|Monthly Tech-Tip |
Plainsman extracts 6 different sedimentary clays from this quarry (Mel knows where the layers separate). The dried test bars on the right show them (top to bottom). The range of properties exhibited is astounding. The top-most layer is the most plastic and has the most iron concretion particles (used in our most speckled reduction bodies). The bottom one is the least plastic and most silty (the base for Ravenscrag Slip). The middle two are complete buff stonewares made by mother nature (e.g. M340 and H550). A2, the second one down, is a ball clay (similar to commercial products like OM#4, Bell). A2 is refractory and the base for Plainsman Fireclay. The second from the bottom fires the whitest and is the most refractory (it is the base for H441G).
We are drilling test holes down through about 40 feet of overburden into the seven layers of clay to be mined. The rig assembles five-foot auger-sections, drilling down and pulling out two sections at-a-time. We examine the auger, identify the clays and record the results. At the middle of the auger-full shown you can see the division between the A2 ball clay and the A3 white stoneware, it was about 50 feet down. This hole was 80 feet, that spans tens of millions of years of sedimentation! This is the first time we have been able to sample the entire depth of the overburden, a highly plastic red burning low temperature clay, now we can assess whether it is a useful product.
About Plainsman Clays
|Materials||3C White Ball Clay|
|Materials||A3 Stoneware Clay|
|Materials||A2 Ball Clay|
|Materials||A1 Ball Clay|
Clays form by the weathering of rock deposits over long periods. Primary clays are found near the site of alteration. Secondary clays are transported by water and laid down in layers.
Plainsman 3D, Mother Nature's Porcelain/Stoneware
Mother Nature's Porcelain - Plainsman 3B
How to Find and Test Your Own Native Clays
Some of the key tests needed to really understand what a clay is and what it can be used for can be done with inexpensive equipment and simple procedures. These practical tests can give you a better picture than a data sheet full of numbers.