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About hitchmss

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  • Birthday 01/20/1987

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    Cincinnati, OH

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  1. Unfortunately your pedal is affixed to the wheel unlike a lot of electric wheels with pedals on cords. If you build a box to stand on (bringing you closer to wheelhead comfort), then you cant reach the pedal without attaching something to the pedal so your foot/leg is comfortable. Ive seen wheels with stick like shifters (even seen a wheel which used a V6 jeep motor and transmission)affixed to a foot pedal, but if yours is spring loaded to return to the "off" position then you'd have to constantly have your hand on the shifter. Hate to say it but a block of wood bolted to the pedal might be the best option. Im not a fan of throwing standing up; dont like how loosey goosey my elbows feel, but many that do like to pull their wheel closer to a wall so they can lean back against the wall. A padded board screwed to the wall can provide some support on your hiney.
  2. Why did my plates split ?

    Compress and dry slowly. My studio dries work unevenly so for large plates (over 12-16") I have to dry for a few hours, then bag tightly overnight, repeat next day until dried out completely. Otherwise Ill crack them everytime. If I had enough space to leave plates covered until they dried out completely I would, but I dont, so alas, here and there some die because they dried out too quick. Plates are a pain in my butt, and I think I'll speak for most other potters, and say they are for them too.
  3. Amazon has some cheap and expensive diamond drill bits; not like the kind you'll typically find at hardware stores for making holes in glass/ceramic. The ones Im referring to are actual spiral bits that are coated with diamonds. The cheap ones work fine and a set of standard sizes will run you $5-15 bucks. when they wear out, toss em. Expensive ones will "cut" better than cheap ones, and usually hold up longer, but for intermittent use, cheap is good. Not that there is "material" which needs to be pulled away with the flutes, but I find that these style wobble less and I crack work less using these. Take some wax based clay and build up a "well" around the area needing to be drilled, fill it with water and use low speeds on your drill. Dont push too aggressively. Key is steady and slow. If you have a drill press it would be better than hand drill but use what ya got. Might break it, so if it can live without having the hole drilled out then do so.
  4. Make a lot of work IMMEDIATELY and USE all that glaze!......then I guess you have a lot of pots to move. Pick your poison!
  5. Working less-sort of

    Im with you Mark; 2017 I fired 60, 60 cu/ft car loads using about 9 tons of clay. Im looking forward to the day when my prices go up and pots go down. Id like the make the same income from 2 tons as I do now with 9 tons. Unfortunately Im at the point with my business where Im actually going up and not down. Sigh! I have a lot of time to think about useless stuff when I drive to and from shows. One time I was curious to figure out how many times each # of clay gets handled from the time I pick it up off the supply store floor to the time I hand it to a customer. Its a disgusting like 30 some times each pound gets handled. Im tired of handling 270 tons each year! It would be nice to get paid $1 for each pound moved a year! Read the ad in CM; enjoyed it thoroughly!
  6. the amount of clay used depends mainly on your throwing abilities. For me a 10# jar would hold way more than 5 pounds of flour; I make utensil crocks which use 3# of clay and they are thrown to 7.5" high x 7" wide ; not pulled excessively thin but uniform. A helpful tip though if you are wanting to make an item to be a certain size, or hold a certain volume; a formula to calculate your final size which factors in your shrink rate. 1- (shrinkage rate)=x, divide your desired dimension by x=wet thrown size. i.e. if I wanted to make a 4" object. 1-.12=.88, 4/.88=4.54 You can eyeball the size you need by looking at and measuring a 5# bag of flour, or pour it into a round container that's a similar size to what you want. I dont have a formula for calculating necessary volumes even though I know they exist.
  7. You can use plaster no 1, which is a totally fine gypsum product to use but it does take some care in making and using. Like others have said, having a nice flat surface when you make the bat is step one. If you have an uneven surface, if/when you slam down a hunk of clay it could cause the bat the crack(seen it many a times), which is exacerbated if your using a product like bat mate to get your bats to adhere to the wheel head. If you throw a flat disk of clay on your wheel head first, and use that to stick your bats to, there is less stress on the bat. Clay is more flexible than a metal wheel head. There are other gypsum products which are harder and more durable than plaster but less absorbent/porous. I like commercially made hyrdobats from the ceramic shop in Philadelphia; made using hydrocal. They cost a little bit, but have rubber "grommets" (for lack of actual term) inserted into the base for use with bat pins (which I do use) which keeps the bat holes from getting blown out. Ultracal is even harder, but even less porous. Mix according to USGS specs and pour just like you would No 1 plaster.
  8. You can use a small blast of compressed air at the edges of your slab/mold to try and get the clay to release.
  9. firing schedule needed

    Are you trying to dry slabs out in your kiln? Let them get nice and bone dry before loading. If they are too fragile to handle while bone dry then load them onto a kiln shelf which you can place into kiln when it is dry enough, or load them into the kiln when they arent so brittle and then let them dry naturally. But, like everyone else said, program a hold at 210 deg F for 1-4 hours (depending on need) before ramping up to temp.
  10. Seeing is believing

