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hitchmss

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Everything posted by hitchmss

  1. hitchmss

    How about an Olympic DD-30?

    In my opinion; if you are making the jump to purchase your own gas kiln, I assume you have some decent ceramics experience. If so, an option would be to build your own. If you're confident in your mechanical abilities, and dont mind a little hard work you can build a gas kiln for a HELL of a lot less that buying a used one that is in good shape. For perspective, my 60 cu/ft car kiln cost me about $7k to build it using high quality 2800 deg IFBs and wool. Most of the cost was in the bricks, at $5.25/per the cost adds up. If you dont know how to weld, and cant find a friend who can do the frame work for you, then this will be a significant cost to outsource, but if you can do it all in shop, a bunch of mild steel is cheap. Plenty of good books out there with plans, and tons online about building your own. You dont need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to design; find a size and shape you like and "copy and paste". Also, I dont care for flat top kilns; the lid/ceilings must be kept under very good tension to keep them held up. If a brick needs replacing they are harder to repair, and because they are under such tension they tend to crack as they cant expand and contract easily. Flat top fiber kilns have to be built properly for the fiber to not fall down; ceramic buttons and ni-chrome wire is not the right way to do this either. Ive heard/read about people who like their flat top brick kilns, but everyone I know who fires gas uses a sprung arch.
  2. hitchmss

    Cleaning kiln shelves

    Angle Grinder for sure; a 4" will work, but a 6" or 9" is what you want. Agree that a cheap harbor freight tool is what you want. Make sure you get a disc that is made for grinding ceramic/masonry. Most hardware stores will have numerous blades in the same shapes/sizes, but formulated for grinding different materials. If you pick up a disc for grinding metal it will take you much longer to grind the shelf. You can splurge for a diamond grinding disc, either continuous diamond, or a cup wheel, but they will cost twice what the cheap grinder will cost. Place your shelf outside on a well supported surface with plenty of ventilation. I like to put an old towel or some other "vibration" absorbing material under the shelf so it wont "walk" away on me, and minimize any chances of cracking your shelf. If the glaze penetrated the shelf deeply (more than 1/8") its your choice whether or not to grind down deep to remove the run. If you grind through half the shelf's thickness to completely remove the glaze, then wonderful, but now you have a big divot. If you dont remove it, every time you fire it will remelt and penetrate further into the shelf, and eventually will lead to the shelf's demise. I like to grind to the surface and then coat with heavy layers of wash. Wear a dust mask too....ground up refractories are nasty. Goggles and gloves too; hot chunks of ground glaze are sharp and hot. Lastly, some ear protection too....You'll look snazzy!
  3. hitchmss

    Need advice on recently purchase kiln

    In your description you list it as being 220V however the identification plate on the kiln says 120V. If you go to use this, make sure you have it wired properly. Running a 110 V kiln on 220V would be a bad experience...If it was a 220V kiln and you were running it on 110V it would just likely never get to temp. China paints are fired around 022-018; normal bisque temps are 08-06 (1830'ish). Seems like this kiln will do you no good if you're wanting to bisque and/or glaze fire anything even at low fire temps. Check the other two kilns out; even though they may be smaller, they may have a use for you. However, if not, turn around and sell them. $150 for three kilns, if they are in good shape, and relatively new, is a good deal. You can buy a used kiln for "pottery" purposes in the $300-800. Id think you could probably get $200-300 for your three little kilns. If you havent considered it yet, do you have 220V supply to run this kiln off? If you get an average sized "pottery" kiln it will likely need at least 50 amps of dedicated 220V service, closer to 100 amps if it is a cone 10 kiln. If you dont have the space in your elec panel, then that upgrade in elec service is going to be very costly. If you do have the space in the panel, are you prepared to spend the money to run the #8-#4 wire? Depending on the amperage of your kiln, and how far away it is from your panel, you may have to run a serious piece of electrical wire and it aint cheap. When I ran my 60' run of #6 for my bisque only kiln it cost me about $400 in materials. Not trying to deter you, but just something to consider. Seems like you jumped into this purchase and just want you to consider these other costs before you spend any more money.
  4. hitchmss

