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I was having an argument with a friend. They think I should buy a pugmill for recycling clay.

A little research revealed that, with my needs, and the space available, I could get one of those little Peter Pugger mills, for, let's say, $3,500.

Now with clay cost at around $0.35/lb. I could buy 10,000 lbs. of clay. I live eight miles from my supplier, so I don't pay for shipping.

That five tons of clay would last me at least ten years.

If I buy a mill, I will have to :

1. find a place for it.

2. Pay for the electricity it uses.

3. Maintain it

Or, I can use that money to buy clay and make pots instead of reclaiming clay.

Why do I ( or any small volume potter ) "need a pugmill"?

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neilestrick    1,381

Large volume potters don't need them either. It's way more profitable to spend time making pots than making clay. Clay is cheap, time is not.

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Pres    896

I was having an argument with a friend. They think I should buy a pugmill for recycling clay.

A little research revealed that, with my needs, and the space available, I could get one of those little Peter Pugger mills, for, let's say, $3,500.

Now with clay cost at around $0.35/lb. I could buy 10,000 lbs. of clay. I live eight miles from my supplier, so I don't pay for shipping.

That five tons of clay would last me at least ten years.

If I buy a mill, I will have to :

1. find a place for it.

2. Pay for the electricity it uses.

3. Maintain it

Or, I can use that money to buy clay and make pots instead of reclaiming clay.

Why do I ( or any small volume potter ) "need a pugmill"?

 

 

You know I tried to talk myself into this same thing a few years ago. Concluded in the long run that I could get rid of the clay by donating to the local HS as it has a pug mill-used to be my classroom. You may find a school nearby that would love to some of your unclaimed clay.

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Claypple    29

Besides, you can still reclaim the clay even without the pugmill if you decide to do so.

Especially since you said you are a small volume potter.

It is not too much time consuming either. I do it almost automatically.

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Mark C.    1,800

(Large volume potters don't need them either. It's way more profitable to spend time making pots than making clay. Clay is cheap, time is not. )

This is the truth above- if you have special needs like mixing body's together its a maybe but clay is cheap and time is not as said above.

Mark

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Biglou13    202

I recover my clay daily (ish).

15 gallon bucket out always for any clay.

Trimmings go into another bucket with cover, spray or splash with water cover with wet towel seal lid.

Dryer clay to bone dry start in different bucket... Soak a few minutes until it gets soft pour off water add to bucket above.

If its too wet leave it out a few days. (Or plaster drying bat). To dry add some water, wet the towel.close lid.

I'll do a preliminary wedge when I get about 10# to make sure it homogenized and its not to wet or to dry or combo.

 

I really like the clay body when it's from mixed clays. But you could keep a bucket for your different bodies.

 

I'm with claypple and offf center. I recover every time i play, and by hand. I don't see need for pug mill unless your mixing own clay bodies, or recovering large amounts clay. It's not a big chore only adds a few minutes of labor. ( noted I'm strictly a hobbyist)

 

5 gal buckets a free. See local sandwich shop for pickle buckets, lids from hardware store. (Reduce ,reuse,recycle)

 

If your in north Florida I'll gladly pick up your scraps....and I'll reduce reuse and recycle for you. ( no charge)

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Thanks Biglou, but i don't recycle clay, I agree with Jeff Zamek when he says "It's the most expensive clay you can buy." Meaning clay is cheap, your time is not, and the physical effort adds to wear and tear in an already demanding craft. He thinks it better to use time making.

So who buys all these pugmills? Obviously, clay makers need the giant models to make clay, but who uses the Peter Puggers and such?

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OffCenter    82

It depends on your needs. As long as clay is relatively cheap, a production potter's time is probably better spent making more dishes than reprocessing clay. Of course, a lot of production potters make their own clay and need pug mills for that. Back when I was a production potter in Denver we would have laughed at any potter who bought his/her clay in 25 lb bags. For potters more interested in creating new forms than making more dishes you may use more expensive clays and, most importantly, You many have to throw twenty 20lb bowls to get the new shape you're looking for, meaning that 19 of those bowls or 380 lbs of clay needs to be either tossed or reworked. I bought a Peter Pugger to reprocess my clay but was so disappointed in what it does to the clay (especially porcelain) that I don't use it except to process clay I dig and clay to make bricks. My solution was that I stopped exercising in the mornings and substituted reprocessing clay by hand for an hour or so every day. My clay is perfect and I get a great workout.

