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missholly

clay mixer less than $200?

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missholly    1

so im trying to figure out a way to recycle clay in my studio

 

#1, not doing it by hand and #2, not spending $4000 on a mixer.

 

i thought maybe i could find some sort of large kitchen mixer that wouldnt cost me an arm and a leg.

 

any ideas?

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Guest the smilin' potter   
Guest the smilin' potter

I know that in the past, some potters have used professional, commercial dough mixers to mix their clay, and I think they work fine. You might be able to pick one up at a used restaurant or bakery equipment sale, or check the usual resources available today.

That makes me realize that a big hotel went out of business near us recently, and they were selling off all their kitchen equipment; I could have taken my own advice!biggrin.gifbiggrin.gifbiggrin.gif

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Benhim    3

The commercial kitchen/bakery mixers are about as much as a clay mixer. My local supplier as some mixer/pug mills for the home studio starting at about $1500. It's hard to find them for less than that, even used they are expensive. People buy them and decide they don't like doing it, or don't like the small model they decided to purchase. I usually see the smallest models on the resale markets like Craigslist. I've been looking for one myself, but have not been able to find one I felt comfortable purchasing in my price range. I'm probably going to save up the 3500 to buy the one I want which will do the job I need it to do. I really like to mix my own clay body because I can't buy exactly what I want on the commercial market so it would be worth it for me to spend the money. Often what I do now is take recycled clay and reformulate it by adding talc or other additives from the dry state and then wet and mix by hand. For someone that's just looking to recycle it doesn't make much sense to purchase such a machine unless you're seriously productive.

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buckeye    1

I agree with Benhim, if your just recycling you really dont need one. I recycle my clay and now have it down to a science and it takes very little of my time.

 

any scrap goes into a 2 gallon bucket (if I am throwing a lot 2-3 two gallon buckets) and I let it dry. I try to break up what I can as small as possible, let it dry out.

 

Once it is dry I add water, I fill the bucket about half full of water, way lower than the clay level, as the clay breaks down if I need to I will add a little water but I try to work it out to where I do not have a lot of excess water to drain off later.

 

I let it sit a day, two days, drain off any excess water then I stir it really good. I then spoon it into medium size bowl that I threw, fired but left unglazed, let them sit up, usually to where the clay starts crack around the edge and pulling away from the bowls.

 

Wedge it up, throw it in plastic bag or use it.

 

I know it sounds like a lot but really it takes very little time or effort.

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

At UTB we use thick slabs of plaster to dry the slurry after soaking scrap clay. There are a dozen thick plaster slabs. I do the same thing with my porcelain scrap at home.

I have three plaster slabs in my studio. Similar to John Britt's method.

 

 

Marcia

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trina    20

Those all all great ways to reuse clay, i chuk all mine in a big bucket with lots of water and then once it has slaked down i mix it up with a paint mixter attached to an electric drill. Whip it up let it settle down drain off the excess water. I have plaster bats or i just let it slowly dry out in the bucket till i wedge it as i need. Hope that helps..... When i started out i thought i needed a pug mill as well, but then i realised i just had bad wedging tecnique, once i learned how to properly wedge and not kill myself doing it thinks changed. Hope that helps Trina. p.s i am certainly not trying to critise your wedging .....

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~janie    8

I reclaim my clay much the same as Trina. But instead of using plaster bats, I pour it into a canvas that I have draped over a wood frame, laid on the grass. The water seeps through the canvas, and the clay air-drys nicely. I cover it with a loose piece of plastic to keep leaves and other stuff out of it. When it reaches the consistancy I like, I wedge it and store it in clay bags.

 

The other solution is my husband. He is a tinkerer, and a craftsman, and has built a fantastic extruder and a bee-Uut-i-ful stainless steel slab roller for me. He asked what I would like for Christmas, and I cheerfully told him I would like a pugmill. He is building it now. I think I will keep him

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Thanks a lot for the video. I reclaimed my first chunk of clay this morning--poured it on my wedging table last night. I didn't have an idea of how long it would take to get the clay firm enough to wedge--now I know!

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trina    20

I reclaim my clay much the same as Trina. But instead of using plaster bats, I pour it into a canvas that I have draped over a wood frame, laid on the grass. The water seeps through the canvas, and the clay air-drys nicely. I cover it with a loose piece of plastic to keep leaves and other stuff out of it. When it reaches the consistancy I like, I wedge it and store it in clay bags.