    Peter Pugger PM100

    I have a VPM 60 (newer), but have run older PM-50's, but not the PM 100. The gear boxes and drive mechanisms on these machines are top notch. No complaints whatsoever. My variable speed drive on the 60 failed a couple years back; bad manufacturing. Peter pugger replaced it at their cost basically; good customer service. One of the older PM 50's had an issue where if it was fully loaded, and the clay was stiffer it would blow pop the re settable fuse/relay on the motor; machines were wired properly. Even my modern VPM 60 will overload the fuse on it from time to time when I truly over stuff if with hard stuff. What Ive found among any of the Peter Pugger pug mills(table top to monsters) is that as long as the clay is in the relatively wide range of throwable consistency, then they have no problems being stuffed to the gills and run. However, if you are recycling clay from dry scraps I would make sure to keep the clay moist before you stuff it full to mix. When I bought my machine I spoke with PP and they regularly show off the machine's torque and durability by taking fully dry 25# blocks of clay, stuffing them into the hopper, and turning the machine on. I tried it myself too; crushes the blocks into fist sized pieces, which made nice usable clay 30 mins later. On a side note PP does also build units with more powerful motors than what are regularly sold to general public if they know the machine is going to be in heavy/industrial use. So if you're buying a new one, and worried about it, spend the extra $1k and get the beefcake of the motor they offer.
  5. hitchmss

    How to cut a kiln shelf in half?

    It looks to be too tight grained to be a traditional Silicon Carbide shelf (the old 1" thick clunkers). Looks more like one of the modern "thin" silicon carbide shelves. Two things regarding cutting them; yes it can be done with a wet saw, however because these modern shelves (Especially the advancers) are like a piece of glass, vibration can crack them easily. So just whipping out the angle grinder with a hose and diamond blade will likely end up with bad results. Like said above, a high quality masonry/brick saw with a CONTINUOUS diamond edged blade would work. Second thing about these shelves. If you get them wet to cut them, its going to take a LONG time to dry them out before you can safely fire without blowing the shelves up. Google for drying advancer kilns shelves and follow directions. The yellowish haze could be the glass layer which develops on the surfaces of silicon carbide shelves. My advancers have a "TINGE" of this color, but no where near as heavy or as splotchy as your photo.
  6. Never heard of using a flux as a kiln wash before. I used to use a mix of 50% alum hydrate, 25% EPK, 25% Calcined EPK like Mark said above. I added in 1-3% of G200 (start at 1% and add it in more inrements until the fired kiln wash is no longer soft enough to dent with your finger nail, but soft enough to scratch with a nail/screw). The calcined EPK keeps the shrinkage down, and the G200 helps harden/bond the wash to the shelf and itself. I would build up 1/2" thick layers of this on my shelves over numerous firings. If you've got a large wood kiln, spent all that money on this HD's, spent all the time splitting wood, then what does it matter if you spent $20 on a bucket of kiln wash? Id be more worried about trying a sketchy substitute material out in your kiln only to find all your work wrecked, and your kiln/furniture permanently damaged, or like you said, creating chemical warfare in your yard. Spend the money on a tried and true kiln wash and KISS (Keep.It.Simple.Stupid!).
  7. Above are all correct; your superiors are using outdated methodology and risking law suits by irresponsible actions. If they had never used any product to protect their shelves, and this was their first foray into finding a layer of material to protect their shelves then maybe Id understand. However, if they went from kiln wash to this dusty BS then why did they abandon kiln wash which is safer, and more effective? Not all kiln wash is the same; find the blend that works for you and the application which is most effective. Lastly, suggest spending the money on advancer kiln shelves; they are much cheaper than law suits.
  8. hitchmss

