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SunsetBay

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Everything posted by SunsetBay

  1. After a summer without enough pottery time, I finally got around to a glaze firing including some commercial glazes and a bunch of test tiles using glazes I mixed up myself. I've also been experimenting with firing schedules. Based on some previous experiments, I tried using the E3 schedule from John Britt's glaze book, only with the top temp changed to 2210 degrees F (based on advice from L&L's tech) and a 10-minute hold at 1900 degrees F (can't remember where I got that idea). The exported log file tells me the highest temp I reached was 2209. My cones tell me the kiln was at a hot ^5 (I've been trying to reach closer to ^6 in a kiln that has had a tendency to overfire). I'm not loving the results and I'm contemplating messing with the glazes and refiring the pieces I don't like that much. I guess my main question is: When you move on to glazing actual pieces after getting results you like well enough on test tiles, what do you do when the final results aren't what you like? How many pieces do I dare risk with experimenting with firing schedules and temps? How do you do all that experimenting WITHOUT risking too many "real" pieces? I'm starting to think I should chicken out and go back to only commercial glazes and my kiln's preprogramed "slow glaze" program. But I'm tired of brushing glazes and interested in finding the color and combos I especially like for myself. Not sure where to go from here. Any guidance (or encouragement!) would be appreciated.
  2. 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!
  3. 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?
  4. Okay, what's the best way to experiment with firing schedules vs. new glazes?
  5. Okay, so at what temp do you program that 20-minute hold?
  6. 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!
  7. 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! :-)
  8. 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.
  9. I exported my latest firing info, but I'm not clear on how to read it. I see the temps for the three thermocouples, but what is SP, and what are Out 1, 2, 3, and 4? What does the time column represent? Can anyone explain this? Also, I could only export the data on my most recent firing, though all the others show up when I look for them. Does anyone know why the older firing info won't export/download? I am up to date on my firmware. Just trying to figure stuff out, but I feel like the more I read, the more confused I get. From the start of this new kiln (a year ago), L&L tech suggested I change my TC offsets, since the first few firings, including the first test firing, showed that the kiln was overfiring. So I'm at a TC offset of 58. Things have been pretty good, so maybe that's fine. But I'm confused about how to read the temperatures. If the controller tells me the kiln is at, say 2200, does that mean it's really at 2142? When I use the preset cone programs, is Cone 6 what Cone 6 is supposed to be? (Mostly, so far, yeah--but lately I've been experimenting with my own programs...in which case, how do I choose the temperature numbers for the programs? I think I've been using the numbers I've been seeing online--like via John Britt, for example--but should I be subtracting or adding 58, to account for the TC offset? The more I think about it, the more stupid I feel... Any help/explanations would be welcome!
  10. SunsetBay

    Bartlett Genesis on L&L E23T-3

    When I choose "Export Log File" (or whatever the controller calls it), the info that shows up on my phone includes something like the past 10 firings, and each has a hotlink to download--but only the most recent worked. That's why I was wondering about being able to look at the older info and compare it. Not important: I just got curious. Thanks!
  11. SunsetBay

    Bartlett Genesis on L&L E23T-3

    I worked out the TC offset with the tech L&L sent me to when I first bought the kiln. I suppose one of these days I could open up the controller and check on the thermocouples again. I just did a bisque firing to 04, and based on the cones, it was perfect. Overall, using the preset Cone 6 program, the results have been close to 6--my guess, again based on the cones, 5.5 or hotter. I've been experimenting with custom programs, though, so I started getting confused by the whole thing. Maybe I'm overthinking it. When I emptied the kiln yesterday, the controller was saying the temp inside was around 140 degrees F. But nothing was all that hot to the touch, so I got to wondering if the TC offset means the interior temperature was actually only 82. Again, I guess it doesn't make a difference. I just get frustrated when I feel I've only wrapped my brain partly around an issue! Thanks for your help.
  12. SunsetBay

    Advancer Shelves: kiln wash or not?

    So my pieces didn't stick when I used wax resist with alumina hydrate added, but the self-supporting cones plucked! Suggestions? Maybe I should just put wash on the shelves after all...
  13. SunsetBay

    Advancer Shelves: kiln wash or not?

    That's what I thought. Thanks!
  14. SunsetBay

    Advancer Shelves: kiln wash or not?

    It occurs to me to ask: Does this problem of porcelain plucking occur during all firing, or just glaze firing? Meaning: Is it something to worry about during a bisque firing? Thanks!
  15. SunsetBay

    Advancer Shelves: kiln wash or not?

    Thanks, Mark. I'm going to experiment with the hydrate/wax mixture on the feet before I decide whether to kiln wash the shelves.
  16. SunsetBay

    Advancer Shelves: kiln wash or not?

    It has been suggested that I cover the feet of my wares with wax resist with some alumina hydrate mixed in, rather than apply kiln wash to the shelves. Also that I apply kiln wash to the tops and bottoms of my kiln furniture (though I'm not sure how important that might be, as of course the kiln furniture isn't porcelain). As for storage, I'm storing the shelves upright on wooden supports in the garage. I don't think they're touching any concrete below, and behind the first one is the firewall material we put in around the kiln. The only moisture that gets into the garage is snow melt from the car tires sometimes, or occasional rain washing in if it's windy and the door is open. I'm wondering if there's more I should be doing for shelf storage... I haven't used the new shelves yet.
  17. I've been using Elaine's Cone 6 porcelain from Sheffield for a few years now, and I love it. I love the feel of it on my hands, I love the way it takes glazes, and overall I've been really happy with it. But over the past, say, 9 months, I've been having new problems with attachments: handles and other attachments are cracking even when I dry super-slow. Does anyone else have experience with this? Any suggestions? I don't want to switch clays, but I'm getting frustrated. Thanks!
  18. SunsetBay

    Elaine's Cone 6 Porcelain from Sheffield

    I've just been wondering if anyone else has had this issue. I still have 100 lbs left, and I'm working extra hard on the attachments. Before I order more clay, though, I'll talk to Sheffield about it. Thanks.
  19. How do they differ in terms of use?
  20. SunsetBay

    L&l/bartlett Controller Question

    I have a brand-new L&L EasyFire kiln, and my test firing results were overfired by a full cone. When I went to adjust the thermocouple offset, I found that it was already set for 18 degrees. So if I want to add, say, 15 degrees, do I reset it to 33 degrees instead of 18?
  21. When using a "hump" of throwing clay as a trimming chuck, how do you keep the clay from sticking to the piece you're trimming?
  22. All very helpful. Thank you!
  23. Can anyone recommend a good waterproof power strip? I only have one outlet (2 plugs) in my basement studio. It's right behind my wheel, and my wheel and my extra lamp are plugged into it. I'd like to be able to plug in things like my stick blender (for glazes) without having to unplug something else. But I'm guessing I ought to use something that will be safe (or at least relatively protected) from splashes of water and slip. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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