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About Stephen

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  • Birthday 10/02/1960

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  1. Ideal studio setup

    In reference to the kiln location, I built a studio that was similar in size as a companion to the garage being the kiln/glazing area and when we added a 2nd kiln for bisque so that we could move loads through quicker we added it to the studio in an end spot that was planned when I built the studio. The building was built finished out like a house and as such was really tight. When that kiln was fired the room (with 4 windows and french double doors open still bathed the room in heat. This meant anything drying or being handbuilt had to be moved or covered really well. Got to be kind of a pain. If I had it to do over again I would add a small kiln shed next to the studio with a deck connecting so there would be no stairs. I put a 6' deck that ran the length of the studio so it served as a great drying/hanging out area in the spring/summer. By putting a kiln shed on one end it would have eliminated the issue and given us back that end area. A room works but takes space away and the kiln building can be really rough and unfinished. Had these plans in the works but sold the house, back to a garagio and very jealous of your new studio Have fun!
  2. Programmer, tried to go full time pottery for a couple of years and ran out of money so back to part time pottery and full time programming, Not a bad life though and now that I scratched the itch have a better understanding of the snail pace pottery should probably go for me.
  3. Peter Pugger VPM 20SS

    I guess but I would think it would just be a case of matching it to your needs. The whole line-up is pretty much the same and the 9 seems to built extremely well to me. Is the 20 supposed to be a better machine or just bigger? I am not particularly recommending one over the other and mainly chimed in because I have never had to fuss with my 9 at all so I wanted to let the OP know that whoever was having that issue was not experiencing something that is inherently wrong with the 9, at least not in my experience, I Just went to their site and they seem to be of similar quality. For what little reclaim I have the 9 is more than enough so just not sure why I would want to spend $500 more for the extra 20lbs capacity and a bigger machine to deal with unless the 20 is better. They didn't have the 7 back when I bought mine but likely would have gotten it if they did and it also would have been just fine and what I would recommend to any part timer. It is not hard to load whatever amount of soft reclaim and mix for 10-15 minutes and pug out the logs. Same amount of clay still has to be transferred, mixed and pugged so the time savings is a little marginal and having to stop, mix and pug a few extra times when processing a few months of reclaim is just no big deal. I kind of enjoy it once in the groove. BUT I am not production or anywhere near that at this point, just a part timer with maybe a 5 gallon bucket every month or so to pug. I love the pugger though and I am sure if the OP gets either one of them he will two. Actually I bet he will be happy with any de-airing mixer/pugger he buys. ...as far as re-sale, selling me pugger is not something I would ever, ever do. Had to go without for a bit last year and just threw the reclaim away. Wedging reclaim is just not worth it to me.
  4. Have you considered a throwing shed in back yard? They are pretty cheap and if you insulate it an electric heater will probably be fine. Maybe compare the price of getting garage where you want it to adding a shed.
  5. Peter Pugger VPM 20SS

    Just a word in defense of the VM9, I have had one for I guess 6-7 years now and have never experienced any problems at all and have never had to run anything through more than once or put anything on a board. I don't mix dry and wet though because early on I did notice an occasional hard piece or two in the clay if I threw with it right away. If I let the logs sit for a week or so though that problem went away as the moisture evened out. Never had to mess with anything. I have put dry in and some water and let it sit for a day and it pugs just fine but no you can't just fill it with dry and run it through for good results. I do also make sure I mix it until it feels right to de-air and pug. Maybe that's the issue with the folks that are having problems. I would guess that I mix maybe 10-15 minutes to get to that point but I go 5 minutes and then check and do again if needed. Used it to pug clay made from scratch for a half a year. Mixed that in a 50lb bluebird mixer and pugged in two loads, again with no issues. As for size, I think it depends on who you are and what ya need. It pugs the better part of a 5 gallon bucket of reclaim into 5-6 5ish pound logs and takes a half hour or so. I don't have that much reclaim these days but even when I did it was plenty. But I am not a full timer like Mark and don't have his needs. I just throw reclaim into a lidded bucket (often toss in bone dry pieces ) and when those build up spend a half day pugging and putting into used clay bags. No s-crack problems or throwing issues with the resulting logs. Anyway I would highly recommend the VM9 if your needs are moderate.
  6. Shopping for My First Kiln

    Ya know I guess my advice on the small kiln was off target as I did not know all that Neil said. I just bought the small test kiln for glaze testing and brought home and swapped out the wall socket per their instructions on a dedicated 110 in garage and started using it. I think your choice is perfect based on all you have said and the cone 10 rating means you can fire cone 6 on a regular basis straight up instead of with heat work. I will toss one more thing out on elect. I was installing a 50 amp oval kiln in garage right next to the breaker box and I got some absurd bids for dedicated plug. I ended up paying a couple hundred bucks but I kid you not, I had several electricians give me a really high multi thousand bids to do this and several at 7-800. I knew from past experience that they were all overcharging but they have a line of BS that sounds convincing. I just kept calling around until I found someone fair and honest (and licensed & bonded ) Have fun and don't fret too much about this part.
  7. Shopping for My First Kiln