    Studio Floorplan design

    Agree with Mark about the flow of work; dont design your studio so that you have to move something 5 times if you could do it 2. More than sufficient lighting, adequate ventilation and exhaust, a proper method to easily and regular clean your space. I only use wire shelved carts (think restaurant shelving) for my studio; little surface area for dust to settle on, and it rolls out of the way. Oh, yea, put as many things on wheels as possible; rolling is much easier than lifting. Build your studio so you're comfortable; if you arent happy in the space you wont want to be in it. HVAC needs to be up on that list; freezing studios are better than hot ones, but they both suck. Have a place to store everything thats not used on a daily basis, and not just dumped into the back of a closet where you cant get to it. Noisy equipment needs to be out of the space where you want quiet. Build more space than you need now, as you'll need it in ten years. There's loads more design aspects to consider based upon your specific need of the space (i.e. are you full time, running 4 kilns....need 300 amps of service, or do you make a few pots a month...) but IMO that covers a lot of the big basics. There are good books out there on setting up your own studios. Agree with the above about visiting other studios, and more than that, work in them! I have learned what I HATE about other studios by working in them. Stupid details which are easily overlooked but make a big deal. If your setting up a full time business, you have more to think about than just studio operation and flow; you also need to consider the legal aspects of your building; does it meet local building codes, fire codes, insurance requirements. If you're setting up a business, avoid at all costs a commercially zoned operation; you wont be able to afford the commercial building code requirements. Im currently going through building 3200 sq feet of space for my business; this is NOT a small or a cheap task. Draw things out on graph paper, make lists, go through them regularly. A boat load of research and preparedness will be highly valuable when you start to set things up.
  9. little kilns are IMO much more difficult to maintain atmospheres than a bigger kiln. The small nuances in primary and secondary air make huge impacts in the atmosphere. a 1/4" closed on your damper might eqaute a 2" on my bigger 60 cubic foot kiln. An O2 sensor would allow you to visually understand what is happening when you make small tweaks to your setup, but without one you're going to have to rely on learning the flames and what that means to your glazes and desired results. You may end up finding out that reduction is great for some glazes and not for others; when I was a noob I thought if it wasnt reduced then it wasnt worth it (big flames are coooooolll!). Most of my work is now cone 12 ox, except for my cone 10 copper reds. If you've never learned/experienced reduction before, reduction is gained by eliminating/reducing the amount of O2 in your kilns atmosphere. This is done via two different methods, or combinations of them; increasing fuel source to air ratio, increasing air source to fuel source. Fuel source is controlled only one way; either add it in, or back it out. Air is controlled by your burner, burner set up, or damper. Primary air comes in through your venturi burner tube; you can adjust this with the rotating dial on the back of your burner. Secondary air is just as important as your primary air; secondary air comes in from any other source (mainly burner ports) of air in your kiln's exterior; secondary air is mainly controlled by the damper. Close the damper down, there is less draw in the kiln, less secondary air getting sucked in, consequently less heat, but also less Oxygen=reduction. Open it up, there is more air coming in, more heat, and less reduction. Your burner tip should be about 1" at least away from the burner port itself; this allows adequate secondary air to enter. You can also increase the amount of secondary air by having your burner ports being a "funnel shape"; on a 4.5" or 9" wall this is done by cutting the bricks around the burner port to have a bevel angling into the kiln. On a 2" brick I would not advise cutting the brick away. If your kiln stalls I would suggest fiddling with the damper before messing with your air/fuel controls. More fuel does not mean more heat. After I enter reduction at cone 012-08 (depending on glazes) I dont mess with my primary air, only fuel amounts and damper settings. Finding the right amount of reduction, how long of a reduction, and what glazes like it will take a while. The small kilns allow you to fire more regularly, but IMO they are harder to learn on because little changes make a big impact, so keep accurate notes and have ways to measure your actions (small notches drawn on your kiln lid to measure damper adjustment, turns of the dials, etc). As far as seeing your cones; all the above suggestions are great; a reduced atmosphere is often times even harder to see your cones in. If possible I like to place contrasting objects behind my cones; same principle as in a electric kiln when your cone pack is placed in a line of sight, but in front of an element channel (provides contrasting colors in the heat). In a gas kiln I like to place objects which dont offer a completely same surface behind my cones. I also blow on them sometimes when I cant see them clearly; be careful doing this...many a beards/eyebrows/hair lost to practices like this. A quick puff of air cools the cones down momentarily, but to get close enough to do so is a hot zone. Cones also need to be near the spy hole for this to work. Welding goggles and practice. Good Luck!
  10. hitchmss

    New here. Have questions.

