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QotW:  Do you let your clay freeze in the winter months?

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Hi folks,

ONCE AGAIN, you have a question from me, as no one has posted a new question in the question pool in such a long long time. As winter is coming on full bore at this time with storms in the east and central, I thought I would ask:

Do you let your clay freeze in the winter months?

I have no choice, as my situation leaves very little space to store clay in warmer areas. I have tried to store it in the basement, but moving a ton of clay down, and then back up when needed. . . .just didn't work. I leave mine outside in the winter, to be taken in to the shop as needed the night before to thaw out or even into the kitchen when really cold. I have a kayak rack outside covered with a heavy tarp that the clay stores under on a 10' pallet I built for it. As I am almost out of clay, my next order will be in the Spring. 1000 # of White, 1000# of hazelnut. I figure to finish up the few boxes I have on chalices and patens, Christmas gifts, and other pieces.

best,

Pres  

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Our weather finally turned, we got much needed rain and it's soo cold I'm wearing shoes and long pants inna studio now, too cold for flip flops an' shorts. Clay is stacked up in the other garage, not likely to ever freeze; we get frost on rooftops several times a year, have yet to see any frost on th' ground. A few miles inland it gets cooler, not so much here, with the Pacific close enough to hear and smell.

Last spring I scoffed at warm throwing water, then turned right around and added from the warm tap, heh, got the horse laugh from our teacher.

It was 40F outside this a.m.; hence 50s in the studio; I'm going to put a bag of clay inside to warm up for later.

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No I do not let my clay freeze-1st its not good on the clay  as I would have to wedge it afterwards second it never freezes in the studio  or much outside here in this sweet wet /dry climate. I keep about a 1/2 ton inside suitor to work as its warm clay then..My clay shed outside on Northside of studio on road holds 99% of my clay (right now about 4 tons) it has a canvas front but it does not freeze here enough to ever freeze the clay.I also have about a ton of stoneware in another covered area also open to cold but no freezing either. We gat some cold snaps-today was 35 this early am warming to 60 today. I'm almost done with production for the year-as I finish making things next Wednesday-that clay will sit until February as thats when I will get back to working clay again. I still have firing and glazing to do but this year its done on the 12th. Pottery sale goes thru the 24th so its selling time -starts on the 8th.

I was glazing in studio yesterday with heater blasting to dry some pots and it was 79 in there-like the tropics-outside it was in the 40s.No freezing in studio ever-its insulated and even when shut down a month or two it never gets that cold here.

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Yeah, those of you in warmer climes will not have a problem. However, there are those of us that live where below 0 is quite possible, and where several days of that occurs also. It is normal here to have several weeks of sub freezing weather, last year my clay did not thaw completely until May.

As far as the freezing, once thawed, I slice/slam for a dozen times, then wedge sections of 10-15# at a time usually all morning for the next few days. Keep the shop heat on while doing so as it will not get below freezing that way.

 

best,

Pres 

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I wish I had an economical way of preventing it, but it's gonna be in the 20s at night this week and even with a space heater going it sometimes isn't enough.  But I've got a trick up my sleeve for at least this cold snap...  I'm down to my last bits of clay and won't be able to drive down to Seattle pottery until probably after the new year... So take that mother nature! Hah!

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I own 4 --150 quart coolers for fishing -how about using something like those or insulated moving blankets to keep the clay above freezing. It just needs no be at say 34 degrees.

Foe small amounts (less than 1/2 ton-20 boxes) you could some keep in in the house as clay is dense and takes little room to store really.

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I only ever buy 500 lbs at a time, I have no room in my 980 sq ft home so it's stacked on shelves in my shed/studio.  I may bring a few boxes at a time indoors just so I don't have to worry about trying to throw with cold hard clay though.

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When clay freezes and then thaws, the water will often migrate toward the outer edges of the block, so get a block that is sloppy wet on the outside and stiff on the inside. It just takes wedging to get it back to normal, but that's more work. Better to avoid the freezing in the first place if at all possible.

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Well my wet box froze last night, as I have no room for it inside and the temperatures dropped into the 20s here, had a few mugs and a really nice large lidded jar waiting for handles in there, it's now something more akin to modern art haha.  Serves me right for procrastinating and not doing handles over the weekend!

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