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Everything posted by Tom

  1. I get hard edges in glazing but not in 1 glaze firing. In the first firing the high fire light color glaze covers the entire piece. Then after the high fire I use a low fire paint on style darker glaze over the high glaze and fire it to its recommended cone. This has given me the sharp lines. The low fire glazes seen to fuse into the high fire glaze well. It's kind of like using China paints Worth a shot
  2. Hi All This is a very specific question. A statement was made to me at a public ceramic studio. That firing an electric kiln with all theplugs in throughout the entire (cone 10) firing would damage the elements. I had never heard this before. I know that it can be bad for the glazes andat the very least the top plug should be out during the 1200 degrees for theburn off of organics in a bisque. But doesit damage the elements in a glaze or bisque firing to leave all the plugs in. provided that we are not trying to add fuelfor a reduction fire, That is well understood to be hard on the elements. I amsure there are some of you out there that know better then I. Lets here your thoughts. Thank you Tom
  3. I work with 4 kiln controllers at 3 different locations all the same brand. none of them fire the same but all fire too hot compered to sight cones. As I chart kiln firing electric and gas for these kilns I know about to set the controllers to get the firing I want. every month or so to see if , now, I use sight cone at the sight holes to check to see if the kiln is still on track. use the controller read out as a guide their never right, get to know your kiln and all its warts. Tom
  4. Tom


    weather you pull, roll, extrude, throw, or grab a glob of clay and slap it on as a handle make it yours. many people say that pulling handles is the best way to make one and if you like pulling handles go for it. if not don't. the handle must be something that speaks to you, if it looks good and feels good to you run with it. make lots of them. attach them to a lot of pots test them through the firing process. do what make you happy you did it. its your art. don't let any one tell you how it should look. there are as many types and way to make handles as there are people doing it. watch your connections. and practice you style a lot. practice makes permanent..do your best, have fun and let us see what you come up with. Tom
  5. good for you. having your own studio is great. you don't need to start too big. if you don't have a kiln you can often find a studio that contract fires. you will find after a short while you really want a kiln but its a way to start. my first studio was a 10 x 12 plastic shed double walled. it had electrical but I used 5 gal buckets for water. had a small electric heater that kept it warm in winter. I am in southern California. our snow depth is very low. I made a rule about equipment. everything must have at least 2 functions. paper weight is not considered a function. much of my "non ceramic" equipment came from the 99 cent store or harbor freight. a splatter screen works as a stand in glaze sieve. my first small kiln was on wheels so I could move it out side to fire, not good to fire in a plastic shed. when not using the wheel and needing space it went up on end under a shelf, only kicked a leg a few times. I installed a work bench across one end and used a concrete paver for a wedging table, still use it. think simple for your work space so you can make your art as complex as you want. let us know how it turns out. and us a lot of questions were here to help Tom
  6. try contacting Gladstone at www.potters-wheel.com they would know what that means and how to fixit. I have never used a wheel with a removable wheel head. I would be suspect of my advice if I said anything more them that. let us know how it goes. Tom
  7. Tom

    Toxic Raw Materials

    I am a glaze chemist for several local studios. some private some public. I deal with these material just about every day in the dry form, going on 35 years. my doctor knows what I do and screens me for several of them. to date I have never shown any levels that are higher then the general public. I do wear a respirator when working with dry materials. But sticking my hand and arm into a bucket of glaze to see if its mixed enough never bothered my. except for glazes with soda ash, such as most shinos. that stuff will burn you. for the most part if the materials scare you your most likely in the wrong art form. ceramics today is safe as long as you don't do what make no sense to do. don't eat it, drink it, or snort it, just have fun with it. your in the most danger when you leave the studio. so don't drive, walk down streets, go shopping, eat in restaurants, ........ stop worrying and have fun Tom
  8. Tom

    Looking For Underglaze?

    The color and Texture look very close to a glaze I am using. its called Laura's Turquoise cone 10 reduction. works well in oxidation. whiting 34%, Custer feldspar 22%, kaolin 28%, silica 8%, cobalt carb 0.2%, copper carb 2.9%, Rutile ceramic 2.9%, Bentonite 2%, try a small batch and let us know what you think. have fun Tom
  9. Like any tool keep it clean and it will last longer. I tend to Clean mine after each use but I Pug 800 to a 1000 lbs at a time. I like my clay to age a bit, usually about a year or 2. For pressure on the handle, not too much. I fill it the best I can run it a few turns then refill. after about 3 or 4 times at most I let it work a short while them let it pug out the clay. why work that hard you got the pugger to make your life easier. I use a Peter Pugger that mixes and deairs the clay always good results. Works great with extruder dies too. Have fun with your toys and don't fight with them.
  10. To Beans. I am firing a kiln at 240 volts with 208 elements and keep it that way. The area I live in has some power issues and sometimes the kiln couldn't complete its firing with the 240 elements. I get about 2 years out of the elements firing a couple times a month and keep an extra set around for the burn outs. enjoy the frying. replacing elements is not as hard as I have been told it is. just unplug the kiln first.
  11. The proper inappropriate use of tools This is meant to be a fun post.. What unaltered tools are you using in your studio that are not designed to be used in a ceramic studio. I know that many of us use blenders and other kitchen tools. Let’s look a little further away from ceramic and share our fun unexpected tools and how they are used improperly. To make our life a little more enjoyable. My tools A leaf and branch chopper bought from Harbor freight on sale for about $70.00 used to grind bone dry green into a finer powder for repugging, making casting slip, making dry clay dust to wedge wet clay. A small cement mixer for making dry glaze supplies, slips, and such Just to name two, please note that safety concerns apply, and a good dust mask is needed with both tools What are you doing Tom
  12. Hi All I have seen a few pieces for a local artist that were amazing. The artist said they used "self reducing glazes" but didn't give anymore information. Looking on line many people talk about them and don't say how they did just the "you should try this" or how bad it went. Is there is anyone out there that is willing to share with the rest of a good starting recipe. Thanks for all your help with all the past threads. Tom
  13. What are the Recipes you are using. This may help us direct you to the right starting point. But doing your own research is best and test the glazes until they fit right and hold up over time. Some glazes can start to craze as much as a year or two after firing. Tom
  14. Tom