    Go to the place which offers kiln services and ask them. They are going to tell you like Min said whether or not they will allow you to fire an unknown clay body in their kiln. If you're only glazing one cup then its cheaper and easier to go to a paint your own pottery and use their materials. They may not have the exact shape that you want, but you'll end up with a product that your happy with. More than likely, if this is your first foray into ceramics/glazing, unless you get lots of (good) advice, and understand exactly what you are doing, and need to do properly, you will end up with a product you will likely dislike, and maybe not even get back from the kiln in one piece or recognizable condition. Ceramics is not like acrylic paints where you can fudge the "rules" of the media. In a situation like this, a fully guided experience will be better than all the advice you can gather up and assume you know how to use properly.
  11. Agree with Mark about the flow of work; dont design your studio so that you have to move something 5 times if you could do it 2. More than sufficient lighting, adequate ventilation and exhaust, a proper method to easily and regular clean your space. I only use wire shelved carts (think restaurant shelving) for my studio; little surface area for dust to settle on, and it rolls out of the way. Oh, yea, put as many things on wheels as possible; rolling is much easier than lifting. Build your studio so you're comfortable; if you arent happy in the space you wont want to be in it. HVAC needs to be up on that list; freezing studios are better than hot ones, but they both suck. Have a place to store everything thats not used on a daily basis, and not just dumped into the back of a closet where you cant get to it. Noisy equipment needs to be out of the space where you want quiet. Build more space than you need now, as you'll need it in ten years. There's loads more design aspects to consider based upon your specific need of the space (i.e. are you full time, running 4 kilns....need 300 amps of service, or do you make a few pots a month...) but IMO that covers a lot of the big basics. There are good books out there on setting up your own studios. Agree with the above about visiting other studios, and more than that, work in them! I have learned what I HATE about other studios by working in them. Stupid details which are easily overlooked but make a big deal. If your setting up a full time business, you have more to think about than just studio operation and flow; you also need to consider the legal aspects of your building; does it meet local building codes, fire codes, insurance requirements. If you're setting up a business, avoid at all costs a commercially zoned operation; you wont be able to afford the commercial building code requirements. Im currently going through building 3200 sq feet of space for my business; this is NOT a small or a cheap task. Draw things out on graph paper, make lists, go through them regularly. A boat load of research and preparedness will be highly valuable when you start to set things up.
  12. hitchmss

    Questions regarding bisque

    If your kiln has a pyrometer and a controller which it sounds like your kiln does (based on the fast/slow commentary) then you should fire with the lid closed, always. It is common practice on a manually controlled kiln, with a kiln sitter/switches, to leave the lid open during the initial part of the firing. This is done because with switches you get a constant amount of heat from your elements, and even with only one switch on, it is possible that it could get over the boiling point of water (212*F) potentially damaging your wares inside. By cracking the lid by 1-3" this would allow the kiln to dry out the remaining moisture in your pots, but also not get too hot by allowing heat to escape. When I was taught in school to fire we would leave the lids cracked by a couple of inches and only the bottom switch on LOW overnight, and in the morning the lid was closed and then the firing would continue. Kilns with controller sense the temperature in the kiln via a pyrometer which is basically a thermometer that is plugged into your kiln's computer. Every time the kiln closes the relays (the "click" of the kiln going off/on) it is sending current through your elements which generates heat. The computer senses how much heat is in the kiln and adjusts the amount of on/off cycles to keep the temperature within the selected firing program's range. Essentially, it wont allow your kiln to get too hot, too fast, unless it malfunctions. IF you were to leave the lid open on a computer controlled kiln, the heat escapes from the top, the pyrometer cant tell the temperature properly, and it may leave the circuit on your elements closed, building very hot zones around your pots which may blow up because they got too hot too quick. Some folks like to leave the top spy hole open until they've gotten above 300* or so, when the physical water in your clay has been smoked off, and some even go longer until the clay has completely gone through the burnoff stage. The idea being that there is enough oxygen entering the kiln to allow proper combustion of the the organic materials, and enough ventilation to allow those materials to escape. Personally, since leaving college Ive never owned an electric kiln which was so tight sealing that there wasnt enough oxygen entering my kiln through all the little cracks/gaps. If you were bisque firing in a gas kiln this would be a different story. To sum it up; if your pots ain't dry, then go slow, if they are dry, then go faster. Leave the lid closed on a computer controlled kiln. Leave your plugs in the kiln during the firing unless your kiln is super tight, and then maybe leave one peep out until youve gained color in your kiln.
  13. hitchmss

