Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
clay lover

advice on smaller pug mill, please

Recommended Posts

So, I guess it's get a pugger or stop throwing. I had not planned on either, so haven't paid any attention to puggers. Now I'm shopping.

 

Is it true, like the adds say, that running fresh clay through a pugger will eliminate the need to wedge before wheel throwing? Often I find the bag I've opened is stiffer than I really need to be trying to wedge and center. Have pain afterwards, but too stubborn to give it up.

I can imaging how to use one to soften a new box that is too stiff, but can you dry out recycle with a pugger?

 

Is the de-airing model worth the extra cost? Some adds say their paddles are so supirior that de-airing is not needed with their model. ????

 

I have wet scraps from hand building when that is what I'm doing, but manage to re-roll them without much trouble, The dry trimmings from bowls, I recycle on plaster. Would I then run that recycle through the pug mill?

 

Is the mixer model, much more expensive, worth the extra cost? With a mixer type, do I just throw in water and dry trimmings? I did read that all modles need a full hopper. Are the smaller ones any good, or lower quality, less sturdy?

 

All comments appreciated. I did search the forum on this tiopic, but still had lots of questions after reading what was on here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, I guess it's get a pugger or stop throwing. I had not planned on either, so haven't paid any attention to puggers. Now I'm shopping.

 

 

( one option you did not mention was get the carpel tunnel surgery-I have two potter friend who had it worked out great.

I think its better$ spent than a pugmill)

Is it true, like the adds say, that running fresh clay through a pugger will eliminate the need to wedge before wheel throwing? Often I find the bag I've opened is stiffer than I really need to be trying to wedge and center.

(wedging new clay is always better I think than pugged clay as it tears the clay)

Have pain afterwards, but too stubborn to give it up.

I can imaging how to use one to soften a new box that is too stiff, but can you dry out recycle with a pugger?

( what kind of clay are you using Porcelain or stoneware?)

Is the de-airing model worth the extra cost? Some adds say their paddles are so supirior that de-airing is not needed with their model. ????

(yes its worth it but is a pugmill??)

I have wet scraps from hand building when that is what I'm doing, but manage to re-roll them without much trouble, The dry trimmings from bowls, I recycle on plaster. Would I then run that recycle through the pug mill?

( the de-airing model will be best for this)

Is the mixer model, much more expensive, worth the extra cost? With a mixer type, do I just throw in water and dry trimmings? I did read that all modles need a full hopper. Are the smaller ones any good, or lower quality, less sturdy?

( The small peter pugger de -airing unit is best for all this)

All comments appreciated. I did search the forum on this tiopic, but still had lots of questions after reading what was on here.

 

 

My time is worth more that reclaiming all the old scraps

Porcelain is harder to reclaim than other clay bodies

I have a younger potter friend working in Porcelain with the smallest peter pugger de-airing and it does not work well with porcelain-the reclaim has no legs (throws poorly) after even a long age process.

His B-mix works better (white stoneware)

Keep in mind 3200$ buys a lot of clay-and you can order it softer after your surgery.

Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, I guess it's get a pugger or stop throwing. I had not planned on either, so haven't paid any attention to puggers. Now I'm shopping.

 

 

( one option you did not mention was get the carpel tunnel surgery-I have two potter friend who had it worked out great.

I think its better$ spent than a pugmill)

Is it true, like the adds say, that running fresh clay through a pugger will eliminate the need to wedge before wheel throwing? Often I find the bag I've opened is stiffer than I really need to be trying to wedge and center.

(wedging new clay is always better I think than pugged clay as it tears the clay)

Have pain afterwards, but too stubborn to give it up.

I can imaging how to use one to soften a new box that is too stiff, but can you dry out recycle with a pugger?

( what kind of clay are you using Porcelain or stoneware?)

Is the de-airing model worth the extra cost? Some adds say their paddles are so supirior that de-airing is not needed with their model. ????

(yes its worth it but is a pugmill??)

I have wet scraps from hand building when that is what I'm doing, but manage to re-roll them without much trouble, The dry trimmings from bowls, I recycle on plaster. Would I then run that recycle through the pug mill?

