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Mark C.

Going Over To The Dark Side With A Pug Mill-Never Thought I'd Say That

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Mark C.    1,805

Ok I thought I would never say this but it looks like I'm the owner of a used pug mill. I do own an old vintage Alpine vertical pug mill past 30 years but am giving it away to a friend .

I just cut a deal on a larger peter pugger newer model VPM 30 power wedger with the stainless and vacuum technology in it. I am not planning on running my porcelain thru it as it distroys the clays legs from what friends say with porcelain . I plan on running our slab roller scraps thru it to rework them as well stone are for salt kiln pots.

Looks like it holds 85#s of clay

I did get a fair price on this and I know going in it will NEVER pay for itself-it may make less stress on my right wrist that has been surgically compromised -it does not take to wedging well anymore. I know use my left hand more for the spiral .

I'll post some photos and later in spring let you all know on a review of this big boy. It weighs  #400's and is on wheels-came from a High school in midwest.

Mark

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GEP    863

For what it's worth, I paid $1200 for my used pugmill in 2007. By my best guess I've reclaimed about $1000 worth of clay since then. It's going to pay off pretty soon. And you go through a lot more clay than me. Also, I don't think wheel-throwing generates very much recyclable trim, but slabwork creates so much scrap! You'll be glad for all the "free" clay.

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Benzine    610

The power of the Dark Side indeed.

 

I loved the Walker pug mill I had in one of my classrooms. Almost everything went in there; soggy wheel scraps, slightly dry slab and coil bits, and even the thicker bits from our slip sink. Threw them in, started it up, and if the clay came out too soft, it got thrown back in.

 

We never used the clay on the wheel, but it's where we got everything for our hand built projects.

 

I'd love to have a pug mill in my current classroom, but funds and space are lacking. The students would like it too, as they are the pug mill now.....A little hard work is good for them....

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Pres    896

I'm hoping someday to end up with a small one, I know it is luxury, but I could use it I think.

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docweathers    79

I have a small old bluebird pug mill that is not De-airing  that I bought off of craigslist for 100 bucks a couple years ago. It  works pretty well,  particularly for $100. I have been thinking about upgrading it to de-airing. Does anyone have any experience with such an adventure.

 

 Some people I've talked to who  have both be airing and non-de-airing mills are not impressed by the difference. I understand what they're supposed to do but how much practical difference does it make?

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Norm Stuart    80

A vacuum creates a maximum of something like 14 psi of pressure for the air bubbles to expand their way through the clay to exit.  So I'd expect the de-airing efficiency would depend on how porous the clay is ans how much of the clay surface is exposed to the vacuum as it's mixed and compressed.

 

If I magically owed a pug mill I wonder if it is still better to dry the scraps completely and quench, rather than just tossing scraps and slop into the mill? 

 

I have a small old bluebird pug mill that is not De-airing  that I bought off of craigslist for 100 bucks a couple years ago. It  works pretty well,  particularly for $100. I have been thinking about upgrading it to de-airing. Does anyone have any experience with such an adventure.

 

 Some people I've talked to who  have both be airing and non-de-airing mills are not impressed by the difference. I understand what they're supposed to do but how much practical difference does it make?

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Idaho Potter    62

The main difference, between de-airing  or no, is not having to wedge the clay.  You turn on the de-airing vaccum while still mixing the clay.  Then, leaving the vacuum working, you switch from mixing (let the auger completely stop) to pugging.  After you have emptied the pugmill, turn off both the vacuum and the pugger.  For heaven's sake, remember to open the vacuum line and release the pressure.  By the way, the vacuum pressure should be between 20 & 25 PSI before switching from mixing to pugging.

 

I use reclaimed clay for throwing, else why have a pugmill?  Mark, I don't work in porcelain, but porcelain is why they finally came out with a stainless steel Peter Pugger--because it's not supposed to compromise the clay. 

 

I've had my Peter Pugger for almost eleven years, and my back and wrists thank me.  It may keep me playing in the mud into my nineties, which is better than hanging out at the senior center's bar.

 

Shirley

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Norm Stuart    80

Shirley- The pug mill with a "vacuum" of 20 to 25 psi must measure the psi difference between the pressure the machine puts on the clay compared with a vacuum.  Air pressure at sea level is about 14.6 psi, which in turn is the maximum pressure which can be formed by a perfect vacuum.

 

Do you dry the clay first and slake it, or just shove all the scraps into the pugger?

 

So this my future laid out before me, another 35 years of playing with mud, hum?