    Firing and cooling kiln

    You can reload and refire your kiln as quickly as you can get the pots out of the first firing. That said, forced cooling of any kiln, but especially electric kilns and soft brick kilns does damage on the kiln, furniture and elements. Wait until your kiln is under 300* before you start cracking (Im talking 1-3"). I only open my kiln lid all the way when its below 180-200* and some may say that is still too hot, however you dont need to wait until its room temp to open your kiln either. On my 60 cu foot glaze kiln, I load, fire to ^12, unload and start refiring in 24 hours. 8 hours up, 12 hours down, 2-4 hours to unload/reload. Not saying you have to do this, but it can be done. As soon as its safe to unload and reload, then go for it! There was a girl who looked at doing her masters at the university where I got my bachelors; she wanted us to have a glaze kiln solely for firing her porcelain work. She was worried about iron spots getting on her pots; I thought/think she was a little too anal, but hey, maybe she really could tell a difference. Unless you notice a difference, and its a critical one for you, then firing anything from earthenware to porcelain in your electric kiln wont make a darn bit of difference, and especially one right after the other.
  14. Dont use a butane torch to try to burn the paper out before firing. If you do, since the rest of the piece is cool, you will likely create hot spots which may crack, or destroy the busts. Paper ignites at 450*ish, physical water smokes off around 215*. If your bringing the temp of the clay beyond water smoking stage, while there is still water in the clay........ If you have a raku kiln...that is outside...and have bisqued in a gas kiln before, and feel comfortable doing so, then take it outside and bisque it there, and then no issues about smoke. Otherwise, remove the paper, keep the school happy and smoke down. In the future, have your students plan for how to remove the paper or any armature from their forms. Or, you can teach them to sculpt solid, then wire it open and hollow the form out.
  15. Ram press, and ram press/air release are two different styles of molds. I worked in a tile shop for a year; no air release systems in the shop whatsoever. All molds were made off of silicone/urethane masters, from pottery #1 or #2 plaster. Molds are made thick; if the tile was 1" thick (high relief), then the mold might be 4-5" thick. The molds were filled with clay which was pugged through a tile die, then slab rolled to approx. 1/4"-1/2" thicker than final tile thickness. The slab was cut approx 1/8"-1/4" smaller in dimension than the mold opening, the slab was placed into the mold, used chamois (any durable, porous material) to keep the plywood "press boards" from sticking to the tile, and the whole shebang (mold with clay, chamois, pressboard (could be numerous depending on the mold) was stuck either in an arbor press, or a homemade "ram press" (car jack on a frame), and the tile was pressed. The excess clay was cut off with a wire tool (think more cheese slicer than potters wire), back of tile was smoothed out, hanging hook and studio stamp were added. The mold was sat in front of a fan for about 10-15 minutes (gets longer as the mold absorbs more water....later in the day....) until the clay began to pull from the edge of the mold, a couple of small blasts of compressed air, and then was flipped over to release the tile. The edges of the back of the tile were cleaned up, and then left to dry in a controlled room to keep warpage to a min. A ram press is a hydraulic press, historically introduced by the company Ram, however air release systems can work with any number of styles of presses, all the way from hand pressing, to major hydraulic presses. A perforated tube is set into the mold, approx 1/4" -1/2" from the surface of the pressed object (embedded in plaster 1/4-1/2" from what you are duplicating), and there is a quick release air connection at the end of your mold. Instead of air drying the tile after pressing, the air release allows you to flip your mold over immediately after pressing, activate your compressed air, and force the water which was forced into the mold during the pressing, back out, thus releasing the tile. Any mold, including air release molds, are going to have a limit as to how many castings can be made before the mold is saturated and needs to rest before being used again, however air release do provide a much higher production rate. As to what size of tubing, how much perforation, how deep to embed the tubing, how many "loops" of tubing in the mold, and how much air pressure to use is beyond my expertise. I would assume that the more detailed your tile, the more pressure, or more air flow (more loops/tighter loops) in your mold you will need. How deep to embed will depend on the detail of your tile, the type of plaster you are using (#1, #2, hydrocal, ultracal....?), and lastly the amount of air will depend greatly on how porous your molds are. The less porous, the less air, unless you plan on exploding your molds. I would start off using 10-15 psi (maybe less), and work your way up from there. You could wet the mold with plain ol' water, have the mold cavity facing you, and activate your air, when you start to see the water being pushed back out of the mold, and air bubbles is where I would stop with the air pressure. Too much pressure and you will destroy your molds. Finally, unless you are getting into serious tile production, and I mean thousands of tiles per day, there is no reason to make your life much harder by making air release molds, especially if your mold making experience is little to none. When I worked in the tile shop I would personally make anywhere from 150-200 tiles per day, depending on the size and intricacy of the tiles, and all of that was done with VERY basic molds (master laid flat on stone counter, coddles sealed with scrap clay, and #1/#2 brushed first onto surface and then poured over, and bubbles worked out), and very basic equipment. The arbor presses are "readily" available for pretty cheap, and come in a variety of sizes. Making your own hydraulic car jack press is cheap too, especially if you can weld. True, air release would bump that production up 2-5 fold, but how many tiles can you finish, fire, glaze, and fire too....
  16. I'm a huge fan of packing my loads as tight as I can; both bisque and glaze. However, at a certain point the amount of time taken to get absolutely as tight as load as physically possible overcomes the "savings" you get by doing so. For me, making a living making pots, timE is money so I get as tight as I can, but rarely worry about 1/8"s of an inch of space. A space over 1/2" I try to fill if I can, but that also means I need to have a lot of small pots to fill those spaces, sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. If time is no issue pack it as tight as you can, like Mark said, watch for expansion and pots fusing to themselves or furniture, and feel proud of being as efficient as possible. Super tight loads often need a soak at maturation and/or fired more slowly so you ascertain a consistent tEMP throughout. I tumblestsck my bique loads and they are tight!! I do a 10-15 min soak at 06 to make sure if all gets there.
  17. hitchmss

