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Rebekah Krieger

Newbie Looking for advice...

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Hi- I am new to pottery. I got a kick wheel on mothers day 2012, and I am firing my kiln for the first time. It's a small paragon from the 60's. I have it packed closely but not stacked. I am using basic store purchased earthenware clay and attempted to do my first bisque firing using a cone 4 in the lever. (sorry, not experience enough to get technical) I had it warm up on low for an hr with the top proped open 2 inches. (mind you, it's 10 degrees here, the kiln is in my garage with the door open) I had it closed for an hr, and then turned it up to "med" for 1 hr. Then I put it on high. I started the entire process at 10:45am today and the cone shut off the kiln at 5:20pm. That seems awefully fast for what I was expecting. It's only nearly 7 hrs..

 

Does this mean I did something wrong? Do you think I will be able to open it up in the morning or is that too soon to check what happened? I don't want to shock the pots with the cold air too quickly. How will I know if I didn't do it long enough?

 

Thanks! <3

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Did you use an 04 cone in the sitter or a 4 cone? Bisque is normally in the 06, 05, and 04 range. If you used cone 4, you may have some difficulties glazing . . . as earthenware (red) often vitrifies around cone 4 or above. Check the firing range of your claybody. If the top range is 04 or so, and you fired to cone 4, you might have a mess on your shelves. Hopefully not, though.

 

You might try searching on-line to find a manual to go with your kiln (http://www.paragonweb.com/Instruction_Manuals.cfm) or go to the Paragon website and send an email to Arnold Howard . . . he is extremely helpful and a member of the CAD community (http://www.paragonweb.com/Kiln_Guru.cfm).

 

Seven hours is not unusual . . . others may be able to suggest alternate ramps, e.g., one hour low, two or three hours medium, high until finished, etc.

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Did you use an 04 cone in the sitter or a 4 cone? Bisque is normally in the 06, 05, and 04 range. If you used cone 4, you may have some difficulties glazing . . . as earthenware (red) often vitrifies around cone 4 or above. Check the firing range of your claybody. If the top range is 04 or so, and you fired to cone 4, you might have a mess on your shelves. Hopefully not, though.

 

You might try searching on-line to find a manual to go with your kiln (http://www.paragonwe...ion_Manuals.cfm) or go to the Paragon website and send an email to Arnold Howard . . . he is extremely helpful and a member of the CAD community (http://www.paragonwe...m/Kiln_Guru.cfm).

 

Seven hours is not unusual . . . others may be able to suggest alternate ramps, e.g., one hour low, two or three hours medium, high until finished, etc.

 

 

I would think ^4 would cause some bloating, if not actual slumping or melt down. Depending on the type of earthenware that you are using. Get back to us about the ^number and the results of this first firing.

 

Good Luck.

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Did you use an 04 cone in the sitter or a 4 cone? Bisque is normally in the 06, 05, and 04 range. If you used cone 4, you may have some difficulties glazing . . . as earthenware (red) often vitrifies around cone 4 or above. Check the firing range of your claybody. If the top range is 04 or so, and you fired to cone 4, you might have a mess on your shelves. Hopefully not, though.

 

You might try searching on-line to find a manual to go with your kiln (http://www.paragonwe...ion_Manuals.cfm) or go to the Paragon website and send an email to Arnold Howard . . . he is extremely helpful and a member of the CAD community (http://www.paragonwe...m/Kiln_Guru.cfm).

 

Seven hours is not unusual . . . others may be able to suggest alternate ramps, e.g., one hour low, two or three hours medium, high until finished, etc.

 

 

 

I am pretty sure I used a 4. I had a pottery teacher come over and help me figure out what I needed. I could have written the wrong thing in my notebook. I want to peek so bad but it's so cold and I don't want to screw up the cooling process!! laugh.gif It isn't red hot in the peep hole anymore.. do you think it's safe to peek?

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I am sure you meant cone 04 as a bisque firing judging by the amount of time it took to fire. If this is a small kiln it will fire very quickly. I recently purchased a very small test kiln and it fires to a mature cone 04 bisque (1971°F) in a slow firing mode; it takes about 6 or seven hours including a preheat segment.

But before you start seriously glazing this work do some testing. Make a few test tiles for testing your clay and glazes. I hope you have taken a class or two, have a few books, and some DVD's on pottery making to help you on this road. Have patience and let the kiln cool down completely before you open the lid. It will cool down quickly as well.

Keep dated logs of your firings, listing the cone to which you are firing, the ware that is included, type of glaze, amount of time on each setting and total firing time. You will be surprised how handy this can be in the future.

I also make a 'quick look chart' so if I want to repeat a particular firing I can take a quick look at the results and go to the log and get the details. I don't want to overwhelm you but for me this is fun.