    Test Kiln TIps

    I use the test kiln to eliminate glazes that don't work well. when I find a glaze works in the test kiln then it is tested in the my large kiln. I can usually get a reasonable glaze result after just a few firing in the large kiln. That could take about 2 months. have fun with testing some of my best glazes are one that did not come out the way I thought they would. Tom
  15. Tom

    How to fire a kiln?

    Heres the link to the Paragon Manuals http://www.paragonweb.com/Instruction_Manuals.cfm Enjoy Tom
  16. I use a food processor. Most thrift stores get them from time to time. I put the paper in to about 1/2 the height of the mixing bowl and some of the water and blend the paper till it look like a lumpy slip. Them I add the wet clay a bit at a time adding water as needed to keep the slip smooth. Till the bowl is about full. Can't say how much to use the bowls are different sizes. After its blended, pour it onto a large plaster bat or wedging table to dry it out a bit, wedge and have fun. It works well for just making slip too.
  17. Hi Bob Which Amaco glazes are you asking about? What cone range? Amaco glazes work well and I would not have any problems using them in a youth program. But when you ask about mixing them that can always be interesting. The glaze color in the bottle does not always reflect the color of the finish glaze. In many of the glazes the color you see in the bottle burns off during the early firing. the color is a product like food coloring. The final glaze color is developed through the chemical reaction during the firing process. Mixing colors may give you an unexpected result. The color that is mixed in your glaze cup and the glaze on the art could be very different. Also the cost of these glazes is very high when compared with glazes you mix yourself. Dry mixes materials can cost as little as 40 cents a pound and 5 pounds of mix makes about 4 gallons of glaze. stains and colorants are more costly but still nothing like per made wet glazes. For some nice glaze recipes check out the Free gifts that Ceramics Art Daily offers. Hope this helps Tom
  18. Ya, ask Paragon about the Kiln before drilling larger holes. No you don,t need a "primer" before add a wet glaze over the firished glaze you might want to heat the piece with a heat gun, hair dryer to help the wet glaze stick. take care not to over glaze it
  19. Hi Chris Thank you Maybe a little more information is needed. This program is on a very tight budget and I will have to mix the glazes to keep the cost down. they can pay for some materials but my time is donated. I am just doing the set up and over seeing other working with the "students". I should have said that this has a budget issue. Thanks again Tom
  20. I am looking for some single fire glaze recipes that I can use in some one day ceramic "experience" for kids and adults. I have done a web search and came a bit dry. the only one I found is for dipping or spraying. They will be brush applied cone 04 and cone 6. The glazes I am using now don't brush well on greenware, no surprise there, even with brush medium added. Thank you for your help Tom
  21. Hi Jayne Are the rods going to show after firing or they armature? What diameter are these rods? Are they going to be straight, bent, coiled,.....? anything special? More info please. Tom
  22. is some cases I have noticed that if I leave too many of the peep holes plugs out during a glaze fire that any pot too close to the hole may have a "cold" spot on it. I usually leave only the top plug out during the entire Glaze fire. In Bisque fire prop the lid open all plugs out until about 1000 degrees, or a light glow, then close the lid and all but the top plug in. But still don't know for sure if leaving all plugs in will damage the elements and is it worse in bisque then glaze.
  23. Hi Graig I have refired a lot of pots in my day, I teach children. one thing is the adding the same temperature of glaze over an entire piece is usually a disaster. The glazes almost always run or move more then you like. You can use a low fire (cone 06 or about) many commercial low fire glazes will brush over fired glazes. Then re-fire then at the low fire temperature. As for your new kiln with a computer. Fire it with witness cones watch the cones through the peep holes, chart them as to when they fall and at what temperature the read out says. I found that with mine the witness cone and the temperature were about 2 cones off the cones were dropping before it reach the temperature. Learn where the cones meet what temperature and use that temperature. Test it often your thermocouple is going to burn down a little on each firing which will change the read out temperature. Tom
  24. Tom


    When using a heat gun to heat a pot for re-glazing it may get the pot too hot and cause the new glaze application to form small cracks, before its fired. when the pot is fired the glaze can pull back from the crack. Cracks in the glaze coat is a common reason for crawling in glazing both on bisque ware and on re-glaze. The reason for the cracks are varied. Heating the pot is a good way to get the glaze to stick. But with all thing ceramic it takes practices, ya the hated "P" word
  25. Tom


    Brush Medium is a product I buy from Aardvark in Santa Ana in California, I think other companies carry it. You add it to your dip glaze to make it brushable. I don't know what it is made of, If I did I would make it myself and pass on the recipe. it doesn't last long in the glaze so I just use it when I need it and only in small amounts.

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