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Sheryl Leigh

How do you store your own mixed clay?

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Right now I'm taking freshly mixed clay and wrapping them up kind of burrito style in black garbage bags.  I keep thinking there's got to be a better way - does anyone who doesn't get clay in the neat little 25lb bags have a good suggestion?  One of my guys wants to put it in garbage cans, but that would be a pain to measure out (which I need to do for studio members).

TIA!

 

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is it coming out of a pugmill?

I cut off same lengths, yes, put a couple of lengths in p. Bag, then store them in polystyrene boxes, grabbed from supermarket box bins

lengths I cut to fit length f these boxes which are lidded, stack well, and can be reused. Keeps moist v. Long time.

Don't go to garbage bin. Truly horrible to get clay from.

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The shallow rubber maids work for me. They keep logs surprisingly well.

I use a taller one with a cast plaster bottom as a damp box. I seal the edge with a small garbage bag before putting the lid down and it works just fine. I imagine this would work for storing logs long term as well.

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 store mine from the pug mill in clay bags that I have saved. as well as recycled twist ties.

Finding good thick bags is a chore . I really suggest not storing in trash cans -you will regret this of many reasons.

If you go plastic tubs do not overload them.

Thick bags can be had at commercial grocery supply stores-try cash&carry or smart & final in AZ if they exist there.

Bagged clay lasts the longest wet.

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i have used the standard lightweight shopping bags from market,  but double bagged the pugs.      found some Ice bags...  then found ice bags on line for least cost.   i've seen a technique where they use One larger gusseted  bag from uline  excess bag ends up doubling the protection with one bag,  if i recall this bag size was approximatey 30 cents,     i use empty coolers,  or just stack pugs in closet

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When I was still mixing clay I'd wrap logs of it in kitchen catcher-sized bags, using that method where you place the log on the open edge of the bag and roll it backwards so the plastic winds up creating 2-3 layers, and you didn't need ties. Still do this with some of my reclaim.  After that, you can stack the logs next to the wedging area, or somewhere else convenient. 

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My pugged clay I store in in recycled clay bags in plastic containers on wheeled carts. Clay mixed in soldier mixer goes into heavy garbage bags. the is usually raku clay. stored in a rubber garbage can with lid. I agree with Mark, it does have draw backs when the clay get down to the bottom.

Marcia

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I've read about people used old fridges to store clay in. Pugged then stored in the (unplugged) fridge, no wrapping in plastic. Would work like a giant damp box. Was thinking there are an awful lot of those apartment size freezers on Craigslist where I live that don't work and are for free, perhaps could use one of those on its side so the lid opens like a fridge door, raise it up on a pallet so it swings open without being right on the floor. Just a thought.

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I use this box that is labelled as waterproof. There is a foam gasket under the lid, and latches that hold the lid tight. Similar to a refrigerator, I suppose. It holds about 100lbs of clay. I got it at The Container Store but I have also seen them at Staples and Home Depot.

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For cheapliness vs. keeping clay wet the longest: either white or black plastic garbage bags so far, for me, have kept clay the wettest for the longest time. I use Dollar Store trash bags so anything fancier would theoretically work even better. I tried making a plastic box with the plaster slab but instantly got tons of mold, I tried a little bleach but it didn't work entirely, then the cheap box cracked and took up too much room anyway. 

Mainly what I do is use two layers of white kitchen trash bags, usually. White because I can see enough of the clay through the plastic, to tell what kind it is before I open it, of the 3-4 kinds I tend to use.

When the clay gets too dry I have learned a pretty easy way to get even an entire block of stiff clay wet again within about 12 hrs so not a concern anymore, but I work small. Re-wetting blocks and blocks weekly would be a big chore. 

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Wow, great ideas, everyone- thank you!  I think I'm going to try the shallow rubbermaid bins combined with the fridge - thanks for the nudge, Min - I actually have a DOA commercial fridge that I was going to employ as a studio damp box, but it hasn't been well utilized, so I think this is going to be it's new use.  I hope it doesn't get moldy.

 

Thank you again!