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Did you use an 04 cone in the sitter or a 4 cone? Bisque is normally in the 06, 05, and 04 range. If you used cone 4, you may have some difficulties glazing . . . as earthenware (red) often vitrifies around cone 4 or above. Check the firing range of your claybody. If the top range is 04 or so, and you fired to cone 4, you might have a mess on your shelves. Hopefully not, though.

 

You might try searching on-line to find a manual to go with your kiln (http://www.paragonwe...ion_Manuals.cfm) or go to the Paragon website and send an email to Arnold Howard . . . he is extremely helpful and a member of the CAD community (http://www.paragonwe...m/Kiln_Guru.cfm).

 

Seven hours is not unusual . . . others may be able to suggest alternate ramps, e.g., one hour low, two or three hours medium, high until finished, etc.

 

 

 

I am pretty sure I used a 4. I had a pottery teacher come over and help me figure out what I needed. I could have written the wrong thing in my notebook. I want to peek so bad but it's so cold and I don't want to screw up the cooling process!! laugh.gif It isn't red hot in the peep hole anymore.. do you think it's safe to peek?

 

 

Have a nice cup of tea, a good night sleep . . . and check it in the morning. Opening too soon can affect the integrity of the items (or, yes, people can screw up the cooling process).

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You say you are sure it was cone 4? Well, don't open the lid until the kiln is cool. Don't peek. If you do it won't change anything but it can cause cracked pots. Earthenware at cone 4 can be a disaster. I hope for the best.

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I keep obsessing and need to take the advice, have a cup of tea and try to get some sleep after all of this!! I don't know if I will be able to sleep. At the very least- It will motivate me to make some new pots so I can figure out how to do it correctly!

 

If its all bloated does that mean it is no good? Is it bad to glaze pots that are fired wrong? I will reply with the results in the morning. Thank you all for the words of wisdom!

 

 

 

I was planning to test out my glazes in stripes on one of the bowls that I made as a "sampler bowl"

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I keep obsessing and need to take the advice, have a cup of tea and try to get some sleep after all of this!! I don't know if I will be able to sleep. At the very least- It will motivate me to make some new pots so I can figure out how to do it correctly!

 

If its all bloated does that mean it is no good? Is it bad to glaze pots that are fired wrong? I will reply with the results in the morning. Thank you all for the words of wisdom!

 

 

 

I was planning to test out my glazes in stripes on one of the bowls that I made as a "sampler bowl"

 

 

First, make that cup of tea. Then, check your claybody . . . some earthenwares have a range of 06 to 04, others 06 to cone 2, and some 06 to cone 4 and above. Hopefully, yours will be in the latter category.

 

Bloating is the result of firing too high, resulting in air pockets. Bloated ware is not usable . . . the air pockets could break and cause cuts from the sharp edges.

 

If the earthenware has a firing range up to cone 4, then the works can be glazed . . . they just won't be as absorbent when glaze is applied. But there are ways of dealing with that, if necessary. And we can cross that bridge when we get to it.

 

I have glazed fired Standard 104 earthenware (cone 06 to cone 4) up to cone 6 without any issues. It's a bit darker in color, but still functional. Don't do that as a regular practice, though.

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you may want to hold off on the firings for a while, the first year i had my kiln i ruined like three kiln loads, mabye read a book or two, watch some you tube videos abour kilns, ease into it.

 

 

 

Good luck!

 

Darrel

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you may want to hold off on the firings for a while, the first year i had my kiln i ruined like three kiln loads, mabye read a book or two, watch some you tube videos abour kilns, ease into it.

 

 

 

Good luck!

 

Darrel

 

 

 

Ha ha!! The best education is failure.

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Yeah, but sometimes failure in pottery can be very expensive.... :) Anyway, the guide line I use is if I can't touch the kiln lid comfortably, its too early to unload.

 

Have fun with it!

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Ok- Now I am even more confused than I was before. I looked at the clay box (amaco moist sculpting clay) and it says fires at cones 5-10 (nothing about 04 o5 etc) Does this mean I was using stoneware without knowing?

 

This morning I opened up the kiln and the items seemed to be cooked fine (this is my first time cooking pottery on my own) How do I know if I under fired? I make extremely thin items. Would it be extremely brittle if it was under cooked? Nothing blistered or cracked. I have 1 item that has a hair crack in it before it went into the kiln, I was hoping to have it seal with glaze.

 

I took a few pics of the items (remember, I am a newbie, lots of uneven things, and only like 2 that I endorse)

 

(now I am having difficulty showing my pic)

 

 

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Ok- Now I am even more confused than I was before. I looked at the clay box (amaco moist sculpting clay) and it says fires at cones 5-10 (nothing about 04 o5 etc) Does this mean I was using stoneware without knowing?

