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About fergusonjeff

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  1. Thanks for the photos Min. I was not following the text description and assumed it was much more complicated.
  2. fergusonjeff


    I am pretty sure most cone 6 speckled clays (especially Laguna's speckled buff WC-403) use granular manganese for the dark speckles, not ilmenite. The speckles bled well into most glazes. I mix together a lot of different cone 6 clays but usually include 50% speckled buff for the speckles.
  3. If you really need to determine the volume of leather-hard or even bisque-ware use something other than water (rice, beans, sugar, sand...)
  4. fergusonjeff

    Firing with glass

    Just a quick side note. Glass does not still move at normal temperatures. This myth relates to old windows. Many really old windows were made from blown glass that was flattened while hot and then cut to shape. This often resulted in uneven thickness. The glass was usually installed with the thicker sides on the bottom. More recent (but still old) glass has a very "wavy" look and this was also from the initial manufacture, not continued movement after installation. If glass was still moving, we would see some slumping in glass forms thousands of years old from many places in the old world. Unless they are exposed to enough heat to start melting they do not move. As an archaeologist I work with lots of volcanic glass (obsidian) artifacts. There are many artifacts millions of years old, and aside from some surface weathering (usually a function of a slow hydration process) there is never any change to the overall shape even after hundreds of times more time than the old blown glass windows. The incompatibilities between glass and clay are a function of slight differences in expansion related to temperature change, not continued flow in the glass.
  5. fergusonjeff

    Cone 5 vs cone 6?

    Even with the higher voltage elements this kiln is not ideal for cone 6 firing. I have the same kiln and only get about 20 bisque (^04) and maybe 30 glaze (^6) firings on a set of elements. I thought it was a fluke the first time, but I am just about to replace them for the second time and got almost exactly the same number of firings. For a casual potter this is a lot of firings (many years), but not great for higher production. I am planning to order a new L&L e-quad kiln very soon to get some longer life.
  6. fergusonjeff


    I use a Whisper every day. It has decent power for most throwing (everything from mugs to large platters). It is possible to slow it down at times, but it is rarely a limitation. The quietness is great and I really like the free-spinning wheel head when the pedal is up. I have used it daily for 6 years now without the slightest problem. I recently decided I needed a second wheel and purchased a high-end Skutt (Thomas Stuart) wheel. This certainly has more power but I can't say it has allowed me to do anything the Whisper did not. The Skutt is really loud by comparison. I thought I would really like the extra power, but I still use the Whisper for about 90% of my throwing.
  7. The idea of only keeping the best stuff is an interesting one. As an archaeologist (my day job) who studies craft production in the archaeological record I am always interested in what evidence for learning and experimentation survives. Aside from the academic pursuits, there is value for the potter in working through the whole process, even if the early steps are not perfect. If you spend years perfecting throwing you will produce great pots with no ability to trim. By the time you learn to trim, you will have to work through drying and attachments/modifications. Then there are years to perfect firing and glazing. At some point you also have to work through the skills needed to market and sell your work. By working through the whole process from early on there is the potential to learn many steps of the process simultaneously. There is certainly value to training on certain parts of the process individually, but it is important to remember that making and selling pottery is a massively complex endeavor with many independent components. Getting good at just one part does not necessarily move you toward a final goal.
  8. fergusonjeff

    Flashing Slips

    I apply flashing sips to bisque pieces. I use a few different slips on bisque. They are typically about 1/4 epk, 1/4 high-iron clay (like Helmar), and up to 1/2 Neph Sy. I have pushed the Neph Sy up to 60% and then it is acting more like a glaze (which I really like). My firings are typically only about 14 hours, so on the shorter side. Even though I go over cone 10, the extra Neph Sy helps to melt the surface in the shorter firing.
  9. fergusonjeff

    Woodfiring Clay Bodies

    It is likely that the color is coming from a flashing slip. I can get very dark areas (not sure about purple though) with high-iron flashing slips in longer firings. In this case the particular clay color is not as important. I do use a couple darker clays (mixed, not commercial) that will get nice dark browns on their own. A picture will definitely help.
  10. fergusonjeff

    Best Tent For Craft Show?

    GEP, thanks for the info. I am about 6'4" and in decent shape, so I am not too worried about set-up. Just looked at the light dome. It is a pipe construction which I think makes much more sense than the expansion style like the EZ-ups. How does your tent do in the wind? With the awning, stabilizer bars, and shipping, the Trimline is almost $1400. The Light Dome is a few hundred cheaper.
  11. fergusonjeff

    Best Tent For Craft Show?

    I should add that I do my shows in the summer in the Midwest, so that means lots of thunderstorms and high winds. Does anyone have experience with the Trimline tents? I would rather spend the money once on a good tent than deal with repairs. One tent cashing could damage thousands of dollars in pottery.
  12. fergusonjeff

    Best Tent For Craft Show?

    Hoping to get an update from Neil on the tent he ordered. I need to move on from the very fragile EZ-Up tents. A friend recently ordered this tent, but it does not look like much more than the EZ-up but more than twice the price: http://www.eurmax.com/beyond-10x10-instant-canopy-with-enclosure-walls.html Does anyone have any experience with the Eurmax Beynd tents? Thanks, Jeff
  13. fergusonjeff

    Peter Pugger VPM 20SS

    The maximum pugging rates (pounds/hour) seem kind of useless. If all you are doing is throwing in clay and spitting it out as fast as possible then what is the point? I use mine for mixing different clays, adding stuff to clays, remixing trimmings/reclaim, mixing up clay from dry ingredients... All of these require mixing time. I mix while doing other tasks, so no time lost.
  14. It will work better with more absorbent bats. Plaster works very well, but I have not tried it with any wood bats.
  15. After 3 years of using my batmate just an Min described, I bought a new one. Of course I cannot find it now, so I just bought a large synthetic chamois at the hardware store. Half the cost of a batmate and I cut out 2 12" circles and had lots of scrap. Works just as well as the batmate for the first few weeks so far. I use it entirely with plaster bats ranging from 7 to 12". I have to re-wet the batmate a little each time, but I just throw some water on with a sponge.

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