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Mark C.

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About Mark C.

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    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 03/15/1953

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  • Location
    Near Arcata Ca-redwood rain forest
  • Interests
    Diving-underwater photo-salvage diving-dive Travel
    Extreme offshore tuna fishing off north coast of Ca.

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  1. The main difference is that you can pull out a soft brick spy plug with an ungloved hand vs a hot clay or slip cast plug with a glove . Yours looks a bit sloppy (not a perfect circle)to me and a soft brick cone would be tighter and run cooler while taking it in or out. If you make one or three out of a single k23 soft brick saw the rough shape and finish with rough sandpaper. like 80 grit or rougher.
  2. I think it a matter of expectations and much more on WHERE you live. If its in the boonies and you do not want to travel than its fine to ship-if you whole business model is on Easy than you are married to shipping. Thats fine.Its not my thing but I can see it especially if you have high value items. Doing a three income stream I have found the most profit is from art fairs vs shipping or wholesale. That said I do all three.(see my February CM article on that. If I can make an average of 7-8k at a regular show (not counting my best ones ) than thats more profit than shipping any one or two mugs to uncle George in Texas. For me shipping is serving my existing customers not new ones.It feeds back to more show sales. I would rather drive two days set up for 3 day show drive home and have 7k for that than ship a hundred of boxes out. But thats me not everyone has put in the decades to get this kind of customer base.I realize this and know that hard path is not going to work for everyone .especially those with kids. I know someone who is very content shipping out 25 $ mugs to gross under 35K a year. That guy is not me but I do understand it. I'm just more driven. these days I'm overwhelmed with mug requests and I think its a upward trend RIGHT now. I'm just not a fan and try to steer them to a venue I'll be at later in the year first.Just today a customer from Wa state called saying how she loved the 4 mugs I sent her last month and wanted more. Oh boy another pack job with one arm. I think the break point on shipping is 4 items-that makes more sense than 1 or 2.
  3. (My other online sales are picked up at my house by UPS. It was a no brainer to decide “US shipments only.” ) same with me -I have to go to a post office and that takes me away from all my nap time. so its ideal breaker-UPs drives by every day-I just put out my UPS flag and they pick up when I need them. its easy. I have found shipping out a pot here and there is really not a money maker as well.I let my outlets deal with this if they want to. Most do not.
  4. I would just buy so spy plug peeps they do not cost much-even on e-bay or at the very least make your own front soft brick with saw and sure form file-they actually work better than the slip cast ones. the fiber will make jacket rust faster than usual -I think you are overthinking this.Unless the gaps are large. If its just a glow at ring connection let it be. As to the 47 amps that kiln needs a # 6 wire to it and a 50 or 60 amp breaker. If your wire is a #8 then 40 amp breaker is what that wire size needs its the size of the wire determining breaker size. DO not put a 50 amp or 60 amp breaker on a #8 wire only a #6 wire So find out what size wire you have going to kiln outlet or hardwiring. do not spackle the bricks with cement as it will just flake off and break out more brick as it does not expand and contract like soft bricks in kiln Show us a photo pf bricks if you think they are large gaps so we can see what you talking about My old 231 is much older than yours and would work fine if I used it(I have 1227 now that I use) Old means nothing its condition not age The big deal is the bricks are only 2.5 inch vs 3 inch thick and thats the difference. If you do not care about longevity than go ahead and wrap the kiln but just be aware that the jacket will fail way before its time-maybe you do not care as it was free. Do not wrap the controls boxes (red) as that will overheat them and destroy the guts (not good) Just make sure you next kiln is a 3 inch brick one for cone 5 work One last note close up the kiln when firing bisque after your vent is installed-I bisques without a vent with the peeps always in and the lid cracked open a few inches until about 800 degrees then close it up. I use porcelain clay and do not suffer from carbon issues.
  5. One last point since your production is using a high iron bearing clay it will always be on the edge of problem issues. All heavy iron clays can carbon core pit or wreak havoc with glazes.Your clay in photo is just full of colorants mostly iron-the sample on the left looks cored to me for sure. When I use high iron clays in my salt kiln I expect some issues-although the results can also be spectacular . For you to base a line of tiles on these clays I would expect issues to pop up and I would pay special attentions to Magnolia MR post above to try to remedy them. With a high colorant content clay issues are always just a fire away. You could change out to a buff clay and suffer less issues or be prepared to really keep a tight ship on all your firing stacking and loading and glazing and you still will have the occasional issue. I used a high iron clay for about 15 years in reduction fires-filially dropped it do to body issues I got tired of fighting. Another body could cure all this. Testing is in order now
  6. Mark C.