( the de-airing model will be best for this)

Is the mixer model, much more expensive, worth the extra cost? With a mixer type, do I just throw in water and dry trimmings? I did read that all modles need a full hopper. Are the smaller ones any good, or lower quality, less sturdy?

( The small peter pugger de -airing unit is best for all this)

All comments appreciated. I did search the forum on this topic, but still had lots of questions after reading what was on here.

 

 

My time is worth more that reclaiming all the old scraps

Porcelain is harder to reclaim than other clay bodies

I have a younger potter friend working in Porcelain with the smallest peter pugger de-airing and it does not work well with porcelain-the reclaim has no legs (throws poorly) after even a long age process.

His B-mix works better (white stoneware)

Keep in mind 3200$ buys a lot of clay-and you can order it softer after your surgery.

Mark

 

Thanks for this info Mark, it's exactly the kind I am looking for. After reading your post about cutting the little pugs of to throw the little spoon rests, I developed a vision of lovely round fat pugs waiting for me. I dream about them.rolleyes.gif

 

The pain hasn't hit yet, just the tingling and numbness. The goal it to prevent or stall the surgery. I went to the Dr because I was having nausea, dizziness, ringing in my ears, and numbness in my lower arms, mostly on the left. Thought I was having a sneaky heat attack. The diagnosis was a severe sinus infection with fluid in my ears, hence the dizziness, therefore nasea. The carple tunnel was just a bonus diagnosis. All a surprise to my since I don't have any pain in my arms. Dr. said,"Just wait, you will."huh.gif

 

I can't order clay at all. I what Highwater has loaded up for me when I get there. If it's too stiff to throw, I may not find that our for several days. Since it is a 3 hour drive for me, if it's not useable, there is not much I can do but slice it down, wrap in wet towles and wedge later. That's a lot work I don't need to keep doing and it's with new clay. That is part of why I'm looking at the pug mill. If the clay came in soft enough I might not be where I am.

I am a ^6 potter so what I get that is called porcelain is not real porcelain, and mostly I use stoneware.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest JBaymore

Find a good ceramics throwing instructor that really knows a bit about not just clay but also has some decent understanding of biomechanics and using the human body effectively, and make sure that the WAY you are working is not contributing UNNECESSARILY to the damage to your wrists too.

 

In my early throwing classes I spend a bnunch of time on teaching students how to use their bodies as effectively as possible. And correcting ways of handling clay that tend to put unnecessary strain on the wrists (and other body parts). (I bring that stuff from high level training in sports instruction.) There are a number of things that a LOT of people due that put straing on the soft tissue ofthe wrist...... that really can be addressed.

 

best,

 

.................john

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is very interesting. I've gone through a 3 year training program, and taken many week long workshops but never had that addressed by anyone other than Cynthis Bringle who had me use a stool that was slanted forwards, that did reduce strain on the lower back. I tried throwing standing up once at school, someone there was using a raised wheel, I did find it easier to throw smaller forms, but very difficult to center the clay ., not being able to get over it. And taller forms did not work at all. Maybe I needed a platform to get on when the piece got taller?

I don't know where I would start to find that sort of instructor. My first and main teacher said, "Just push on it a lot till it gets centered." Much effort and a lot of arm pain during that time. Now I only have pain when I'm trying to deal with the too stiff new clay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"running fresh clay through a pugger will eliminate the need to wedge before wheel throwing?"

 

This might be different for different clays, but for me and my cone 6 stoneware, I think this is true.

 

 

"Often I find the bag I've opened is stiffer than I really need to be trying to wedge and center."

 

Me too. I use the "bucket trick" that was shared on this forum by bciskepottery. Add about 3/4 cup of water into the bag, submerge the bag into a bucket of water, and wait a day or two. This clay will be softer on the outside and harder in the middle, so I cut it into one pound chunks, run through pugmill, then throw.

 

 

"The dry trimmings from bowls, I recycle on plaster. Would I then run that recycle through the pug mill?"

