Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

How to reclaim clay leftovers manually?


  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 MichaelP

MichaelP

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 168 posts
  • LocationIL/WI border

Posted 11 April 2013 - 04:35 AM

What's your technics to reclaim bone dry clay leftovers? How much water, for how long, how to mix the slurry, how you dry it, how long each step takes, etc. As many details as possible, please.

Thank you.

Mike

#2 High Bridge Pottery

High Bridge Pottery

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 349 posts
  • LocationNewcastle Upon Tyne. England

Posted 11 April 2013 - 06:30 AM

Once the clay is bone dry I break it up into small inch square pieces. The amount of water I don't think really matters, as long as all the clay is covered. Leave for 1-2 days allowing it to break down then just scoop out onto a plaster bat to dry. I always end up with a porridge like consistency because I miss some big lumps and don't want to waste too much time breaking it up. Once wedged up it all mixes together nicely.
I then cut it into big(ish) lumps and wrap in a bin big. Leave for a day to even out the moisture content.

That's the process I use, it is simple to reclaim clay.

                                                                                                                 1384226_215924051918490_1181728069_n.jpg


#3 TJR

TJR

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,153 posts
  • LocationCanada

Posted 11 April 2013 - 08:35 AM

Mike;
I use the two bucket system which I developed.
1.Throw all slips and bits of soft clay scrapings into the bottom of a 3 gallon pail.
2.After trimming, the next day when trimmings are white hard, throw into pail.Pail should have about one third water in it.
3.Keep throwing all slurry, slip,dry trimmings into pail until full.
4.Get a second pail. Decant water from first pail into the second, while leaving all clay bits still in first pail.
5.As you are filling second pail, first pail scraps are drying.
6.When first pail looks like there is no water sitting on the surface,get out your plaster bat.The bat should be large.Two feet by two feet, and about 3 inches thick.
7. This is the most important step.Place a canvas on the plaster bat.
8.Put all your moist clay scraps from bucket one onto bat. Smooth with a rubber rib so you don't have any peaks. You are not making a marangue pie.
9.Do not wash bucket one. Let it dry out and konk it on the floor after a couple of days to get out the excess. Place scraps in bucket two, or not.
10.Come back on the second day, cover your clay slops on the plaster bat with the edges of the same piece of canvas, and flip the entire thing over.
11.Day 3. Using a cut off wire, put reclaim clay into two thick clay bags.
12.Very important. Place your bagged clay into another bag going the opposite direction. In other words, you are double bagging your clay.
13.Leave your clay in a dark corner for several months, like a winter.Do not let it freeze.
14.When you open your clay, it will be beautifully consistent without wedging. You will have to wedge before throwing like normal.
You are welcome.
TJR.

#4 Biglou13

Biglou13

    Advanced beginner pottery, Advanced in other art

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 878 posts
  • LocationNorth Florida

Posted 11 April 2013 - 02:18 PM

depends on how big chunks are. basically i soak in water until chunks are pliable, drain off water, cover with wet towel cover bucket with lid. too dry add soaking wet towel. at half bucket wedge and bag. if to dry wet towel and cover, to wet leave open. if bucket is too wet i add more leather hard trimmings poke them in and/or leave bucket uncovered. so i never slurry it tend to keep it on the dry side and slowly reconstitute via wet towel and quick wedge. i never let bucket get more that 20 pounds. 5 gal buckets are free see sandwich shop, lids from hardware store.
Caution big brother is watching.
The beige is blinding!!!!!!
The middle of the road is boring

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.
-Albert Einstein

#5 gypsy

gypsy

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 89 posts
  • LocationJames Creek, Pa

Posted 11 April 2013 - 04:04 PM

simple wonderful process.

#6 neilestrick

neilestrick

    Neil Estrick

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,432 posts
  • LocationGrayslake, IL

Posted 11 April 2013 - 04:16 PM

If you don't have a plaster slab to dry it out on, spread it on an old sheet or pillow case on a concrete floor- garage, utility room, etc.
Neil Estrick
Kiln Repair Tech
L&L Distributor
Owner, Neil Estrick Gallery, LLC
www.neilestrickgallery.com

neil@neilestrickgallery.com

#7 MichaelP

MichaelP

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 168 posts
  • LocationIL/WI border

Posted 11 April 2013 - 05:17 PM

I'd like to thank everyone for very helpful tips. Please keep them coming.

