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preeta

The Act of Pugging

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I have been recycling my clay for years, even though many do not believe it is worth it considering the cost of clay. However, as I live in the middle of the city, there is no place to dump the clay. I don't really mind at this point re wedging. So like others here, I put all my scraps and some of my throwing water into a bag, twist it a few time and turn it upside down to set. Weeks later, it gets pulled out, set in the sun, or if frozen, removed from the bag let to thaw. Mix this with clay that may have been harder or softer from another bag using the bread slice method pounded down with the edge of a board. Re-sliced several times and then wedged. Usually wedge in the mornings, when fresh, for about an hours and a half to yield 150-200# of clay. Gets me through maybe a day and a half. However, I do not throw the clay recently wedged, but the clay wedged maybe a week or so ago. For me wedging is just another form of exercise, but I will admit that the arthritis makes it harder to do, really would love a small pug mill, but then it probably is not worth the investment.

Years ago when using a Walker, we got some really poor clay for some reason from SC. I found I could throw it, but the kids had problems with coils cracking no matter how wet it was when working. It was really short. In effort to fix it, I mixed a 5 gallon bucket of water with one quart of vinegar. Used this in the clay when pugging. It worked, if we pugged it and let it set for a week. After that, I used the trick whenever clay was a little short . Never had to do it often. The kids complained of the smell, when I was pugging, but aftewards when we got the clay out after aging, there was little or no odor.

 

best,

Pres

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10 hours ago, Pres said:

I have been recycling my clay for years, even though many do not believe it is worth it considering the cost of clay. However, as I live in the middle of the city, there is no place to dump the clay.

I remember an old wringer-washer used as a blunger and a great old plaster bat - both were always covered in clay.

There is very little clay I don't recycle. I'm no production potter but I do ok with where I'm at and reclaiming clay is just part of the process. When I'm working in the studio the cool hours of the morning are good for getting clay ready. I still have that plaster bat.

The costs of clay is certainly a relative thing. If I remember right the boxes I have stored cost near 50 bucks Canadian shipping included. Ordering more would mean shipping it north over 2000 km's and then 'running' into town and back which takes a good 8 hours on the road alone. I'm ok if I make that trip as little as possible.

One day maybe I'll afford a pugger but for now my wrists keep up well enough.

I know this doesn't add much but this all got me thinking about that old wringer-washer and the sound it made and of course the smell - but this only means good things.

:)

Edited by C.Banks

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On 7/4/2018 at 12:05 AM, Pres said:

I have been recycling my clay for years, even though many do not believe it is worth it considering the cost of clay. However, as I live in the middle of the city, there is no place to dump the clay. I don't really mind at this point re wedging. So like others here, I put all my scraps and some of my throwing water into a bag, twist it a few time and turn it upside down to set. Weeks later, it gets pulled out, set in the sun, or if frozen, removed from the bag let to thaw. Mix this with clay that may have been harder or softer from another bag using the bread slice method pounded down with the edge of a board. Re-sliced several times and then wedged. Usually wedge in the mornings, when fresh, for about an hours and a half to yield 150-200# of clay. Gets me through maybe a day and a half. However, I do not throw the clay recently wedged, but the clay wedged maybe a week or so ago. For me wedging is just another form of exercise, but I will admit that the arthritis makes it harder to do, really would love a small pug mill, but then it probably is not worth the investment.

Years ago when using a Walker, we got some really poor clay for some reason from SC. I found I could throw it, but the kids had problems with coils cracking no matter how wet it was when working. It was really short. In effort to fix it, I mixed a 5 gallon bucket of water with one quart of vinegar. Used this in the clay when pugging. It worked, if we pugged it and let it set for a week. After that, I used the trick whenever clay was a little short . Never had to do it often. The kids complained of the smell, when I was pugging, but aftewards when we got the clay out after aging, there was little or no odor.

 

best,

Pres

Yes D Rhodes writes About adding vinegar and cornstarch,  cornstarch for aging process, poss. Bacterial action. Also advised not to use plastic bags for storage.

Vinegar in throwing water makes a difference too. I've used vinegar and a product, no longer same formula so don' go buy it, Calgon, which is a water softener, to 'sort" cracks in raw ware. Betterto Chuck the offender.

Edited by Babs
errors

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WOW!!! this thread has so many fascinating facts and stories. yeah!!!

Babs  thanks so much for your guidance. just the thing i needed.  Thankfully  Ceramic Science for the Potter is now available for around $70 instead of $300.  And i should go back to my copy of leach and remind myself to look in there too.  Thanks for the link. i've read it but never thought about applying it to my situation. 

