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About tjbanjo

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  • Location
    Tianjin, China
  • Interests
    faith, family, banjo
    Also, art, the outdoors and combinations of all of the above.
  1. Balloons As Sphere Molds

    The slip molds I get. I guess because you said to, "fill with plaster to the desired size and tie a knot," I thought you were saying to fill the balloon with plaster and tie it off.
  2. Balloons As Sphere Molds

    I guess I missed something there - to what were you referring when you said to "Just fill with plaster to the desired size and tie a knot"? The KY suggestion was obviously meant in jest. Here's a picture from Pinterest showing the use of balloons as a form. http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/8e/11/34/8e1134d5dc1f45ba95f9b49c409a0da9.jpg
  3. Balloons As Sphere Molds

    So, you're saying here to fill the balloon with plaster? Once it dried, it would make a balloon-shaped hump mold, which would be cool. Also, if you're using a condom to create a mold, you shouldn't use WD40 or oil as a release agent. You should use KY Jelly. Sorry, somebody had to say it.
  4. The blue insulation foam has a protective plastic film that would keep it from being porous, but even if it was removed, the foam has a tight smooth surface. I use it with concrete and have to rough up the surface a bit to get the concrete to adhere to it. I'm actually using the foam as the model and casting a plaster mold from it. Sorry if I wasn't clear about that. I carved half a vase from the blue foam and sanded it a little to smooth off the uneven parts, so the foam no longer has the plastic film or that nice, smooth surface that the original outside surfaces have when you get it.
  5. What if I don't have Murphy's Soap? I live in China.
  6. I made a form from blue building insulation foam and now I'd like to make a plaster negative mold from it. I think I'd rather do that than coat it with plaster and use it as a hump mold. I'm assuming that since it's a bit porous I should coat it with something. Will petroleum jelly or dish soap work? If I use petroleum jelly, what do I use to clean it off of the foam once I've made the mold? Thanks, Bob
  7. pug mill advice

    A friend and I were looking at the dies that can be purchased for the Shimpo pug mills and we were wondering: What the heck is that top shape for? And, good news, since the pug mill costs less than I projected, my principal has approved a small slab roller, too. A good day.
  8. pug mill advice

    The first pugmill I used was a Walker. I miss the big hopper. It was a bit on the dangerous side. The on/off button was the only safety feature. The ceramics professor told us beginning students that where he studied pottery, a girl went to the studio one night to pug clay alone and her long hair got caught in the auger and she was pulled into the hopper and pugged with the clay. True or not, it worked as a "safety device"! Jim Walkers had a cage over top that stopped you from reaching inside completely and a knee kick in the front. At the college I first used one in, both of these had been removed/disabled. There was also a story that went around about a former student that slipped while pugging clay-pushing the clay in with his hand. We heard that he had lost last 3 fingers of rt hand. Later when I was doing grad work-not in the ceramics program-prof did not like me. I saw an older gentleman working in the studio-yep he had only a thumb and pointer finger with scarring on the stump. Did I ask him-no I did not, but certainly gave second thought to the story. At school I always kept the equipment up to manufacturers specs-safety devices always working, and everything in good repair. It took a little more time, but I certainly slept better at night. I have always been a firm believer in appropriate safety equipment, it's the way I was raised. If someone wants to be stupid with their own equipment and it won't hurt anyone else (like wiring up the spring-loaded safety guard on a circular saw - sheesh!) then keep it at home, don't do it where someone else might get into it. On the other hand, we Americans tend to be overly cautious/safe. There's a big difference between "as safe as possible" and "as safe as necessary". It looks like I'll be getting a Shimpo NRA-04S. The claim is that it, "Produces practically air-free clay without a vacuum." That would be nice, since I don't have the money for one with a vacuum pump. Bob
  9. pug mill advice

    The first pugmill I used was a Walker. I miss the big hopper. It was a bit on the dangerous side. The on/off button was the only safety feature. The ceramics professor told us beginning students that where he studied pottery, a girl went to the studio one night to pug clay alone and her long hair got caught in the auger and she was pulled into the hopper and pugged with the clay. True or not, it worked as a "safety device"! Jim Sometimes the best safety training is the stories like that. You still remember it, and I'd bet you'd still be careful around one of those pug mills because of it. Even if you're skeptical, you'd think, "Well, just in case there's some truth to it . . ." I remember that my high school wood shop teacher's finger stubs were a good safety device, too. Made us think about what we were doing.
  10. pug mill advice

    Oh crap! If you mentioned that I missed it. I guess that would make a difference! As for your question, I hesitate to answer because when I asked about my problem with pugged clay here a while back, almost no one here had the same problem and most raved about how wonderful their pugmill was similar to Claylouver above. I also suspect that my Peter Pugger is as good, if not better, than most other pug mills (the Bailey may be better) and I'd have the same problem with those pug mills. In short, the clay I pug comes out crap clay no matter if it is just pugging up some clay that got a little too dry or reclaiming scraps or if it is de-aired or not de-aired. When I dig clay or make my own clay I let it age at least 6 months before using it. When I buy clay in the little 25 lb bags, except for being too wet, it is almost always good clay (and, obviously, I know it has been pugged). Maybe it sits in various warehouses long enough to age before I get it. Maybe I'm just real picky about clay? I have no f***king idea why it is but my pugmill ruins clay to the extent that I have to let it age at least 4 months and sometimes a lot longer before it is useable. Jim Ah. That would be frustrating, and I see why you might think it's something you're doing. I've never heard of that problem before, but my experience is rather limited. Hope you figure out what's causing it happen. Good to know that experiences may vary. Bob
  11. pug mill advice

    A quick check shows that The Peter Pugger Claylover suggested (VPM-9) is available at Big Ceramic Supply for $3649 including shipping. Obviously, she loves it. There may be better deals on new ones but that is the only place I checked. I have that pugmill and am the only person in the whole world who doesn't like it. I've heard good things about the Bailey MSV25 ($3450) and know a potter who loves it and claims it does a better job than the Peter Pugger. It takes up more space. Both will pug with de-air on or off. Taking 10 or 15 minutes to check around, you probably can find better deals than I've suggested here. Also, you may want to look at used and reconditioned pugmills and other brands. Jim My problem is that I'm in China and I can't pay to ship something like that over here, so my options are fairly limited if I stick with known brands. I would rather stick with a brand that has a good track record so there's less chance of things going wrong. If I were in the States I would have more options, but as it is, I think my options are Shimpo, Peter Pugger, and possibly Venco, though I'm not sure about that one. I need to do more research. Why don't you like that pug mill? I need to know good and bad before I make a decision. Thanks for the input. Bob
  12. pug mill advice

    That sounds great. I'm trying to find a de-airing one here for $5500 or less, since I've heard good things about de-airing. They seem to cost more here for some reason. Either that, or the sites I'm looking at for US prices are old and are displaying outdated prices, I don't know.
  13. pug mill advice

    What's the difference between de-airing and non (I know, one removes the air from the clay and one doesn't. But, what does that mean in terms of wedging work?) How much wedging do you still have to do with a non de-airing pug mill?
  14. pug mill advice

    So, have you had to replace parts on yours? How long did it last before you had to replace things? I'm looking at putting a few hundred pounds through it each semester, so maybe 600 pounds or so per school year. Some of that would probably have to go through more than once to get the consistency right (more/less moisture). I'm hoping to expand our school's ceramics classes in the future, so it would eventually get more work. But for now, 600 pounds a year doesn't seem like much for a pug mill. It seems like a lot for my wrists and shoulders, though.