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Did I get ripped off?


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#21 neilestrick

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 10:02 AM

Making your own clay is more of a hassle than it's worth, IMO. Leave it to the guys who have the equipment to do it quickly and efficiently. If you really want a custom formula, run a bunch of tests in your studio, then contract your local supplier to mix it for you. They'll require you to buy a full batch, somewhere around a ton, but it will save you a lot of time.

Most B-Mix knockoffs are crap. And B-Mix isn't far off. Steven Hill once told me he wasn't a big fan of it either, but he used it because of the deal he had with Laguna for their advertising. Before he moved back to Kansas City last year he had started using Standard 365 porcelain. But the problems you and your friends had just go to show how different every kiln and every firing can be.

Most clay suppliers are scared to death to make changes to their clay bodies for fear of pissing off customers. As long as there are more happy people than unhappy people, they won't alter the formula to keep it from bloating at cone 6. Profit margins on clay are very small. You have to sell a lot of it to make money. Most clay suppliers make the bulk of their profits on glazes and equipment. Clay just gets us in the door. So if they lose a clay customer they also lose the profitable part of the business, too, so they don't like to mess with the clay formulas, even if they are problematic.

When I was a tech for A.R.T Clay we had a real problem with making the 103 Buff- it clogged up the vacuum chamber in the pug mill. It was our second most popular clay and took twice as long to mix. Not good for profits. So when I started working there the first thing I did was reformulate it. Turns out the old formula was not a good one anyway, from a workability, durability and vitrification standpoint. My new formula was radically different than the old, but it ran through the machines great, threw better, and made the glazes look better. And I didn't get a single phone call. Not one person got mad. Our profits on that clay were already screwed up because of the additional labor required to make it, so it was worth reformulating. I don't think I ever altered any of the other formulas, though.
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#22 nspdsp

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 04:10 PM

I think you got a very good deal on the Brent CXC for $700. If you bought it new it would have a reverse switch, but if you don't need it then you saved yourself $500-$800 if you included shipping. I love my Brent CXC, but I'm not a production potter.
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#23 TJR

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 06:10 PM

Bought my Brent CXC in 1976. Been using it for 36 years. Have never changed a belt or foot pedal. There are other potters on this blog still using theirs. Over 25 years for most of them. You got a great deal. If I were to by a new wheel, I might by a Whisper for the reduced noise, but I have never tried one. Enjoy.
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#24 yedrow

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 10:13 PM

If you bought it new it would have a reverse switch


If it has a dc motor I think all you need is to replace the switch with a double-pole center off switch. Just tap into the center two connections with power in and out, and cross the top and bottom two with a couple of jumper wires, then take your motor wires out of the top or bottom, it doesn't matter. Warning, I'm not an electrician. That's what I did :) though. The switch costs about 4 bucks at Radio Shack.

If you really want a custom formula, run a bunch of tests in your studio, then contract your local supplier to mix it for you.



Great advice. That is what I plan on doing. I think that I need to explore bodies as I learn glazes. Intuitively I think the two are linked.

Before [Steven Hill] moved back to Kansas City last year he had started using Standard 365 porcelain.



If you mean "Standard" out of Pennsylvania, then I understand. The absolute best clay I've ever thrown with was Standard's basic ^10 body. It lifted up thin even a little wet. It was like the clay knew what I wanted. Most of the clays I've used aren't very plastic (in the sense of plasticity vs. viscosity). They tear and are hard to work even when they are better than the other "stuff".

Great advice as usual Neil.


#25 neilestrick

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 10:27 AM


Before [Steven Hill] moved back to Kansas City last year he had started using Standard 365 porcelain.



If you mean "Standard" out of Pennsylvania, then I understand. The absolute best clay I've ever thrown with was Standard's basic ^10 body. It lifted up thin even a little wet. It was like the clay knew what I wanted. Most of the clays I've used aren't very plastic (in the sense of plasticity vs. viscosity). They tear and are hard to work even when they are better than the other "stuff".

Great advice as usual Neil.


Yep, Standard Ceramic. They've got some really nice clay bodies. Their #306 ^10 stoneware is one of the best I've ever used, as well as the #112 ^6 speckled brown. Their porcelains, while not quite as glassy as some, throw like a dream. I've make 45 pound planters with it without and warping or cracking.
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#26 Pres

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 10:52 AM

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I'm going to play the bad guy here and say that it wasn't necessarily a clay problem.

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No bad guy. You may well be right, and right is right. We've been testing clay recipes and our big problem is cracking. The stable clays we use don't crack often. The most stable clays hardly crack at all. But, what is stable? Pottery is all about eutectics in the weirdest ways. One potter and one glaze can equal brilliant success. Another potter (or another glaze) and dismal failure. I can see it being the same with clays.

The stinging sensation I get though is from a blistering issue on a B mix knock-off from my local potter. They don't get the blistering in their kiln, but it seems that everyone else I know does, and that is about 5 or 6 potters. Now they don't use that supplier. I'm having bloating issues with their ^6 at home. I don't feel like approaching them about it since when I was buying 40k# a year they weren't willing to admit there was a problem. What will they do with my 2k a year start-up.

The potters I speak with, and myself included, like to grouse about how we aren't respected as purchasers of products. But, the fact is that schools keep the pottery business going, not potters; at least not studio/soft production potters like me.

The email I sent to the company was a FYI. I realized the clay wouldn't work for me, pretty much as you noted. I was willing to consider another of their clays. But so far I've been told it was my fault and recommended to buy a book on ceramic flaws. I responded politely and haven't received a follow up. I don't expect any smooching, just some return in kind. So, out comes the Cushing book and I'm going to see if I can make my own darned clay!!!




You all know that I taught for over 30 years-ceramics. During that time I have purchased a great number of wheels for the school starting with the motorized Amaco kick wheel with aluminum pan, an early Creative Industries HP, and MP, and several Bailey wheels in the last 10 years or so. The Amaco kick we got rid of because it took up way too much space. The two Creatives still run great, and the HP was my fav when I left. The Baileys were good wheels to work and teach on, reasonably quiet, and work horse in nature. They have good removable Splash pans, but do have a tendency to crack, as do the splash pans on the Creatives. I have two wheels at home, an Amaco motorized kick that I can not find drive chucks for, and a CXC.

Over the years, I have always had a very good relationship with the people at Standard, and they have kept it up since I retired. I believe them to be one of the most customer oriented out there. My experiences have at least been good.

Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#27 yedrow

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 11:13 PM

<quote> I believe them to be one of the most customer oriented out there. </quote>


That is an important point. Standard has always communicated well with me. James Turnbull is a great guy and they are a classy operation. I'll likely drive to Tennessee and get my next order of clay from them. Thanks for bringing that up. It's too easy to forget the people behind a product when they treat you right, and worse, it's way too easy to remember the people behind a product when they treat you wrong.

#28 yedrow

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 11:25 PM

Hmm, this site accepts html sometimes, and sometimes it doesn't, can anyone save me some time by telling me why?




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