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hershey8

Mug handles cracking at joint.

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I've watched a lot of videos, and I still don't get it. "Trim your pots when they are LEATHER HARD."  "Attach handles when mug is as soft as possible." SO which is it? If things are too dry, or if there is too much difference in moisture content of mug and handle you can expect cracks where the handle meets the mug.. I'm getting my fair share of them. Maybe the answer is to throw mugs that are perfect and need no trimming. RIGHT. I'm using  stoneware clay from Standard.  How can I avoid cracks. How am I supposed to repair cracks before firing?   ja

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4 minutes ago, liambesaw said:

Have you tried magic water or waxing the joints? How about a wet box?

I'm just now getting into it.   No on the magic water and wax.  I am using a covered box to slow down drying. But it's this thing about trimming when leather hard, but not to leather hard, that gets me. Maybe I should  throw mug, attach handle, wait a couple of days and try trimming with handle attached. That could be interesting. lol   I may try the wax, though. Thanks. j

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Magic water is almost literal magic, and very cheap to make or buy.  

I throw things at night and let them dry til the morning when I put them in the wet box.  I'll trim when I get a chance.  If I'm doing mugs I will fill the box with mugs, trim them and put them back in the box and then pull enough handles for them and attach about an hour after they're pulled.  I do use magic water though, it's cheaper than wax and it ensures a good bond.

Edited by liambesaw

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I'll have to try that. I must just be rushing things a bit. I have some magic water, and a whole lot of wax resist that I never use.  Tell me about your wet box, plaster bottom?

 

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I wet pull handles from leatherhard mugs, which means the handles are much soggier than the mugs. After I handleize a run of mugs, I cover them with plastic. In about 24 hours, the moisture will have equalized throughout the pot, and they can be uncovered to finish drying safely. 

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I'm unable to get a pic at this time. But the cracks are hairline and occur where the pushed , joined part of the handle meets the mug. I suspect that the difference in the moisture of the handle and the mug is the culprit.  This is a green ware problem.

 

 

Edited by hershey8

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28 minutes ago, GEP said:

I wet pull handles from leatherhard mugs, which means the handles are much soggier than the mugs. After I handleize a run of mugs, I cover them with plastic. In about 24 hours, the moisture will have equalized throughout the pot, and they can be uncovered to finish drying safely. 

So I'm probably having  NEMO issues. Nemo moisture, Nemo time.

 

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After you have trimmed your mug you can dip the top half in water for just a few seconds. Let it sit for a few minutes then try attaching your handle. I like using slip made with magic water and my clay for joining, I use that for just about all my joins. When you attach the handle try and give it a little jiggle from side to side to really get the two pieces stuck together. If you don't blend the join into the mug you can come back when the mug is dry and scrape away any hairline cracks in the seam.

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So, Min, it sounds like a little rehydration is in order to get the mug back to the same moisture content as the handle. I'll give it a shot and maybe spray a little on the bottom where it attaches.  Thanks. j

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If you get it too wet it can deform a bit while you are putting the handle on. If that happens take a tapered plastic cup (like one of those Solo red beer cups) and push it in the mug to true up the rim after the handle is on. (don't leave it in there though)

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My assumption is you are a stoneware clay user?

I no matter what the clay collect the fines from throwing (the slop off my hands and the thicker stuff in splash pan. I add a few drops of vinegar . Then when I atttach a handle I score the spot with a serrated metal rib(many use needle tools but it takes longer) I use a small brush and add the slip to scored spot and put the handle on that spot-attache and then cover the mugs under plastic for that night. Porcelain is harder to work with than stoneware and stoneware is more forgiving . Follow this procedure and cracks should not happen -You can as other have suggested use magic water as well-score and add the water and cover for 1 night to equalize the moisture .If you still have small cracks rub them out with a small thin stick when dry.

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10 hours ago, Mark C. said:

My assumption is you are a stoneware clay user?

I no matter what the clay collect the fines from throwing (the slop off my hands and the thicker stuff in splash pan. I add a few drops of vinegar . Then when I atttach a handle I score the spot with a serrated metal rib(many use needle tools but it takes longer) I use a small brush and add the slip to scored spot and put the handle on that spot-attache and then cover the mugs under plastic for that night. Porcelain is harder to work with than stoneware and stoneware is more forgiving . Follow this procedure and cracks should not happen -You can as other have suggested use magic water as well-score and add the water and cover for 1 night to equalize the moisture .If you still have small cracks rub them out with a small thin stick when dry.

Yep. ^6. Thanks for the tips, Mark.  ja

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One last thing here, are you turning your mugs upside down as soon as possible to handle so that the bases become drier quicker than the side walls for trimming, then when trimmed putting the handles on and as others say covering with plastic. Magic water will really smooth the work process, at the same time I do press my handles on firmly, and work with ribs to smooth/blend the join.

 

best,

Pres

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I had this problem but maybe for diff reasons IDK, anyway what worked for me was the advice to stop trying to blend the clay of the handle into the mug. Just score, slip, and stick it on. Wipe back the excess slip only where really needed with your finger or w/e and leave it alone. Also saves time. 

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extra water according to me creates more cracks esp. if both the items are really far apart with drying. 

there are  some things that i learnt that saved me the surface cracks.

- timing. i'd pull the handles, then trim my mugs, and then attach the handles. not more than 3 mugs at a time because i was using trimming to shape my mugs. 

- since i am heavy handed with water/slip i would put slip/water on one item - either the cup or handle not both. i'd score both.

~ for me the most important ~ turn the cups upside down,  have all the handles facing in and cover and slow dry just for the night. give both the handles and cups a chance to reach similar wetness to bind well.  however as i got better with understanding when to trim and how dry the handles should be i didnt need to dry if i was too impatient. however i do usually cover with plastic overnight. 

the way i attached handles and how i pulled handles when i was a beginner has changed  considerably over time.  one of the things that has improved is how much time i spend on the handle attachment. before i would spend a lot of time with a brush and tools. these days i press and two or three finger strokes on the top and same in the bottom and my handle attachments are done. 

i never use magic water. nor do i use slip. slip and score with water has worked really well for me. i do score really well (i lost my fear of scoring too deeply).  my cups are treated quite roughly from toddlers and very helpful preschoolers. never had anything fall off. 

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I had cracked handles of the time with B mix. I switched to other stoneware clays and haven't had any issues, knock wood. Maybe your clay is tempermental?

I attach handles when the mug is pretty Wet. I trim kind of wet, too, but even when the piece is drier and I’m using wetter handles, they havent cracked. I don’t use magic water or slip. I just really scratch the heck out of the clay and then put water on it. I really press the two pieces together! Is easy, no fuss and works.

Good luck!

Edited by nancylee

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