    Ya know I went through this last year when I was suddenly on my own and needed a kiln, cheap. Looked at a bunch of used ones and just came to the same conclusion as the original poster, buying a new kiln just seemed cheaper and less hassle in the long run. If the kiln was fairly new with an electronic controller folks wanted within 5-600 of buying one new and old decent brick ones were 4-500 and once I added elements and a few other things I was half the cost of new and I had a 40 year kiln. Would'nt take much to end up having $1500 in a big ol 'ancient' kiln. I think old kilns are for folks that bought them new and have bragging rights at how long they have lasted. Not that it can't work out but it can also go to crap in a hurry and after x amount of dollars in you have no choice but to keep spending. I'm a little confused on the not being able to run the small kiln on house hold current. My sister in-law was renting and she wore out a little one like the OP is looking at on house hold plugs. I know she didn't hire an electrician so maybe she found a 30 amp already in the box. My test kiln is about the same size but made by Seattle pottery and I had a garage plug that was just fine and I did not have to have an electrician out. Mine is actually a cone 10. It needed a different wall socket that I just swapped out myself from the one there with a screw driver in five minutes. Seattle pottery has a one page printout and the wall socket inside the kiln. I paid about $800 for the kiln 5 years ago for glaze testing. Anyway I certainly see a small kiln as useful for a hobbyist for a number of reasons one of which is you can fire it a lot and progress to a larger kiln later. If you take a long time to fill a larger kiln up you end up seeing your work weeks or even months after you first made it. A small one you can fire every few days if you want for a few bucks or less.
  8. I use electronic controllers on our kilns, so if I had to get cone 6 in a cone 6 kiln I would go for 4 or 5 (which ever is achievable with current elements) and then do the last cone + with heat work. Can you do that with a sitter by loading a cone pack you can watch with 4/5/6 and level off at 4 full bend and 5 bending then hold temp until 6 bends?
  9. Trimming Issues

    I get what you are saying and agree BUT isn't it kind of like a calculator for math tests in college. They now let you use one because presumably you would always be able to in the real world But of course it could be embarrassing if you are forced to demo trimming sometime without one available.
  10. Selling in Galleries

    and don't forget to pitch doing custom mugs for their coffee shop. You can have their logo made into a stamp for a nice badge and if they go for it you get a huge order to start and then a steady income stream.
  11. If one of your students....

    ya know I of course agree with everyone that her behavior was awful and the way you handled both skilled and smooth. I second Pres suggestion of adding way off samples to your other samples. Folks that just walk in cold don't realize that it's not like painting where the colors match up to samples. In a sequential class a lecture on glazes would cover this but in an ongoing class where there is no 'glaze class' they have no idea that when they pick out a nice blue from your samples that it might turn into a different shade or even a different color. Maybe even have a couple of printouts talking about the subject from the net to hand them so they can take it home. In this way the very likely possibility of differences between the samples and the finished piece is something they expect from the beginning as part of the process and the shock and disbelief of a pretty blue coming out brownish is not there and her tacky reaction would likely not have happened. The person, if not suffering from a mental issue, is likely just somewhat inept at expressing anger and projects. We know she has at least one friend so maybe there's hope. You sound just classy and level headed enough to handle her. Wonder how she's going to handle all the other fun surprises pottery has to offer.
  12. There's a useful download called Instant Eyedropper, been around for ever and is free. Just pin to your taskbar and you can just drag your mouse around and get the hex code. Works on any part of the screen including pictures. Great fro matching up colors. http://instant-eyedropper.com/
  13. ya know if pottery is your hobby for enjoyment then this sounds like it's ruining it for you. I would second the small test kiln idea if that will get ya going sooner and out of this terrible situation. Although we barely use our little 1 cf one it would be great for firing a few pieces. I could see 4-5 good size mugs, large bowl or 2-3 small ones, vases etc. Just not many at a time and often just one of something larger. As a hobby though that might be just fine and only cost a buck or two to fire and you can pretty much put it anywhere. My sister in law used one for her first year of glass firing and had it on a little cart with a metal sheet on top sitting is spare bedroom. Wore that little sucker out before she went large.
  14. Partner and I both have the Shimpo VL whispers and love them and I would have to say the low noise is mostly what sets them apart to me. She's had hers for over 10 years and I have had mine for 5 or 6 I guess. Also had a Brent which was fine but loud and started out with an inexpensive Clay Boss for 5-6 months which was also just fine. I would highly recommend them. Unless I missed it I didn't see anything on budget. New VL's, Brents and the like are twice as much as say a new Clay Boss and really the Clay Boss is just fine and might leave you room for other things you will likely want to add to your home studio. Just a thought.
  15. Lots of great advice, one thing I would toss in is make sure the top of your cup is level. It could just be the camera angle but it looks a little off. That would likely mean your not pulling up evenly with full rotations or perhaps trying to shape at the end with partial pulls. Of course if that's intentional then just ignore me :-)

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