    Water reaches its boiling point at 212 F. Teach your students the stages of firing and what occurs. Like Neil said, any moisture still present expands rapidly. Go through water smoking stage slowly and evap all that moisture off and you're good to go. I've single fired work that was glazed and fired in the same day (glazed, loaded immediately and began firing). Go slowly through that first stage though. You can show your kids evidence of moisture that is still present in even bone dry work by holding a mason jar loosely over a spy hole at the early stages of firing (100-200 deg), or using a mirror held over the spy hole. Moisture will condensate on the glass surface. Good way to check if you've dried your work out long enough before ramping up too!
  11. Others have hit most of the common issues for warping. One thing that hasnt been mentioned which is part of what causes work to warp is that as clay reaches its maturation point (temp during firing), it begins to vitrify. This stage is where crystal forms of silica are formed and the clay body becomes more glass like; it is at this stage where a lot of warping occurs as the body is in motion. The furniture you fire you work on has a lot to do with how it maintains its original/desired shape. If your shelves are warped, likely your work will be too. Any plates or platters over 4-6" in diameter when fired on my old cordierite shelves would warp no matter what I did. Finally got wonderful advancer shelves and now my work is flat as humanly possible.
  12. I dont like "extra large" splash pans. My current shop sink is on the small side so any time I want to truly clean them out I have trouble fitting them in the sink. Bigger sink, not an issue, but.... IM a production potter and just empty the slop from the two piece on my pacifica whenever I need to. Takes 2 minutes and Im back in business. Not quite clean it as you found it, classroom etiquette but its how I do.
  13. Hey folks, so my business is expanding and in the "near'ish" future Im going to be expanding into a larger studio, with more power, space, etc. To cover these costs and save my hands/back/etc Im wanting to get into less intensive forms of production. A lot of my line will be slip cast, but I also want to get into Ram pressing a lot of my wares. I know plenty of companies make beautiful units, that would more than fit the bill, but if I could avoid the "bill" that would be great too. I know commercially made units of the caliber Im seeking would cost me between $20-30k, but if I could make my own for half or so Id like to. I see some used units for sale here and there, and if one could be had for the right price I'd just go that route, but for conversations sake lets just say there isnt. Id like to build/get a unit with a bed of 2'x2 '-3'x3', 30-40" of daylight with a stroke of similar length, 30-40 tons, air release, 5HP 240 v motor, all the goodies. Not terribly concerned about the high tech safety features; this would be used in a private studio by myself, so liability concerns are minimal. I tend to use common sense, like not drinking while juggling chain saws and the like. I plan on designing the unit to be able to be broken down into manageable sized pieces so I wouldnt need a forklift to transport. I have a fair bit of metal fab experience, but would likely hire a real machinist for all the critical tooling, and have an electrical engineer spec out my design. Im sure I could look at a commercial unit and get some ideas on how to tackle the job, but why reinvent the wheel? Does anyone know of anyone who has built their own ram press, or any publications which would have info? If you have built your own; where did you source materials? Would you do anything different if you built another one? What design features do you consider critical? Any advice is greatly appreciated and thank you in advance.
  14. Advancer Kiln Shelves

    Everyone has already covered all the big points. Ive had about 20 of them for almost two years now. Im a full time production potter firing a 60 cu ft cone 12 kiln about 60 times a year. In my opinion; if you can afford them, buy them. They are worth the cost if you make a living or have a budget to blow. You wont regret the shelves in any manner.
  15. I'm New!

    Welcome to the wonderful world of clay! As many have mentioned above, throwing is a complicated process that takes years to master. Ive been making pots for 20 years now, and I make tens of thousands of pots per year. Im also a Professor at a local college and I find that even with all my years of experience I still learn new things almost every day. Mastering is that term which some equate to 10,000 hours of doing one thing; for you, mastering the throwing process is when you can consistently sit down at the wheel, and throw a shape exactly as you have it drawn, every single time. The point at when you tell the wheel what you want as an outcome, and not just taking what the wheel gives you is a good indication of your competency in throwing. This took me years to get to..... As a young potter the best thing for you to learn is practice. I tell my students that they need at least 6 hours a week in the studio, every week, and that is a bare minimum. Regular practice is needed to build muscle memory. Be prepared to go through a LOT of clay during the learning process (you can always dry out wet clay by shaping into a "arch" and letting it dry to stiffness), and be prepared to make a lot of mistakes. There is no one single way to teach you how to throw; everyone out there has a different method of working and they all work for some, but not all. We had a student during my college career that was born without arms and we taught him how to throw pots so sometimes if you find a method that works but wasnt taught, adopt it! I mention this disabled student to my students as well, because there are going to be times when you want to give up because it just isnt going right, and its at that time that you should think about the guy with no arms who throws pots; if HE can do it, then YOU can too. Its great that you have the desire to sell your work, and that is a great goal to work towards, but it may be a goal which is more long term than short term. Maybe a better short term goal (6 mo-year) is to master centering and making cylinders and basic bowls. It is unfortunate that your teacher is not the most attentive, but maybe he's trying to teach you through self exploration. There are tons of instructional books, and videos which are free or dirt cheap. Dont get overwhelmed with too much information and forget that the best learning is done on in the studio.

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