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Throwing out studio water

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#21 Diana Ferreira

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 01:18 PM

wow Nelly, that is seriously and totally overpriced, in my view. 2 huge plaxtic storage containers (pref. on a wheeled surface for easy cleaning) and some plastic pipes and a bit of glue suitable for plastic is all you need. and I have not met a potter that is not handy yet. Oh, you will need an electric drill and some tools too. but that link is OTT. (and for the very rich!)

#22 Pres


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Posted 22 February 2012 - 01:58 PM

Thanks Idaho. I tried to get some info on the web to describe this method, but Google'd Ceramic sedimentation system. and could not get any info.

Dear All,

In my boredom over reading week hholiday from teaching, I did some quick googling on studio sinks. This one here looks like a gurrrreat system but the price is for the rich and famous. Not me!!

Check it out:



Same thing can be pretty much built with stock trappings-shallow sink/s, paint buckets, tubing, valves and some silicone putty with a 2X4 structure on large casters. Probably $300 or less depending on new or used parts.
Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . . http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/

#23 Nelly


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Posted 22 February 2012 - 04:07 PM

wow Nelly, that is seriously and totally overpriced, in my view. 2 huge plaxtic storage containers (pref. on a wheeled surface for easy cleaning) and some plastic pipes and a bit of glue suitable for plastic is all you need. and I have not met a potter that is not handy yet. Oh, you will need an electric drill and some tools too. but that link is OTT. (and for the very rich!)

Dear Diana,

I thought so too. I wondered who would buy that??? You'd have to be wealthy to afford such an extravagance. Having said this, I noticed today, that one of our local clay dealers, Tucker's, is starting to get some fancy furniture as well. Wait, no it is called "studio equipment." Either way, I am happy with what I have in mind at this point.

I do agree with you that I will need a drill. That will come...


#24 Idaho Potter

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 10:58 PM

I will add my YIPES! to the above comments. My rig has been in business for almost thirty years and it cost me less than $200 back then and Lowes or Home Depot can't have raised prices that much. Whether you use the bucket system or wash tubs like mine you will save a lot of money. The reason I chose the wash tubs was that the turbulence in the buckets allowed clay particles to pass down the drain, and a potter friend of mine was having to call the plumber at least every eight months. Maybe not too much in the whole scheme of things, but 30 years is even better.

#25 Kathy321



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Posted 25 February 2012 - 02:54 PM

I built this trap with two old flat sided 5 gallon plastic buckets (easier to cut out and seal the openings). Since it is in the basement, I also added an anti backflow valve between the buckets and where the drainpipe ties into the main house drainpipe. I think it is still a good idea to pre-rinse everything before it goes into the sink as described in previous posts. It would be a good idea to check on the silicone seals regularly in case it seal springs a leak. Also, make sure you have enough of a drop in elevation between the exit from the bucket and the connection to the main drainpipe. I could email you a photo of mine if you are interested.

#26 oldlady


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Posted 12 March 2012 - 10:51 PM


having lived in michigan where it is cold and florida where it is warm, i have learned the value of hot water as a throwing aid. when your fingers cramp up in the cold you cannot throw anything. one way to warm the water is the immersion heater you are thinking of or you might consider having a small recreational vehicle water heater installed. i found one for a friend whose studio was a former barn. it was a ten gallon size and she had it installed with a switch so she could turn it on when she was working but not leave it on 24/7. it was the size of a 5 gallon bucket and fit right under her sink. i found it used for only $10. the immersion heater is great for throwing water but when you glaze there is just so much more water needed.

as you equip your new studio, notice all the wonderful studio furniture ads in the ceramics supplier catalogs and look carefully at the way they work. nearly everything they sell for very high prices is also available with different names at restaurant suppliers or somewhere else. used items are always available online. bakers racks with heavy duty wheels come up when supermarket bakeries change out old equipment. i got 6 of them free from different sources over the years. equipping them with half inch drywall shelves allows for drying flat items easily. they come with many shelf supports which allows for storage of a variety of sizes of pots in only 4 square feet of floor space. covering one with a plastic sheet provides for a damp cabinet. saving money setting up a studio requires keeping your eyes open all the time and a willingness to ask for things you see that could be of use to you. the local pizza hut even threw out an 8 foot long stainless steel table when they remodeled the store. i have been using it for 22 years. all i had to do was ask for it. (then get it home!!)