 

Yes. And if the recycled clay is too soft, I combine it with a bag of new clay, which is another way to make yoru new clay softer.

 

 

My pugmill (Bluebird) has a de-airing chamber. I've never used one that doesn't de-air, so I can't say how it compares. I can only say that my pugged clay is ready to throw and never causes me any problems.

 

As for your arm pain ... i get pain in my wrists, elbows, and shoulder if I throw clay that is too hard. Even after just one day of throwing. A few years ago, I had a constant pain in my elbow for weeks. I took a couple of weeks rest, but the pain came back as soon as I threw again. Making my clay nice and soft has solved all of those pains. A little effort and a little planning ahead really pays. And yes as an added bonus, pugged clay is already round, so when you cut your portions and slap it onto the wheel, it is almost already centered.

 

I managed to snag a used pugmill for $1200. For me it was worth every penny!

 

Mea

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A while back I asked here if other potters were unhappy with their pugmills and got the expected answer that most of them were happy with their pugmills. I shelled out around $4,000 for a de-airing Peter Pugger when I had a flair up of gout in my wrist because from the ads I was led to believe that you could put just about any condition unfired clay and water into it and out would come clay ready for the wheel. That's BS. In my case (and Peter Puggers are rated as one of the best), my clay comes out crap-clay. My pugmill ruins clay. I've tried adding a little beer and a little ball clay and nothing helps except aging it for at least 3 months. I don't think any pugmill will turn out clay that is ready to throw without aging. The best pugmill/mixer I ever used was a Walker. I also owned a Bluebird and neither the Walker or Bluebird turned out clay ready for the wheel. Maybe I'm extra picky but I wouldn't even consider using clay that has been pugged until it ages at least 3 months and it still (even if de-aired) needs to be wedged.

 

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would guess Jim's issues have to do with the mixer function of the Peter Pugger (I didn't read the thread he is referring to, so there probably is more to it than that). But anyways, of all the potters I know who use pugmills, they all use clay straight out of the pugmill without aging it.

 

Mea

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, all.

 

A different question.

 

Some of them have really long nozzles. Are they meant for two person use? The Peter puggers have shorter nozzles. It seems to me that it would be easier to catch the pug and man the controlls on the short nozzle model if you work alone as I do.

 

Another Q;

Does the barrel get empty of clay, does it all pug out?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got a Small Bailey de airing pug mill as a floor demo at NCECA in Portland. It was full of wet clay when I drove it back to Montana. I got up several times during the night on the way home to run van heater so it wouldn't freeze. I have mixed porcelain and raku clay in it. I have used the raku clay fairly quickly after pugging but that is for handbuilding. The porcelain aged for a few days. Some was Frost and some was from Alligator Clay in La. I like the pugger. I can clean it much faster than a walker which seemed to have infinite nuts and bolts on the casing. the Bailey comes apart easily for cleaning. I havea cast aluminum casing. I like it.

Marcia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got a Small Bailey de airing pug mill as a floor demo at NCECA in Portland. It was full of wet clay when I drove it back to Montana. I got up several times during the night on the way home to run van heater so it wouldn't freeze. I have mixed porcelain and raku clay in it. I have used the raku clay fairly quickly after pugging but that is for handbuilding. The porcelain aged for a few days. Some was Frost and some was from Alligator Clay in La. I like the pugger. I can clean it much faster than a walker which seemed to have infinite nuts and bolts on the casing. the Bailey comes apart easily for cleaning. I havea cast aluminum casing. I like it.

Marcia

 

 

 

What Bailey model did you get?

Can you use it yourself? I looked at their website and it looked like they were long and the hopper had to be fed all the time the pugs were coming out. Can you do both at the same time/

 

Can you tell that I have never used one ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, all.

 

A different question.

 

Some of them have really long nozzles. Are they meant for two person use? The Peter puggers have shorter nozzles. It seems to me that it would be easier to catch the pug and man the controlls on the short nozzle model if you work alone as I do.

 

Another Q;

Does the barrel get empty of clay, does it all pug out?

