22, 2010 10 3:17 AM CDT
(Newser) – A Bangladeshi man was beheaded in a bizarre ritual to improve a local brick business. When owners became concerned that bricks in a northern village were losing their sought-after reddish hue, a fortune teller encouraged a human sacrifice. Four laborers, following owners' orders, killed a 26-year-old fellow worker and baked his head in a kiln in an effort to redden the bricks. The workers have been busted and police are searching for the owners and fortune teller, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Brickmaking History

For centuries bricks were moulded by hand in wooden moulds. These were four sided and rectangular in shape with no base or lid. Moulds were placed either directly on the ground or on a roughly made brickmakers table. Bricks made on the ground are generally pre 19th cent. They were known as 'place' bricks and often contain grass impressions. From the 19th cent rectangular block of wood, smaller than the mould dimensions, would be screwed on the table which created the brick's 'frog'. Sometimes letters were carved in the frog to identify the brickyard owner. With the advent of steam power brickmaking became mechanized wherever volume justified it. Steam driven extrusion plants with nine overhead wire cutters produced ten bricks every few minutes.One of the oldest methods of firing is by clamp. A clamp is a temporary construction of unfired or green bricks which is dismantled after firing and could be erected near the clay source. Clamps varied from yard to yard but there were general rules which most followed. The floor had to be level and was made of burnt brick. Channels were often made in the floor and filled with fuel, usually breeze (crushed coke) but any fuel would suffice and wood, furze, charcoal were also used. Next came three or four layers of green bricks which were placed on edge and then another layer of fuel was added. After this, green bricks were packed closely together to a height of 14 or 15 feet. The bricks were 'dished' or tilted inward to prevent injury to workmen during firing. Sometimes the outside was sealed with wet pug. Most clamp bricks had a small percentage of breeze added to the clay during manufacture. This helped to 'self fire' them and ensured that a good temperature was reached. Clamps contained 30,000 to 150,000 bricks. An average size would take two or three weeks to burn out, although larger ones could take as much as ten or twelve weeks. Updraught kilns may be as old as clamps. These were known as Scotch kilns and were permanent structures with one or more firing chambers.The kilns were built of burnt brick. Flues ran under the perforated floor from one end to the other. Green bricks were stacked on the chamber floor with small gaps between them to allow the heat to circulate. The open top was covered with old burnt bricks and turf or pug to help conserve the heat and prevent draughts that would cause uneven firing. The kilns had to be stoked regularly day and night for at least three or four days. It was quite common to see flames rising from the top of these kilns when firing. The death knell sounded for many small yards in 1939 when Blackout Regulations were brought into force. A later development came to be known as a Suffolk kiln. These were fired on the same principle but smaller and set into a bank. One reason for this was to provide ease of access for loading or setting, another was for insulation. The downdraught kiln was far more efficient than the Scotch or Suffolk. Firing was much easier to control. They were often circular in structure with about eight fire holes. Inside the fireholes were baffles or 'bag' of firebricks. It had a domed roof and a perforated floor under which ran a flue leading to the chimney stack. The circular or 'beehive' kiln had a capacity of about 12,000 green bricks. Coal was lit inside the firehole grates and hot gases were directed upward from the baffles and then downwards from the underside of the dome and through the stacked bricks by the draught from the chimney. Altogether it took fourteen days or so to operate, with two days for loading or setting, three days for 'curing', two days for heating to full temperature, one day at full heat, then another three or four days to cool down and a further day to unload or draw.