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Everything posted by JohnnyK

  1. Considering that ^10 is just under 2400 degrees F and ^6 is about 2232 degrees F and carbon steel melts between 2600 & 2800 degrees F, you might just try a small package of welding rods. They are cheap and if they last for just a few firings you will still be waayyy ahead of the game cost wise. If you want to be a big spender, stainless steel melts at 2750* F, which is still way above cone 10. The rods are about 36" long. You can get 4 @ 8.5 " pieces per rod at a cost of about $10 for about 10 rods of carbon steel. Here is a chart of metals and their melting points... JohnnyK
  2. JohnnyK

    Struggling with my mini kiln

    I agree with Benzine...Your pieces are probably not dry enough for the rapid firing. You said that your first kiln took 24 hours to reach temp which is what saved the pieces. The slow rise probably had a candling effect and helped the pieces dry thoroughly so that they didn't explode. Either let your pieces dry longer in the open air, run them in the kiln at a low temp (around 190*)for a couple of hours, or put them in an oven at around 190* for a couple of hours before subjecting them to the rapid fire. Do the tests on a few pieces rather than a full run. Again, what kind of control do you have on the kiln and the firing program? JohnnyK
  3. JohnnyK

    Glazing Tools

    This is a home made banding wheel made from an old ceiling fan (thrift store $5) and a scrap of 3/4" plywood.
  4. I found a photo of a vase in the book "500 Vases* that I liked and had one of those "I wonder if I could make that" moments. I was taking Ceramics 1 at Sierra College and had chosen the vase as one of my class projects. I had made an almost exact replica of the piece . I was working on it at home and had a lot of fun handbuilding and was handling it with impunity... until it was bone dry. The morning of the day I was taking it back to class, I picked it up in the same manner as when it was damp and it literally exploded in my hands leaving me with a pile of bone dry shards. Wondering what I may have done wrong, I had found the original artist's website and started a correspondence with him, telling him my situation and asking him for pointers. He sent me his exact process for making the vase wishing me luck in my class project. The way I constructed the piece was almost exactly the same as his with a couple of slight variations. I then proceeded to successfully complete the project making an almost exact replica of his vase with a surprising outcome in the glazing process. His vase was red with black accents. While I had painted my piece with what was supposed to be a Christmas Red commercial glaze with black accents, it had come out of the kiln a dirty white with black accents. I asked my prof what had happened and after consulting the head of the dept, she said there may have been other pieces in the kiln with a high manganese content next to my piece which may have affected my glaze. I learned a lot with that project and was able to use the principles involved to produce variations of the original vase... So I feel that copying someone else's work can provide valuable insight into amterials and methods which can be incorporated into future endeavors. Just saying... JohnnyK
  5. JohnnyK

    Brand new to pottery

    Beginner's classes are relatively inexpensive and the knowledge you gain in a short period of time can be priceless. Where do expect to obtain the knowledge you need to be successful? Do you have unlimited funds to spend on the equipment you will need to be successful in your endeavor? Just asking? JohnnyK
  6. I, too, like the idea of the upside down orbital sander since it allows you to use both hands during your sanding operation, and there is a wonderful selection of sanding media available for use with these sanders. The belt sander will remove too much material too quickly with a lot less control. JohnnyK
  7. Like DH I had bone to bone contact in both thumbs which was the result of abuse during my career as a remodeling contractor. The pain had gotten to be pretty bad. I had consulted with an orthopedic surgeon who suggested hand surgery. I had my right thumb done first and had the trapezius bone removed from the thumb. The joint was pinned and put in a cast for six weeks. Then the pins were removed and I underwent physical therapy once a week for another six weeks to regain the normal function of the thumb. It took about 10 months from the time of the surgery to get my thumb back to 100% at which time I had the left thumb done. Same process. It took about 4-5 months from the time of each surgery before I could work the clay on the wheel. Since then the hands have been working perfectly without pain. I could not recommend this particular surgery more highly because of my experience. Here's a shot of the x-ray with the pins in place and the bone removed:
  8. JohnnyK

    Expiration date

    The jars are probably 2 oz. I got a bunch of them from a friend and they were all dried out, I did what LT suggested and reconstituted them and haven't had a problem. Most of them were half full and colors that I would not normally use but they were fun to play around with on miscellaneous pieces like cat food bowls, spoon rests, pinch pots, etc. JohnnyK
  9. JohnnyK

    Logo mugs: how to glaze?

    As suggested before, test your idea on a scrap before you do your production. Your idea should work, but I would do some testing first. Depending on the effect you want to achieve you can go with or without the clear...
  10. JohnnyK

    Logo mugs: how to glaze?