 

Jim

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Chris Campbell    1,087

This is another one of those subjects that never get settled ...

Recycle your clay if you like to or for some reason need to but don't live under the impression that it is any kind of cost savings. It is a time gobbler ... It is a space gobbler .... It is a smelly mess if for some reason it gets set aside for another day ... And c'mon, be honest ... It often gets set aside for some other time because it is not fun. We took the clay from the earth, so don't be afraid to give some back!

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

My closest supplier is San Antonio, 280 miles away. I prefer Austin or Houston or even more, Baton Rouge (12 hour drive one way or shipping by the pallet). I recycle as much as I can but that is usually just trimmings. I use the trimmings for making sculptural clay.

I throw by my wedging table an put all the gooey clay on plaster and re-wedge it. Not much work there.

trimmings are kept dry ( not smelly) until I need to mix. Sometimes I mix a small batch and sometimes I mix a big batch.

Recycling is worth it to me.

 

Marcia

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I have seen many a pug mill left to rush in corners of studios, but the decision is up to you. Recycling clay is hard but I enjoy putting that effort into making the clay. It makes the clay worth more to me.

 

Also I get my old college tutors wastage from his studio for free, otherwise he just takes it to the tip as he says it is cheaper to buy in new clay. I have no choice but to recycle and have more time than money at the minute.

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I was having an argument with a friend. They think I should buy a pugmill for recycling clay.

A little research revealed that, with my needs, and the space available, I could get one of those little Peter Pugger mills, for, let's say, $3,500.

Now with clay cost at around $0.35/lb. I could buy 10,000 lbs. of clay. I live eight miles from my supplier, so I don't pay for shipping.

That five tons of clay would last me at least ten years.

If I buy a mill, I will have to :

1. find a place for it.

2. Pay for the electricity it uses.

3. Maintain it

Or, I can use that money to buy clay and make pots instead of reclaiming clay.

Why do I ( or any small volume potter ) "need a pugmill"?

 

 

You know I tried to talk myself into this same thing a few years ago. Concluded in the long run that I could get rid of the clay by donating to the local HS as it has a pug mill-used to be my classroom. You may find a school nearby that would love to some of your unclaimed clay.

 

Great idea!

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clay lover    133

All of the above makes perfectly good sense.

 

I LOVE MY PETER PUGGER!

 

 

I do a lot of hand building, and the scraps go straight back into the pugger,it is sealed and they don't dry out in there, When the hopper is full, push mix, wait a moment, push de air, wait 30 sec. push pug, out comes PERFECT clay, exactly the consistency I want for the job I'm doing.

For throwing, often the bagged clay is too stiff for me, I buy in quanity and some of it has been around a while. I cut it into 6 pieces, throw it in, add water and in 5 minutes have perfect clay for throwing. It has saved me MUCH muscle work just that way.

 

For using the large 5" wall extruder, I can do the same and struggle less to push stiff clay through that.

 

It also acts as a motorized horizontal extruder, super thing when I'm weaving baskets and need lots of strips. I also run test tiles out that way.

 

Very little of what I use it for is actual reclaim, the clay never dries out, it goes right back through the pugger and then is wraped in plastic and store in a plastic tote on the floor to be used.

 

Other thing, I am much more likely to scrap a not so great pot now, it's no work to recycle. I need to use all my clay, my brain is not happy with 'throw it away'.

 

Also,. I never realized how much better to throw the pugged clay is, no matter how much I wedge, the clay was never as nice as it is out of the pugger. t has really improved my throwing.

 

Nuff said, love the thing. I have MUCH less muscle trouble, no more carple tunnel issues, and make many more pots that I did before I got it.

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Marcia Selsor    1,301

All of the above makes perfectly good sense.

 

I LOVE MY PETER PUGGER!

 

 

I do a lot of hand building, and the scraps go straight back into the pugger,it is sealed and they don't dry out in there, When the hopper is full, push mix, wait a moment, push de air, wait 30 sec. push pug, out comes PERFECT clay, exactly the consistency I want for the job I'm doing.

For throwing, often the bagged clay is too stiff for me, I buy in quanity and some of it has been around a while. I cut it into 6 pieces, throw it in, add water and in 5 minutes have perfect clay for throwing. It has saved me MUCH muscle work just that way.