Do you buy any specific plaster for the bats? Where do you buy it?

#8 TJR

TJR

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,153 posts
  • LocationCanada

Posted 11 April 2013 - 06:26 PM

Michael;
I buy number 1 pottery plaster from my ceramic supplier. You could probably use plaster from Home Depot.
TJR.

#9 potterbeth

potterbeth

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 23 posts

Posted 12 April 2013 - 09:16 AM

Better yet, recycle that clay before it's bone dry whenever possible. Produces less dust in your studio, requires less space, and is less work.

I keep a small plastic container lined with an old clay bag in my studio. It sits on my wheel or work table, wherever I'm working. Most of the time, I fold the top of the bag closed overnight. If the contents are really wet, I sometimes leave it open. It just depends on where I am in my studio cycle.
--All my throwing slop goes there.
--All my trimmings go there, and I push them into the slop if they're too dry.
--Any larger pieces of clay that get a little stiff are soaked in a bucket of water until they're a little squishy outside and a little firm inside, then they're pushed into the slop in the container. (This works until the clay gets past leatherhard, and I use it to reclaim pieces of slab, extra handles, pieces that "go wrong", etc.)

When the container is full (about 10 lbs of recycle), I close the bag expelling all air, squish everything together, and set it aside for about a week to homogenize. Then, if it's too wet to wedge, I use a piece of cloth (old pillowcase material works well) on top of a plaster bat as described by someone else above. I never put the clay directly on the plaster, always on a piece of cloth. If you don't have a plaster bat or a concrete floor, you can use a pile of newspaper under the cloth to absorb the excess moisture. I "jelly roll" the slab of recycle before wedging to evenly distribute the moisture since one side is frequently dryer than the other. And I like my clay a little sticky when I begin wedging. The wedging table removes some of the moisture, plus it's easier on my joints.

All that said, if I want to reclaim something that has gotten past leatherhard...unless it is a large solid block of clay, I simply drop it in a container of water and allow it to sit overnight. No breaking it up. By the next day, all that's left is usually a pile of slip that goes into the container with everything else. I've done this with abandoned student work with areas up to 2-3 inches thick.

Another recent topic discussed the pros and cons of pugmills...and it seemed that many potters send their recycle to the landfill with the idea that buying more clay is cheaper than "paying" for recycle with your time and energy.

#10 Nancy S.

Nancy S.

    My day job pays for my clay habit

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 166 posts
  • LocationHarrisburg area, PA

Posted 12 April 2013 - 08:39 PM

Mike;
I use the two bucket system which I developed.
1.Throw all slips and bits of soft clay scrapings into the bottom of a 3 gallon pail.
2.After trimming, the next day when trimmings are white hard, throw into pail.Pail should have about one third water in it.
3.Keep throwing all slurry, slip,dry trimmings into pail until full.
4.Get a second pail. Decant water from first pail into the second, while leaving all clay bits still in first pail.
5.As you are filling second pail, first pail scraps are drying.
6.When first pail looks like there is no water sitting on the surface,get out your plaster bat.The bat should be large.Two feet by two feet, and about 3 inches thick.
7. This is the most important step.Place a canvas on the plaster bat.
8.Put all your moist clay scraps from bucket one onto bat. Smooth with a rubber rib so you don't have any peaks. You are not making a marangue pie.
9.Do not wash bucket one. Let it dry out and konk it on the floor after a couple of days to get out the excess. Place scraps in bucket two, or not.
10.Come back on the second day, cover your clay slops on the plaster bat with the edges of the same piece of canvas, and flip the entire thing over.
11.Day 3. Using a cut off wire, put reclaim clay into two thick clay bags.
12.Very important. Place your bagged clay into another bag going the opposite direction. In other words, you are double bagging your clay.
13.Leave your clay in a dark corner for several months, like a winter.Do not let it freeze.
14.When you open your clay, it will be beautifully consistent without wedging. You will have to wedge before throwing like normal.
You are welcome.
TJR.


Well, I've got steps 1-10 down pat. And leaving it sit for a few months sure beats all that wedging! Definitely going to try this next time, especially since I don't do a lot of throwing in the winter.

When you make the meringue pie -- I mean, slather out the clay on the canvas-covered wedging board/plaster bat -- how thick do you leave it? An inch? Half-inch?