 

The other solution is my husband. He is a tinkerer, and a craftsman, and has built a fantastic extruder and a bee-Uut-i-ful stainless steel slab roller for me. He asked what I would like for Christmas, and I cheerfully told him I would like a pugmill. He is building it now. I think I will keep him

 

hey that sounds great, cAn i buy the plans from you? My husband is great at doing that kinda stuff , i really need an extruder. Trina

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Kabe    7

I found that if a throw my throwing scraps into a plastic coffee containers while I'm throwing. I can drain off the extra water and let them set a day, then slop them onto a plaster bat to stiffen. I can just rewedge it and bag it. For me it is nice not to have all those 5 gal buckets of clay lurking in the corners. I have mixed clay in a New cement mixer (can't use an old one) to a slury, poured it into old pillow cases supported by 5 gal buckets. It is good to line the bucket with a plastic bag too. Then you can tie them shut and hang them from a tree branch to drain and dry. The neighbors love it. You have to reclaim it in plaster molds like the videos show after it has dryed a bit. I have a plaster sink I poured that will hold 5 gal of slip to reclaim it in, but I think the smaller molds would be better. I got the pillow cases from Goodwill and Salvation Army. I payed less than 200 for the mixer but it is a lot of work. If you figure in the time you spent mixing,pouring, reclaiming and wedging instead of creating, it may be cheeper to get your clay recipe mixed, pugged and bagged for you. The one around here has a minimum order of 1000 lb. ain't clay fun Kabe

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Benhim    3

I try not to use plaster for my reclamation because I'm not handling the material in small amounts or gingerly enough to not knock off chunks of plaster into my wet clay. Other than my bisque bowls instead of plaster bats I do it the same as Trina. Once it comes out of my bisque bowls I cut wedge sometimes adding water at this stage to get the clay to the exact moisture content I'm looking for by feel. I like to throw quite wet, and will often cut wedge my clay right out of the box from the manufacturer to get it wetter. It's a bit laborious, but I find that this part of the work is very necessary to my throwing style and finished product.

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missholly    1

trina,

thats pretty much the way i do it.

its a pain in the butt, but i guess thats what you have to do unless youre willing to

invest in a huge mixer.

 

dare i see a wide open hole in the pottery equipment arena?

someone could make a buck or two producing some reasonably priced mixers for smaller studios!

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missholly    1

kabe,

i like your idea of coffee cans.

doing it before it builds up sounds good to me.

 

also, i just poured my plaster slab yesterday and didnt even think to make it a "sink" shape.

good idea!

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trina    20

trina,

thats pretty much the way i do it.

its a pain in the butt, but i guess thats what you have to do unless youre willing to

invest in a huge mixer.

 

dare i see a wide open hole in the pottery equipment arena?

someone could make a buck or two producing some reasonably priced mixers for smaller studios!

 

I think the biggest misconception about a clay mixer or pug mill, is the reason that pug mills are so expensive is because they have vacum systems that remove the air from the clay making wedging not necessary. I think that mixing the clay in whatever form you choose you still need to wedge. Here in spain the clay comes either in sacks and is a dry powder that you add water to and wedge or you can buy the ready made sacks that are ready to use and dont require wedging. So unfortuately whatever way you look at it, wedging is the only opion when you reconsitute clayyourself. I have seen small studio mixers selling for 2 thousand or so.....still too much for small studios Take care Trina

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atanzey    6

I bought Axner's de-airing pug mill, and while it was expensive (about $2500) I think it was worth every penny. I work a 40-hour job (which fortunately allows me to buy toys from time to time), and don't have enough studio time to waste on wedging. Now, I've seen people say it doesn't take time, but I pugged up a hundred pounds of recycle clay in about a half hour on Saturday, and I won't have to wedge it.

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KellyRainey    0

My undergraduate major was Studio Arts with a focus on Ceramics. As part of my Materials and Techniques class we had to dig local clay from the ground and turn it into a workable, usable clay. It was a blast. The process was much like the process to reclaim, as the clay we dug up was somewhat moist but not workable. The longest part of the process of course was the drying of the slurry to a workable state: follow your reclaim process until you get to the slurry drying stage then and this is where I varied from many of my classmates, slather the slurry onto layers and layers of newspaper instead of using the plaster slabs/wedging tables. You would be amazed how well it works and there are no worries of plaster getting into the clay. If any newspaper sticks (I never experienced this unless I tried to rush it and take the clay off before it was really ready), it is easily peeled off or will burn off in the kiln (I am a hand builder and talked a potter classmate into trying it and she said that any paper left behind came off while she was throwing). I enjoyed watching over the drying process and it took no longer than other methods (plaster slab, unglazed ceramic bowls, etc). Of course, one might need to add more newspaper if they did not start with enough.

