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Well my clay came in last week the day before leaving for a 5 day art show trip.It was dropped off at a specialty lumber yard who are friends of mine. About 4 miles away.

My total weight was 23,628. #s

I got 4 tons the 1st day in two trips. Another two the day I drove home from show on Monday and the rest on Tuesday just before the rain came

The shed holds just over 12 tons and the pile you see is 400 Boxes of Daves porcelain or 10 tons. I also got a ton of dry glaze -my formula in 50# bags and a few hundred #s of glaze materials as well as some Babu Porcelain and my friends 500# of Danish white (two kind one its sand one without) that I mix for her. I'm dropping that to her today while firing two glaze fires.

This clay I hope will last almost two years.

The clay send is on my dead end road on a steep hill. Clay is stacked 9 in front and 10 in back -boxes high and 7 deep

This shed is on the backside of my studio and I store about 1 ton inside to have it warm.

This year I did all the logistics this year and hired my own truck as Laguna is 12 hours away one way. I saved 1k getting over 12 tons which made the trucking free.

I also hired a friends son to help me move about 2/3 of it so I only did 4 tons myself solo.

Its job you want to be over.

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Nice! I ordered my first ton in February and I'm down to 8 boxes.  I don't know where it all went, I don't feel like there's a ton worth of mugs and bowls outside.  I'm a member of the local clay art guild so I get the ton price on clay anyway, but my clay supply is an hour away so it was worth it to me.  Only problem was my tahoe got a bit squirrelly on the ride home, it didn't like hauling that much haha

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I have two tons power loaded (forklift) put into my 3/4 ton pickup and drive slow home where I hand load it into shed.Cars really cannot handle much of a clay load-a ton is to much.I also have a trailer (self dumping) that can handle two tons and I hitch it to my 1 ton Van as well. Its just harder to unload that last ton from the trailer than my truck.I can slide the load in the truck buy using the brakes to get that inside pallet to the rear.After 30 years of this I have it down.

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Seattle pottery will deliver to me if it's over a ton, I think I'll do that next time.  They charge quite a bit though since I'm on the outer edge of their delivery range.  But if I go that route I won't be able to browse the aisles and figure out how to give them even more of my money :lol:

Gonna try that next time I think, hard to stop my tahoe on the freeway when it's got a ton of clay over the back tires.

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Now there's an advantage to the rainy climate.  If I bought a 2 year supply, half (or more) would be too hard for throwing.  My supplier is about 45 minutes away.  I think I'll be restocking every other firing, or 4 months.  My plans may change.  I gotta say, that's a sweet sight, 400 boxes stacked.  Money in the bank.

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I have mine shipped up from Pittsburgh by SC. They find a shipper, and since I order a ton at a time all good on price. I have it put on the drive way or the street by the delivery, then unload the pallet by handcart. Thing is I usually only use 1000# a year, so some will just freeze over the winter. I don't pay extra for bag ties,  as it never seems to dry out. I am using the last of the clay, and will soon order another ton. Hazelnut and 630 white.

 

best,

Pres

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Cactus Pots

I ordered this special soft (pent. #6) that way it takes longer to dry out. I use the old stuff 1st-I'm working on clay from 1.5 years ago now that was ordered soft back then . We like clay that is harder to make handles from and softer clay for throwing. So two softnesses is best here. The wet climate indeed works well and my shed is facing north and never sees the sun also keeps it cool with no air movemeant . I also like to order before Laguna area gets hot as the summer clay starts out more firm due to the dry air there then. The winter or spring clay is always a bit wetter. After 40 years of ordering you get this dialed in.

If I have to I will it through the Peter pugger to add water but thats last resort. Recently I found they did pug two tons at my softness  from the year before and last fall I added two sponge squeezes of watere to each bag and then flipped all the boxes on all sides over a few months to soften them all up evenly. It worked well but was a pain in the neck.

Thios time I ordered 12 tons of softer pent #6 clay and they made it all the same. Usually I order regualr 6.5 and #6 this time no screw ups all #6.Its easy to make it firmer but hardewr to wet it evenly. Porcealin is not as easy to rewet as stoneware.

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What is the default softness from Laguna?  Could it be anywhere in a range?   Is there a meter or tool that measures that?  Does the rating system apply equally to porcelain and stoneware?

Most industry has gone to requiring supply on demand (I believe) and not stocking future quantities of raw materials.  There is certainly joy in looking at a well stocked supply like that.  I don't think I can use it personally, because my supply is less than an hour away and the difference between what they charge me for ton price and box price is (I think) a dollar or 2 a box.  Clay is a relatively inexpensive part of my finished product. 

I'm sure your methods are the result of your extensive experience.  I'm just trying to take everything you write  and see if it can apply to my position.  Thanks for that.

