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What Can I Do With These Raw Materials

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I have been given a bucket/half bucket of each of the following raw materials, and now I'm not sure what to do with them !



Nepheline Syenite      



Black Ball Clay   

Feldspar Potash 




CC China Clay     

xide P184

Zircon Oxide      

Iron Ox – Yellow Ochre


There is one more bucket with no label.  Whatever is in there is wet, pale greeny-blue and has the texture of a stoneware glaze (gooey, fudge-like), on firing it is matt beige,  and beaded. The potter who gave these to me can't remember what it is, but I know he used to make his own stoneware glazes !


Any suggestions gratefully received.  I don't have the time or energy to test every bit with every other bit to see if what happens.





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Sadly, you have been given a "pig in a poke". You are stuck with the "old maid".

You have been given no less than 14 buckets of valuable materials that you have no use for because you don't know how to use them.

Here is what you do;

1. Go to the mirror and practice saying "No thank-you."

2.Call up your potter friend who is laughing in his beard and tell him to pick up his old materials, which you didn't ask for in the first place. He has a clean well -organized studio. He feels good for gifting you this stuff, and you are left with a mill stone around your neck.

3.You cannot dump this stuff in the garbage, because it is hazardous to the environment.

4.Give it back to him, and hurry before he starts enjoying his new space..oh,oh.. too late.

5.Leave it all in his yard, especially the goopl'gloppy greenyglaze mystery.

Just say no to mystery gifts in future.


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+1 on returning unknown glaze unless your a glutton for punishment.     or glaze wash bucket in one year strain and make another glaze.


the remainder of dry ingredients.  with some you have makings of a clay body


the rest are makings for glaze,  or beginning of glaze library.


id be excited to make a dark body with the black ball clay.


china clay

black ball clay





thats a clay body  you just need the right percentages.



black slip


ball clay

china clay

neph sy

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Guest JBaymore

Gifted old raw materials are a mixed blessing.  If you know what you are doing, and you CAN use them, it is a good deal.  But as was pointed out....... they can also be a liability. 


Those buckets / containers SAY that they contain such-and-such.  In fact, they probably do.  But you don't KNOW that for sure.  It all depends on how careful the person donating them to you was with them... and if THEY maybe got them donated to THEM....... how careful the person before them was.  And so on.


For any unlabeled containers.... wow...... at a techincal level you have to believe that is hazardous materials until you can establish WHAT it really is.  In some cases doing so can be VERY expensive.  Throwing it out will entail a "hazardous waste collection day" if you do not sell your work (not a buisiness).  If you are a  business... you will need a hazardous waste hauler ........to be legal.


Yeah... give the unlabeled "glaze" back for sure.


The rest likely are exactly what they say they are (but not for sure).... and form the basis for a small "glaze lab".  Now you have to study up on how to use them.  If so... you'll need a scale and a respirator at the least.  If you have no intention of doing so........ you now have an albatross hanging around your neck.


At the college we very rarely accept such donations.  Too many potential issues..... and raw materials reallty are basically pretty cheap.... labor is the expensive part of what we do.





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Dear Chilly,

you need to know what these are in order to use them correctly.


Mag Is this stuff light and fluffy? If so, it is Magnesium Carbonate. This is used in making beaded glazes.

Nepheline Syenite, soda flux popular for ^6 glazes.

Bentonite- suspension in a glaze to prevent settling. 2%

Alumina probably hydrate..good to add to wax for porcelain to prevent lids sticking or feet chipping

use in kiln wash, and sometimes in a glaze.

Black Ball Clay If this is Bandi Black , it contains a lot of organic stuff that fluxes a lot at ^9

Feldspar Potash equivalent to Custer Spar,or other potash spars

Talc is talc

Quartz This is Silica AKA Flint.

Dolomite is a nice flux for buttery surfaces and turns cobalt towards lavender

CC China Clay this is Kaolin

xide P184 <-can't say. Look at Pemco Frit numbers to see if it matches. Then look at the composition like Boron, or Lead, or whatever Pemco Frit is used for.


Zircon Oxide This is an opacifier like Tin.

Iron Ox – Yellow Ochre This is a good wash for low fire open pit firing that turns red. Also a colorant for glazes.


So you can use these to mix glazes and start by tests first.

Doesn't sound like enough to be making clay bodies. But a good start on Glaze mixing.


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The Magnesium Carbonate can also be used as a flux in glazes when used in more moderate amounts.

When you use it in 30% or more , you can get lichen and beading development.From the list of ingredients, you only need a few colorants beyond the yellow ochre to be able to make a wide pallete of glazes.

Also if you want to develop once-fired glazes, 5% bentonite will help the glaze stick and shrink through the firing.


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Guest JBaymore

I don't have the time or energy to test every bit with every other bit to see if what happens.


The potential "issue" here is from this statement that she does not have/want to spend much time learning about these materials.  Could be wrong ... but that is what it seems from that comment.  Learning to mix and make glazes will be an investment of time and energy.





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Well, I finally decided to test these materials and learn what to do with them.  I found a recipe that needed whiting and flint to add to the Feldspar Potash, China Clay and zirconium oxide to give me a white stoneware, so bought those.  Tested it to cone 6 and wasn't impressed, but when the centre's kiln "overfired" and put cone 7 down it was much more to my liking.


Luckily, in that firing I also had a "materials" test tile, so I'm now pretty sure that the buckets are correctly labelled, and the yucky beige crusty stuff has turned into quite a nice blue/green glaze. I also tested my own wood ash, one test as it came out of the washed bucket, the other using only the very fine stuff.


In the photo below, the alumina test looks empty, that's because it came out of the kiln in the same state (fine dust) it went in, so is now in the slops bucket, same with the slightly crusty flint and CC.


This exercise it took me a lot of time to decide to do, but I can thoroughly recommend it to anyone else that aquires/inherits "stuff".


Also, I've already made use of the alumina and CC - as bat wash for both mine and the centre's kiln shelves - so taking my potter friends throwouts has been useful, especially as they came with a bucket of terracotta clay, loads of kiln props and some shelves, all of which have also been put to good use.  Not to mention 200 kiln bricks which are going to get used in the summer holidays at the scout campsite where I volunteer.



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Great effort!

You can now enjoy getting to know what ingredients to buy to complement these gifts. nice lot for  a no. of base glazes.

Unlabelled raw materials are a bit of a problem, looks like you have quite a nice glaze there!! Don't know the ingredients be safe and don't use it on food surfaces. :)

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