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Everything posted by neilestrick

  1. neilestrick

    Glaze Cracking around Handles when Drying

    I would thin out the glaze a bit. It will give you more leeway in the application, and prevent it from puddling too thick at the handle joint. If you want it really thick, then dip it twice, letting it dry some between dips. Don't let it dry completely between dips or that will cause other problems. I need a thick application on my pots, too, and this is how I do it. A thinner application will never cover well, no matter how well it melts. You'e gotta have enough glaze on there to do the job.
  2. neilestrick

    Glaze Cracking around Handles when Drying

    It it's cracking when drying on the pot, that's usually a case of applying it too thick. If a 3 count is too thick, add more water to thin it out. In my studio we apply at a 6 count. I don't see anything in the formula that worries me- I've got several glazes that have 20% clay in them. What is in the clear glaze that you're adding to it? That could be contributing to the problem.
  3. It's more likely to happen if you're using a very thin wire. We have problems in my studio with some of the Dirty Girl wires doing things like that. An easy fix is to simply recut it after it has set for a few hours.
  4. neilestrick

    glass-effect glaze?

    I would think that any glossy glaze would give the effect. Maybe a very light blue or gray?
  5. @SunsetBay First make sure your thermocouples are touching the ends of the protection tubes. Just loosen the screws that hold the TC in the porcelain block, push the TC in until it touches the end of the tube, and retighten the screws. If all seems well there, go ahead and adjust the TC offset. Instructions here: http://hotkilns.com/thermocouple-cone-offset
  6. neilestrick

    Advice on Kiln I Found

    The blank ring just lifts off.
  7. neilestrick

    Test firing electric kiln

    Just one peep open, the upper peep in the wall.
  8. neilestrick

    Help with firing programme

    The waster slab may warp or crack, but that's okay. Put some alumina wax or kiln wash on the slab to keep your sculpture from sticking to it.
  9. A slow cooling program will cool slower than the kiln can naturally. The slower cooling can give some glazes a chance for more crystal growth, which can make the glaze look more interesting. It all depends on the formula of the glaze as to how the slow cooling will affect it. Some glazes don't look any different at all, some change dramatically. It's worth trying. You can either cool from the peak temperature, or crash cool to 1900F, then do a controlled cooling down to 1450F. I'd start with a cooling rate of 150F/hr and go from there. If you really want to pursue glaze testing, a little baby test kiln may be worth the money. If the top section of your kiln is uneven at all temperatures, then adjust the thermocouple offset to even it out. If it's only uneven in your glaze firings, then do a cone offset to fix it.
  10. neilestrick

    Advice on Kiln I Found

    It's in really good condition. Even if it needs new elements it's a good price. The middle ring that doesn't have elements will know the max temp down to cone 1. You'll want to remove it if you're planning on firing any hotter than that. I'd buy it.
  11. neilestrick

    first craft fair WWYD?

    My rule for transporting things to and from shows is to never use anything that isn't waterproof. That means no cardboard boxes. This is a big deal when you do outdoor shows, but even for indoor shows you never know when you might get stuck carrying things in the rain or snow.
  12. neilestrick

    Triple beam or digital scale?

    They both have their good and bad points. For a triple beam, make sure you get one that has a tare poise so you can zero out different size containers. Without it you're stuck using a container that has a counter weight, which is not always the size you want. I really like triple beams for small batches and measuring small amounts, like colorants in small test batches. Once you get used to using one, a triple beam isn't really much slower than a digital. There is a greater chance of user error, though. There's also a limit to how large a container you can tare, and a limit to how large a batch you can weigh, even with counterweights. I have a really old, really big triple beam- it's about 2 feet long- that'll weight out 1000 grams without using weights, but even that isn't ideal for weighing out 5 gallon glaze batches. Unless you want to spend a lot of money, no one digital scale works for everything. The tend to be made for either small batches or large batches. I have a 55 pound capacity postal scale (My Weigh Ultraship) that works great for weighing out glaze batches for large buckets, because I can do each material all in one shot- I don't have to break large volumes down into smaller portions for weighing. If the batch calls for 5000 grams of frit, I can weigh it all at once instead of five 1000 gram batches. It'll read to 1 gram under 1000 grams, over that it will read to 2 grams, which is plenty accurate for 10,000 gram batches. I cannot use that scale for small test batches, though. It won't do 1/10ths of a gram. For that I do have a little pocket scale that is accurate at small amounts. You can get them on Amazon for under $10. It works very well for most things, but has a little trouble when weighing amounts under 1 gram. So for 100 gram test batches where I need to weigh out 1/4 of a gram, I'll weigh out 1 gram and cut it into 4 parts, or I'll get out my triple beam. So there's not really a perfect scale. If I had to choose, I would get a digital for large glaze batches and shipping, and get a little pocket digital for small batches. That pair will run you about $50 and cover all the bases.
  13. neilestrick

    Shrinkage isn't consistent

    In addition to everything above, clay particles are platelets, and the get compressed in certain directions by your fingers as you work the clay. The clay shrinks differently in different directions due to the direction of the platelets. Do differences in throwing can affect how the pieces shrink. As you can see, there are a million variables at work here. I always specify to my customers that I will get everything within about 1/4" of the size they want. If they demand more precision than that, they have to pay for it, because it can double the time spent on the wheel.
  14. neilestrick