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HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA......I must be in the wrong group. I got 100 lbs. recently and was worried whether it'll start getting hard before I can work through it. :rolleyes:

Edited to add: I do share in other people's orders, mostly from the Potter's Guild,  and I avoid shipping to the extent that I am willing to drive a couple of hours from central NH to Portland ME where the nearest supplier is. I don't go to MA--it's another hour +, and the traffic is just not worth it.  Having lived in NYC and other urban hubs, I was really taken aback to find there are no decent art stores (to say nothing of ceramic suppliers) in the entire state!!   The pizza's not so great either! Pretty good cider donuts, tho, and there's a Walmart every 50 yards, so there's that. :D 

 

Edited by LeeU

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CP

They use a penetrometer for every large batch

http://www.lagunaclay.com/clays/guide/characteristics.php

Most clays ship out at 6.5 or at least porcelains-You can call and ask for John Pacini as he is the go to on all things clay.He works Mon-Wens. call  8-8.30 if you want to catch if at his desk. 

If its in the 5 to 5.5 the boxes start to squish flatter in taller piles.I cannot throw it at that point and it needs to sit and dry some time to be usable. Great for flat stuff.

About 5 years ago they switched to softer clays in general as they changed the pent number system they used from the old days. That was an adjustment and about 3 years before that went thru some  water supply issues which affected clay bodies. That really change the way B-mix worked and many potters I knew switched to other bodies then.

Every clay supplier goes thru changes of water/materials at some point and clay comes out different.

Learning how wet it is from the factory and how that effects your throwing of clay is part of the process.Most hobbyists never question all this detail .When I started using clay in volumes I had to know more.That was ion the 80s.

If I lived 1 hour from them (I would go crazy with traffic and people-I was born in Long Beach and moved out in 71) but if I did I would buy smaller quantities .Any where where its hot clay will dry out fast .

I'm a big clay user and trucking can really add to the cost so saving as much as the trucking cost keeps my costs down. Clay is cheap for sure

In My CM article I mentioned keeping costs down-either through a co-op clay buy or working with other potters.Its been part of my success. I buy in bulk always no mater what it may be. 10 gallons of honey from a bee farmer or 55 gallon drum of oil for my older two stroke boat motor.

My 3,000# pile of Kingman feldspar from 1980 is down to 500#s and it only cost 300$ back then. I have been using it for almost 40 years now in most glaze bases. Its like free glaze almost .

I have space to store things-also part of the plan.The hardest part will be what my wife does with this when I'm gone.

Most folks never need this info or want this much material. I'm putting it out for the few who do.

 

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1-2 dollar per box is 40-80 dollars a ton, that's money in the bank for a potter.  If I bought at the box price it would be a lot more than 1-2 dollars a box.  You're going to use the clay you buy, why not get it as cheap as possible? Money on the table is money on the table.

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Well, no to money on the table.  There are lots of other factors involved, as Mark laid out.  Moving, storing, moving again, checking moisture, adjusting moisture.  If I can't easily use the last box, then I've wasted money.  Worse than not saving money.  At $2 a box, a pot using 6 lbs of clay would add  $0.25 to the cost.  That's at least a $30 pot for me.   What seems to me to be important is the time involved.

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Lots to think about, thanks Mark (an' y'all).

Four bags/100 lbs vs one bag/25 lbs is more like $3/bag an' drops more at each discount - 500 lbs, 1000 lbs, ton, etc. ...an' clay prices go up from time to time as well. If shipping, cost per bag is lower in bulk, much. Behaviour is more likely to be consistent as well, given all is from same batch. Ordering, moving, handling, etc. all at once should save time over breaking into several episodes.

I'm still working through my first "big" order - five different mid fire clays; next order will likely be just the two or three clays I like most...

When eyeballin' costs, I try to remember what it costs me to spend a dollar - it's not just one dollar - I had to pay to both earn an' spend that dollar, taxes on both sides, state and fed income tax, sales tax, plus costs in th' middle as well, e.g. time and expense to/from work, lunch, clothing, equipment, not to mention grief from coworkers, customers, ugh.

On t'other hand, having more "bad" clay (and/or un-liked clay) is no advantage! Incurring any hurt/injury should never be "worth it"! Taking a chance, imo, shouldn't be worth it either. One has to find a place to put it as well. Here in Los Osos the temps are temperate an' it's not terribly dry, hence stacked boxes in the other garage covered by tarps seems to be holding moisture ok (so farr) - and it's not in the way either. Also, there are no ceramic suppliers nearby - it's 'bout 250 miles to nearests.

