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About Rockhopper

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    Southwest Ohio
  1. Standard #112 for wall tiles ?

    Thanks Neil. Will give it a try as-is, and see what happens.
  2. I'm getting ready to put a tile back-splash in my kitchen. We've purchased 12" square sheets of 2" tiles, and I want to remove some of the 2" tiles, and insert 4"x4" or 6"x6" 'accent' tiles that I make myself. I've been throwing mugs, bowls, etc., with standard #112, ^6 stoneware, and would like to use that for my tiles so I can use clay/glaze combinations I'm familiar with. I am only planning on making a dozen or so tiles, including 'spares', so also don't want to buy "tile clay", that I won't be able to use for throwing. My question is: If I use the #112, do I need to modify the clay at all (grog, etc.) to use it for tiles ? I don't have a slab roller, so will most likely use a rolling pin or piece of PVC pipe, with a couple of sticks to control thickness. I've skimmed through a number of "tile making" threads in the forums, but most seem to focus on technique - and the importance of keeping the tile flat at all times - with little discussion of clay body composition.
  3. Firing Question

    Lots of variables... some additional information will help you get better answers: Is it a manual kiln, or is there a programmable controller? Did the sitter 'trip', or did it shut off before that ? Any witness cones ? What did they look like ? How full was the kiln ? (Was there more, or less in it than "Normal" ?)
  4. Sinter Firing

    I'm thinking you could test that theory by placing some witness cones in the kiln during your sinter-firing, then put the same cones back in the final firing (as close as possible to original location) along with a fresh set of the same cones. Then compare the two sets and see if the sintered cones bend noticeably farther than the un-sintered ones.
  5. Making Glazes

    Even when using commercially packaged glazes, it's difficult to get the same results shown in the supplier's photos. If you want to replicate what you see in the photo, you have to replicate the entire process - not just the glaze recipe. There are a LOT of factors that can affect the final results: Clay body, firing schedule, application thickness - even different glazes on pots next to each other in the kiln - just to name the most common.
  6. Bulk Corks For Jars

    Have never bought from them, and don't know how their prices compare with what you've been buying - but http://www.widgetco.com/corkseems to have about any shape/size of cork you would need.
  7. Almost

    Having the lid on the teapot will definitely cause it to dry slower than it would uncovered. (It will also dry from the outside in.) It looks like your spout is thrown - which means it may be starting out with a moisture content closer to that of the pot. It is also probably more uniformly moist throughout than the pulled handle, which may have more moisture near the surface, and less toward the 'core'. I always cover a mug (or any pot with an attached handle) with an upside-down bucket, for 12 - 24hrs after attaching the handle. This slows the drying, and allows the moisture to equalize throughout the assembled piece. It may not be practical in a production setting, but as a hobbyist that typically only throws 6-8 pieces in a session, it's easy to do.
  8. High Fire, Then Pit Fire? Food Safe?

    What do you mean by "water-safe" ? There are a number of things you can do to seal the surface, and make a pot hold water - but there's a big difference between water-tight and food-safe. (A lead cup will hold water - but that doesn't make it safe to drink.)
  9. French Paste?

    Good catch... based on that observation, it's entirely possible that the label has nothing to do with the actual contents.
  10. French Paste?

    Perhaps a glaze, or under-glaze, for low-fired bisque-ware - and "French Paste" is the color name ? (I'm thinking of the Duncan E-Z stroke ^04 underglazes that come in 1oz bottles.)
  11. I also think your clay is probably too stiff. When the clay is stiff, you have to press harder to move it. I recently ran into this with some 'left-over' stoneware clay that had been given to me. The harder I pressed, the more water I needed to keep my hands lubricated. The outer layer starts turning into slip before the rest of the lump is soft enough to really work well. A two-pound ball of clay soon turned into a one-pound lump, and a splash-pan full of slip (not to mention the coating on my hands & fore-arms). There are lots of ways to add moisture to your clay. I use a method similar to what Marcia suggested. I usually start with 3-4 pounds and slice it into several 1/2-inch thick pieces. Then, Instead of dipping and letting each slice sit, I sponge a little water onto the top of each slice, and "stack & slam". Process is repeated until the clay is uniformly moist. It's difficult to describe the correct softness - but it's amazing the difference it makes. PS - If you haven't heard of "stack & slam" wedging check out this article and the accompanying video. There are other variations on the technique, but this gives a good explanation of how it works.
  12. Glazed Mugs Safety

    To expand a bit on Mark's comment... I would say: "It depends..." For the specific piece you described - if the "glaze" is peeling off, then I would have to assume that particular piece is NOT food-safe - for the simple reason that I would not want to ingest the material that's peeling. (I would also question whether it is actually a fired glaze that's peeling off - or some sort of paint or other coating that was applied after the piece was fired.) For ceramics in general, there are several factors that can affect whether a finished piece is "food safe": Clay body composition, glaze ingredients; how it was fired, and even the current condition of the piece, all can make it "safe" or "un-safe". One would have to know at-least the first two factors I mentioned, to even guess whether a piece is safe. Even manufacturers who label their clay and glazes as "dinnerware safe" state that "Tableware producers must test all finished ware to establish dinnerware status, due to possible variations in firing temperature and contamination."
  13. Identify My Clay

    Color looks a lot like "terra-cotta" flower pots - but that doesn't mean the clay is anywhere close to the same. My guess would be a pit-fired earthen ware - but I've never worked with either pit-firing or earthen-ware, so just a guess. It would probably help if you could tell us where "in the area" is. (Don't have to give an address - but if it really is locally dug, knowing what county & state would definitely help narrow it down.
  14. Are you saying he doesn't think you should have the double sink draining into a single 2" drain ? It is pretty standard for the two sides of a double sink to join together into a single drain, using a 'T' fitting under one of them. (If you have a double sink in your kitchen, look under it - you'll most likely see something like this (It will look a little different if you have a disposer, but is functionally the same.): A double laundry sink would usually be configured the same. Installing a clay trap on one side, before it feeds into the "T" would be no different than having a disposer on one side of your kitchen sink.
  15. Makes sense. I've used boiling water to get candle wax out of glass candle holders - but I would think the metal part of a brush would cause problems in a microwave. I'm thinking boil the water first - then put the brush in it - would be a safer method.