    I have no idea on a mold without a pouring hole. It could be a press mold -you do each 1/2 and attach them together -just a guess. You could always make a hole into mold as plaster is soft.
  7. I sell at art shows and my work goes all over the planet over the past 45 years but its taken but the owner over the ocean or border and taxes are most likely never paid. I write receipts for anyone who asked and only a few have asked for lesser than the real amounts. I did cut some slack on a large dinnerware set reciept a few years ago heading over A border (gee I do not recall which one). I have bought enough stuff and sent enough stuff I do as Min says-USPS is the best way. Goods from Australia and Germany where pricey. It could be worse we could be shipping steel and dumping it somewhere?I think thats a 25% tariff plus shipping costs Like I said no shipping pots for me to Japan as that customer took my work from a show and wanted more-oh well. I did recently ship 5 mugs to New Zealand and that cost over 100$ plus the taxes-It was doctor or did not care about costs.He has been a repeat customer from US art shows.
  8. I know of NO way to avoid this other than what I do and thats sell to international folks who take their goods with them and cross the boarder them selfs with the goods.You can for example take back into Canada a certain amount and not pay duty taxes on that. I have written hundreds of receipts for Canadians over the past 3 decades taking my work north themselves (Cali and Min can answer the amount you can import duty free) If you mail the thing you can say it has zero value and its a gift-sometimes depending on the country that can help . Sometimes not. I sent a free gift to Canadian friend once and he paid more in taxes than the value of the gift If I had sold it to him. I know folks who buy my work then fly it to Germany or South Africa tell me its free for Tham under certain values. If I shipped it its under the microscope and taxed to the moon . On another note now with the current trade wars going on this whole thing most likely will get worse than it is now. I have recently turned down shipping pots to Japan and Canada to some customers due to this very reason.I like happy customers not overtaxed ones. You know what they say one for you nineteen for me. No relief for you I'm afraid said the taxman.You know you may want to google up that tune (Taxman) by that small 4 man oldies group called the Beatles to get some relief hers a link
  9. Mark C.

    Used fire brick changed my plans

    Yes I agree on all points above . Your fuel cost will be to the moon with hard brick. Look around for a good deal on a pile of soft bricks -places like e-bay -potters attic -check with industrial jobs as they often have left overs after doing boilers and ovens. I always have about 500 soft bricks on hand as well as a pile of hardbricks for bag walls.
  10. Art engages my thought process more-In collage pursuing a BA in art I made art-that art is still around my world .Ceramic sculptures in the yard drawings in tubes-painting long ago destroyed .I no longer make much art. I know how-I like to view others at shows .I still do some for myself daily for fence and yard-never to sell. For me its a luxury as I'm in the business of making money with ceramics and making ceramic art is just to hard to do that with. I have made some for fun in my salt kiln like kiln demon dogs for my fence but never to try to sell.I like to make art for myself as noted as its an outlet for expression I like . Salt pots are the same deal for me I cannot make them along with my weekly fictional work . I must clear the plate and have fun with salt wares as they are not meant for the market. I think you know art when you see it-most of my pots are not art but functional wares.Yes I have made a salt face jug or two and that was art.
  11. Mark C.


    That cup handle is often cast alone and added later. The tricks are dry mold very well before use-after dumping it our pull it apart when cup is ready-time this on a timer. Do not leave overnight-take it apart when clay in handle has some give to it. The reason its cracking is is shrinking onto the inside cast part of the handle.The idea is to get it out before it grabs the inner part.This type of cup with handle is a hard top deal with mold to get a handle cast to body in one pour. many cup molds added the handle later as that is easier.
  12. Mark C.

    Used fire brick changed my plans

    Did you break the numbers down to types? while piling???-nice pile-looks too be about 1,000 Have you called the oak hill chamber of commerce for brick details? or any current brink makers in Ohio for data on your Davis brand-Many brickmakers have data on other manufactures most likely as well -since Davis was around from early 1900s to the 70s in one form or another I'm sure that there is data out there -just not easy to grab on the net-will take some phone calls and digging.I would focus on Ohio refractory suppliers and manufactures-also ask every place you call for a lead to call next.
  13. One note is in ceramics 10,000 things can get you. Just when its all going well it can all go to heck in a second. Thats the fun with clay right>? Just keep working on a change at a time until you understand the process. I'm doubtful the clay in same bag is different colors-a simple bare clay tile test will prove this true or false.Also as melted in Liambesaws post stacking tight iron clays in bisque can yield different colors due to lack of burnt outs. I assume you are stacking the snot out of tiles in a bisque(tight loads)
  14. I see a few issues with the clay form not supported comes apart when trying to turn off to drain. Heres an idea-build the clay form and put it in a wood box which is screwed together t o come apart. Put some clay walls to the form and they go to the box wall. Pour plaster (any kind will do as this is just for support) between clay form and box walls-The clay walls will make separation easy when unscrewed.Pour your mold and then you can flip the box dumping out what you need without touching you form(encased in plaster and then clay. When set take box apart break away plaster-peel clay and you have your Simi solid hydrocal form I hope you can visualize this process??
  15. I make ceramic pieces with holes in them for stainless steel wire. I use JB weld to glue non the ceramic pieces to the backs of some fish wall art then when glue is set off string the wire. The two part slow set JB weld is super strong.You have to mix it right and rough surfaces glue better.The wire spreads the load .

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