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Freezing!

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Now that it has gotten down to -10 here in MT, I have discovered my shop does get below freezing... Frozen fresh greenware has some interesting patterning! I also love re-wedging boat loads of clay...

I have resorted to schlepping my clay and greenware to/form the shop as it would be impossible to keep the wood stove going all the time. I have set up a table to let the greenware dry in the house, but I am making a mess and running out of space in a hurry. Any concerns about storing it in the shop once it is bone dry?

 

Many thanks!

 

Brian

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I lived in Montana for 33 years and also had a shop in upstate NY. If you can find an old freezer or fridge, you could store clay in there and heat it with a 60 watt light bulb. You could build an insulated storage box and heat that with a 60 watt light bulb. I think we might be looking at a very long winter.

It doesn't even start for another 2 weeks! I had a wood stove in my studio in NY. I found an old kerosene heater that I ran overnight to keep things from freezing. This is after finding wet greenware with frozen fish scale -like patterns. They fired out just fine.

Marcia

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20 F. here this morning, warm compared to other places. I have been doing a lot of Christmas gifts and orders the last few weeks inbetween hunting for the elusive big buck. Wife is tired of the mud track in from the shop, it always happens with snow outside, and bits of clay dust on floor. I try to take shoes of outside but too cold for that now.  I have a brick garage for a shop, and it has had to have the electric heat on overnight for quite a few days now. If the brick gets cold, it never warms up with the heat, best to keep the heat on.

I used to get the frozen greenware, and it did not create a problem, but always scary.  I have my clay stored outside so it does freeze up, but wedging is something I do always anyway so that does not bother me. I used to have problems with my back years ago after I flattened the tops and bottoms of two vertebrae in a car accident. I found that the motion of the wedging actually improved the pain in the back, and later got rid of altogether, so I continue.

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Start walking north and when you hit the latitude N 59 and something (northern part of Saskatchewan)... Welcome.

It's not that cold in EU, at same latitude but, -40F (-40C) is not uncommon around here.

 

Point is, if you studio in cellar and stuff freezes there, you got serious insulation problems. Obviously, you can not fix that so easily. Around here, cellars are built for storing food - cold in summer and above freezing point during the winter :)

 

Follow Marcia's advice and get yourself fridge or old ice box and use 60-100W light bulb to keep it at or above +4C.

There are probably kits available, that can check the temperature and turn the lights off, if it gets too "warm". Homebrewers use similar tricks to keep the fermentation temperatures under control in a old converted ice box or freezer.

 

If you need additional insulation, use "space blanket" (first aid blanket, mylar blanket. Costs only few €).

I have tested those blankets in -25C (-13 F) and they work really well keeping the heat from leaking out.

Just make sure, you put the blanket in to the box the right way - heat must be reflected back in to the box and not the other way around.

 

Like to see the results. Pictures please!

 

 

PS! You need to place the light bulb (in the wire cage) at the bottom of the box... obviously.

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Cold! Ha ha.. we laugh at the cold!

I am in the middle of a two day open studio crawl with 9 other artists in the same neighbourhood. I went to the studio yesterday morning. Door was hanging open two inches, ice all the way around the left and right verticle sides of the door. Had to get a hammer and bash it clear of ice. Used lock de-icer on the thingy that goes in the frame-the latch?

Heat was on all night, with the door open.

I have hydronic heat-heat in the floor. Coils under a concrete slab with glycol [anti-freeze].

Temperature-minus 28 celsius,or minus 18.4 F. Wind chill minus 43 celsius or it's not even on my chart in fahrenheit.

Still got customers. People didn't take off their parkas. Couldn't get the studio warm. Too many people opening and closing the door. But that's what you want right? Customers!

Stay warm.

TJR.

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My studio is the same way...I've never had a problem with the bone dry clay doing anything weird -- although I am wondering, while we're on the topic, whether or not freezing (or at least very cold) temperatures make greenware more brittle. I had the tail break off of a turkey-styled candy dish recently when I was doing a bit of cleaning to the piece....and it wasn't freezing in my studio, but dang near (40F).

