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About neilestrick

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    Neil Estrick

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    Grayslake, IL

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  1. neilestrick

    Kiln not reaching temperature

    Even if all the elements glow, they could be worn and not running as hot as they should. The only way to know for sure is to test the element resistance with a multi-meter. That said, if they all glow but it won't get to temp, then that's really the only thing that could be wrong, assuming your voltage is correct. If I'm understanding what you're saying, the kiln is only rated to cone 6? The problem with firing a cone 6 kiln to cone 6 is that it's going to have to work really hard to get to temp every time, and as soon as the elements wear even a little bit, it won't reach temp. If the kiln was rated to cone 10, the elements could wear quite a bit before they became a problem. So with your kiln, you're going to be replacing elements a lot more often. It's not an ideal situation. Technically, your kiln should be used for low fire work. As FrankieGirl said, you don't want under-fired pots. Clay that hasn't vitrified will weep, and glazes that haven't fully matured may not be food safe or durable. I would talk to Cress and see if they make a set of elements for that kiln that will go to cone 10. The only problem will be that it will pull more amperage, which means it will need a different breaker and service wiring. How big is the kiln? Can you post a picture of it, and the serial plate with the electrical info on it?
  2. neilestrick

    EPK vs China Clay

    What are you using it for? In a glaze you won't see any difference. In a clay body that has any other type of clay (ball, fire, red, etc.) you probably won't notice much difference. In a porcelain body where it's the only clay, you'll feel a difference. You'll see a difference in color, too, but not as much if you're firing in oxidation.
  3. neilestrick

    Varied Perlite inclusion results

    If you want stuff that actually burns out and leaves voids, I would go with something organic, that is definitely going to burn out- coffee grounds, popcorn, nuts/seeds, etc.
  4. Every time you work clay, fine particles are washed away in the throwing water. If that water isn't added back into the slop, the fine particles are missing. As Min said, those are the particles that add plasticity. But you're also losing other ingredients, too, like the fluxes and silica. After you've reclaimed the slop a couple times, you've really got a clay body that is different than the original and may not fire to vitrification any more. The best way to deal with recycling is to make sure all the throwing water and slop in the splash pan goes into the slop buckets as well. If you need to add dry material, it's best to add a dry mix of the clay body you're using. Just adding ball clay can mess things up over time. Most clay manufacturers will sell dry mixes of their clay bodies. When I was the tech for A.R.T. Clay, I would regularly get phone calls from schools whose clay stopped working for them, usually in the way of glazes shivering off the white earthenware. They were pugging the reclaim with straight ball clay, and after a few rounds the body was all messed up, with too much clay and not enough talc. Their only solution was to start over with new clay, since we didn't know how much of anything was actually in the body anymore. So they would buy new moist clay, and a few bags of dry mix for recycling.
  5. neilestrick

    Brent IE table repair/replacement

    I'd go with the laminate countertop, and just paint the edge with several coats of outdoor paint. Cheap, easy to work with.
  6. neilestrick

    180 days along, run of 40 mugs

    You're doing great! If I may offer one piece of advice, it is to make the lips of the mugs thinner and more rounded. A thinner lip is more comfortable to drink from, and a rounded lip will be smoother.
  7. neilestrick

    Blue Diamond TM-23-3 Kiln

    Blue Diamond is gone, but if it's a manual kiln, they all work the same. You can find lots of firing schedules here on the forum, or download a manual from one of the other kiln manufacturers. If it's a digital kiln, you can find a manual from another manufacturer that uses the same type of controller.
  8. Why are they upside down? Are you buying finished glazed plates and doing the china painting on them? Can you post a picture of the broken pieces, how they cracked, etc?
  9. neilestrick

    Advice for 1st glaze firing?

    I would just do a cone 6 firing and see how it comes out. If it's too hot or too cold, I would then adjust the TC offset to get it dialed in. A 10-15 minute hold will not get you from cone 5 to cone 6, so the studio kilns have some calibration issues.
  10. You can make the peep holes bigger. The brick is soft and easy to ream out with a round file. Your plugs may or may not fit after enlarging them. Get some #5 welding glasses, even if you use the mirror.
  11. neilestrick

    recent soluble salts firing in saggars

    These are fabulous!
  12. neilestrick

    Cone 10 Glazes for Electric Kiln

    If your shino is a true shino, it will not develop any color in an oxidation firing. Your tenmoku will also probably not develop typical tenmoku colors, but will be more brown than black, and break to yellow rather than red. To show your textures on your pieces, you may want to do some rubbed in stains, or use transparent colored glazes that will puddle well into the textures. Are you looking for glossy or matte finishes?
  13. neilestrick

    Gare mini kiln

    The kiln pulls 18 amps, which means it will not run on a regular household circuit, which is 15 amps. If the plug fits a regular household plug, then it's not the right plug. It should go on a 20 amp circuit minimum, ideally 25 amps. A 20 amp plug and cord should be used, not a 15 amp, or the cord could melt/burn. A 20 amp plug has one of the prongs turned 90 degrees, so it can't fit into a 15 amp outlet. Once you get the wiring situation figured out, it will go to cone 6, although the elements will wear out more quickly than with a cone 10 kiln.
  14. neilestrick

    Flaking burnished surface

    I had a friend in college who did large coil built vessels that he covered in terra sig and burnished bone dry using lard, sometimes oil, and it never caused a problem. Could be an issue specific to your clay body, though.
  15. neilestrick

    Gare mini kiln

    How hot do you plan to fire? Look at the serial plate and make sure it'll go that hot. How many amps does the kiln pull? It needs to be on a breaker that is 25% greater than the pull. With one switch, it's going to get hot really fast. You'll need to prop the lid, or even keep it open for a while at the beginning of the firing in order to slow it down. Otherwise you're going to blow up all your clay work.

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