Handmade bricks fall principally into two categories, sandstrucks and waterstrucks.
Sandstruck bricks or sandstock brick, is often a misunderstood term and is unfortunately applied to bricks that are not sandstocks. Sandstock bricks are produced using the sandstruck method in which clay is hand pressed into a mould dusted with fine sand. Sandstock bricks have a regular rectangular "brick shape" but have highly textured elephant skin creasing with slightly ragged/chipped edges, this is their defining characteristic.
Unlike sandstocks, waterstruck bricks have smoother textures, this is achieved but using wetter clay and the moulds are lined with water. Waterstruck moulding is sometimes referred to as "slop" moulding. Bricks produced using this method can be misshapen with deformed edges, this along with their smoother texture is their defining characteristic. Waterstruck bricks are still a very popular European style.
Comparison with Conventional Bricks
Handmade bricks are still just standard bricks, they have to meet all the same standards that conventional mass produced bricks do. The main difference between a handmade brick an a conventional mass produced extruded brick is character. Handmade bricks have an individuality than can not be achieved via mass production.
Are handmade bricks for you?
We would like to think that the answer is a resounding yes. But simply, if you are after a brick with character and individuality in colour and texture, then handmade bricks are for you. If you are after a highly uniform looking brick in terms of colour and texture, then handmade bricks may not be for you. All handmade bricks will have a certain aged appearance and will be perfectly imperfect.
Pressed bricks are machine pressed into single moulds, as the pressing force is greater than hand pressed bricks, pressed bricks tend to have less texture on the face of the brick and a more regular shape.
Extruded bricks are made by forcing clay through a shaped aperture (called a die) to produce a long continuous sausage of shaped clay and then cut into individual bricks. Extruded bricks tend to have smooth faces.
Recycled bricks are just bricks that have been used previously and have be salvaged during building demolition, for this reason they offer both aesthetic appeal and practical benefits, making them a compelling option for those looking to build sustainably. According to ‘Emissions Estimate Technique Manual for Bricks, there is 1.65 kg of carbon dioxide emitted for each tonne of bricks produced from a gas-fired kiln each year. Every time you use a recycled brick you are helping to reduce the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere.