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BlackDogPottery

Clean Footrings

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Does anyone have any tips on glazing a footring for a clean look? I usually brush on my glazes while the wheel is spinning, can usually get a clean line on the outside but on the inside of the ring it tends to come out patchy and the glaze line splotchy. I tried using a kind of wax resist (melted candle) tonight and it worked okay, however the glaze didn't really repel and bead up so I did a little sponging and the glaze just kinda smeared. Tried waxing and then pouring the glaze, same thing pretty much. At this point I'm considering is it worth having a footring on mugs and go with flat bottoms...

Thanks!

Edited by BlackDogPottery

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How did you melt and apply the wax? When melting parrafin it’s possible to create a surface that is bumpy and porous which doesn’t repel well. It needs to be melted all the way to a liquid state, then applied quickly. Melting the the wax in a flat pan (like an electric skillet, available at thrift stores for cheap), then dipping the foot ring in the hot wax is the best way to do it. The wax goes on evenly and dries with a smooth hard surface. 

If you are applying melted wax with a brush, it is probably cooling/hardening before it even hits the pot, thus creating a bumpy and porous surface. 

Another option is to try cold wax, which is liquid a room remperature, and applies smoothly with a brush. 

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I use melted soy wax for everything that can be dipped, but for galleries and shallow footrings I like using cold wax resist applied with a small piece of foam. I have a supply of scrap upholstery foam that I use but any foam should work, I cut off a small piece of that, like 1/2" X 1", dip it in water and squeeze it out then dip into the wax resist and apply. It goes on with a really crisp edge, you can get the inside and outside line done in one pass. In a pinch you can use the foam that comes in the cone boxes but it's a bit thin. (BTW soy wax smells far less when it's burning off than paraffin) If you want to try and clean up the wax lines from the pots you have already done I would remove the glaze, let the pot dry then re-dip in the hot wax, it will remelt the bumpy wax.

edit: another option is to not use resist at all, glaze the pot then wet and partially squeeze out some of the water from a piece of foam (can use the foam from cone boxes for smallish pots) or a scrap of flat carpet, then put the pot on the foam and gently twist it around 2 or 3 times. Only problem with this method is if you have an iron rich glaze and light claybodies the iron can stain the clay.

Edited by Min
added a thought

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A few tips for using cold wax that bear repeating:

-If you're applying with a brush, moisten the bristles and work a drop of dish soap into the bristles. The wax will wash out with hot water when you're done. 

-Make sure your brush is clean (no clay in it), or the clay will create a textured surface that is rough, like Mea describes above.

-Give the wax a good hour to dry before trying to glaze your pots.  The glaze may stick, otherwise. 

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Brushing glazes will stick to wax- there are enough binders in brushing glazes that they can stick to just about anything to some degree. However it will be easier to wipe off than areas without wax. In order to get a good smooth, even application of the glaze inside the foot ring, I would try thinning the glaze. Many commercial glazes (and underglazes) come too thick. You'll get a more even application with 3 layers of thinner glaze than with 2 layers of thick glaze.

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12 hours ago, GEP said:

How did you melt and apply the wax? When melting parrafin it’s possible to create a surface that is bumpy and porous which doesn’t repel well. It needs to be melted all the way to a liquid state, then applied quickly. Melting the the wax in a flat pan (like an electric skillet, available at thrift stores for cheap), then dipping the foot ring in the hot wax is the best way to do it. The wax goes on evenly and dries with a smooth hard surface. 

If you are applying melted wax with a brush, it is probably cooling/hardening before it even hits the pot, thus creating a bumpy and porous surface. 

Another option is to try cold wax, which is liquid a room remperature, and applies smoothly with a brush. 

Thanks. The wax was melted in a hot pan like you mentioned. I raw fire, so I usually have the pots on some kind of warm surface before/after glazing to speed up the process. The wax went on pretty smooth since it was on a warm pot. I think maybe I need to let the wax cool and set up completely before glazing. Maybe that would be an issue?