 

 

 

My Bluebird has a sort-of long nozzle, but I don't find it hard to work it by myslef. I cut off pieces that are about 12" long. The rhythm is like "three plunger pulls, one cut, three plunger pulls, one cut."

 

My barrel is always full. A common complaint of Bluebird owners is that they are very difficult to open and clean. I solved that problem by never cleaning it :-) I only use one clay so it's not a problem. I've been advised by other Bluebird owners that if you want to switch claybodies, just start pugging the new clay. The first 15 lbs or so will be a blend of the two clays, then the new clay will take over.

 

Mea

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One old timer trick for softening clay which I do with every pug is to slam each side of the long ways of the pug.

I drop mine on wedging table 4 times before taking it out of bag-works great . If your plaster table is this this will crack it so do it on a strong surface

I have heard of the floor but that to hard on the back so I suggest an strong table.

Marm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was having a little trouble with my wrists, and I changed my wedging (to spiral wedging) and centering technique (to coneing the clay up and down) before it became more serious. You might also try wire wedging (there a few videos on you tube including one from Jerry Brown that's fantastic) - its a great way to get air out of the clay that never seems to me to be as hard on the wrists and forearms as the rams head or spiral wedging techniques. I don't wire wedge because I don't have the setup for it - but, I would wire wedge in a heartbeat if I had a better work surface.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well.....

That's certainly two different opinions!

Maybe Mea does different work than Jim?

How does a pugmill 'ruin' clay. What does it do to it?

 

 

Yes, that is what puzzles me and the reason for the thread I mentioned. Most potters agree with Mea and while some mention pugged clay being short, it doesn't seem to be as big of a problem as mine. In a post above, Mark does mention a friend who's clay "has no legs" after going through a Peter Pugger, that is first example of anyone having a problem like mine. My recycled B-Mix, B-Mix Woodfire, Frost, Southern Ice, Lizella, and dug clay all come out ruined. By "ruined" I mean, no legs, so short, so unplastic as to be completely useless for throwing until it has aged at least 3 months (and then it's not great clay). Even with Mark's example that is similar to my experience, I'm in such a minority here that I wouldn't be at all surprised to see you post here that you just got a new Peter Pugger and it is great and that you throw clay straight from the pugger just like in the ads.

 

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First, the clay you use is already pugged if you are purchasing it from a supplier.

 

I've used a Venco, Bailey, Peter Pugger, Walker and a Bluebird. I like the Venco best, but I used it the most. It seems that a good long barrel helps, and if the pug is 3" in diameter you can measure out 1# pieces for every 2" (this may not sound like much, but it is huge). In my experience and from what I've read, pugged clay from a de-airing pugmill makes better ware, but the 90 deg. turn on the Walker makes it's pugs somewhat close. I pretty much never wedge and I have very few problems, however, I do wedge on the wheel (up and down once or twice). That being said, everyone loves what he/she is used to.

 

Also, I don't reuse waste clay. It would be a huge waste of my time.

 

It should be noted that when you pug clay the platelets in the outer skin will be oriented while the platelets in the core will be random and less plastic (I think plastic would be the right term). If you throw down your pug of clay perpendicular to the bat you will solve many of your problems by reorienting the clay while centering. Then, throw thin.

 

I will say though that everything I said may not apply at all to handbuilding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The pain hasn't hit yet, just the tingling and numbness. The goal it to prevent or stall the surgery. I went to the Dr because I was having nausea, dizziness, ringing in my ears, and numbness in my lower arms, mostly on the left. Thought I was having a sneaky heat attack. The diagnosis was a severe sinus infection with fluid in my ears, hence the dizziness, therefore nasea. The carple tunnel was just a bonus diagnosis. All a surprise to my since I don't have any pain in my arms. Dr. said,"Just wait, you will."

