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  3. Heh heh. Wendy ordered a new thermocouple from the local distributor -- she'll pick that up on Monday. So we will try again on Tuesday. Re-arranging the order of the valves in the valve train seems like a big job, and if we are going to go to those lengths, I would probably just get a new valve to replace the troublesome one -- if a new thermocouple doesn't resolve the trouble....
  4. @Tim Allen ok we have waited, any discoveries?
  5. I have also read that in Andrew Martin's book and I have had great experience using Grolleg in casting slip. Another thing to consider is that Grolleg has some potassium (flux) and EPK does not. EPK will require more added flux to reach the same level of vitrification for an equal amount of Grolleg. Not sure if I read this on digitalfire or Martin's book but this way to mix casting slip works well for me: mix your slip, let it sit overnight, measure specific gravity, add water to reach target specific gravity, then add deflocculant to adjust the fluidity of the slip.
  6. I make two and three finger handles for average size mugs. Since I make 7 sizes and styles it more complex. Say on a two # mug that is usually 4 finger handle. Mug size will determine the esthetics of most handles. My customers like a mix of handle sizes so thats what i give them.I make mugs for other people not myself.
  7. You certainly “ handle” the criticism well though.
  8. Like Liam, I make the top attachment of the handle to be approximately 1/3 of the width of the mug. the handle thickness should be a similar thickness to the lip of the mug, so they carry the same visual weight. The handle should taper quickly so it springs off the mug in a natural arc. Assuming it's intended for 2 or more fingers, I like a 'D' shaped handle. I'm kind of picky about handle shapes- I hate '7' shaped handles, or handles that loop up above the rim before going down. Currently I only make 1 finger handles. I like how they feel, and they fit the style of my mugs. Some people really hate 1 finger handles, and aren't shy about telling me when they come into my booth at art fairs.
  9. Well, learn something new every day! I almost never wedge (when I do, it's spiral). Mostly I do cut & slam, and then I often beat the clay into submission with a mallet or pound it with a heavy duty commercial rolling pin, whacking it every which way from Sunday (then roll it). Ah ha....forge wedged! I don't bake bread. I make "Casserolls" from Recipes for a Small Planet. They're made of milk, honey, butter, yeast, & whole wheat flour. The process involves warming, cooling, stiring, bubbling, beating, going down, rising up & dropping by heaping spoonfulls into a pan--no kneading. Truly yummy.
  10. I bought a ton back then (Gerstly borate )and am swimming in it for my life.The shipping will be alot $I would think about the formulation with other ingredients.
  11. By the way. A good set of books on functional pottery are Robin Hoppers "functional pottery", and Clary illians "a potters workbook". The Illian one is fairly short and simple, the hopper book goes more into background, history and theory and I like it much more. Clary illians book is more about exploration of forms
  12. I aim for the handle to be 1/3rd of the total width of the vessel. So handle protrudes about half the diameter of the cylinder. Always looks good at that size.
  13. I looked at this closely from an engineering standpoint and tried to determine the best shape for which comfort and utility could be maximized. My current thought is it should be aesthetic so apply any rule of thirds you like and most important don’t have any sharp edges. Other than that there are a bunch of ugly handles that don’t look right and also don’t feel right. I will spare you the idea that attaching the top of the handle below the lip significantly along with the bottom chord of the handle being at approximately a 45 degree angle from vertical will improve upon the leverage of the user ............ need I drone on? My best advice: look at lots of production mugs, see what you like and how it feels, then use that knowledge to experiment.
  14. Realizing there is no single "right answer", and know that the most obvious one is "it depends..." I'm going to ask anyway: How do you determine the size of the handle on a mug ? I know handles come in lots of shapes & styles. I've seen some mugs recently with a handle that looks like a napkin ring glued to the mug, barely big enough to stick one finger through - but in the most basic, traditional form, a handle is roughly a "C" shape, with the ends attached to the mug. (The "C" is often skewed to look more like half of a heart, or a bass-clef symbol - but it's still basically a "C".) I'm looking for input based on that 'traditional' form. Is there a rule-of-thumb that you go by - or do you just attach the top end, bend it around, and say "hmm... that looks about right" ? If you measure how far the handle sticks out from the mug - how does that compare with the diameter of the mug itself ?