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On 12/5/2017 at 7:32 PM, yappystudent said:

I have learned a pretty easy way to get even an entire block of stiff clay wet again within about 12 hrs so not a concern anymore, but I work small. Re-wetting blocks and blocks weekly would be a big chore. 

You can't tease us with a  technique and not share it!

Rae Reich likes this

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21 minutes ago, What? said:

BigLou13 wrap the block in a damp towel and bag it.

I have a dozen or so old boxes that need this exact treament.

The block gets cut up into 1/8ths and individually wrapped in wet wash cloths then stacked and wrapped in a damp towel then the bag is replaced. After a week or so it's good to wedge up.

I'm always wrapping my stiff recycled clay in cloths/towels now. My place is a bit cooler than most so mold/mildew is less of an issue but i sure am glad I have a nice collection of towels/cloths/pillow cases etc.

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It's fairly simple - take your rock hard block of clay,  add about a half cup of water to the bag (you might want to start with less,  just in case,) close the bag and submerge it in a bucket of water that is full enough to press the clay on all sides and up to the top without spilling into the bag.  Anything else is too much work, lol....

Where I learned it:

 

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Yep--this method is awesome. I was up against a deadline and only had two big blocks of concrete-hard clay.  I used 5 gal. buckets and  good waterproof plastic bags. Each took about 1 cup of water inside, then outside water to just below the tie offs.  I had workable clay within 3 days...maybe 4, not positive, but it was quick. 

Sheryl Leigh likes this

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What Sheryl Leigh and LeeU said,  -except poke a metal skewer like for BBQ, or better yet a standard metal knitting needle, all the way through the clay block first. try not to puncture the bag but honestly I usually do by accident and it doesn't seem to matter a lot. Make the holes about 2" apart or less. Then pour the 1 cup or so of water over the holes. This makes a very interesting noise by the way. Then loosely hold the top of the bag closed while you place it in a bucket and fill it with water so it just covers the block, you might want to put a twist tie on the end. this will squeeze all the air out and the water will make maximum contact with the clay. Always works, unless the block is too hard to skewer. If so you're on your own. :)

 

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On 12/9/2017 at 3:29 AM, yappystudent said:

What Sheryl Leigh and LeeU said,  -except poke a metal skewer like for BBQ, or better yet a standard metal knitting needle, all the way through the clay block first. try not to puncture the bag but honestly I usually do by accident and it doesn't seem to matter a lot. Make the holes about 2" apart or less. Then pour the 1 cup or so of water over the holes. This makes a very interesting noise by the way. Then loosely hold the top of the bag closed while you place it in a bucket and fill it with water so it just covers the block, you might want to put a twist tie on the end. this will squeeze all the air out and the water will make maximum contact with the clay. Always works, unless the block is too hard to skewer. If so you're on your own. :)

 

Honestly, Yappy - I have never poked holes in the clay and it works just fine.  Even in very dry clay cases.

 

 

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@Biglou13 How dry is the clay? For me, one cup of water and 24-48 hours works for clay that is moist but on the stiff side. When I have a really hard block of clay, it takes up to two cups of water, and up to a week in the bucket.

Sheryl Leigh likes this

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1 hour ago, GEP said:

@Biglou13 How dry is the clay? For me, one cup of water and 24-48 hours works for clay that is moist but on the stiff side. When I have a really hard block of clay, it takes up to two cups of water, and up to a week in the bucket.

extremely dry!   ill start a block  this afternoon

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@Biglou13 do you have time to let the clay completely dry out and then slake it down? I use a mixer pugger now so this isn't an issue but before I had one I would hack the block into chunks, dry and slake. 

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I agree with Mark. Reworking porcelain is harder than stoneware.

For dry porcelain I recently softened my porcelain by slicing as best I could, upping it and rebadging it, the re-pugged it.. I had moved it up from Tx.  

Re-pugging took a day for about 600+ pounds. It needed to go through the pug mill several times. That is a lot of work. Then the next day, a few hours to clean the pug mill by disassembling it and scrubbing it clean. Its easier when the flakes are dry.

Marcia

 

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