    From my experience here is what happened when I used a clear over Red Iron Oxide. The gremlin on the right has no clear while the on the left has a clear over the RIO. They were both fired to ^06 at the same time. As Callie suggested, do some testing to find out what the effect might be.
  11. That comes out to about fifteen cents per pot...not a bad return on investment, Mea!
  12. JohnnyK

    Wheel Quit Working

    Can you provide photos of the piece? If you can't get the part from Kemper, you have 2 choices: have the part remade by someone handy enough to do it or try a foot pedal from a different manufacturer... JohnnyK
  13. If you use Denice's method, you might make the defects a little larger by gouging them to make them deeper and wetting the area before you add the new plaster. Also keep in mind that the plaster patching material hardens chemically. It "sets-up" to harden and eventually will dry. You should also use the same plaster that your molds are made of. Give it a shot and if it doesn't work, make new molds. JohnnyK
  14. OK, Kelsayy, I used to own the same Cress as you and have a copy of the old manual and fired it manually a couple of times and found it difficult, at best, to do an accurate firing for my taste, so I invested in a digital kiln controller. Problems solved! You could put the same type of plug on each kiln and use the controller for both (at different times, obviously). You would just have to develop firing schedules for each of the kilns for accuracy, but the controller would eliminate the problems you may have in firing each kiln. The main thing you would have to remember is to turn the control knobs to maximum, put an appropriate cone (^10) in the kiln sitter (I actually use a high tensile concrete screw in the sitter), press the button in the sitter and set the timer at maximum EACH time you use the kiln and all will be well... JohnnyK
  15. JohnnyK

    Metal mold and clay casts

    You might try spraying the mold with WD40 as a mold release. You might also try using a fan over the pots to help dry and shrink them a little faster than what you get now. Keep an eye on the drying process so they don't dry too much and possibly crack... JohnnyK
  16. Hi Nancy, Are you trying to do the pinching method or the foot-ring method? With the pinching method, instead of a triangle, you would have to squeeze a square and then pinch the corners. I would pinch opposite corners first and then do the same with the remaining corners until you bring the bottom together. I think the footring method is easier. You just have to be accurate with your layout of the 4 feet. you would form your pot with a bottom thick enough to trim a footring to the height that you desire or do a flat-bottomed pot and add a footring of the desired height, layout the 4 feet and carve away what you don't want. I've used the first footring method for making my berry bowls. The primary reason for doing three footed pots is for stability. Tripods are a lot more stable than quadpods. Hope this helps... JohnnyK
  17. JohnnyK

    Kiln Problem Help

    Does the kiln have a timer that may have shut it off?
  18. Opening the veggie stand today. Will also be selling pottery...

    1. glazenerd


      Stopped at a road side stand yesterday in search of sweet corn..

  19. JohnnyK


    The wheel head can be cleaned easily as Mark said, but if it is pitted, you might take it to a local machine shop and have them clean it up on a lathe rather that buying a new head. Since the bat pins are steel and the head is aluminum, it should be relatively easy to remove them, again as Mark said, using a penetrating oil and vice-grips if necessary...Hope all works out for you! JohhnyK
  20. JohnnyK

    help with aesthetic for pottery

    Welcome to the Forums, bright... Considering that I work in ^6 stoneware, if I were going to try to achieve what you are going for, I would find a clay that is heavily grogged and in the dark range of color. Then I would work on the devices and materials that would provide some of the textures displayed here (like screen materials, texture rollers, etc.). Then, as Gabby says, since you are working with commercial glazes, I would look at the variety of Amaco glazes available, especially Potters Choice, which give the reduction look in an oxidation atmosphere. Callie has good input here as well... Good luck with your journey! JohnnyK
  21. Hmmmm...I've already built a manual extruder...This gets me thinking of a way to adapt the motor and screw drive from a discarded trash-masher hooked up to a foot pedal switch which would leave both hands free... JohnnyK
  22. Getting ready to open the vegetable stand in a couple of weeks...the farm is producing well. Just waiting for the tomatoes to ripen. it's a good opportunity to sell my pottery, too!

    1. Denice


      Wished I lived close by so I could shop at your stand.  I swear a lot of the stands around here buy their tomatoes from the grocery store and doubles the price.  They don't look like homegrown tomatoes or taste like home grown ones.   Potter. 

    2. yappystudent


      I used to live in Citrus Heights, in the second apartment complex behind Sunrise Mall! I miss central valley produce but not the summer temps. 

  23. JohnnyK

    Problem with producing prototype

    Welcome to the Forums, Alice. What is it that you are trying to make (or is it a secret?) Do you have drawings that you'd like to show us? What kind of fruit are we talking about...a grape or a watermelon? Any additional info would help us help you JohnnyK
  24. JohnnyK

    Thoughts on the Cress FX-23 P

    What Callie said...I have no intention to go to ^10, so the kiln is a good fit for me. I know it will go to ^8 because when I first fired it with my new digital controller before I had it dialed in, the #7 witness cone was flat as a pancake at the end of the firing! JohnnyK
  25. I have read in the forums and watched on YouTube various ways of determining the thickness of the bottoms of pots prior to trimming but have yet to see a simple method that I learned in my first pottery class about 10 years ago. It incorporates the use of 2 straight edges and can be used on pots of any size or shape. In the attached pix you can see how to use a straight edge and a ruler which will tell you in inches (or millimeters) the exact thickness, or you can use a couple of skewers and a marker to give you a visual representation. This way you don't have to tap the bottom while you are trimming to decide if it sounds about right or try to use your fingers to estimate the thickness. It's a real pain for beginners to use these methods and find that they were off just a little as they punched through the bottom of their pot. Using this method, you take a measurement from the inside of the pot. Then you take a measurement from the outside and subtract the two and you will know exactly how thick the pot bottom is. Give it a try the next time you trim your pots!

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