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About neilestrick

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    Neil Estrick

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    Grayslake, IL

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  1. Have you tested glazes to confirm that they don't work? Could be that the supplier is wrong.
  2. Don't let @glazenerd see this thread or you're in for it! What exactly is the problem with the porcelain you're currently using, and what properties are you hoping to get out of your own formula? The most basic cone 10 porcelain formula is 25% silica, 25% feldspar, 50% kaolin. Going from there, for a cone 6 porcelain you'll have to increase the feldspar to get it to fuse at a lower temperature. You'll also need to add plasticizers to make it more workable. I'm a big fan of VeeGum T, but there are other (cheaper) white bentonites and such that work well, too. The best porcelains use English Grolleg for their koalin. If you plan to have your supplier mix it for you, then you'll first need to find out what materials they keep in their inventory that are available for you to use in your formula. Convincing them to get in certain materials just for your mix will be difficult and expensive. Bear in mind, too, that this will take a long time, like maybe years to get just right. It may be easier to simply try out other porcelain bodies from other suppliers.
  3. Floating Blue is finicky on a good day, so anything you do to it will affect the color. The good thing about floating blue is that the surface it mottled enough that you probably won't notice any crazing, and on a vitrified porcelain you won't have to worry about weeping. Someone more familiar with the glaze will be able to tell you if it even works on porcelain. If I remember correctly it's happiest on brown stoneware bodies. Some glazes rely heavily up their chemistry to create their look, and you can't do much to change them without ruining the thing that makes them great. Others you can change a lot, with little effect on the final result.
  4. Mason Stain in base glazes

    I've been running tests of about 15 different mason stains in a clear base every da for the last 3 weeks. My first round was 4% of the warm colors, 2% of the cold colors. It was a good starting point and gave me many nice results. I've also been blending colors, for instance trying to tone down a very bright yellow, and as little as 0.2% of some browns will have a noticeable effect. A lot will depend on how your base glaze responds to colorants, though.
  5. Genesis Controller

    Just like cell phones! I never know what's happening when my phone updates. I'm betting that 99.9% of the controllers Bartlett sells are sold to the kiln manufacturers, who all have their own manuals. This updating stuff is new to them. It would be nice if they maintained an update list on their web site. The app won't be available for public use for another couple of weeks. They're shooting for November 1st.
  6. Table top fountain design

    I'm not a big fan of running the cord out the bottom and trying to seal the hole with silicone or anything else. It will fail and some point. All it takes is a pull on the cord to make a leak. I've done several where the bottom vessel had a lid, and as the water cascaded down it went through holes in the lid. These were large fountains (3-4 feet tall) that were meant to be outdoors, so the lid kept leaves and critters out of the water. The cord went out of a notch between the lid and bottom vessel.
  7. Raku Questions

    We always fire little stuff or small flat things on a soft brick or piece of kiln shelf and just pull the whole brick or shelf piece.
  8. Genesis Controller

    I love my Genesis! I'm also testing their mobile app. It's just for monitoring the firing, not programming, but that's a good thing-I don't really want my kiln to get hacked. At some point they'll have alerts to your phone if the controller puts up an error code. The best thing about the Genesis is how easy it is to do custom programs. You can see the whole program on the screen at once, instead of just one step at a time, and you can change any part of it without having to scroll through the entire program. You can also do a lot more steps and store a lot more programs, and you can put a name to each program, instead of just a number. Touch screens with wi-fi are the biggest change to happen to kiln controllers in 20+ years. It's a cheap upgrade when you buy the kiln ($125 with L&L, not sure what it is with ConeArt), especially if you math it out over the 20 year life of the kiln. They'll be standard equipment in a couple of years, and buying it as a replacement later will cost you $300.
  9. Homemade Underglaze Trouble

    Underglazes are the one thing where I think it's well worth the money to buy a commercial product. They can go on at any stage- wet, leather hard, bone dry, bisque- they brush on nicely, and generally work great. Many brands are formulating them to work at cone 6, and you can find any color you want. There's always a little testing involved to see how your particular overglaze will affect the color, but that would be true of any homemade underglaze, too. If you watch for sales, you can get commercial underglazes for as little as $5 a pint and they often need to be thinned down making them even cheaper. They are far more versatile than any homemade underglaze.
  10. Raku Proposal For School

    Any time you open the can before it has cooled enough, you risk the gasses inside re-igniting from the inrush of oxygen. Always let it cool until you can take it off without gloves. I've seen soe impressive fireballs come out of raku cans, and caught one in the face once when I was an undergrad.
  11. Recommended electric potter's wheel

    When the whispers first came out you could turn them on full speed and grab the wheel head and stop it. I don't know if they're still like that or not.
  12. Raku Proposal For School

    Yes and no. The person pulling is getting the direct heat of the kiln, so they need to be bundled well. Especially if it's the type where you have to completely open the kiln to get to the pots. The person operating the can is only getting the heat of the pot and the small amount of combustible material, however that is a dangerous situation, too. The more bundling for everyone involved, the better.
  13. Slows down when I center

    Often when the belt is slipping you can grab the wheel head and stop it from spinning. Be careful doing, that, though. You don't want to hurt your hands. Do it at somewhat slow speed. Also when it slips during centering it won't necessarily be an even slippage- it'll be a little jerky. If the belt isn't fully seated on the bearing, then there may not be enough friction for the belt to hold, and it'll slip.
  14. Slows down when I center

    Is the wheel slowing because the belt is slipping or because the motor is slowing down under the load? Those are two separate issues. if the belt is slipping because it's not full seated on the bearing, then the new bearing should fix the problem. It could also be a belt tension issue. Is there a way to tighten the belt? Most wheels have a spring mechanism where the motor attaches, that can be adjusted to put more or less tension on the belt. But if the motor is bogging down, then it's under-powered. Is it happening only with larger amounts of clay? The horsepower rating doesn't mean much. The 1/4hp Soldner can center as much as a Skutt 1/3hp, which can center as much as a Brent 1hp. The controller and pedal have a lot to do with how the power is put to use, as well as the type of motor.
  15. Upcoming 300th Firing - Kiln Repairs

    Yes, but small, like the width of a pencil. You're obviously more adept than you give yourself credit for. I see a lot of 8ga type K's that have been bent or broken, and they're pretty tough. You've given me a mental picture of you dancing about your studio with a kiln shelf, like Fred Astaire with a hat rack.