    A little question about Kiln

    Most community studios will fire work for you as long as it's a clay body they are familiar with, they are glazed withglazes they know, and you aren't known for mixing up cone 06 glazes for 6. It's a much cheaper and easier option that buying your own kiln. Unless you're making hundreds, or potentially thousands of beads/embellishments, it's cheaper to pay someone else to do it. Work that size is easily transported so you can still make the work at your studio and take to the community to fire. A small (1 cubic foot or so) 110v kiln, a circuit to run it (if there isn't one already installed; remember proper size wire/breaker, plus ventilation for safety), will cost you around a $1k or more depending on condition, etc.
  18. hitchmss

    Please help me solve the problem !!!

    What you're wanting to do is not learned on YouTube. Take classes like Neil said; an expert will teach you more in a few hours than you will learn from YouTube in days. Too many unspoken "rules" and info which isn't shown in a 2 min video. Reading is good, but for the technical info regarding utilitarian pottery you're gonna need more than just book time. I'd simplify your goals to maybe just making some pinch/coil pots that teach you some basics.
  19. hitchmss

    Taking the design off a mold

    Fill the design with a oil based clay, make a new master of silicone/urethane, and cast new mold off master. If design is positive in shape(in the plaster mold, not the casting); protrudes into mold, then possible to sand down, but if it's negative in shape it's unlikely youll be able to get new plaster to stick, especially if it's a thin design.
  20. hitchmss