 

For using the large 5" wall extruder, I can do the same and struggle less to push stiff clay through that.

 

It also acts as a motorized horizontal extruder, super thing when I'm weaving baskets and need lots of strips. I also run test tiles out that way.

 

Very little of what I use it for is actual reclaim, the clay never dries out, it goes right back through the pugger and then is wraped in plastic and store in a plastic tote on the floor to be used.

 

Other thing, I am much more likely to scrap a not so great pot now, it's no work to recycle. I need to use all my clay, my brain is not happy with 'throw it away'.

 

Also,. I never realized how much better to throw the pugged clay is, no matter how much I wedge, the clay was never as nice as it is out of the pugger. t has really improved my throwing.

 

Nuff said, love the thing. I have MUCH less muscle trouble, no more carple tunnel issues, and make many more pots that I did before I got it.

 

 

I have to support your statement about the carpal tunnel and using de-airing pug mills. I had surgery on both hands 30 years ago and do not want to repeat it.

and de-airing is a big plus for me.

 

Marcia

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clay lover    133

I don't regret 1 dime of the considerable cost ( I went for the stainless, since I use porcelain, and keep clay in it at all times)

 

It is better made than my car!

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Natania    6

I bought one for where I teach, since it is on the third floor and a small studio, so spent clay would take up valuable space. I could barely keep up with recycling and wedging by hand before the school bought it. Wth the Peter pugger I can recylce clay in minutes (I sound like an advert) and then have more time to teach. I don't have the room (or $) for one at home though, and I find that clay does build up in buckets, etc. causing clutter, which I hate. I think if you get a taste of how easy and convenient the pug mill is, you miss it. Perhaps it is better not to know the good life...what do people do with old clay if not recylce? Isn't it expensive to send it to the landfill? Or just chuck it in the woods?

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Brian Reed    23

I live 10 minutes drive from a production pottery and I bring all my scraps there. I struggled with the idea of reclaiming by hand, buying a pugger/mixer and in the long run neither of those ideas worked for me. After taking my slop buckets, adding some dry clay and grog, mixing in a bucket, then letting sit for a few hours on my plaster wedging table I then get the joyous task of kneading, and wedging that into usable clay for throwing. After two long sessions and getting about 100lbs of clay I decided it was not worth it and bring it to a local pottery. They are happy to reclaim it as they have huge volume and they just put it in their mixer. No waste, it is all used.

 

I like that you did the math on what it costs per pound to buy clay and compared the cost of a pugger. Nice work and all the more reason not to go that route for me either, I too would rather be making pots.

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Claypple    29

It depends on your needs. ... You many have to throw twenty 20lb bowls to get the new shape you're looking for, meaning that 19 of those bowls or 380 lbs of clay needs to be either tossed or reworked.

 

Jim

 

 

BINGO!

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Nelly    16

I don't regret 1 dime of the considerable cost ( I went for the stainless, since I use porcelain, and keep clay in it at all times)

 

It is better made than my car!

 

 

Dear All,

 

Like many of you, I too recycle or reclaim my clay. I live about 50 miles from the closest supplier. I am a very small volume potter so my needs are not big. I use the big kitty litter containers to collect my scraps. It is a weekly chore. For the most part, trimming pieces go right into the slop bucket but older and harder pieces I allow to dry and then slake. I then take this mixture and pour it into a big linen t towel I have placed over a big board that is covered with canvas with newspapers on top. In a few days, I have clay that is ready to go. Sometimes I mix some new stuff from a fresh box to make it stronger if it is a little wet. Eventually, it comes around and is workable for my throwing needs.

 

But, if I ever get to the point where my hands cannot wedge the clay or I cannot recycle for some reason, then I may consider a pugger. I am fine right now though.

 

Nelly

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clay lover    133

The thing I did not expect from it is the improvement in my throwing due to the great, even consistency of the clay that I could not get with any amount of hand wedging. I spend much less time actually pulling a pot to get the same results, so for me, it has increased my efficiency, not used up throwing time.

 

I bought it reluctantly,$$$$$, from a need to deal with the hand-shoulder problems I was having. The rest has been a bonus.

Oh, another pluss, there are no more buckets and tubs of assorted scrap sitting around.

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