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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. Mark C.


    When I trim I feel the need for speed- for me chattering is clay is to soft and or to slow wheel speed also a tool with less surface area will help-I have not used a pear corer for decades except for the handle is the perfect size to measure a candle holder hole size. There has been. a lot written on this already as most want to chatter use the search function from main page to find topics on this.
  2. Mark C.

    How did you learn to fire your own kiln?

    No Manuel like an electric for gas kilns-since you are a C person you will have to work on the conversions. I have fired gas kilns for 45 plus years -you learn by doing I fire porcelain -I start reducing around 1800 degrees and keep a light to med reduction until end point on cones-for me thats a cone 11 at 3 o'clock (about 1/2 way down)Then brick it up and push in damper until a few hundred degrees. My glazes like about 11-12 hour fires for good crystals to form Good luck
  3. It need to be thick enough not to warp and should be stored flat.
  4. Mark C.

    Carbon Trap Shino

    Keep hoping?? Mine MD shino on porcelain in my salt kiln never looked that dark
  5. Mark C.

    Repairing Gas Kiln Arch Bricks

    Heres the deal to replace those bricks you need an arch form-which is usually made from wood. If you had that you jack it up and take pressure off arch and pull the bricks out-without that do not try to remove those bricks . That is a huge job and those are cracks do not merit that type of repair.I would not even dream of that with what I see there. If you want to make it more appealing visual repair order a brick repair kit from a soft brick kiln place like L&L or Paragon and use there ground bricks and special cements and after dry sand smooth. This will be the best looking repair.These kits are about 50$ .You basically glue the bricks and sand smooth-follow instructions well-you will not use the facing cement in the kit. Heres a kit https://www.sheffield-pottery.com/KILN-BRICK-REPAIR-KIT-p/lmgbkit00.htm You can view these repairs on u-tube -they are for electrics but its the same deal with that gas kiln as the bricks are the same. I like the L&L kit. That repair is a simple visual one. I did a large repair on a brand new front loader that had fallen over while installing this year-the damage was far worse than those two arch bricks. I also have glued my own arch bricks in my cone 10 gas kiln with great results.I would not use any pins as the temp are to high at cone 10.
  6. think Northstar uses thicker HDPE-you could call them and ask.They switched to a chinkier bat a few years ago as the thin ones has issues. I store mine flat and they work well that way.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. (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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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
  15. 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.

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