 

This morning I opened up the kiln and the items seemed to be cooked fine (this is my first time cooking pottery on my own) How do I know if I under fired? I make extremely thin items. Would it be extremely brittle if it was under cooked? Nothing blistered or cracked. I have 1 item that has a hair crack in it before it went into the kiln, I was hoping to have it seal with glaze.

 

I took a few pics of the items (remember, I am a newbie, lots of uneven things, and only like 2 that I endorse)

 

(now I am having difficulty showing my pic)

 

 

 

Hold up, Rebbylicious! You gotta know at least a little something before you jump into this or you're gonna kill somebody! Take a class or read a book. Maybe "Pottery for Dummies". Ask the potter friend you mentioned above for help. First of all don't trust any clay that has that wide of range for firing. If the box or bag says cone 5-10, they're lying to you. It is either underfired at 5 or overfired at 10 so first of all you need to get a different clay. If you want to do earthenware, then get earthenware clay not cone 5-10 (sic) sculpture clay. Then fire to the recommended bisque for that clay. It will not be the number on the box and will be at least several cones below the cones on the box and will be cone with a zero before the number. Then if you glaze the pots use glazes that mature at the same cone as the clay (the box or bag may read cone 3-4 or something like that) and fire them to that cone.

 

Jim

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Ok- Now I am even more confused than I was before. I looked at the clay box (amaco moist sculpting clay) and it says fires at cones 5-10 (nothing about 04 o5 etc) Does this mean I was using stoneware without knowing?

 

This morning I opened up the kiln and the items seemed to be cooked fine (this is my first time cooking pottery on my own) How do I know if I under fired? I make extremely thin items. Would it be extremely brittle if it was under cooked? Nothing blistered or cracked. I have 1 item that has a hair crack in it before it went into the kiln, I was hoping to have it seal with glaze.

 

I took a few pics of the items (remember, I am a newbie, lots of uneven things, and only like 2 that I endorse)

 

(now I am having difficulty showing my pic)

 

 

 

Hold up, Rebbylicious! You gotta know at least a little something before you jump into this or you're going to kill somebody! Take a class or read a book. Maybe "Pottery for Dummies". Ask the potter friend you mentioned above for help. First of all don't trust any clay that has that wide of range for firing. If the box or bag says cone 5-10, they're lying to you. It is either underfired at 5 or overfired at 10 so first of all you need to get a different clay. If you want to do earthenware, then get earthenware clay not cone 5-10 (sic) sculpture clay. Then fire to the recommended bisque for that clay (the cone number will have a "0" in front of it like cone 06), then if you glaze the pots use glazes that mature at the same temp as the clay (the box or bag may read cone 3-4 or something like that) and fire them to that cone (the cone number may or may not have a "0" in front of it like cone 4).

 

Jim

 

I am pretty sure I made it clear that I am a newbie. I have taken some pottery classes at the art museum (not college level I know), I have read some books on pottery, and to be honest a lot of it seems over my head. I had my pottery teacher come here and check out my kiln and he gave me some pointers on it. I fired the only clay I was able to get my hands on without paying a billion dollars in shipping costs. (this was the only clay available between shopping at 4 art stores) My kiln has been professionaly installed. I don't know what else and or how long someone is supposed to wait to start making pottery? I had my kiln since the early summer and I have been reading and nervous about using it for the first time, that is why I had the art teacher come to my house to help me out.

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Definitely looks like cone 4 to me. Unfortunately, they are probably too vitrified to take glaze. You should always bisque around cone 04, then glaze fire to the cone at which your clay matures.

 

 

Thank you neil! smile.gif

 

ok- so I just got off the phone with my pottery teacher at the museum. He said it sounds like the sculpting clay is stoneware and I thought it was earthenware the whole time. Obviously It is still over fired, so I am going to see if the glaze sticks to it before i attempt to fire it. Luckily for me, the museum is going to cancel art classes and might be willing to sell me some proper clay! That would be a major break! At least i made a good mistake, if it had been earthenware my kiln would likely be a huge mess.

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" ok- so I just got off the phone with my pottery teacher at the museum. He said it sounds like the sculpting clay is stoneware and I thought it was earthenware the whole time. Obviously It is still over fired, so I am going to see if the glaze sticks to it before i attempt to fire it. Luckily for me, the museum is going to cancel art classes and might be willing to sell me some proper clay! That would be a major break! At least i made a good mistake, if it had been earthenware my kiln would likely be a huge mess. "

 

If the glaze won't stick via dipping - try heating each piece on a hot plate and then painting the glazes on with a brush.