 

Since my buckets of water freeze, I can only assume my clay does as well. By the time I get to using it in the spring I just wedge it (which I'd have to do anyway).

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You might buy a cheap heating pad and stick that in your old fridge or insulated box. that way you could put it under your clay and distribute the heat a little better. just leave an air gap between the hot pad on the bottom and the clay. You can do that with a few 1"X 4" slats.

 

I have used this type of setup to speed up evaporation from slurries in 5 gal pails.  Just make sure you get a fully sealed hot pad that doesn't have an automatic shutoff and make sure your bags don't leak water down onto it.

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You guy's make feel like a big baby, it's only gotten down to 4 here and this morning were getting a little ice.  My studio gets some heat from our home furnace, it's enough to keep it from freezing but not warm.  I have one of those radiator looking electric heaters which usually does a great job but this weather is to much for it.  It's suppose to be back in the thirties next week back to normal for Kansas.   Denice

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Sorry guys can't help you today's high 82f/ 27.7c

 

When that cold does clay dry fast? Since water particles are frozen it's technically zero effective humidity, providing the water in clay doesn't freeze first.

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I did my first 0 (Fahrenheit) degree Raku firing two days ago. The pressure in my propane tank dropped to nothing after one load. The good folks at the local gas station told me to 'just heat it up with a blow torch'. Yay!

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When that cold does clay dry fast? Since water particles are frozen it's technically zero effective humidity, providing the water in clay doesn't freeze first.

Solid water(ice) will evaporate at below freezing. The technical term is sublimation.  It's not very fast though. not near what it would do at room temp with very low humidity.

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I've noticed much slower drying times once the cool weather really sets in (below 50F) - in the summer, my ware dries in less than a day, even when it's covered. I had 1/2" slabs sitting in my 40F studio for nearly a week (lightly covered) and they're barely leatherhard. The cold air just doesn't suck the moisture out like wam air does....

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Our cold here comes with humidity (something about being a temperate rain forest) so without adding heat, work NEVER dries.  Sigh.  Space heater to the rescue!

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Silently gives a "Thank You" to the Gulf Stream from keeping my little island warm even tho' further north than most of you guys.  14C yesterday, and only 3C overnight.  We get an average of less than 10 days below freezing most years, and not many more freezing nights.  The water and slips will freeze as my "studio" is my larger greenhouse.  Must remember to move the buckets of stoneware slip to the smaller, frost-free greenhouse this week.

 

As for wedging near frozen clay - no thanks, I'd wait till summer.

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I did my first 0 (Fahrenheit) degree Raku firing two days ago. The pressure in my propane tank dropped to nothing after one load. The good folks at the local gas station told me to 'just heat it up with a blow torch'. Yay!

Safer bet is to partially submerge the tank in a bucket of water.  As the liquid propane turns to a burnable gas it cools and potentially looses pressure if the tank gets cold enough.  Even cold garden hose water will prevent pressure loss in my experience.  

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20 F. here this morning, warm compared to other places. I have been doing a lot of Christmas gifts and orders the last few weeks inbetween hunting for the elusive big buck. Wife is tired of the mud track in from the shop, it always happens with snow outside, and bits of clay dust on floor. I try to take shoes of outside but too cold for that now.  I have a brick garage for a shop, and it has had to have the electric heat on overnight for quite a few days now. If the brick gets cold, it never warms up with the heat, best to keep the heat on.

I used to get the frozen greenware, and it did not create a problem, but always scary.  I have my clay stored outside so it does freeze up, but wedging is something I do always anyway so that does not bother me. I used to have problems with my back years ago after I flattened the tops and bottoms of two vertebrae in a car accident. I found that the motion of the wedging actually improved the pain in the back, and later got rid of altogether, so I continue.

The elusive buck will show up, as soon as you leave.  That seems to be the case.

Ceramicists should open up "Back Rehab" centers, in their studios.  "Just get all this clay wedged, and you'll be fine.  Still not better, you're in luck, more clay.....And would it hurt you to stir a bucket of glaze or two?"

 

Cold! Ha ha.. we laugh at the cold!