  15. Colemanite and ulexite are available in Chile and Turkey and maybe California. They have very high losses on ignition with ulexite probably causing more problems of the two. Gillespie borate is a replacement for gerstley (not a drop in but similar) so you might have more success shipping that. @liambesaw is correct in that Frits may be a better source of insoluble boron. Gerstly borate was mined in California and its primary use was to encapsulate underground nuclear testing. Since that market is gone, the mine was shut down. In or around 2011 Laguna purchased the remaining tons of the stuff laying about the abandoned mine and became a primary supplier for the pottery community which was a tiny consumer of this material compared with the US government. The mine is abandoned and not worth reopening for such limited use. Lots of it still in the ground though if someone wanted to start digging..
  16. Not BS. Sourdough is different. In addition to having multiple strains of yeast, rather than one strain like in commercial dry yeast, it contains lactobicillus bacteria and other things that do a better job of breaking down the gluten and grain proteins during the fermentation process, making it more digestible than regular bread.
  17. Yesterday
  18. Yup, they are stainless steel. So just as food safe as the pots.
  19. I had a similar issue. I placed an order online (and received an order confirmation the same day). Nine days later, I noticed that I hadn't received any shipping confirmation. So, I emailed BigCeramicsStore asking about the status of my order. Their auto-reply (laughably) says that they respond within 24-hours or less. Four days later, I still hadn't gotten any reply, so I followed up again. Another four days after that, I still hadn't gotten any reply, so I followed up again. Another day after that, I tried calling them twice during their posted customer service hours. Both times, an automated message said the office was closed and to call back during business hours (even though I had), and hung up on me. Then I saw that they had posted a few hours prior on Instagram, so I wrote a comment on their Instagram post to the effect of 'if you have time to post on Instagram, maybe you should take the time to respond to customer calls/emails.' Within just a few hours, they had deleted my comment. So, apparently they have time to sanitize customer criticism online, but not to actually provide customer service. What a total scam operation. I'm disputing with my credit card company. Don't order from these guys. Updated to add: After repeatedly calling/emailing them to no avail, I publicly called them out on their BBB/Facebook pages. Only then did they finally respond to me via email, only to tell me that all the items I had ordered were out of stock. Delightful. Glad they finally replied, but you shouldn't have to publicly shame a company into providing rudimentary customer service.
  20. Gerstley Borate is a common name for a mineral of the sodium calcium borate hydrates that ware mined in the western desert in in USA. Other sources of this mineral include Ulexite (a trade mane), Amalgamet (also a trade name), colemanite, . Search for mineral deposits of sodium calcium borates in China.
  21. @Up in Smoke Pottery, thank you! It is being dealt with but I'm trying to be safe in what I post here about that part of it.
  22. I remember reading somewhere that sourdough is different because the bacteria and yeast work together to change the chemistry of the flour or something. Probably a bunch of BS, but it sounded good. I love fermented foods though, can't get enough, I'm gonna have to try fermenting some clay
  23. You're going to have to identify exactly where the hum is happening. Could be the belt, the motor, the drive pulley, the controller, the splash pan, or even the legs. Once you locate it it, we can figure out how to fix it. It might require laying on the floor next to the wheel to pin it down.
  24. You can knead bread dough kind of like wedging. It's a bit more of a folding action, though. I suppose that some techniques are faster or more efficient than others, but as long as it's being stretched and moved about, it'll work. With wet sourdoughs, you do have to mix it well at the beginning, and fold it a few times, and during shaping there's a bit of a stretching action to create tension in the surface, but it's not kneaded.
  25. I always would poke to finger dents in the rams head to help those with little imagination. . . seemed to help. Also, Ben, you are right about the " Chrysanthemum " name, in some older books it used to be called the Oriental cone. .. but then again that is not a politically correct term anymore! best, Pres
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