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11 hours ago, Min said:

I use melted soy wax for everything that can be dipped, but for galleries and shallow footrings I like using cold wax resist applied with a small piece of foam. I have a supply of scrap upholstery foam that I use but any foam should work, I cut off a small piece of that, like 1/2" X 1", dip it in water and squeeze it out then dip into the wax resist and apply. It goes on with a really crisp edge, you can get the inside and outside line done in one pass. In a pinch you can use the foam that comes in the cone boxes but it's a bit thin. (BTW soy wax smells far less when it's burning off than paraffin) If you want to try and clean up the wax lines from the pots you have already done I would remove the glaze, let the pot dry then re-dip in the hot wax, it will remelt the bumpy wax.

edit: another option is to not use resist at all, glaze the pot then wet and partially squeeze out some of the water from a piece of foam (can use the foam from cone boxes for smallish pots) or a scrap of flat carpet, then put the pot on the foam and gently twist it around 2 or 3 times. Only problem with this method is if you have an iron rich glaze and light claybodies the iron can stain the clay.

That sounds excellent, I'll have to try that. See I have to mainly work with either wax or a brush as I raw fire my pots. I imagine glazing and trying to sponge the foot ring without wax would make a pretty bad smear of glaze and clay. 

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1 hour ago, BlackDogPottery said:

The wax went on pretty smooth since it was on a warm pot. I think maybe I need to let the wax cool and set up completely before glazing. Maybe that would be an issue?

It’s possible. If you’re keeping the pot warm, the wax may not be setting completely. I would try it on a room temp pot and see if it makes a difference. 

Edit to add: a warm pot will also contribute to the patchy glaze application, because the glaze is drying too fast. 

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ASSUMING YOU ARE A REASONABLY CAREFUL ADULT, READ THIS WITH WITHOUT TELLING ME IT IS DANGEROUS.

black dog, i also raw fire and use hot wax.  i mean HOT wax, 325 degrees F.  that means use a fan to blow away the stinky fumes and work quickly.  i work outside in the summer and find that waxing is a job to do in a series.  waxing an entire kiln load at a time makes it work like an assembly line.  

first step is making sure the wax is level so i set up with a 2 foot level on the pan support first and check it occasionally.  i use old candles from thrift shops, people donate the oddest things!  thrift shops do not want to throw them out so i offer to buy a boxfull, clay box size, for a dollar or two and they are happy to save them for me.  do not use the ones with sparkles or "snow"!!!  the color of the wax makes it easy to see where it goes when you apply it.  naturally, it burns off in the firing.

to get a nice, clean line on a foot ring, put the pot down into the wax at an angle and rotate it to cover the entire thing.  if your wax is hot enough this takes a second or so.  check the depth as you use it up and add another candle or part of one.  THEN WAIT UNTIL IT IS HOT AGAIN! if not, the wax will act like a crawling glaze.  

if you remove it quickly, you will have a thickish wax covering, if you wait a little longer, the color disappears and the wax just looks dark.  this is very HOT so be careful.  wipe the excess on the edge of the pan so the wax runs back into the pan, then put the pot upside down on a rack to dry.  even in the sun, it only takes a few minutes to dry and cool off.  very rarely a little drip occurs but the wax dries so fast that it is usually on the surface and can be flicked away in a minute or so.

keep a brush, a narrow 50 cent chip brush resting on the edge of the pan so it stays hot.  use this if you need to make a straight line or fill in a foot ring that is shallow. 

 the photo below shows my previous setup with the wax cooled after working.  the blue tiles raise the bottom high enough so i can dip things without too much worry about hitting the sides of the VERY HOT pan.  i now have a longer, shallower pan that allows me to put long trays in it.  no tiles required.

Studio 004.JPG

100_2067 (2).JPG

Edited by oldlady
add photo

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