    Skutt 1018 Error 1

    Replacing elements and wires is just something that has to be done occasionally. Just like getting new brakes on your car. To see if all the elements are working, do a ramp/hold firing with 1 segment, rate of 9999 to 1000 degrees. Turn it on and let it run a few minutes. Carefully crack the lid and see if all the elements are glowing. The very top and very bottom element will glow before the middle two. If one doesn't glow, then that element is either broken or the not getting power to it due to bad wires. If a pair of elements are out, then either the relay for that section is out, or bad wires. If all the elements are glowing, that doesn't necessarily mean that they're good, though. They could be worn and not getting hot enough to do the job. The best way to check them is to use a multi-meter to check the element resistance. I believe you can find instructions on how to do that on the Skutt website.
  15. neilestrick

    Seeking Advice

    I didn't read it that way at all. I see a level of frustration that he's not experienced before, and he's concerned about how to proceed. It can be difficult to find that balance between helping one student succeed while not hindering the progress of the other students. He's also in a difficult position where he may need to address the problems directly while not infringing on the student's right to privacy. He did reach out to us for advice, after all. I like Lee's suggestion of going to the appropriate office at your school and getting advice from them. It could be that this gentleman has no support system. Does he ever talk about family, kids, wife, etc?
  16. neilestrick

    Test firing electric kiln

    If you're using a downdraft kiln vent, close all the peeps. If not, keep the upper wall peep open.
  17. neilestrick

    Seeking Advice

    The giving of the pot is a non-issue in my book. If she wants to give him a pot, then she can. No harm done. I have had students with similar issues, some from the beginnings of Alzheimers, and one with a head injury that dramatically affected her short term memory. Wheel throwing involves a lot of steps and a lot of repetition, and can be very difficult for those students. It can also be very difficult for the teacher if the students are monopolizing their time. Give your student as much time as you can without it impeding your ability to help the others, but don't feel obligated to sit next to the gentleman and walk him through every step of the process every day. Find that balance. One thing that may help is having him break down the process into smaller groupings and see if he can handle that. For instance, cone up and down, then have you check on it before moving on to the next steps. It gives you a few minutes to help others, and gives him only two things to focus on- up then down. If you find that he can't remember the hand positions when you walk away, then that's a bigger problem. If that's the case, then he may simply not be able to learn to throw in that classroom setting. Can he hand build in the class, or is it for throwing only? Maybe talk to him about trying hand building instead. You shouldn't directly ask him about his health, but you could see if he wants to try some other clay working techniques that he might be more successful at. I've currently got a senior student who handbuilds because he just couldn't handle throwing, even though he's sharp as a tack. It was just too physical for him. And that may be part of the problem with your guy, too. Handbuilding is a simpler process, with much fewer steps, and it's very repetitive- roll the coil, attach the coil, roil the coil, attach the coil. I once had a student with early onset Alzheimer's who did quite well with that. Ultimately, take note of whether or not he's enjoying himself. My student with memory loss had a really hard time at the wheel, but she didn't care because she really enjoyed her time with the other students. And we loved having here there, too, so everyone helped out when they could.
  18. neilestrick

    Gum Arabic ratio to water

    To make a brushing glaze, first mix up a gum solution: Add 2 tablespoons CMC Gum and 1/4 teaspoon copper carb to a gallon of water. Shake it up gently and let it sit overnight. The next day, mix well with an immersion blender. Then use the gum solution in place of about 1/3 of the water when you mix your glaze. Adding clay to your recipe will alter the melt of the glaze. If you're not dipping the glaze, then the gum solution is the way to go. If you're dipping, then trying to get more clay into the recipe is good, however you'll have to run a lot of tests to see how much clay you can add without changing the melt.
  19. neilestrick


    Just to be clear, are these are finished commercially made mugs that you're applying the decals to? How hot are you firing? I'd try firing a batch of the mugs without any decals, just plain, and see if it still happens. Make sure your hands are clean. I'm also not sure why you need the stilts at all. Isn't the foot unglazed? Even on commercial pots, there's just enough unglazed area on the foot to make stilts unnecessary.
  20. neilestrick

    Leaving Teaching

    There are some part time jobs out there that have benefits. I have a friend who retired a little early, but worked part time at Starbucks to get health insurance before Medicare kicked in.
  21. neilestrick

    Leaving Teaching

    If you can afford to leave your job, and potentially have zero income for some months, then go for it. If not, then stick with it while your pottery business grows, or find another job. Selling pottery is a tough gig, and there can be very lean months. A typically good show can be ruined by bad weather, and suddenly your income is down 30% for that month. If you haven't been selling at a decent level already, then you're not ready to go full time.
  22. neilestrick

    Crawling matte glaze. Any hope of saving these?

    What cone are you firing to, and what firing schedule? Is there underglaze under all of them? When are you applying the underglaze? What brand of underglaze? How are you applying the glazes? What clay body?
  23. neilestrick

    Slip reclaim

    You're right, it won't work well as a throwing or handbuilding body once it has been deflocculated. If you don't want to mess with finding someone who can use it, I wouldn't feel too guilty about putting it in the dumpster. It's about as landfill friendly as you can get. I'd let it dry out first, though. In the future, I'd try to work out a system where you can dispose of surplus on a regular basis, rather than letting it build up. Like keep X number of buckets, for reclaim, and when they fill up just start tossing the failures until the buckets are emptied again. Dealing with reclaim can be a major waste of time=$. Take a look at the real cost of dealing with it and see if it's actually worth the effort.
  24. neilestrick

    Test firing electric kiln

    If it won't reach temp empty, it won't do it full either, and you run the risk of ruining a lot of glaze work. No sense loading it up with work until you know for sure it works. Try another cone 6 on manual high and see if it does any better. It could be that the automatic setting it ramping it up too slowly.
  25. neilestrick

    Metallic lustres

    Interesting. Everything I read said there were a lot more toxic things in there. You're burning plastic.

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