Tom I am still reading.  With many open tabs to find definitions or descriptions. you are so funny. thank for pointing to the exact place. sadly while i was reading i totally forgot about my question and got involved in trying to understand inspite of knowing  General Chemistry. 

Yappy 'helping' = learning since they dont teach much in a junior college (that's what's a 4 year school is for - which is why they no longer teach a class on  the chemistry of Ceramics. they used to teach a materials class in chemistry.). But if a student is interested they go all the way. I have already been offered the position of assistant here after the present assistant  moves on. All because I asked questions.  You certainly proved nothing really is for free. 

Pres that's what i always do with my clay too. Recycle right away and age for a week or two  or longer before i use it. though i've never thought of wedging and then aging. 

oh yes Babs i really do that. foot wedge on the floor and even throw  bags of clay to soften as well as use the floor to stretch my slabs (i will admit the secret Voulkous in me comes down when students watch me with bated breadth - but nothing compared to my profs 30 inch pots that he smashes at the end of demos).

no plastic bags?!!!! really?  

And now corn starch and vinegar. how fascinating.!!!

but why does vinegar work? Floculant that attracts particles?

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Acid = flocculate

alkali = deflocculate

acid = AEC. ( anion exchange) positive charge)   See note below.

alkali = CEC ( cation exchange) negative charge). Negative charge = plasticity.

AEC (positive charge) creates " cementation" of particles. Cementation being defined as tight compaction of particles. ( which is not to be confused with the wiki definition of cement)

t

Edited by glazenerd
Info added

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Glazenerd I am so impressed with your succint reply. Was hoping you'd wade on in..  :-)))))

No plastic, yeh I know!!!   I guess any bacteria like to breathe...  but how to keep moist.. wet calico then in garbage bins....

Cant remember your question.that's why so many posts develop their own direction.

Looking forward to photos of beautiful clay.. 

I too stretch out slabs by delivering to floor, onto old textured slab of hardwood

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Hi all,

Just a reminder...

The spirit and intention of this forum is to facilitate the free exchange of information. Please do not write comments here that you feel have an intellectual property value that you wish to control. You should expect anything you write here to be shared freely.

Thank you,

Jennifer and the Moderators

 

babs: the reason I do not get too specific these days.

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Goodness! 

Well I won't have to worry in that respect. As long as the source is cited, but I guess there are the unscrupulous dimwits who would have no qualms about taking others hard work as their own ideas. Where's the satisfaction in That?

I haven' t much time to contemplate my navel far less  to grasp an original thought:_///

A saying: I haven't time to write you a short letter so I am sending you a long one instead...

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Researching vinegar I came across a clayart thread. Oh my!!! There was fire and smoke everywhere. But I did learn a lot from that thread! 

It reminds me how much ceramics cannot be an exact science and thus no one perfect answer. 

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On 7/2/2018 at 5:03 PM, Mark C. said:

........ if my clay gets dry such as trimmings I toss it.I only pug my wet scraps.(this is all with Porcelain ) Clay is cheap enough for me as my time has more value. 

 

On 7/3/2018 at 3:35 PM, Pres said:

I have been recycling my clay for years, even though many do not believe it is worth it considering the cost of clay.

 

best,

Pres

The "cost" of reclaiming is often more than the cost of a new bag of "known-quality" clay.

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Chilly .. find, dig, transport, slurry, sieve, dry, filter pug bag transport.....nah makes reclaiming synchy:-))))))

Just saying....and a workout.....exfoliation to boot.... :-)))))

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11 hours ago, Babs said:

Chilly .. find, dig, transport, slurry, sieve, dry, filter pug bag transport.....nah makes reclaiming synchy:-))))))

Just saying....and a workout.....exfoliation to boot.... :-)))))

I'm saving my body for art

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5 hours ago, preeta said:

Researching vinegar I came across a clayart thread. Oh my!!! There was fire and smoke everywhere. But I did learn a lot from that thread! 

It reminds me how much ceramics cannot be an exact science and thus no one perfect answer. 

Actually clay and glaze follow prescribed chemical reactions. The only variables are the humans mixing and firing it. Then you can add the errant nature of internet info, regurgitated wiki posts, and fiction verses fact.

t

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I re-pug my porcelain in my de-airing Bailey pugger. I pre-condition it first by softening it by dipping in water and wrapping in tee  shirts for a few days in large plastic containers.. This works well. I have begun remoistening hard/stiffer unused clay using the 1/4-1/2 cup of water added to a bag sitting in a bucket of water. This works surprising well too.

In Spain I saw clay mixed in a large (several meter basin) then drained onto large shallow basins lined with bricks. This was left to sit until workable, then it was put into a mixer.

Marcia

 

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