    Kiln wash question

    Thicker layer of wash on your shelves. If there's enough of a run to get through the wash to your shelves it's gonna stick as if there wasn't any wash on there to begin with. Add 1-2% g200 to your wash; allows you to build a very thick layer. I used to have about 1/2" of wash on my shelves...then j got advancers.
  21. I use a 10" log from my pugmill wrapped in a piece of plastic held in place with rubber band. Shove long handled plastic brush in it and set to height/width. Heavy/doesn't move, doesn't dry out and shift size, easy to adjust/set, brush doesn't gouge pot rims if you get too big, hang wire tool over brush, needle tool gets shoved in top of log. Use a pair of plain old calipers to measure your floor opening and keep your weight of balls consistent=uniform pot sizes.
  22. Third to the idea of mounting the pieces to a larger board; use a two part epoxy to bond pieces to board. Paint it prior to this if you want it painted. Forget using the plaster to fill cracks; use a knead able two part putty. This can found at craft stores or in the adhesives section at hardware stores. You knead the two parts together and then use this to fill cracks; it will air dry to a relatively indestructible material, but it can be sanded down and touched up as needed. Requires no special treatment to paint. Its gonna be a pain to get whatever material you choose into all those little cracks. Mix you material in small batches and work quickly on small areas at a time. Find some cheap modeling tools, or cut some popsicle sticks into some points/blade shapes to help you sculpt your materials into areas.
  23. Without knowing your budget, and needs for the space, its hard to say what would be best for you. I.e. if your going to be a production potter, and use/buy tons of clay, then you're gonna need a floor which can handle the weight....i.e. reinforced concrete (get the idea?!). If you're making 100 pots a year, then a small storage shed or two from home depot or so might work for you. Items of importance, in order of priority for me; safety (air flow, cleanbility, etc), ease of working (flow, etc), lighting, storage. Make sure you have enough power for all your needs, and add a spare 50-80% of what you're going to need now(my new studio is going to need 300-400 amps of service). You'll likely use it in the future. Consider zoning issue too; setbacks from property lines, if this is a business, how much space can be dedicated to business in residential zone, etc. How are you getting materials to and from studio? Driveway? Walkway? Muddy yard? How are you going to heat and cool the space? If it rains a ton, are you going to need to run dehumidifiers to dry the studio out? Building a studio is like building a home, with just about as many specific choices that need to be made, and in some circumstances can be more demanding. Read up wherever you can, visit many a studios and ask potters what they'd do different.
  24. Pictures please. It's also possible that someone who doesn't understand that 220/230/240v has two hot leads, a common and a ground, may have tried rewiring the kiln prior to your ownership so don't assume that what is there is correct. Does this kiln have infinity switches?
  25. hitchmss

    Choosing Glazes

    For me, and likely many others, a set of glazes is something that has developed over years of use and experimentation. In the beginning it was more a shotgun approach; see a glaze, or a fancy name, and try to reproduce it, which normally led to poor results. Once I got over trying to "find" all the "best" glazes I focused more on finding ones that worked in the basic sense (fit and surface), and using bases to run line blends/triaxials, etc to alter surface, color, fit, etc. Being a full time potter I dont have enough time (that I'd like) to test new glazes and experiment; Ive got a palette of 9 glazes, and many days I think that's 8 too many. Anymore I come across recipes here and there that pique my interest and try them out; out of the few dozen of those from the last few years, none of those made it past tests. When I do test glazes I do a little different tile than most. I make them from slabs, cut out a 4"x6" slab, put two big holes in the corners (for hanging afterwards), and I texture the bottom half of the tile with a tool. I make the slabs from a average grey colored stoneware, dip one end in a porcelain slip, and the other in a brown stoneware slip. When I apply my tests I dip/brush in layers with the thickest being over the textured area to see the greatest amount of variance. For each test glaze I make 4 tiles; one for ox, one for redux, one for wood, and one for soda. I fire Ox and redux regularly, but no longer have my own soda kiln so I toss them in to the universities loads when they fire, and the wood ones into a friends kiln. The only piece of info the tile doesnt provide, since they are fired flat is the glazes propensity to melt. A small piece of extruded tube is also dipped and fired alongside the tiles. I teach students to simplify their palettes and work with no more than 5 glazes, but find ways to achieve 10/20/30 surfaces/colors with those 5 glazes, whether it be by using slips underneath, varying thicknesses, layering, altering application methods, firing cycles, atmospheres, etc...... The way I test layers is by making a large slab, maybe 2'x2', and I make 1-2" wide strokes with a brush, each glaze in a column and row, so I can see what each looks like under/over each other. If I find something that looks interesting, then I take it to a vertical surface and test further.
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