Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Clay storage


  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1 Natania

Natania

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 191 posts
  • LocationMassachusetts

Posted 01 February 2013 - 08:06 PM

Has anyone noticed how horribly dusty those 25 lb. plastic bags of clay get once you've used half of one? Any ideas about better ways to store clay that won't result in a cloud of dust and crumbly bits when one goes to get clay out? I thought of a bucket, but hard to wire off a hunk of clay, no?

#2 Jo-Ann

Jo-Ann

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 46 posts
  • LocationOntario, Canada

Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:35 PM

I have tried Rubbermaid bins wraped in plastic and other containers that boasts air tight and have had after only a couple months my clay dry and get too stiff to throw with out some moisture therapy. I don't know what magic lives in those 25lb plastic bags but let me tell you I once "lost" a bag behind a bunch of hubbies tools, it had to be a least year later before I found it and the clay was still soft enough to throw with only a good wedging. . . I agree they are a dusty pain to deal with but they sure do their job well. Maybe someone else will have a good suggestion.


If you are going to try the bucket, cut your clay into smaller sizes befor storing so you don't need to wire off and can simply crab however many hunks you need.

#3 Benzine

Benzine

    Socratic Potter

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,727 posts
  • LocationThe Hawkeye State

Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:12 PM

That's funny, I was just thinking about something similar lately. It seems, every time I go into a bag, once it's been opened, the rest of the clay, gets a nice sprinkling of dry clay.

I wouldn't say the bags are magic, in terms of having a great seal. I've had some boxes, both boxes, where the clay had dried to the point of not being workable. I cut those into small bits and tossed them into a reclaim bin, a Brute Rubbermaid "Garbage Can". That seems to seal pretty well, as I've had clay stay moist all summer inside it.
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#4 Jo-Ann

Jo-Ann

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 46 posts
  • LocationOntario, Canada

Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:21 PM

That's funny, I was just thinking about something similar lately. It seems, every time I go into a bag, once it's been opened, the rest of the clay, gets a nice sprinkling of dry clay.

I wouldn't say the bags are magic, in terms of having a great seal. I've had some boxes, both boxes, where the clay had dried to the point of not being workable. I cut those into small bits and tossed them into a reclaim bin, a Brute Rubbermaid "Garbage Can". That seems to seal pretty well, as I've had clay stay moist all summer inside it.



Have you tried wrapping the unworkable clay in a wet towel then putting it in a plastic bag, over night usually does the trick for me. I find that trick easier than reclaiming.

#5 Mossyrock

Mossyrock

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 165 posts
  • LocationHigh Point, NC

Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:39 PM

I keep washcloths in my studio. When I open a bag of clay and cut off what I need, I put a damp washcloth on top of the clay before re-closing. This seems to add enough moisture to keep the clay on the bag from drying out and creating dust or dry 'chips'. I also cut the bag down as I use the clay out of it, leaving just enough to fold under......less bag for clay to adhere to and dry out. So each bag that I have open has a damp washcloth in it, covering the top of the clay.

Also, when I purchase my clay, I remove it from the boxes, label each bag with masking tape as to kind and cone, and put the bags in a large cooler (which is on a platform with wheels so it can be rolled out from under the table), standing on end (labels are on top so I can see them when I open the cooler). I keep a damp bath towel over the bags. The clay keeps well for months and I don't have the hassle of trying to drag out boxes when I need clay.
Brenda Moore
Mossy Rock Creations
High Point, NC

#6 Mark McCombs

Mark McCombs

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 123 posts
  • LocationSW Washington

Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:36 PM

I keep washcloths in my studio. When I open a bag of clay and cut off what I need, I put a damp washcloth on top of the clay before re-closing.


Same here.

I can't stand to have crumbies on my clay.
Mark
Fast Hawk Pottery


^5-6 Ox
1227 Skutt

#7 Mark C.

Mark C.