 

 

 

 

I also had the tingling and numbness in my hands (10 years ago) that often bothered me while sleeping as well. Mostly after a good day of work, with clay or hammering (construction). Though the health system is different here in Sweden the human body and its maladies remain the same. When I inquired of the Doctor what my options were he laughed and said they try not to use the 'knife' here when it isn't necessary. He sent me to a physical therapist, who also happened to be a ceramist. She gave me a cloth/velcro wrist splint (similar to what a professional bowler might wear while bowling). She told me to especially wear it at night and try to wear it while working, if possible, for a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, I was to do five specific and different hand/wrist/whole arm stretching exercises (minimum 15-20 minutes - three times daily but it would be better if I could do them every couple of hours). Also take rest periods more frequently when doing repetitive work utilizing the same hand-arm movements (a good time to do the stretching exercises).

 

The results of my adherence to this regiment after two-three weeks was... no more tingling and numbness and with the continued practice (albeit now and then but only a couple times every day or two for a half hour) I've not had any reoccurance of the tingling and numbness in these past 10 years while I continue to do the same amount of wedging clay and hammering, if not more.

 

My advice would be to save your $ from a surgery fix unless it is ABSOLUTELY necessary.... see a physical therapist about doing some positive hand/wrist/arm exercises that will help. If this works out in your favor, as in my case, the money saved from surgery and being out of commission for weeks while recuperating, should more than adequately pay for your new pug mill, a gift to yourself...biggrin.gif The average lifetime cost of carpal tunnel syndrome, including medical bills and lost time from work, is estimated to be about $30,000 for each injured worker.

 

An added note regarding the two different medical systems.... since our system in Sweden is part our national health care, the government foots the majority of the bill (from taxes) so it obviously is going to look for the cheapest (for government efficiency) means of remedy. My thinking is that if the medical industry here (as the doctor stated) doesn't believe the fix should be with the scalpel but can be alleviated with a change of 'lifestyle' and exercise (more holistically sensible) then why choose the more expensive surgery elective (which doesn't always remedy the ailment) without attempting the alternative first?

 

Either way... clay lover ... as I and I'm sure others on this site have been faced with the CTS problem, I wish you the best on a quick recovery! wink.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a Bailey A-400 de-airing pugmill400-600 pounds/hour. Yes I use it by myself. The feed is through a small hopper. The extended steel sliding base for the pugs to slide onto holds the clay while there is an attached cut off wire to cut the pugs to whatever size you like.

Marcia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use an Axner New Wave de-airing pugmill - the smallest they had when I got it two years ago. A pugmill is pricey, but I certainly recommend it, if you can afford it. I never wedge.

 

I'm using Standard 112 or 225. I reclaim all my waste, and I don't think it adds much more time to my work than routine cleanup (mostly because I have a pugmill!). I can pug 100 pounds of clay (or more) in something around an hour, and the most time I've waited to use it was a day. Some of that hour is spent wheeling the pugmill out and setting up. I got the pugmill because wedging really hurts my wrists, and I never managed to get very good at it anyway!

 

Alice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wish you well no matter which route you take.

 

I have no experience with puggers. I do, however, have experience with carpal.

 

You didn't mention if you had an Electromyography performed. This test should tell you the severity of your problem.

 

I had numbness and tingling...especially at night when my arm would "fall asleep". This progresssed (and it will) into tingling and a slight weakness in my left hand. When I went to the doc he showed little concern until he ran the elecrtromyography. At that point he said my condition was "severe" and that it was imperative that I have the surgery...or risk permanent nerve damage and possibly loss of use of my hand in the future.

 

I HATE all of this kinda stuff...so I was reluctant....but when he said "we should do it Wednesday" and it was Monday...I knew he was serious about taking care of it BEFORE other complication arised. I've learned from my DDD/back/neck problems that this stuff generally DOESN'T get better on it's own....and that "P/T" will only take you so far if you are >truly< injured/damaged/etc. Like the pills, it's a band aid in most instances and the problem will resurface...possibly with more damage than before. If P/T were a fix there would be no surgeons...

 

Surgery went well. Recovery went well. (P/T went well) Hand/wrist are fluid now and there's no numbness whatsoever. Being that I'm left handed....this is good.

