Finding Clay for your Pits
One of the most persistent questions I get in my Quoit Pits email is "Where can I find clay to put into my new Quoit pits?" There do exist various sources available to provide the proper clay needed for the perfect pit, but some are not as accessible or easy to find depending on where you live. This page will hopefully assist you in finding possible sources of clay in your area. Lets try to help all our fledgling Quoit enthusiasts get their pits ready for some great pitching seasons ahead!
Among the farmlands of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the soil is rich and fertile, and excellent for growing crops. But another favorable feature of this ground, at least to local quoit enthusiasts, is the large amount of naturally occurring clay soils. This clay was most likely formed from sedimentary deposits of the Susquehanna River on the western edge of the county, and other small creeks that flow though the area on their way into the river. Water is a natural producer of fine silt and clay, so many soils near these waterways can be composed almost entirely of clay. To find naturally-occurring sources of clay, you should first look in areas like this. If you can gain public access to property along streams or rivers, look along the stream banks and the ground just above them.
If you are looking for clay in areas away from water, your best sources are places where the ground has been disturbed, either by nature or by man-made activity. Farm fields, small cliffs and drop-offs, washouts and mudslides, road cuts, construction areas, or ground dug for new home construction. Anywhere that underground soils might be exposed to the surface is the best place to look. Please be sure to ask permission before accessing any private property or construction areas, and visit the sites after hours when work is not active.
Bulk Clay for Purchase
Douglasville, PA 19518
Charli and Charlie Mountcastle own Monty's Mulch in Douglasville, PA, between Reading and Pottstown along Route 422. Charli sent me this information via email in the Fall of 2003, regarding their supply of Quoit clay for local enthusiasts:
"We have just gotten a supply of clay for quoit pits. In this area there seems to be a lot of folks looking for it and we have, in the past, been a supplier of clay but sold out in the spring and have been looking for a place to get it all summer. We are putting a sign out saying that we have it now. Please pass the word to other folks in the area who may be looking for it.
We sell the clay either in 5 gallon buckets or by the ton. It is really a unique product for our area because most of the dirt around here is either red or yellow and has quite a lot of stone or shale in it. This clay is light yellow, almost a white color and is sticky like potters clay and has very few stones in it. You can pick up a hand full of it and mold it just like molding clay. All of the folks who have gotten it have been really amazed by it, and some have come back for more for their new pits. Everyone seems to like it, so we will continue to keep a supply of it."
As of August 2007, the selling price was $3.00 per bucket or $26.00 per ton. Be aware these prices are subject to change. For more information, directions, and Current Pricing for their clay, please visit their Website: www.montysmulch.com.
Bagged Dry Clay
You can buy Redart clay in 50 pound bags at pottery supply houses that sell bulk ceramic art materials. This clay comes packaged as a very fine powder that you just add water to. Because this clay is so fine, it has a tendency to get very hard if it dries out. A good solution to this problem is to add 1 part play sand to 4 parts Redart clay inside each pit, and mix well before adding any water. The sand helps hold in the moisture better by keeping the clay soft and loose, but not so much that you loose the necessary quoit sticking qualities of the clay. From my own experience it works fairly well.
To fill your pits about 6 inches deep with clay, you will probably need 4 to 5 bags of clay and 1 bag of play sand for each pit. Buying clay by the bag is a little expensive; expect to pay around $10.00 for a 50 pound bag of Redart. If you can buy 500 pounds in bulk, the price may be a little less per pound.
The bag pictured at right is the brand of clay used at the Sellersville, PA Moose Lodge for the Annual Munster Invitational Tournament:
Cedar Heights REDART Airfloated Clay
Resco Products, Inc.
TIP: Use the "Clay ball" test to determine how much play sand is needed in the clay - does a slightly moistened ball of clay/sand mixture hold together when flattened, or does it crumble? The clay balls should be plastic when moist and resist crumbling when subject to minor pressure. Clay is "sticky" due to the fineness of its individual particles and their shapes. Too much sand defeats the sticky qualities of the clay, so test a small amount first before mixing an entire pit!