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DMCosta

Sink In My Classroom Solution

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Hi All, I am looking for a solution for my classroom sink. I have two large sinks in my classroom and they don't drain well. They have never drained well, even when we don't work with clay for a while. Eventhough the kids don't put much clay down the sink at all, and we have a clay trap, the plumbing is just awful there. Couple that with custodians that don't want to help at all, and now it's an issue. I need a DIY solution to perhaps fill the sink in the AM, let one sink with water stay there to clean tools etc. Then drain it once at end of day. I know years ago in my college studio they had something that looked like a tall tube with a small plunger that held the water in the sink. Not sure what it was or where to find it. 

 

Does anyone know an inexpensive and simple solution to this? I would have to buy and install it myself. Since it's a school, I could not do anything permanent to the sinks. 

 

Thank you for your help!

 

~Dianna

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Suggest a variation of the old Boy Scout/Girl Scout "three pot" approach to cleaning dishes (pottery tools, pans).  Set up 2 Five gallon buckets, first one is for initial clean . . . where you get all the gunk and clay washed off; second one is for rinsing after the initial wash.  Let the first bucket sit overnight to let clay settle and then siphon out water down sink and put clay remnants in a bucket for dumping outside or recycling (or slip for decoration, joining).  Second bucket is moved to first bucket to conserve water.  I don't have running water in my studio; two bucket approach is my method. 

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I would say, the drainage problem may be due to the build up of settled clay, over the years.  So even when you aren't working with clay, it's still causing a problem.

 

I had this issue, in one of my classrooms.  The maintanence staff had to come in, and run a long snake to clean out the main drainage line.  Drained fine after that.

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You have to take the "p" trap off at the bottom of the sink. This always gets clogged with small paint brushes, acrylic paint globs and possibly clay. This gets removed about once a year with a basin underneath to catch the water.

For clay, I have students put all clay scraps into a square basin .I put water on it all, pour the water off and bag the clay. After a few bags accumulate, I cut/slap wedge them. No clay ever goes down the sink. All clay scraps get reused before they become too hard to wedge.

TJR.

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Hi Everyone, thank you for the great suggestions. I agree with a lot of what was said, and yes the drain probably does have to be snaked. Unfortunately, we are having a shift in custodial staff and it's a shift for the worst. I'm not going to be able to have anything snaked, or any maintanence sadly. The school has "no money" so anything that involves equipment, repairs, or getting a plumber is very unlikely to happen. Totally rediculous. I also have about 27 kids a class, which equals about 135 ceramic students a day, so the volume is also an issue. 

 

Thanks for the help, I appreciate any further suggestions!

 

~Dianna

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How deep are your sinks?  If they are over 12" in depth, buy some plastic pipe that fits IN the drain hole.  Drill a lot of small (1/8" to 1/4") holes in the upper one third of the pipe.  Use a good tub caulking to fix it in place (over the weekend so it will cure),  the heavier particles will settle to the bottom and the clearest water will go through the small holes and then down the drain.  I'd still recommend using  a bucket for the first rinse,  At the end of the day dig out any goo, and recycle

 

My studio solution is regular double sinks positioned over double laundry tubs.  The sinks drain into the tubs  from a straight length of pipe and the laundry tubs have 16" stand pipes with the holes in the top third.  I have been using this system since 1985 and have never had to call a plumber.  (reference:  find directions for a plaster sink setup, and it's all there).  

 

Shirley

timbo_heff likes this

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Great advice Shirley. Hard to beat a good "Slip Sink" set up.

 

My set up is a little different. I have a slip bucket, where any small scraps and slurry from the wheel are dumped. The heavy bits go to the bottom, the water overflows into the sink. When that bucket gets full of slip/ slurry, it gets dumped into the reclaim bin, and worked with the drier scraps.

 

As a back up, I have a big trap under the sink as well. A little slurry usually makes its way down there, but most of what's in the trap is chunks of paint......And boy does that combo, smell great after it has been stewing in there!

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first thing i would do is figure out how to get those drains snaked because i'd bet that's half your problem.  i'd even guess your custodial staff has one in their supplies as i've always know them to have at least one to test out before calling up a plumber and pay money.  if not, you could rent one or better yet buy a cheap $10 25ft hand-crank snake from Harbor Freight (maybe even use a 20% off coupon since you can usually find a dozen in one Sunday paper) to keep in your classroom since this may be needed in the future.

 

if your sink doesn't have one yet, look into either buying or fabricating a sink drain trap to catch any materials that make it past an in-sink pre-trap.  If you do some Google searching you can find many simple plans for making a sink trap out of buckets or rubbermaid tubs, etc and most likely under $20 in parts that will save a lot of future headache, or just buy one.  for in-sink contraptions, many people have different setups for this type of trap.  some variations i've seen are the "overflow tube" setup (like being described above with a tube that raises the drain and only lets cleaner water past it), busser tubs in the sink, multi-bucket setups, single bucket setups, etc etc.  

 

one of the simplest ones I've seen is simply a 5-gal bucket with many small holes (1/8"?) drilled around the top lip about 1" down from the top edge.  This 5-gal bucket sits inside of a busser tub, that was sitting inside the sink.  5-gal bucket is mainly for pre-rinsing hands and tools, when water level gets to the holes it spills over and flows into the 2nd tier/busser tub.  The 5-gal bucket is deep enough to settle most of the clay and the 1/8" holes act as a filter; the 2nd tier is a secondary settling trap that helps keep clean water only going down the drain.  

 

even just having a separate bucket or trash can full of water for doing a pre-wash on hands and tools could be the solution to your problem.  ultimately though, teaching your students good studio habits will help the most.  having a backed up sink is a good time for them to learn since they can physically see the repercussions of putting clay down the drain.  

 

Good luck!

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At the local teaching pottery here is Snohomish they have a very good rinse bucket that is actually a large horse trough.  This works great and can hold a large load of clay and water.  Each morning siphon off a few inches and let the clay settle.  Once a week or very few weeks get down and pull out what settles and set aside for recycling.  When I was in High school we has a similar recycle bucket and when most purchased bag clay the recycle bucket was free and I spent one entire class wedging and kneeding and bagging my own clay once a week.  I think that this is a skill many do not appreciate.  I could not have afforded to take Pottery in high school other wise.

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