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Should one wash wood ash and why


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#1 docweathers

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 11:21 PM

There seems to be some controversy on whether or not one should wash wood ash to get soluble material out before using it in glazes. what difference does this make in the glazes that it is used in?

Larry

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#2 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 01:11 AM

Some people like to keep all the nasty stuff from potassium or sodium hydroxides when hard wood ash is mixed with water. Also known as lye. it can be nasty on contact with skin.
Other people wash it several times to get rid of that. it is a matter of choice.

marcia

#3 TJR

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 10:37 AM

There seems to be some controversy on whether or not one should wash wood ash to get soluble material out before using it in glazes. what difference does this make in the glazes that it is used in?


YES, YOU SHOULD WASH IT AS ALL THOSE SOLUBLE MATERIALS CAUSE YOUR GLAZE TO RUN ALL OVER THE PLACE! Sorry, had my caps lock on from the previous post.Use a dust mask and rubber gloves, dump ash into a bucket of water. Stir with a stick. Sieve through a window screen. Then sieve it back through at least a 40 mesh screen, if not an 80 mesh screen. Let it dry out completely as a powder, and there is your glaze material. Make sure that you process enough-at least a 5 gallon pail, so you don't have to keep testing.Remember, ash glazes tend to run anyway, so make some vertical tests to see how much it runs. To stop the running, add more clay.
TJR

#4 docweathers

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 12:59 PM

That clearly answers my question of how washing impacts glaze outcome. I have already run the raw ash through a 120 mesh sieve so that should make the rest of the process easier. And you're right, I should do a large quantity so I don't have to deal with his nonsense all the time.

thanks

Larry

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#5 Diane Puckett

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 03:11 PM


There seems to be some controversy on whether or not one should wash wood ash to get soluble material out before using it in glazes. what difference does this make in the glazes that it is used in?


YES, YOU SHOULD WASH IT AS ALL THOSE SOLUBLE MATERIALS CAUSE YOUR GLAZE TO RUN ALL OVER THE PLACE! Sorry, had my caps lock on from the previous post.Use a dust mask and rubber gloves, dump ash into a bucket of water. Stir with a stick. Sieve through a window screen. Then sieve it back through at least a 40 mesh screen, if not an 80 mesh screen. Let it dry out completely as a powder, and there is your glaze material. Make sure that you process enough-at least a 5 gallon pail, so you don't have to keep testing.Remember, ash glazes tend to run anyway, so make some vertical tests to see how much it runs. To stop the running, add more clay.
TJR


What do you do with the waste water from washing the ash? Just wondering if it can be dumped in the gardens. Thanks!
Diane Puckett
Dry Ridge Pottery

#6 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 08:10 PM


There seems to be some controversy on whether or not one should wash wood ash to get soluble material out before using it in glazes. what difference does this make in the glazes that it is used in?


YES, YOU SHOULD WASH IT AS ALL THOSE SOLUBLE MATERIALS CAUSE YOUR GLAZE TO RUN ALL OVER THE PLACE! Sorry, had my caps lock on from the previous post.Use a dust mask and rubber gloves, dump ash into a bucket of water. Stir with a stick. Sieve through a window screen. Then sieve it back through at least a 40 mesh screen, if not an 80 mesh screen. Let it dry out completely as a powder, and there is your glaze material. Make sure that you process enough-at least a 5 gallon pail, so you don't have to keep testing.Remember, ash glazes tend to run anyway, so make some vertical tests to see how much it runs. To stop the running, add more clay.
TJR

That's where that runny look comes from and when people refer to "fake wood ash". Although I have a friend whose matt ash glaze isn't runny. She gets fireplace ash in NYC and didn't wash the ash. It is a matt glaze, doesn't run, has sugary reflective surface. It is in the book, Smashing Glazes. So it just depends and whether you want to use rubber gloves when handling that glaze.
Marcia





#7 weshandrow

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 12:21 AM


There seems to be some controversy on whether or not one should wash wood ash to get soluble material out before using it in glazes. what difference does this make in the glazes that it is used in?


YES, YOU SHOULD WASH IT AS ALL THOSE SOLUBLE MATERIALS CAUSE YOUR GLAZE TO RUN ALL OVER THE PLACE! Sorry, had my caps lock on from the previous post.Use a dust mask and rubber gloves, dump ash into a bucket of water. Stir with a stick. Sieve through a window screen. Then sieve it back through at least a 40 mesh screen, if not an 80 mesh screen. Let it dry out completely as a powder, and there is your glaze material. Make sure that you process enough-at least a 5 gallon pail, so you don't have to keep testing.Remember, ash glazes tend to run anyway, so make some vertical tests to see how much it runs. To stop the running, add more clay.
TJR



#8 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 01:18 AM

I have used the glaze I mentioned above. The ash is not washed and it does not run. The glaze is from Anne Fallis Elliot, the glaze is a gun metal black and published in Smashing Glazes. Her work was sold through the Guggenheim Museum gift shop when she lived in Manhattan. She has since moved to Manitoba after about 30 years on Tribeca. So, I guess it all depends. I will try to post a photo. I have a tea set from her.

