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SunsetBay

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  1. Thanks, Neil. I'm not sure I have enough patience or determination for a level of commitment that would warrant spending the money on a test kiln...not yet, anyway. I'm thinking I will continue by including test tiles in my regular glaze firings, and maybe stick with the programmed glaze schedule until I see where I might want to change things by slow cooling. Not sure yet. I get over-eager sometimes and want to rush to results, which I know isn't the best way. The top section of the kiln seems cooler at all temperatures. I guess I'll have to remember how the thermocouple offsets work and experiment with that (in small increments. First I have to figure out which physical thermocouple is attached to which one in the controller; presumably, I can see that on the original diagram I used to wire it all up when I got the kiln. Then I'll go from there. Thanks again.
  2. One of the reasons I replaced my old manual kiln was that I wanted to experiment with slow cooling. But my new L&L kiln with 3" bricks cools so slowly on its own, I'm wondering what advantage there would be, if any, to programming a slow cool. I don't produce enough fast enough to do a lot of experimenting with the kiln, unless firing an almost-empty kiln is acceptable. Which I always thought was not ideal, for a variety of reasons. I've tried both the pre-programmed medium and slow glaze-fire programs, and haven't seen a significant difference in results. Also, based on witness cones, the top shelf is not getting as hot as the rest of the kiln--I'm assuming this is due to the open peephole at the top. The difference can be as much as half a cone (if that description makes any sense). Is there something I should/can be doing to "fix" that? Change the TC offset on the top thermocouple? Something else? At the moment, I can't work with clay as I am dealing with a painful case of trigger thumb. I have 3 more weeks to wait before my appointment with the hand doc, so I'm getting lost in the rabbit hole of thinking about pottery, learning and planning. I'll probably be here with questions a lot!
  3. SunsetBay

    New Wheel: Bailey or Skutt?

    Too late--I went with Bailey. But thanks for your input. New wheel was delivered today; I can't wait to get home and open the box!
  4. SunsetBay

    New Wheel: Bailey or Skutt?

    Thanks, everyone. It occurs to me that I have been so uncertain because it's such a high-ticket item, and yet I don't worry nearly so much when I have to choose appliances like a new refrigerator or dryer (both happened in the past two years). I guess I assume that those appliances are necessary, while a new wheel is not, since my old one works fine. Seems like I should maybe adjust my priorities. :-) I know I want the new wheel to have adjustable leg extensions. Since I don't know yet if I'm going to want to throw standing up, sitting, or somewhere in between, I want to be able to experiment a little more easily than by having to deal with things like cinder blocks or solid, single-height stands. I know that the leg extensions aren't a 1-2-3, adjust on the fly solution, but they still seem to make more sense to me--especially as I suspect that I am going to want to switch things around every few months or so (that's my back speaking). I think I am going to go for the Bailey. It's more in my price range, and I like what I've heard about it. I love the idea of the removable wheel head on the Skutts, but I don't think I love it enough to pay more. I don't care about the flakeboard counter--it comes "free" with the wheel, so that's just a bonus, considering that I've been working for years with only a small side table on either side of my wheel. If I don't like the Bailey counter, I can always replace it or get rid of it altogether. So I guess I've made my decision, or most of it. I'll give Bailey a call to help me figure out which model to order. Thanks again for all the advice!
  5. SunsetBay

    New Wheel: Bailey or Skutt?

    I learned on a Brent, initially, and then bought my first wheel at NCECA: a Shimp VL-lite. I've loved it, overall, but I'm tired of the leaking splash pan. I don't have the option to try things out in advance--not and get something soon, and I've been given the gift of the money now. I can't figure out what the references to flakeboard can be. The shelf--obviously, but no surprise there. But in the wheel itself? That makes no sense. At the moment, I'm leaning toward Bailey, because of the general good reviews and the price. I will call them and discuss it.
  6. SunsetBay

    New Wheel: Bailey or Skutt?

