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About Benzine

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    Socratic Potter

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  • Gender
  • Location
    The Hawkeye State
  • Interests
    The Arts (Drawing, Painting, Ceramics, Graphic Design), Running, Music (Mostly Rock), Movies, Technology

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  1. Benzine

    Clay contamination

    Yep, I've run in to that too Pres. Unintentional paper clay, with some added aging.
  2. Benzine

    Clay contamination

    Sorry @LeeU, I just don't dig on the cheese with stank. No, for my money, give me a nice fresh mozzarella or creamy brie.
  3. I love these forums, and all they allow us to do, but I have found that uploading images, to the gallery or otherwise, isn't super intuitive.
  4. I'll have, what we call, "Service Learners" help me with loading and unloading. They are students, who get a grade, for helping teachers. I only accept students, who I've had in class, and who I trust to do a wide variety of tasks, load/ unload the kiln, make test tiles, cut photo paper and mix darkroom chemicals. Oh, and and one of my, and probably their least favorite, redo the wash on the kiln shelves!
  5. Art teachers are really good at three-dimensional Tetris! The worst however, is when you get so far in loading, and find something that either; A. Would fit better on a different spot, or B. You forgot about all together, because you had it sitting aside (Sometimes sitting aside, so you didn't forget about it...) I have had to unload, just to reload before. A lot of heavy sighing is involved...
  6. Benzine

    Clay contamination

    Generally, the only color that I am concerned with is bright white, as that usually means some pieces of plaster found their way into the scraps. If it is any other color, black, brown, yellow, a less brilliant, and far more fuzzy white, then it's all good. Like Denice said, a lot of people like the "aged" clay. It's like a fine wine/ whiskey or an *allegedly* good cheese.
  7. Benzine

    Flaking burnished surface

    Tanjag, are you bisquing the pots first, as Marcia mentioned, or just single firing them, in the wood stove? I tried single firing some wares, for a pit firing. It didn't go well...
  8. And to add, to what @JohnnyK said, using wood or plastic tools, will be less likely to mar the surface of the plaster.
  9. Pres, you are too clever for your own good...
  10. Yeah, a needle tool, tends to leave a burr, not that it can't be easily taken care of. Generally, you'll probably want a deeper, wider carving anyway. So a small loop tool, may work better. There are also a lot of various carving tools, that will work, that can be found from various art suppliers. And as @JohnnyK aptly demonstrated, there is nothing wrong, with making your own! To get rid of any burr, just brush across them, with a stiff brush, when they have dried a bit. Then go over it with a damp sponge.
  11. Interesting. I've never done that, I just keep both top and bottom flat, and join them that way.
  12. Benzine

    Teaching Wheels on a Budget

    @Pres giving up your own time indeed! I spent the last few weekends, modifying/ building new sections to, my classroom's "Waiting to be fired" shelf. It was too long for the space, so I cut it down. It was painted, which I disliked, so I stripped it down, stained it and coated it with a water resistant varnish. I also made a top portion, with more storage, which also created space to hang brooms and dust pans. And for good measure, and to make the custodial staff's life easier, I put some wheels on it, so they can move it out of the room easier, when they clean in the Summers. I figure it will outlast me. Also, I agree on the kick wheels Pres. I learned to throw on them, and they are great wheels, but waaaay too much space is taken up. And they are a paint to move. With that said, every classroom, I have taught in, has had at least one. My first classroom, had two, one with a motor, one without. The motorized one, was off center, and neither myself or others had the know how to fix it, at the time. My second classroom, had a single Brent kick wheel, that was only used for trimming. The rest were nice Brent Bs. Currently, I also have single Brent kick, that is mainly used for trimming, but I do allow students to use it to throw, though they tend to avoid. Physical labor and teenagers, are two things that don't mix well. I actually had two other kicks, well one kick, and one treadle, but I got rid of both. The treadle worked well enough, but it took up space, and was awkwardly tall (Leach Style). The kick wheel did not work well, and I'm the only thing in the classroom, that can both not work well AND take up space...
  13. Benzine

    Teaching Wheels on a Budget

    I know it can be a pain, to have a mixed bag of wheels, my classroom has three different types, that I have to explain the intricacies of. But, I'm just happy to have, as many as I do. Even if you want to have uniform wheels, you CAN still buy used. Check out the surplus sites, like Public Surplus, or Govdeals, and you can sometimes find an organization getting rid of several, of the same type. It's not a guarantee, and a bit of luck is involved, but always an option.
  14. Yeah, I had no idea, that they were created for dental offices/ labs, until I was talking about the trap to my wife. She works in a dental office, and says, "Yeah, we have those." I TRIED to get my District to install one of them, in one of my sink sets, because the old trap was leaking. I sent them an email, regarding the ease of clean out, and a link to the site. Naturally, they replaced it with the same exact model. I have no idea, who makes it, but it is pretty terrible. Like many traps, it is not clear, so the only way you know it is full, is when the drains get slow. It consists of an outer case, with an inner part, that has a plastic screen. The inner part is held in place with two latches. When it is time to clean it out, you undo the latches, and use a handle on the top, to pull the inner part out. So you are pulling against not only the weight of all the trapped waste and water, but also against a vacuum created by the whole thing. I have to use a flat head screwdriver, between the top and bottom, to give me enough leverage to pry the two pieces apart. Then, of course, there is almost not room to navigate the inner part, so I end up having some of the waste spill under the sink. There used to be the copper supply lines, directly in my way, which were recently replaced with flexible supply lines, which are almost as bad, because they keep springing back in the way. The whole thing is ridiculous, especially considering it still will occasionally leak, which spills onto our smooth concrete floor, making a hazard. At the beginning of the Semester, I threaten students, that those who get a detention from me, will have to clean it out. Yes, I have had a student do it before, because it was a punishment, that was equally fitting of the offense.
  15. I have always used Continental, in my classroom. I'm happy with their product, and they are one of the closest, large-scale suppliers. @Roberta12 like you said, they list a wide range of firing temps, which is odd. They also don't list specifications, like other suppliers do (shrinkage, absorption, etc.) As many others here have said, a clay body can't actually have a wide firing range. It will either be underfired, at the low end, or overfired at the high end. I would like to use them, for my own personal work, but I'm not sure they have what I need, based on the information they provide. I will note, that I've had almost no crazing issues, with the Continental Low Fire White, I use in my classroom. The only crazing I've encountered are some of the decoration only, textured glazes, where it doesn't matter.

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