 

Thankfully the wife has great insurance and that aspect of the challenge was the least of my worries.

 

best of luck

 

teardrop

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The pain hasn't hit yet, just the tingling and numbness. The goal it to prevent or stall the surgery. I went to the Dr because I was having nausea, dizziness, ringing in my ears, and numbness in my lower arms, mostly on the left. Thought I was having a sneaky heat attack. The diagnosis was a severe sinus infection with fluid in my ears, hence the dizziness, therefore nasea. The carple tunnel was just a bonus diagnosis. All a surprise to my since I don't have any pain in my arms. Dr. said,"Just wait, you will."

 

 

 

 

I also had the tingling and numbness in my hands (10 years ago) that often bothered me while sleeping as well. Mostly after a good day of work, with clay or hammering (construction). Though the health system is different here in Sweden the human body and its maladies remain the same. When I inquired of the Doctor what my options were he laughed and said they try not to use the 'knife' here when it isn't necessary. He sent me to a physical therapist, who also happened to be a ceramist. She gave me a cloth/velcro wrist splint (similar to what a professional bowler might wear while bowling). She told me to especially wear it at night and try to wear it while working, if possible, for a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, I was to do five specific and different hand/wrist/whole arm stretching exercises (minimum 15-20 minutes - three times daily but it would be better if I could do them every couple of hours). Also take rest periods more frequently when doing repetitive work utilizing the same hand-arm movements (a good time to do the stretching exercises).

 

The results of my adherence to this regiment after two-three weeks was... no more tingling and numbness and with the continued practice (albeit now and then but only a couple times every day or two for a half hour) I've not had any reoccurance of the tingling and numbness in these past 10 years while I continue to do the same amount of wedging clay and hammering, if not more.

 

My advice would be to save your $ from a surgery fix unless it is ABSOLUTELY necessary.... see a physical therapist about doing some positive hand/wrist/arm exercises that will help. If this works out in your favor, as in my case, the money saved from surgery and being out of commission for weeks while recuperating, should more than adequately pay for your new pug mill, a gift to yourself...biggrin.gif The average lifetime cost of carpal tunnel syndrome, including medical bills and lost time from work, is estimated to be about $30,000 for each injured worker.

 

An added note regarding the two different medical systems.... since our system in Sweden is part our national health care, the government foots the majority of the bill (from taxes) so it obviously is going to look for the cheapest (for government efficiency) means of remedy. My thinking is that if the medical industry here (as the doctor stated) doesn't believe the fix should be with the scalpel but can be alleviated with a change of 'lifestyle' and exercise (more holistically sensible) then why choose the more expensive surgery elective (which doesn't always remedy the ailment) without attempting the alternative first?

 

Either way... clay lover ... as I and I'm sure others on this site have been faced with the CTS problem, I wish you the best on a quick recovery! wink.gif

 

 

Rick I had carpal tunnel that sounds just like yours and have had severe tennis elbow and have never had a doctor recommend surgery, they hand me a exercise pamphlet and tell me to try this first and then we'll try a physical therapist. I have had three different doctors and have good insurance, I don't thinks it's a cheapest treatment or budget issue, I think it's the doctor's way of thinking. My neurologist for my MS only believes in FDA approved drugs, he doesn't want to talk about other treatments such as specialized nutrition, he said I could pursue it if I wanted it wouldn't hurt me. I'm with you on trying the lifestyle and exercise first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got the de-airing pugger for the same reason. Wedging irritates my wrists. I had the bilateral carpal tunnel surgery in 1982 or so and do not want to repeat that. I Like the bailey pug mill because I change from raku to porcelain and I can easily clean the aluminum casing spotless for the porcelain.

The de-airing part does save my wrists.

Marcia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a small Peter pugger, deairing. I pug up my recycled clay about every 2nd week. I recycle by putting the trimmings into throwing water & when soaked I mix with a drill then dry it to consistency on a plaster bat. Works great and is perfectly soft for me to throw since I have rheumatriod arthritis. I also wear neoprene wrist bands to help relieve tension on my wrists.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.