 

***Two notes: 1. I would not recommend the newspaper method for large quantities if you are short of space in your studio, as the stacks of newspaper could take up valuable space. Of course, if you have any space available outside of your studio you could use that. 2. I use the same collection method as Kabe - I use plastic coffee cans and once I have one or two filled to the brim (lid bulging a little bit) I start the process so that I can conserve on valuable work space.

 

 

If anyone who has not tried this method for drying before wedging and chooses to test it please let me know who it works out for you. After typing the process out and thinking back on my time in school, I realize it is time for me to go do some reclaiming of my scraps before they become too much to handle (of course, I could break a larger batch into more than one batch rolleyes.gif .

 

Happy Holidays!!!!

 

Kelly

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

Many years ago I was a resident potter in upstate N.Y. I made my clay in flower pots lined with cheesecloth. I had an unlimited access to these flowerpots. I made a slurry in a large garbage can, poured it into the flowerpots and let it set up.. Clay made from slurry is very plastic.

As for recycling, I throw next to my plaster wedging table and put the slurry from the rim of my throwing bucket on the plaster as I work. WHen I am done and cleaning up, I usually have enough recycled clay for some handles or add-ons.

Marcia

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qkrv24    2

 

I've completed about six sculptures using Original Sculpey,which I know is not that great. So, I just switched to Super Sculpey and havestarted a new sculpture. However, I'm finding that it's not that easy to workwith, even though everyone says it's the best. I'm finding it hard to blendadded clay to the existing area. I am also doing a small face and it's veryuncooperative.

 

 

At any rate, a lot of doll artists (I'm doing figurines however), use polymerclay blends to get the best result. From what I've seen, these mixes lookawesome. I have been told that mixing ProSculpt, Fimo, Fimo Mix Quick, Kato andothers will give a good balance. However, I have no idea what ratios to use andwhat clays to mix.

 

Can anybody suggest which clays I can mix to get the best results and whatratios to use???

 

I appreciate any help you can offer.

 

 

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so im trying to figure out a way to recycle clay in my studio

 

#1, not doing it by hand and #2, not spending $4000 on a mixer.

 

i thought maybe i could find some sort of large kitchen mixer that wouldnt cost me an arm and a leg.

 

any ideas?

 

 

I have been making pots and recycling clay in my studio for some 30 years and most of the methods already described here are similar to mine. I have also poured and hung pillow cases of clay like aging cheese and that was a good especially in a wet cooler climate.

I am not sure you will get by forever without some sort of pugmill because it is so much easier to throw the recycled with the new bagged clay into the pugmill and get a great end throwing product. You do not need a de-airing pugmill. The plain ones (Paul Soldner model or bluebird?) work very well with an occasional handwedging for more delicate closed forms. Also never have I found chunks of plaster in my clay and I have used plaster for all those years and most of the time the same bats. I don't dry the clay first - I throw the scrap into slip that is already used and go from there, decanting and mixing by hand and then picking up handfuls and placing it on plaster bats about 12 inches across. These bats can take up to a week to harden and need to be watched after that even covering with plastic if necessary. Usually I turn them so the middle equalizes. If you are a skilled thrower and used to a production of sorts you can count on reclaiming one third of your clay with slab work producing somewhat more scrap. Reclaiming takes time. I can spend a morning clearing up my buckets and arranging bats all over the place. But one cannot with any conscience actually throw the scrap out (as Colin Pearson from England (now deceased) told me he did because there was no room in his studio.)

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Pyewackette    1

I find that wedging and mixing by hand is much easier if you use a vertical harp - have a look at

 

 

Someone on the clay art list told me they used a heavy duty metal shelf bracket (L shaped thingy) with a wire stretched across that, then clamped to the table edge.

 

Similar idea, maybe a little easier to implement sans tools (or at least with fewer tools, don't need a saw to cut up the wood, still need pliers and whatnot). I hope to be implementing this soon, to go along with my hardibacker portable wedging surface.

 

Here are 2 different videos detailing my preferred wedging method - I actually did not know why people complained about having to wedge until I saw what they were talking about, which I always called kneading, not wedging! Wire wedging is easy. I'm limited only by how much clay I can lift at one time.

 

 

 

 

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I reclaim my clay much the same as Trina. But instead of using plaster bats, I pour it into a canvas that I have draped over a wood frame, laid on the grass. The water seeps through the canvas, and the clay air-drys nicely. I cover it with a loose piece of plastic to keep leaves and other stuff out of it. When it reaches the consistancy I like, I wedge it and store it in clay bags.

 

The other solution is my husband. He is a tinkerer, and a craftsman, and has built a fantastic extruder and a bee-Uut-i-ful stainless steel slab roller for me. He asked what I would like for Christmas, and I cheerfully told him I would like a pugmill. He is building it now. I think I will keep him

 

 

do you think you could post how he made the pugmill?

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