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My minivan can carry up to 1450# of cargo, so I buy 1000# of clay at a time. I do this three times per year. My supplier is only 45 minutes away. I still get a decent price break at 1000#. A delivery costs $50, which negates any savings from buying a ton. Plus, all of my clay needs to be carried down into a basement, one box at a time. 1000# is only 20 boxes, which is not that big of a job. I have done 40 boxes in a day plenty of times, and it’s a big difference in terms of energy needed. Overall, these proportions work well for me, my car, my back, my legs, my studio. 

Edited by GEP

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One take away is buy what you can use and store in terms of a whatever price break you can get.

Just keep in mind about price breaks and see if you can benefit .

If you have a break at 500#s its best not to buy 400#s

also the same is true with glaze materials

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yep, as a newbie, trying some different clays seemed a good idea - the next break after 100 lbs is 500 lbs, so went with 100 each of several clays in my first "big" order; for glaze mats, went with 50 lb bags of what I thought for sure would be useful, e.g. silica, epk, neph sy… Perhaps by next order will have figured which frit(s) to bulk up on; so far, looks like glazes with frits 'have better. There's another cost analysis topic...

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I'm so spoiled! My clay supplier Is here in town. Space constraints mean I currently buy clay 10x 20 kg (44 lbs) boxes boxes at a time, as I'm also packing everything down to the basement. I do get a price break at that point, and because I have a good relationship with the shop, they've done things for me like order materials at cost.

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On 5/19/2019 at 10:15 AM, GEP said:

My minivan can carry up to 1450# of cargo, so I buy 1000# of clay at a time. I do this three times per year. My supplier is only 45 minutes away. I still get a decent price break at 1000#. A delivery costs $50, which negates any savings from buying a ton. Plus, all of my clay needs to be carried down into a basement, one box at a time. 1000# is only 20 boxes, which is not that big of a job. I have done 40 boxes in a day plenty of times, and it’s a big difference in terms of energy needed. Overall, these proportions work well for me, my car, my back, my legs, my studio. 

Mea,

 

My studio, is also in my basement, which looks similar to your basement design, based on the photos you've posted before. 

I have seriously considered creating a "slide" of sorts, to just slide the boxes, down the stairs.  The same thought occurs to me, when I have to carry the 40# water softner salt bags, down the same stairs...

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3 hours ago, Benzine said:

I have seriously considered creating a "slide" of sorts, to just slide the boxes, down the stairs 

I’ve considered this idea too, but the hard part is not walking down the stairs with a 50# box. The hard part is lifting the 50# box off the ground. Once I am standing upright again with the box, walking down the stairs is easy. So a slide does not eliminate the hard part. And if the slide deposits the boxes on the ground at the bottom, you have to pick it up off the ground twice. 

This is another reason why I stopped having my clay delivered. Delivered clay lands on my driveway on a pallet. It is much more effort to pick up a 50# box from a pallet, compared to picking it up from the deck of a minivan. It’s surprising how much easier when you don’t have to bend down as far. 

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56 minutes ago, GEP said:

I’ve considered this idea too, but the hard part is not walking down the stairs with a 50# box. The hard part is lifting the 50# box off the ground. Once I am standing upright again with the box, walking down the stairs is easy. So a slide does not eliminate the hard part. And if the slide deposits the boxes on the ground at the bottom, you have to pick it up off the ground twice. 

This is another reason why I stopped having my clay delivered. Delivered clay lands on my driveway on a pallet. It is much more effort to pick up a 50# box from a pallet, compared to picking it up from the deck of a minivan. It’s surprising how much easier when you don’t have to bend down as far. 

Yes thats why I do not have the 10 tons dropped off on my road.

Its far easier to pull the boxes off my 4X4 high pickup tailgate inside my clay shed than stooping over low pallets on the road and having to walk the boxes.

You learn fast when you move clay-on how to move clay the least amount.

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1 hour ago, GEP said:

I’ve considered this idea too, but the hard part is not walking down the stairs with a 50# box. The hard part is lifting the 50# box off the ground. Once I am standing upright again with the box, walking down the stairs is easy. So a slide does not eliminate the hard part. And if the slide deposits the boxes on the ground at the bottom, you have to pick it up off the ground twice. 

This is another reason why I stopped having my clay delivered. Delivered clay lands on my driveway on a pallet. It is much more effort to pick up a 50# box from a pallet, compared to picking it up from the deck of a minivan. It’s surprising how much easier when you don’t have to bend down as far. 

Very good point!

I do have an old coal chute/ door that leads into my studio, as it used to be the coal room for my house.  I would say that I could just throw it through that way, but that's where my exhaust is vented through.

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Just put a cart under the chute/slide or end it onto a table at waist height :D

i have to load my clay into my truck at the warehouse, then unload it at home, and into my house.  Then to use it I have to unload it from the house and into my shed.  It moves around a lot and I must be weak because it never gets easier.

Edited by liambesaw

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