I am in the middle of a two day open studio crawl with 9 other artists in the same neighbourhood. I went to the studio yesterday morning. Door was hanging open two inches, ice all the way around the left and right verticle sides of the door. Had to get a hammer and bash it clear of ice. Used lock de-icer on the thingy that goes in the frame-the latch?

Heat was on all night, with the door open.

I have hydronic heat-heat in the floor. Coils under a concrete slab with glycol [anti-freeze].

Temperature-minus 28 celsius,or minus 18.4 F. Wind chill minus 43 celsius or it's not even on my chart in fahrenheit.

Still got customers. People didn't take off their parkas. Couldn't get the studio warm. Too many people opening and closing the door. But that's what you want right? Customers!

Stay warm.

TJR.

 

My friend lives in Northern Maine.  I don't complain to him, about our weather here.  It gets cold here, it gets colder there.  We get snow, they get more.

I did my first 0 (Fahrenheit) degree Raku firing two days ago. The pressure in my propane tank dropped to nothing after one load. The good folks at the local gas station told me to 'just heat it up with a blow torch'. Yay!

 

I plan to do a Raku firing this weekend, for a gift.  This will be the coldest that I've fired my Raku kiln, forecasted 20 F.  I fired it once last winter, in January, but it was a bit of a warm spell, and was about 40-50 F.

I'll probably be trying, the "Partially submerge the tank" method to prevent a freeze up.

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Brrrr Raku in this weather! Good luck!

 

Going hunting again this weekend. Weather here is to be mid 20's or lower. I hope to keep warm, but after a day of walking, and sweating, and then standing here and there, things get chilled. Good thing about it all is a hot shower really feels great, better than in Summer.

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Hey there! I'm new to the community!

 

While we're talking about freezing weather, I have a question I'm hoping you might be able to help me out with. It's below freezing in my garage studio now as well. For the winter I've moved my clays and glazes into my basement to keep them from freezing. I also just had to hijack the dining room table to get some glazing done! So my question: Can I load my glazed bisqueware pieces into my kiln and let them sit overnight in below freezing temperatures before starting up the kiln the next morning? Will the temperatures do anything nasty to my glazed bisqueware?

 

I know, you're probably wondering why I don't just fire overnight (Cone 6, electric L&L) - this will actually be my very first glaze firing in my own home studio, and of course in this kiln. I bisque fired with it a few weeks ago and everything went smoothly but I'm still too nervous to fire up the kiln and go to sleep without checking on it periodically!!!

 

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer!

 

Cheers!

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Bowmanid,

 

How about just setting the kiln up to preheat over night?  Normally this would be something you'd do for a bisque firing to dry wares.  In this case, it would just be to prevent the load from freezing.

Pres likes this

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As Ben says, to keep it from freezing. If I might add another reason-warm environment to cold environment-possible moisture on surface. Pre heating will handle that also.

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My husband and I are insulating the cottage for me, and I really want a propane stove that looks like a little fireplace, because it can keep the studio a constant temp, but they are around $1200, so I don't think that is on the list this year. I can put a small wood burning stove in there for about $250, but it will get cold at night. Should I keep boxed, new clay in the house? How about the clay I have to wedge? Can that freeze without hurting it? 

 

Thanks! I live about 2 hours south of Canada in NY, the coldest we get is about 35 below F, but that is just a few days a year. It is usually a balmy -10 for a lot of the winter. :)

Nancy

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Hi everyone.  I feel like a sissy after reading about some of your studio temps.  Brrr.

 

I'm trying to figure out how to keep clay from freezing in my garage studio.  Since it doesn't get below 32 here that often would a space blanket without a light bulb under it be enough during a cold snap?  I don't trust an electric space heater out there overnight.  Cement floor gets really cold, so if I put the clay up on a wood platform first and then drape something over?  Or do I need the lightbulb too?  Thanks for your ideas and experience

 

 

 

 

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I havw run an electric heater with therm set for around 40 in my travel trailer for years with no problems. It is usually off during the day but runs most night. Doesnt seem to be any riskier than running on inside. the new ones are pretty safe and turn off if they fall over. Also for for about 200 I installed a shop heater from an online place in our 600' garagio which is also therm controled, works great.

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