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Mart    23

Completely missed the "dark side" joke. Are you squeezing out coffee mugs and noodle like handles, while in drag... oh for f sake, rewind erase rewind erase, I can not get that horrible image out of my head!

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Mark C.    1,805

Thanks Idaho Potter-now that my right wrist is three bones short so I have to baby i from now on untill it fails then they fuze it and wedging is not doing that babying.This machine may help-the hopper holds 85# max and I will use it for slab scrab 1st then salt pot stoneware which needs blending. The 30 model petter pugger is called a power wedger so we shall see.

It has to get shipped all the way from midwest to nor cal ocean and the polar vortex is making some moves as well.

Here it will have a happy home and be well taken care of-the factory is 3 hours away if needed.

If it does not work out I can sell it for what I paid as I got a fair deal on this machine.it weights 400#s

Mark

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Wyndham    98

I've got a Peter pugger for mixing scrap and making blends of clays. The pugger in not a de-airing, just a mixer. From this I take the fresh clay to the Bluebird de-aring pugger. If I use "Store bought" clay the de-airing Bluebird keeps me from having to wedge. The main thing about using clay from the Bluebird pugger is that I place the de-aired clay on the wheel lengthwise "------" then center, not vertically "!"  to eliminate "S" cracks in my work. It changes the spiral orientation of the clay and keeps "S" cracks from forming.

Without the pugger I couldn't get enough work made to make a living in clay.

Wyndham

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docweathers    79

Pres

if you want a pug mill, watch craigslist. They come up from time to time. As noted above I got mine  for $100 and it works quite well. actually I got every thing of any significance in my studio off of craigslist for a fraction of the retail cost and I've got really good stuff. if it ain't cheap, I don't buy it.

 

also "Do you dry the clay first and slake it, or just shove all the scraps into the pugger?" So far, I've just thrown wet scraps in mine and it seems to work fine. What are the merits of first drying?

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Norm Stuart    80

Drying clay completely followed by slaking with excess water until it settles eliminates air pockets.

 

So unless the pug mill adds air in the process of mixing it doesn't need to be de-aired.

 

 

Pres

if you want a pug mill, watch craigslist. They come up from time to time. As noted above I got mine  for $100 and it works quite well. actually I got every thing of any significance in my studio off of craigslist for a fraction of the retail cost and I've got really good stuff. if it ain't cheap, I don't buy it.

 

also "Do you dry the clay first and slake it, or just shove all the scraps into the pugger?" So far, I've just thrown wet scraps in mine and it seems to work fine. What are the merits of first drying?

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clay lover    133

I have the little PP, it seals tight, so I toss everything in it damp and mix when full ,add water if needed.  I have tried letting things dry out but don't see any advantage to it.  That just means I need to find a place to put it while it dries.  I have left damp clay in my pugger for 2 weeks with no loss of moisture at all.  When I open a bag of new clay, if it isn't perfect for throwing, I pug it, it's like a dream for perfect consistency. Other thing I use it for is to get clay soft enough to get through the big wall extruder without ripping my arms out.

It pays for itself in the reduction in stress on my hands and arms.  I throw better pots faster with the perfect clay. 

I gave away my reclaim plaster slabs. :D

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Nancy S.    21

I've got a Peter pugger for mixing scrap and making blends of clays. The pugger in not a de-airing, just a mixer. From this I take the fresh clay to the Bluebird de-aring pugger. If I use "Store bought" clay the de-airing Bluebird keeps me from having to wedge. The main thing about using clay from the Bluebird pugger is that I place the de-aired clay on the wheel lengthwise "------" then center, not vertically "!"  to eliminate "S" cracks in my work. It changes the spiral orientation of the clay and keeps "S" cracks from forming.

Without the pugger I couldn't get enough work made to make a living in clay.

Wyndham

 

Forgive me if this sounds like a stupid question, but why run it through two machines? Does the Bluebird not mix the clay?

