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Everything posted by fergusonjeff

  1. I mix porcelain into my stoneware all the time (~25%) and have no problems. It is well-mixed in the pug mill. I have also thrown pieces with 1/4 or 1/2 porcelain smashed together but not even wedged to get swirled clay in the final piece. the biggest issue is different throwing properties/moisture levels.
  2. The Amps seem about right. The kiln is only 2.3 cubic feet.
  3. fergusonjeff

    Used fire brick changed my plans

    For the standard gas kiln a permanent set up is reasonable, but I just use a flexible 50' hose for my Raku kiln and for getting a little gas going to start the big wood kiln. I ran a long propane line underground to get heat to the studio (about 40-50') but added a fitting on the outside of the building. I bought a 50' hose from the propane company that I can just attach when needed. This type of setup might work for propane users needing only occasional gas for smaller uses (like Raku).
  4. Same as Denice. I usually mix the Speckled buff with other cone5/6 clays. Will get occasional warping with things like yarn bowls so I add a little extra sand and fireclay. For usually items like bowls and mugs that WC-403 clay does fine at cone 6 (and even cone 7 when first firing my new kiln). I also bisque to cone 04 and this helps burn off some stuff that can cause glaze issues.
  5. I have been using the SS20 daily for about 3 years now. Here are some answers to your questions. 1. Has anyone gotten HOLES in the center of their clay logs from a PP? Only at the beginning of the pugging. Not more than 5-6 inches with some air pockets. 2. Do PPs also have to pug super slow? My Baily was fast. I use a top speed when pugging. usually takes about 1-2 minutes to pug out 30-40 pounds. 3. Does a lot clay get all stuck in the lid? Does it have to be cleared all the time? There is definitely some that builds up on and around the lid, but not a problem to scrape off every once in a while. If it builds up around the seal it can dry out and create some vacuum leaks, but still easy to clean off. 4. Does water tend to get shoved up into the lid area clay, not allowing it to affect the batch? Mark and Glazenerd have addressed the water issue. Getting the "spins" is often a problem when adding water, but if added in small amounts in the front of the chamber it usually works itself out. 5. Is the issue with sucking back-in the clay for the De-Airing to reach both chambers at least a "reliable" and a repeatable task for success? With the PP, the vacuum is first created in the rear chamber. I usually need to start pugging to get the seal to pop and vacuum out the clay chamber. It usually occurs after pugging out about 5-6 inches. I then reverse the direction and pull the clay back in and mix for a few seconds. then just pug everything out at full speed. 6. Can you mix batches a little wet or a little dry to suit your needs, without major issues (not pugging, holes, bubbles, etc.) I adjust wetness to what I plan to throw. there are definitely points of too wet or too dry for it to work well, but usually those are outside the range you would want to use anyway. 7. Are single augers, though stronger and won't break down like dual augers, doomed to have these issues? Not sure. no experience with dual augers. 8. I can't spend more than $5,000 I think the SS20 will slightly exceed that budget. I tried for months to find a used one and gave up. Don't bother with the used list on the PP website. Most of the ones still listed sold many years ago.
  6. fergusonjeff

    Peter Pugger VPM 20SS

    Maybe they developed a new self-opening clay system. Just slap the pugged sections with proper alignment and you are ready to start pulling. Actually this does seem like a problem. I get some air pockets in the first few inches with the peter pugger, but I just toss that into the next batch.
  7. fergusonjeff

    Shimpo Vs. Peter Pugger

    I am looking to purchase a pug mill in the near future and could use a little help. I will be using it mainly for recycling and for wedging bagged clay prior to throwing. I may also use it for some custom clay additives soon. I have narrowed it down to two mai choices: The peter pugger VPM-20 and the Shimpo NVS-007. Both are about the same size and seem to have similar capabilities. I can get the Peter Pugger for a few hundred less than the Shimpo, which means getting it sooner rather than a few weeks from now. The Shimpo does have a stainless steel chamber (rather than an extra option for about $500 more for the Peter Pugger). The Shimpo als seems to have a few nicer stock items such as rolling base and pug cutter and rool-out table. Assuming roughly equal prices, how do these stack up. I have read lots about the reliability and workmanship of the Peter Puggers but have heard less about the Shimpo. I have talked to a few folks (such as the owner of Peter Pugger and stores that would profit more from one brand over the other) but seem to get very financially-biased opinions. Any help thinking this through is appreciated. Thanks, Jeff
  8. The one I fire is exactly like the one in Neil's diagram. I use about 0.8 cords of waste wood (combination of salvaged barrel, pallet, and lumber scrap) per firing.
  9. I currently have one of the catenary cross-fire kilns that Neil just mentioned. I typically fire in about 12-14 hours and can get decent ash. It also does well with most glazes. I often sprinkle a little ash mixture (50% ash and 50% neph Sy) on the wet glazed surface for a little extra ask kick-start. I use predominantly wood scrap from Amish pallet makers a little north of me and scavenged pine. The wood is free, and if I did not take it they just spread it out in big piles and burn it.
  10. fergusonjeff

    Skutt kiln long firing

    Usually the elements go slowly. Going from 8.5 hours to 12 is a really big jump. Can you confirm all the elements are glowing while firing? A quick jump in firing time (assuming the thermocouple is working correctly) might be from a single elements not firing due to damage during the move. Might also explain why the bisque was only a little slower and the glaze was a lot slower. The kiln could probably compensate for the bad coil during the lower temps.
  11. fergusonjeff

    yarn bowl dilemma

    I had the same issues. Making a shorter, more vertical, cut helped a lot. I also add a few percent sand and fireclay to a mix of cone 6 commercial clays to give it a little more strength at higher temps (a step in the direction of just using a cone10 clay, but with a better chance of a consistent glaze fit). Keeping the walls a little thicker than usual night help too.
  12. Thanks for the photos Min. I was not following the text description and assumed it was much more complicated.
  13. 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.
  14. If you really need to determine the volume of leather-hard or even bisque-ware use something other than water (rice, beans, sugar, sand...)
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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
  24. 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.
  25. It will work better with more absorbent bats. Plaster works very well, but I have not tried it with any wood bats.

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