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,065 posts
  • LocationNear Arcata Ca-redwood rain forest

Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:43 PM

We go thru a lot of bags around of fast drying porcelain clay here so they do not sit for long but there are a few tricks to keep dry flecks out of the bag.
When you strike a wire thru say 1/2 a bag-twist tie it at that point and then the key is to flip the bag upside down on the open end-this keeps it from drying out over a week or so-It makes for zero air to allow to dry any clay out. When you want back in the bag peel it open like a banana with the dry outside bag going over the pug. Give it a try for flake free pugs.
Mark
Mark Cortright
www.liscomhillpottery.com

#8 Brian Reed

Brian Reed

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 209 posts
  • LocationWashington State

Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:47 PM

once I open a bag of clay I tend to use it up. When I have a couple of pounds left over I put it back into the bags and take all the air out and tie it in a knot.
Brian Reed

Throwing down in Washington State

http://www.reedpottery.com

Northwest Clay Club

#9 Benzine

Benzine

    Socratic Potter

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,727 posts
  • LocationThe Hawkeye State

Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:05 AM


That's funny, I was just thinking about something similar lately. It seems, every time I go into a bag, once it's been opened, the rest of the clay, gets a nice sprinkling of dry clay.

I wouldn't say the bags are magic, in terms of having a great seal. I've had some boxes, both boxes, where the clay had dried to the point of not being workable. I cut those into small bits and tossed them into a reclaim bin, a Brute Rubbermaid "Garbage Can". That seems to seal pretty well, as I've had clay stay moist all summer inside it.



Have you tried wrapping the unworkable clay in a wet towel then putting it in a plastic bag, over night usually does the trick for me. I find that trick easier than reclaiming.


No, I actually haven't tried that. I usually jab a bunch of holes in the block, with a fettling knife, or something of the like, and pour a little water over it, then reseal the bag. Of course this doesn't work, when the block is basically one leatherhard chunk. I'll have to try the towel thing.

I do mark my boxes, with the date, so they get properly rotated, and used based on their date of purchase. But that doesn't always matter, as I've had some of the "newer" clay dry out.

I also like the wet cloth over the fresh clay idea. What about just misting the inside of the bag with a spray bottle before closing? Think that would take care of the problem?
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#10 Mark C.

Mark C.

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,065 posts
  • LocationNear Arcata Ca-redwood rain forest

Posted 02 February 2013 - 12:52 PM

For re-softing hard pugs (stoneware or open bodies work best) I wrap each pug in a towel and stack them in a large plastic tub and wet them down(pour water on towels) and cover-I add water and in a few days they are soft-I will flip them around every days as well. I'm doing 4 pugs right now like this for salt pots.
Mark
Mark Cortright
www.liscomhillpottery.com

#11 JBaymore

JBaymore

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 3,025 posts
  • LocationWilton, NH USA

Posted 02 February 2013 - 01:54 PM

An interesting method that I have used in Japan is that the wet clay is just piled up in a huge mountainous pile (literally tons of clay at a time) on a packed dry(ish) clay or concrete floor and a layer of damp (not wet) cloths are kept laid over the surface of the pile. A slight crust starts to form under the damp cloth, stopping a lot of the moisture evaporation (because the spaces between the clay platelets close up when this happens). Then when you want clay, you flip back the cloth and use a shovel or cutting wire and cut off a big hunk and then begin wedging.

Another variaton of this kind of stoarge there is that a concrete pit is created that has a floor and three sides. It is then packed full of clay (tons again) and then the top is treated as above or covered with plastic sheeting. The fourth side is the side that you get working clay from by flipping back the cloths or the plastic.

I've also used large piles of clay in Japan (tons yet again) that had individual 15 kilo de-aired pugs (not wrapped in plastic) all piled up on top of each other on a pallate sized wooden base and then the whole thing wrapped in plastic sheeting and then covered with a heavy blanket. You'd pull of the coverings... and cut off a slug with a wire.

A large mass of clay stored all togehter (over time) lets moisture equalize throughout the pile... making for consistent water content piece to piece. Plus the really large mass tends to stay warm due to the large thermal mass... and does not tend to freeze even though the (unheated) workshop often gets a bit below freezing in the winter. And a large concentration of microbial/bacterial action tends to warm the large pile also as it ages.