if you ever do start to mix your own glazes be sure to store the chemicals in tightly closable containers, never in the paper or plastic bags they come in. it is always safer, dustwise, to use a scoop in a wide mouth container rather than trying to fit a scoop into a bag and dragging up all the dust on the inside and the stuff on the outside of the bag. i have seen this so ofter in shared studios. my containers have changed over the years from tall trash containers with sliding tops, (the latest fancy clay suppliers offerings of the 1970s) to the current 18 gallon rubbermaid tubs which each hold 50 pound bags of chemicals. yes, 50 pounds each. they last for years and prevents disasters because of a change of some supplier's recipe or formula.

you are at a great step in your ceramics career. as you visit other potters studios look around at what they have done to solve problems you don't even know about yet. see if you can improve on the methods you have worked with before and think, think constantly about what you are really doing. it should always be a pleasure to step into your studio. it has for me for the last 37 years. i hope you will have the same joy.
"putting you down does not raise me up."

#27 Ivar



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Posted 13 March 2012 - 07:11 AM

There are clay separators from Botz Germany and Rohde which can be installed at any sink, and do not cost so much

example: http://www.bathpotte...sin-ab100/4633/

or: http://www.botz-glas...abscheider/?L=1

So this is just as example, but I think this can be done easily on your own and would cost even less.

Further to this overpricing of potters equipment, I see that in US kilns and wheels are much cheaper then here in Croatia, even in other Europe countries prices are lower then here, but this is probably because we have just 2 suppliers, and one of them is working just with clay and glazes. Other supplier has so high prices that it is cheaper for me to drive 500 km to Austria or Italy to buy something what I need, in case I can not make ti by myself.

For example I ordered new kiln, and it will be 30% lower price then from that supplier in my city. Ok, I will have to wait for it 6 weeks, but still....it is worth of that money.

#28 Terry



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Posted 16 March 2012 - 04:22 AM

the only thing I would like to add is I sprinkle some plaster - what is Plaster?

#29 JBaymore



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Posted 16 March 2012 - 08:08 AM

Other supplier has so high prices that it is cheaper for me to drive 500 km to Austria or Italy to buy something what I need, in case I can not make ti by myself.

Here in America, if we order supplies and equipment from a different state...... it is often like the distances in Europe and such for ordering from different countries. Americal is big. Posted Image At least we don't have to deal with international customs when doing that. Posted Image



John Baymore
Adjunct Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

Former Guest Professor, Wuxi Institute of Arts and Science, Yixing, China

Former President and Past President; Potters Council



#30 SShirley


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Posted 16 March 2012 - 12:32 PM


When my studio was in the garage and I didn't have running water, I set up a really cheap washing system. It was two 5-gallon buckets and a metal cart. The kind of cart that has three shelves and wheels on the bottom. I think it was originally a tea cart or something. I got it at a garage sale cheap. After I removed the top shelf the two buckets fit nicely on the middle shelf. Then I could roll it out to the driveway to dump them and refill with the water hose. One bucket was for washing the muddy stuff and the other was for rinsing. And the buckets were at just the right height so I didn't have to bend over to wash. Not fancy, but it worked.


#31 anthonyfoo


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Posted 18 March 2012 - 12:45 PM

This is my third posting on this forum.

I will be working in a studio where I will not have access directly to water. Thus, as pointed out by Marcia I will have to get creative with my plans for how to work in this situation. I am soooo glad she mentioned the emersion heater. I will look into that tomorrow.

Here is my next question...

What will I do with the water that has been used and I have decanted??

Can the clay water be put on the grass at the back of the house? Does ready made clay contain chemicals that will harm the grass or should I put this directly into the toilet in the house.

I know this sounds crazy but with all the environmental stuff happening right now, I want to make sure I am in keeping with others practice so I do not break laws or cause further damage to the earth.

Any thoughts.


Hi Nelly

I am in the same situation. I wash all my clay stuff in 5 gal buckets. When it rains here in So. Calif. I collect the rain water in these buckets to use.

I let the clay settle in these buckets, pour off the somewhat "clear" water in my grass. The left over sediment in the bottom of the bucket, I let it dry out in the sun. Once it's dried, it pops off the bottom and I can throw it in the trash. The only drawback about this is that you may need many buckets and it will take a while for the sun to dry out the sediment.

Clay should never be disposed of in the toilet or sink. It will clog the pipes!

Hope this helps.

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