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Phil J

Meat Grinder As Pugmill?

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Has anyone tried using a meat grinder as a pugmill? We don't use enough clay at one time to justify even the smallest comercial model. I thinking of comercial hand grinders which are available used for about $50 around here.

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If you try it, take out the cutter just behind the extruder plate. I would also soften the clay as much as possible to avoid the previously mentioned blow out.

 

Good luck. If it works, please report back.

 

Jed

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I've wondered about this myself...completely cast-iron ones can be found in the antique shops around here. I kick myself for not taking my grandmother's when I had the chance, but I wasn't into grinding beef, charcuterie, or pottery back then, and declined....

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My partner in mud thinks we need a pug mill. I can't agree as we don't recycle enough clay in a year to warrent the cost (IMHO). Now that you've brought this up, I'm thinking potato ricer! Hmm, trip to the kitchen gadet store!

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You probably do not need pug mill.

I have 2 heavy duty buckets in my studio. 10 L each. Bought form local construction/hardware store for few €. Probably made for carrying cement and garbage etc.

All the clay with grog goes to one and no grog stuff goes to other one.

When they are almost full, add water so it's covered, let it sit for a day or two, pull the stuff out, wedge, lay it out on a plaster slab to try and then wedge and then it goes back to a strong plastic bag (I reuse the bags it was sold in). As simple as that. I do that maybe once a month or even less.

I never leave clay laying around and if I can, all the extra pieces go straight back to the bag where it originated, so I do not have to throw them in to a bucket. :)

Most of the content in those buckets is from throwing wheel.

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Some of us have been recycling clay in canvas bags.  We have found it to be far better than plaster.  The clay is just placed in the bag and the bag hung up to dry.  When it begins to get somewhat firm it can be kneaded a bit.  If you are willing to watch it more closely it can be put out on a concrete driveway in the bag and will dry out much quicker. It can be turned every couple of hours.  When it is "done" the bag can be turned inside out and the clay comes out in a nice lump.  I usually take it out before it is quite as dry as it needs to be and put it in a plastic bag. 

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You probably do not need pug mill.

I have 2 heavy duty buckets in my studio. 10 L each. Bought form local construction/hardware store for few €. Probably made for carrying cement and garbage etc.

All the clay with grog goes to one and no grog stuff goes to other one.

When they are almost full, add water so it's covered, let it sit for a day or two, pull the stuff out, wedge, lay it out on a plaster slab to try and then wedge and then it goes back to a strong plastic bag (I reuse the bags it was sold in). As simple as that. I do that maybe once a month or even less.

I never leave clay laying around and if I can, all the extra pieces go straight back to the bag where it originated, so I do not have to throw them in to a bucket. :)

Most of the content in those buckets is from throwing wheel.

In the winter, let it freeze in a plastic basin with drain in bottom, Bring it into heated area and let thaw-water drains off leaving pretty decent wedgeable clay.

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You don't need a pug mill. Just wedge, bag it up let it age and then spiral wedge. This is just one more thing to break. I say give it a pass.

TJR.

Love it rocking it old school.........

 

It's what I do. Making second batch this weekend

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I tried using a small hand crank meat grinder. It ended up being more of a pain then what it was worth. Ended up going with the smallest Peter pugger I could get at the time, they may have a smaller model now but idk. It handles about 25 pounds in a batch and does a wonderful job. The results and time/labor savings will out way the costs and your wrists and elbows will be appreciative, at least mine were.

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I have access to two Venco de-airing pug machines. Our pottery club has one for white clay and one for dark. But to take my clay with me when I am on duty, and use the pug machines, is more trouble than it is worth. Two years ago, I pugged several bags of clay that I had wetted down and it wasn't any fun at all. I had to put the clay through twice to get the rid of the two colour spiral that remained in the clay after only one pass. I have not used the machine since. I have gotten very efficient at cut and bash wedging and call it 'exercise'.

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The cut and slam wedging method has the advantage of exposing any grotty bits that have somehow got into the clay. My own hair, for instance. Pug machines or kneading, spiral or otherwise, don't help you locate and remove unwanted small bits.

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I get my slop and trimming buckets really wet, make a slurry, and stir with electric drill paddle. the thick slurry goes in canvas bags which are hung and drip dried. I store the clay in 5 gallon buckets with a wet rag on top and lids on.

 

I dig local clay and use the same process.

 

I tried the meat grinder. The housing for the auger cracked. It was one of many disasters I choose not to admit to owning... There a microbiology term that descibes the amount of disasters....TMTC...(too many to count)...

 

Jed

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I don't have any canvas bags, but the legs of old jeans work just fine as long as they don't have holes in them. A friend has a jeans leg attached with some kind of clamp to the outlet of her wheel splash pan . The sewn up hem end sits in a bucket. All the throwing slip and turnings go into the jeans leg. When the jeans leg is full, she ties up the open end and lets it stiffen. The cut and slam method of wedging doesn't require very much strength. You don't have to lift the whole lump of clay, only half at a time.

Rae Reich likes this

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