 

Also Beware of clay that says cone 5-10 that is too wide a range to be accurate. See if you can call and find out where it really vitrifies if you intend to use it for functional pieces.

 

This chart may help get you more familiar with firing ranges-

  1. [PDF]
    Firing Temperatures - Bellevue College
    bellevuecollege.edu/artshum/materials/art/.../FiringTemperatures.pdfFile Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - Quick View

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My advice is you must know your clay body-what it is and what its to be fire to if not-chuck the clay in the trash

Ceramics is all about knowledge

Second if you have fired that work to cone 4 toss it out-as it is too much work to try to get glaze to stick

Make new work out of a clay you know-this helps in two ways first you need throwing experience and second you will now know what to fire the clay to temp wise.

Third it will bring you less grief-

Mark

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Dear Reddy;

The reason everyone is freaking out here is the first sentence in your blog."Just finished bisquing at Cone 4"

This was the red flag. You have mixed up Cone 4 with cone 04. Cone 04 is low, cone 4 is several hundred degrees hotter.

Here are a couple points in order to help you.

First of all, it's OK to be a newbie. We all started somewhere. You just want to make sure you are getting the best advice you can.

1. Do not buy clay from an Art Supply store. Buy it from a Ceramic Supply store. See if you can get together with a couple of people to share the cost. A 50pound box of EARTHENWARE clay should cost you $18.00

2. Like mark said, get a hammer and smash those pots. They are never going to accept a glaze. They are too vitrified.[look it up]

3. When bisquing, bisque low and glaze high. I bisque at Cone 06,or even 07 which is lower still.

4.I glaze my earthenware at Cone 04, or 03, which is hotter by one cone.

5. Think of the cones like negative numbers moving from cooler to hotter. They go like this;07,06,05,04,03,02,01,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12.

You can see that you were 8 cones hotter at least than you should have been. This is why people are freaking out.

If you were flying a plane and the pilot had a heart attack, I would be the guy to call to talk you down.

Enjoy your ceramic experience, and please don't melt your kiln

Tom Roberts[TJR]

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Dear Reddy;

The reason everyone is freaking out here is the first sentence in your blog."Just finished bisquing at Cone 4"

This was the red flag. You have mixed up Cone 4 with cone 04. Cone 04 is low, cone 4 is several hundred degrees hotter.

Here are a couple points in order to help you.

First of all, it's OK to be a newbie. We all started somewhere. You just want to make sure you are getting the best advice you can.

1. Do not buy clay from an Art Supply store. Buy it from a Ceramic Supply store. See if you can get together with a couple of people to share the cost. A 50pound box of EARTHENWARE clay should cost you $18.00

2. Like mark said, get a hammer and smash those pots. They are never going to accept a glaze. They are too vitrified.[look it up]

3. When bisquing, bisque low and glaze high. I bisque at Cone 06,or even 07 which is lower still.

4.I glaze my earthenware at Cone 04, or 03, which is hotter by one cone.

5. Think of the cones like negative numbers moving from cooler to hotter. They go like this;07,06,05,04,03,02,01,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12.

You can see that you were 8 cones hotter at least than you should have been. This is why people are freaking out.

If you were flying a plane and the pilot had a heart attack, I would be the guy to call to talk you down.

Enjoy your ceramic experience, and please don't melt your kiln

Tom Roberts[TJR]

 

Thanks!! I knew the difference between 04 and 4, but having never fired before, I was shocked to see my notes say "4" because i know 04 is much lower. But I decided to be an airhead and stick with my notes rather than go with my gut. THe glaze is sticking good, but I am nervous to bake it, so I might just break all the work i did this summer. :(. The problem with clay is not the cost, its the shipping. Shipping is $60 from paoli clay which is a few hrs north from where I live. I found a shop that is an hr away from here that I can drive and buy it by the 50# or higher box. My kiln will take up to 2300 degrees (which is cone 9 right?) I want to experiment with both high fire and low fire clay bodies because I like the intricate design options with earthenware, but the durability of stoneware. I want to be able to make cups and pie plates etc that I am able to use. But as you said 5-10 is a huge range. I am planning to get some wheel throwing clay.

 

Are you all suggesting that I don't bake the glaze on?

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2 more things-

 

I literally was LMAO when you refered to me as "reddy" rather than "rebby"... it seems I bit off more than I could chew, and eager "reddy" is a fitting name! LOLOLOL!! laugh.gifblink.gif No wonder everyone is freaking out... "reddy just fired bisque at cone 4" lmao tongue.gif

 

Anyways, I am planning to drive over to Sturtevant wi to A. R. T. for some clay. Does anyone have a suggestion on which HF and LF I should use as a beginner? I don't like the look of the super red terra cotta or dark stuff. I prefer it to be light gray or pink.

 

 

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