 

Also, when you say you put the pugged clay on the wheel "lengthwise -----" do you mean that it comes out of the pugger as ------ and you chop it up into little "logs" and put those on your wheel with the non-cut surface on the bat/wheelhead? Just curious - I don't have a pugmill, and unless I can find one that's stupidly cheap (i.e., free), I'm probably not getting one anytime soon because I just don't do the sort of volume some potters do. :)

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clay lover    133

Yes, lengthwise.  If you put it on the wheel like soup cans, with the cut surface on the wheel, you will have S cracks.  The pug is spiraled and the twist is in the clay.  I have figured out how many inches = how many pounds of clay and cut logs accordingly, and slap them into shape on the wheel before I start the wheel turning.  No S cracks that way.  Learned that the hard way, got the pugger. cut 40 3 lb. logs. Sat them on the wheel upright, so neat and tidy that way!  super easy to center and threw 40 bowls in almost 40 minutes.  Very Happy potter!  EVERY ONE had an  crack in the bottom. :blink:

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ChenowethArts    461

Yes, lengthwise.  If you put it on the wheel like soup cans, with the cut surface on the wheel, you will have S cracks.  The pug is spiraled and the twist is in the clay.  I have figured out how many inches = how many pounds of clay and cut logs accordingly, and slap them into shape on the wheel before I start the wheel turning.  No S cracks that way.  Learned that the hard way, got the pugger. cut 40 3 lb. logs. Sat them on the wheel upright, so neat and tidy that way!  super easy to center and threw 40 bowls in almost 40 minutes.  Very Happy potter!  EVERY ONE had an  crack in the bottom. :blink:

 

Ouch!  I can count on 'S' cracks when I have not compressed the bottom and when the bottom is significantly thicker than the walls...but your experience scares me.  I wonder if you took a 3/8"-1/2"in slice off of a pugged log and bisque fired it if you would get the same results?

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clay lover    133

That's a good Q. I will do it next bisque and report back.   I had a very experienced potter tell me that if I put a little ball of clay on the wheel and flattened it with a rib, compressed, then I could stand the pugs upright on it in the easy, no centering, throw and go position and would not have the cracks, but I did not try that.  Too demoralized by the 40 cracked bowls to try it.  But doing that seems like more work that just patting the lengthwise logs into round.

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ChenowethArts    461

That's a good Q. I will do it next bisque and report back.   I had a very experienced potter tell me that if I put a little ball of clay on the wheel and flattened it with a rib, compressed, then I could stand the pugs upright on it in the easy, no centering, throw and go position and would not have the cracks, but I did not try that.  Too demoralized by the 40 cracked bowls to try it.  But doing that seems like more work that just patting the lengthwise logs into round.

 

I wish you well as you test this out.  After my earlier post, I was thinking about how I have handled clay straight out of the pugger...(and that has been a while).  I do remember that even if I didn't go to the wedging table, I still did a considerable amount of wheel-wedging, probably pulling up cones and pushing them back down a couple of times.

 

Paul

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Pres    896

We only had a small Amaco and later a Walker at the HS. Neither deaired. I got into a habit of wedging everything, and still do. I use the cone technique, and wedge in a counter clockwise spiral. I think this aids in the throwing by aligning the "grain" of the clay to throwing process. If I had a pug, I would use a mix of slaked clay, and scraps from trimming to get a body that is not too wet, or to "fresh". Out of habit, and need for exercise, I would still wedge as long as I am able too. I am very cognizant of the wear and tear of improper wedging, and of abusing myself by "rush wedging" so I take my time, and get into a rhythm, wedging what I will throw in a session at the same time. Often in batches of 15# or so. 

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Mark C.    1,805

 

I've got a Peter pugger for mixing scrap and making blends of clays. The pugger in not a de-airing, just a mixer. From this I take the fresh clay to the Bluebird de-aring pugger. If I use "Store bought" clay the de-airing Bluebird keeps me from having to wedge. The main thing about using clay from the Bluebird pugger is that I place the de-aired clay on the wheel lengthwise "------" then center, not vertically "!"  to eliminate "S" cracks in my work. It changes the spiral orientation of the clay and keeps "S" cracks from forming.

Without the pugger I couldn't get enough work made to make a living in clay.

Wyndham

 

Forgive me if this sounds like a stupid question, but why run it through two machines? Does the Bluebird not mix the clay?

 

Also, when you say you put the pugged clay on the wheel "lengthwise -----" do you mean that it comes out of the pugger as ------ and you chop it up into little "logs" and put those on your wheel with the non-cut surface on the bat/wheelhead? Just curious - I don't have a pugmill, and unless I can find one that's stupidly cheap (i.e., free), I'm probably not getting one anytime soon because I just don't do the sort of volume some potters do. :)

 

I have run 6 tons thru a bluebird back many years ago it pugged the clay but did not mix it-for that we used a soldner mixer 1st.(that machine was a back breaker as you had to dig out the clay when done) The Peter pugger he has is a great Mixer just's pre dates the vacuum technology . I have a friend with the same machine mixes clay great and pugs well justs not de-aired.Back in the day de-airing was not on machines now its very common almost on all machines even on your toaster .(just kidding)

Mark

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