#11 TJR

TJR

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,153 posts
  • LocationCanada

Posted 13 April 2013 - 08:18 PM


Mike;
I use the two bucket system which I developed.
1.Throw all slips and bits of soft clay scrapings into the bottom of a 3 gallon pail.
2.After trimming, the next day when trimmings are white hard, throw into pail.Pail should have about one third water in it.
3.Keep throwing all slurry, slip,dry trimmings into pail until full.
4.Get a second pail. Decant water from first pail into the second, while leaving all clay bits still in first pail.
5.As you are filling second pail, first pail scraps are drying.
6.When first pail looks like there is no water sitting on the surface,get out your plaster bat.The bat should be large.Two feet by two feet, and about 3 inches thick.
7. This is the most important step.Place a canvas on the plaster bat.
8.Put all your moist clay scraps from bucket one onto bat. Smooth with a rubber rib so you don't have any peaks. You are not making a marangue pie.
9.Do not wash bucket one. Let it dry out and konk it on the floor after a couple of days to get out the excess. Place scraps in bucket two, or not.
10.Come back on the second day, cover your clay slops on the plaster bat with the edges of the same piece of canvas, and flip the entire thing over.
11.Day 3. Using a cut off wire, put reclaim clay into two thick clay bags.
12.Very important. Place your bagged clay into another bag going the opposite direction. In other words, you are double bagging your clay.
13.Leave your clay in a dark corner for several months, like a winter.Do not let it freeze.
14.When you open your clay, it will be beautifully consistent without wedging. You will have to wedge before throwing like normal.
You are welcome.
TJR.


Well, I've got steps 1-10 down pat. And leaving it sit for a few months sure beats all that wedging! Definitely going to try this next time, especially since I don't do a lot of throwing in the winter.

When you make the meringue pie -- I mean, slather out the clay on the canvas-covered wedging board/plaster bat -- how thick do you leave it? An inch? Half-inch?


I go two to three inches. It's not how thick, but whether your plaster bat is dry enough to suck out the moisture. You can only do about two batches before the bat has to dry out.
TJR.

#12 TJR

TJR

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,153 posts
  • LocationCanada

Posted 13 April 2013 - 08:22 PM

I don't reclaim my clay because it's typically cheap enough to buy new as needed, I don't have a pugmill or any of that which I feel is really necessary to get a good batch of consistant clay, hand doing it I don't feel quite makes the grade.
I prefer my clay to be all the same consistancy, pliability and the same box to box as I use it in a model, I don't like re-using scrapings and scraps scooped out of the back to hollow a sculpture, because they will be firmer and have a different consistancy that causes issues when adding it to a model in the works and then running into soft/hard spots.
That's the drawback reusing it along with new clay, they will never be exactly the same consistancy throughout unless you run it all thru a machine or do a heck of a lot of work!


I beg to differ. The beauty of clay as opposed to wood, is that it has that magic quality of being reusable. The trick is in aging it long enough so that it becomes the right consistency. I never throw any clay away.
TJR.

#13 Chantay

Chantay

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 200 posts
  • LocationVirginia, USA

Posted 14 April 2013 - 02:48 AM

Posted ImageRDWolff, on 13 April 2013 - 07:58 PM, said:

I don't reclaim my clay because it's typically cheap enough to buy new as needed, I don't have a pugmill or any of that which I feel is really necessary to get a good batch of consistant clay, hand doing it I don't feel quite makes the grade.
I prefer my clay to be all the same consistancy, pliability and the same box to box as I use it in a model, I don't like re-using scrapings and scraps scooped out of the back to hollow a sculpture, because they will be firmer and have a different consistancy that causes issues when adding it to a model in the works and then running into soft/hard spots.
That's the drawback reusing it along with new clay, they will never be exactly the same consistancy throughout unless you run it all thru a machine or do a heck of a lot of work!

Wow! I wish I could afford not to recycle. I'm still new at throwing and recycle about 50% of everything I make. I'd be happy to give the used clay away!
- chantay

#14 Benzine

Benzine

    Socratic Potter

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,468 posts
  • LocationThe Hawkeye State

Posted 14 April 2013 - 10:14 AM

Yeah, I'm with TJR, one reason clay is awesome, is because it can be salvaged and reused. I reclaim as much as possible. Maybe it's the teacher in me, who is used to being on a budget. The more clay I can save and reuse, the more money I'll have to spend on other things, that aren't reusable, glazes/ underglazes, as well as tools.
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users