No dust from handling dry plastic bags covered in dry clay. If it even originally came in plastic bags.... you took all the clay out at once when everything was wet and re-cycled the plastic bags. The big plie is always wet....and the top plastic or cloth remains wet also.

A lot of your clay prep and stoage is based upon how much clay you produce or order at a time, and how fast you consume it in making your work. Things that work for large volume users do not necessarily work for lower volume users.

For my studio in NH in the USA, clay orders typically are multiple tons at a pop. My big issue here is keeping the back clay storage from freezing in the winter. I HATE having to reconstitute wet clay after the freezing action has re-distributed the water content due to water crystal formation. Feels like wasted labor time. I store some of it in our solar greenhouse that never gets below freezing. It acts as thermal mass to help average out temperature fluctuations in the greenhouse.... and solves some of my freeszing issues too.

best,

.......................john
John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#12 bciskepottery

bciskepottery

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,558 posts
  • LocationNorthern Virginia

Posted 02 February 2013 - 03:43 PM

Here's a link to a video by Tim See on making a "magic" box or damp box to keep items from drying out. Put puts water-soaked plaster in the bottom of plastic bin, then stores wares for future use. You might be able to adopt such an approach to storing clay . . . plastic bin with water-soaked plaster floor, clay block sitting inside. You would not need the plastic bag at all.

#13 Lucille Oka

Lucille Oka

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 756 posts
  • LocationCalifornia

Posted 02 February 2013 - 04:13 PM

What I usually do after opening a bag of clay, fresh or not, I take what I need out of the bag then give the inside of the clay bag a misty spray of water from a spray bottle. The water hits the clay surface and the interior of the bag, I fold the bag and turn it to allow the remaining clay to hold down the opening.
John 3:16
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life".

#14 TJR

TJR

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,292 posts
  • LocationCanada

Posted 02 February 2013 - 07:28 PM

I NEVER HAVE DRY CRUSTY CRUMBS OF CLAY FROM THE BAG. I NEVER LEAVE THE BAG SITTING OPEN. WHEN EVER I TAKE CLAY OUT, I FOLD THE EXCESS PLASTIC down, then flip the bag over. Sorry, had caps lock on. I wasn't yelling. REALLY!
TJR.

#15 Benzine

Benzine

    Socratic Potter

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,727 posts
  • LocationThe Hawkeye State

Posted 03 February 2013 - 12:18 AM

Here's a link to a video by Tim See on making a "magic" box or damp box to keep items from drying out. Put puts water-soaked plaster in the bottom of plastic bin, then stores wares for future use. You might be able to adopt such an approach to storing clay . . . plastic bin with water-soaked plaster floor, clay block sitting inside. You would not need the plastic bag at all. http://www.youtube.c...h?v=_y_f9mV381k


Thanks for the link. I might to have make a couple of those, for my classroom.
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#16 Chantay

Chantay

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 261 posts
  • LocationVirginia, USA

Posted 03 February 2013 - 11:04 PM

depending on where you are getting your clay from, you may be getting clay that has sat and dried out from your supplier. Happened to me. I believe it was John who once recommended making sure all your clay is of the same lot. I now do this.


-chantay
- chantay

#17 minspargal

minspargal

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 90 posts
  • LocationPort Aransas, Tx

Posted 04 February 2013 - 09:14 AM

Those plaster damp boxes are great, been using them for years to keep extruded clay parts. When i have a bag of rock hard clay, i punch small holes in the plastic and set the whole bag in a 5 gal. bucket and fill with water up to the top of the bag. Every day i press the top of the bag and when it gives i pull the whole bag out, let the water drain and put the whole thing in another empty plastic bag. In a day or two it's ready to use

#18 melbrandle

melbrandle

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts
  • LocationGolden Grove

Posted 30 October 2014 - 10:52 PM

I have always used really secure and airtight storage containers for clay. So far it has been fine but I do not usually store them for a really long time. Hence, it is quite difficult to say if you are storing them for a lengthened period of time because the dusts grow in time. An alternative is to store the clay in an airtight plastic bag first before storing the clay inside another container, preferably airtight as well. This way, you can use almost any other type of storage containers.






1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users