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About Stephen

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  • Birthday 10/02/1960

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  1. Stephen

    Why make functional ware?

    I guess think this whole handmade versus commercial mass produced comparison thing is pointless for customers to go through. If someone is comparing a $5 Walmart mug to a $50 hand thrown one they should just buy the Walmart one. My brother in-law used to buy expensive tailor made suits. Me, I can't wrap my mind around a three-four grand suit but he could and couldn't careless what Men's Warehouse was selling suits for. Same goes for people that buy expensive art tile for a custom project and/or pop for five-ten grand painting for behind the couch. Home depot and Hobby lobby would come in for pennies on the dollar and the tile would be fine and the picture an exact knockoff of an old master but those people don't care and don't look. ...but that same person will laugh at a $300 pair of sneakers. To each his own.
  2. Stephen

    Some free advice!

    So your permitting it like its a residential home? How does that get insured as a business? ya know except for way out in the middle of no where it seems to comes down to if your operating a business out of the building and are there any employees/customers onsite. I don't think smallish shops (under about 1500 ft) cause much of a reaction if there are no employees and you don't get many customers on larger properties but I think the bigger shops do and I think they are actively in most areas around here trying to make sure people don't put commercial buildings on their res zone properties. From what I hear though it is mostly construction folks who want to run crews out every morning and store large equipment at their "hobby shop" making it unsightly and generating complaints from the neighbors. Hey if it works for your area, it works. Enjoy the new digs. Sounds like a really nice setup.
  3. Stephen

    Some free advice!

    I am curious hour you are getting around the commercial building code with the new studio?since its so large won't that kick in when you permit?
  4. Hey forget the pottery thank goodness nothing worse happened. Some of the other guys here can correct me if I'm wrong but a run away firing for 11 hours is really bad. What if you had gone out to diner or even left town. Not sure at what point continuously firing kiln starts becoming a real danger but at some point it does and you were going about your day assuming all was well. One thing we are adding to our studio is a IP Camera. Those are great. I have a $30 one at the gallery and I can be anywhere in the world and simply bring it up on my phone. It will pan around and even works in a pretty dark room.I use it so I can watch the door from my desk as I work. We have controllers so we can just see the complete message flashing and temp dropping. I assume with yours you would see the glow dissipate from the witness cone peeper if you left the top one out???
  5. ya know I read this post and I am surprised any glue would withstand 2000 degrees. I obviously could be wrong but I bet it didn't and the break was just sealed by glaze. If that's the case then all it did was hold it in place and its a weak flaw in pot. I would go with paper clay or AMACO product if I were you.
  6. Stephen

    Closing studio

    what part of Texas
  7. Stephen

    Power Slab Roller

    Not particularly hung up on the 40, 30 would probably be fine. I could only find this brand of power slab roller. We have a regular shimpo slap roller now which is a 30". Focus for use is slabs for 2", 4" and 6" tiles @ 1/2 thick. The manual one we have has a dial and its really hard to nail the thickness precisely every time since what we want seldom falls easily on a marked notch, so we tend to keeps notes by the roller for different forms. It also takes forever and small art tile installations with these size tiles take a lot of field tiles. I will go find Marks write up on his. There are other methods and this might not be the best. Watching the video it seemed like a lot of effort to end up with a slab. I have an air release mold system that does crank them out. My biggest issue with that system is warpage. The mold is flipped over and air applied and the tile drops out but the tile does not drop out evenly every time but one or two corners drop then the rest. I think this is causing higher than normal warpage. The slab is showing less warpage but the process is much slower. It is kind of a wash but the mold causes a lot of clay to reclaim and if the warpage happens in glaze fire (often does) then its a loss. I have also looked at pug mills with barrel chutes that can be used to slice a square section into tiles.
  8. ya know I might be misunderstanding you but you would not put in cones like that. The 0 anything would just melt and have to be scraped off your shelf. Don't get the cone 10 melt though as 1300c is cone 10 if you have one speed that runs in the 270 per hour ramp range. The whole point though of the cones is to visually nail where the kiln fired to. We use a 3-cone pack (often on several shelves. We fire mid so for bisque the pack has an 05 04 03 and we are looking for a full bend on 05 and a half bend on 04, 03 unaffected. For glaze we have a 5, 6 and 7. We fire to cone 5 with another cone of heat work for 20 minute soak so we are looking for a full bend of 5, half bend of 6 and no effect on 7. Print out a cone chart to get a feel. If you are low firing (most bisque 04 and glaze 06- bisque is usually hotter on low fire) and mid fire is 5-7 with an 06-04 bisque. Most people seem to recommend firing your electric kiln 2 cones below its max rating. Firing at max will wear out the bricks and elements much faster. If you only have the cones and an one switch to hit temp then I would use a log and find that spot for each cone you want and record the time (hours to reach) then fashion a pack with one cone below, one cone exact and one cone above and put these packs on a top shelf, middle shelf and bottom shelf. Start a log and check your cones religiously after each firing and note the element wear and time adjustment needed for the next firing. At some point (with an old kiln that might be sooner than later) you will need a set of elements because the kiln will not hit temp no matter how long you run it. If you don't keep track of this stuff then you will start having bad glaze loads when the elements wear out. I see a 'full' on the knob so I think you have more control than you think by working through those clicks at different times in your firing to affect the ramp speed.
  9. Stephen

    Studio Design

    Maybe using a quick squeegee to drain afterward to minimize what the concrete is soaking up every night. if it seems to be building up dampness maybe wait a day or even two to allow it to dry completely between hosing. I guess I think trying to hose down nightly is going to do what you think and make it to moist and I would wonder if mold might even be an issue over time. I would consider still doing a light wet mop every day and do the hose routine once a week. Great studio plan!
  10. Yep $50 worth of cheap parts, if that. The problem with this stuff is that people don't know any better and buy one for a spouse or parent and just waste their money and the person gets a piece of crap wheel for a present and they are in an awkward situation or worst yet tries to learn to throw on this piece of crap. One of the reasons I am always recommending the Clay Boss to beginners is that at $600 its a real potters wheel that really will last a lifetime of hobby use.
  11. just checked the one model ($230) that had 10 reviews. Made me feel bad as I think most of them were gifts. At $230 retail that means this wheel had to leave the factory boxed and ready for shipping for about $50-$60 in cost so it defies logic that is is anything of value.
  12. sounds like your next business venture is taking shape.
  13. Just checked them out. Wonder if they work?
  14. Stephen

    Are these kilns worth repairing?

    Maybe sell one to offset the cost of setting up the other one.
  15. Stephen

    Are these kilns worth repairing?

    Why not install both of them? Great find, that is 6-7 thousand bucks worth of kilns new and still worth half that. Maybe they didn't replace the thermocouple at the same time. Skutt is a great company and 15 years is really just not that old in kiln years unless they really used it heavily. I think the controller may tell you how many firings.

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