Marcia

#9 TJR

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:02 AM

I have used the glaze I mentioned above. The ash is not washed and it does not run. The glaze is from Anne Fallis Elliot, the glaze is a gun metal black and published in Smashing Glazes. Her work was sold through the Guggenheim Museum gift shop when she lived in Manhattan. She has since moved to Manitoba after about 30 years on Tribeca. So, I guess it all depends. I will try to post a photo. I have a tea set from her.

Marcia


Marcia;
This is the flaw with posting advice. Beware the gross generalizatio. I have used ash glazes a lot. I do not have a picture of my glaze in Smashing Glazes, but I DO live in Manitoba. I wash my ash, still get the runny rivulets, and Also have used synthetic ash glazes and gotten rivulets. Cutting the lye out of the glaze is worth some saving on your skin.
Does this reply make sense? I am on my first cup of coffee.
Tell your friend to look me up. What city in Man.?
Tom.

#10 TJR

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:04 AM



There seems to be some controversy on whether or not one should wash wood ash to get soluble material out before using it in glazes. what difference does this make in the glazes that it is used in?


YES, YOU SHOULD WASH IT AS ALL THOSE SOLUBLE MATERIALS CAUSE YOUR GLAZE TO RUN ALL OVER THE PLACE! Sorry, had my caps lock on from the previous post.Use a dust mask and rubber gloves, dump ash into a bucket of water. Stir with a stick. Sieve through a window screen. Then sieve it back through at least a 40 mesh screen, if not an 80 mesh screen. Let it dry out completely as a powder, and there is your glaze material. Make sure that you process enough-at least a 5 gallon pail, so you don't have to keep testing.Remember, ash glazes tend to run anyway, so make some vertical tests to see how much it runs. To stop the running, add more clay.
TJR


What do you do with the waste water from washing the ash? Just wondering if it can be dumped in the gardens. Thanks!


Diane;I wouldn't dump it on your plants. Harsh chemicals like lye and phosphorous. Throw it on your gravel driveway, and then hose it down.
Tom[TJR]

#11 Marcia Selsor

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:58 AM

Tom,
My first solo gas firing in 1968 was full of ash glazes. I have used washed ash and not washed ash. I am aware of the lye factor. Rubber gloves can save your skin. I am just saying people do it both ways. Anne has used this glaze with unwashed ash for several decades. She uses ash from fire places and wood stoves...originally in Tribeca. Her recent work from Manitoba looks like the same glaze. This cup is from a tea set she gave me. Some people wash ash and some don't. She does not get runny rivulets.
It stays put. Here is another example and it states "unwashed ash " in the description.
http://www.artistsgu.../AnneElliot.htm

Marcia

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#12 Ben

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 12:59 PM

[/quote]

What do you do with the waste water from washing the ash? Just wondering if it can be dumped in the gardens. Thanks!
[/quote]

Depends on your soil a nd what you want to grow and what time of year it is. The water will be very basic so if you have overly acidic soil it would be a benefit. If that is what you desire I think that fall would be the best time.
You really should do a soil test first to determine if your garden needs what lye water has to offer.

I send mine down the drain. Same chemical as in lye type drain openers.

#13 JBaymore

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 01:13 PM

I deliberately use washed wood ash in some glazes and I use deliberately un-washed wood ash in other glazes. They act as two different beasts.

The washed wood ash is basically a source of mostly calcium oxide in the final melt.... much like whiting. Traces of other stuff.

The un-washed wood ash shifts the calcium oxide percentage down a bit and ups the sodium oxide and potassium oxide perccentages.....with what you'd expect from higher concenttrations of those oxides in the melt. They are in soluble form... so the drying actions you associate with soda ash in some American Shinos comes into play too.

Some washed wood ash glazes are runny. Some un-washed wood ash glazes are not.

If you aere aware that the water in the un-washed wood ash glaze is a bit caustic... you can handle it just fine. I do all the time.

best,

...........john
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#14 AtomicAxe

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 07:16 PM

I deliberately use washed wood ash in some glazes and I use deliberately un-washed wood ash in other glazes. They act as two different beasts.

The washed wood ash is basically a source of mostly calcium oxide in the final melt.... much like whiting. Traces of other stuff.

The un-washed wood ash shifts the calcium oxide percentage down a bit and ups the sodium oxide and potassium oxide perccentages.....with what you'd expect from higher concenttrations of those oxides in the melt. They are in soluble form... so the drying actions you associate with soda ash in some American Shinos comes into play too.

Some washed wood ash glazes are runny. Some un-washed wood ash glazes are not.

If you aere aware that the water in the un-washed wood ash glaze is a bit caustic... you can handle it just fine. I do all the time.

best,

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


This is excellent advice. Most people who wash the wood ash, do it to shift the alkaline properties of the glaze ... important if you don't use tongs to glaze or mix with your hands. One of the other reasons is depending on the ash you sift (as not all trees and organic plant material are similar) you could stabilize the glaze to act as a standard flux (some potters don't like unpredictability in their glazes) ... really for the hassle of washing ash ... if you are doing it only so you don't try to strip your hands raw ... use a fake ash glaze. ... doing it for a more stable glaze ... wash the ash.

The main reason potters started using ash in glazes was it was a reclaimed material that could cut their glaze costs in half. Keep that in mind.




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