    I already read through that post, but I'm not seeing where it explains any real problem with flakeboard. The Baileys get such good reviews, and they're definitely cheaper... I do like the removable wheel head on the Skutt, though. So, Neil, you seem to prefer the Skutt, too. Any thoughts about the Baileys?
  7. I am trying to decide which new wheel to buy. I am looking at the Bailey PRO-50R, the Bailey PRO X, the Skutt Steven Hill Signature, and the Skutt Elite. I definitely want the leg extensions, regardless (the Skutt Steven Hill comes with them). I like the built-in one-piece splash pan. The Bailey splash pan has a drain hole and an opening to sweep out trimmings. The Skutt has an easily removable wheel head. I'm not sure how to decide, so I'm looking for input. Anyone have experience with any or all of these? Thanks!
  8. I think that is what has been happening to me--just thinking about making so many changes! I think I will take your advice and go back to the schedule that seemed to be working, test new glazes, and go on from there. At the moment, I don't sell that much; I'm not a production potter, it's been more of an avocation for me, and somehow this summer got too busy to keep up with pottery. I would like to get myself on more of a schedule in the studio though, and go back to where I'm making more, as I seem to have done a few years ago. So...making money is not the primary goal at the moment. When I need to get finished stuff out of the way, then I'll need to sell! But I think I will take your advice and go back to the schedule that seemed to be working, test new glazes, and go on from there. Thanks for your insight and advice!
  9. So I'm thinking this will be my new experimental plan: Make a bunch of test tiles and small test cylinders (cups, yunomi, vases, whatever). Make other pieces as usual. Test glazes first on tiles and small cylinders, while using "tried and true" glazes on pieces that I don't want to risk (even if I dream of them looking more wonderful with my own glazes!). Try out so-far-successful test glazes on pieces I feel I can risk. And on and on, following the same cycle. Try to keep a balance so that each glaze firing includes a variety of tests as well as hoped-for "good" pieces. Does that make sense? But this still doesn't solve my problem about how to test firing schedules. How would I incorporate that?
  10. Okay, what's the best way to experiment with firing schedules vs. new glazes?
  11. Okay, so at what temp do you program that 20-minute hold?
  12. Commercial dipping glazes just seem so expensive! I've been using Amaco Potters Choice and Celadons mostly, and on top of the extra cost, they claim the formulation of the dipping glazes doesn't allow for the same results as the brushing in terms of layering and the interaction between glazes. Just out of curiosity, what is your "standard cone 5 with 20 minute hold schedule," and what does that 20-minute hold do in terms of final cone results? I tend to be drawn to blues and greens that run together nicely. Do you have any pictures of VG rutile green over variegated blue? Or any other suggestions? I'll try Pinterest, and check out other sites, as well. Thanks!
  13. I've tried some of them in the past but didn't fall in love. Except with a version of Van Gilder's oribe green that I mixed wrong and haven't been able to replicate! Lately I've been experimenting with John Britt's book EXPLORING MID-RANGE GLAZES and wondering if I should try seeing what's available on Glazy.org. (I've looked at the Ceramic Recipes here on the Ceramic Arts Network, but I've found it a bit difficult/annoying to navigate.) My goal is to switch to dipping, which is the way I learned. I am tired of brushing... Btw, thanks for your help! :-)
  14. I had all the test tiles on one shelf, but the kiln wasn't as full as I'd have liked--in addition to not having anything particularly tall in this load, I've been using new Advancer shelves, which leave me more room for another level than I'm used to, so I've been underestimating the amount of work I can comfortably fit into a glaze kiln! When I was loading the kiln, I thought about adding another shelf on top and just putting extra furniture on it, but then didn't bother. I intend to make a bunch of test shot glasses. I think I will also concentrate my glaze-search efforts on making test glazes, as much as I don't love the process, rather than continuing to try various combinations of commercial glazes. And for actual work, I'll just use the tried-and-true (if not super dear to my heart) commercial glazes. I guess that sounds like a plan.
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