I keep my glazes in an Excel sheet as well. I use Insight (glaze program) to check COE problems, but when I'm trying to substitute ingredients I find it more understandable to use a messy sheet labelled atomic with a row for each ingredient I can copy and paste down where the chemical breakdown is in each column. With the glaze programs I've seen, these are all hidden making it like a Black Box. With the spreadsheet it's easy look over the sheet and see, say, where the excess Iron is coming from and what I'll have to substitute to home in on what I want. That's an INTJ personality.
I used to have to teach a lot of computer programs, and got to be pretty good at picking up new ones. I think in the end a glaze program will be my next learning curve. Presently I keep my glazes in a spreadsheet for ease of figuring amounts.
I agree that most frequently the more you know about something the more you realize what you don't know. But rarely do you find all those unknowns in one place. I realized I was uncertain about that stability or reversibility of Cristabolite when High Bridge Pottery asked about quartz, so I had to find a reference to be certain of what I was saying. But the reference site is so exhaustive it contains far more information about Silica crystallization forms than I ever hope to know. But I bet if I learned it all, it would just leave me with new questions.
I guess another part of this curve is that the unknown expands in some proportion with the known ... Or as more famously said, the more you know the more you don't know.
I had to print out these two sentences as a reference for myself so I could keep remembering what flocculation and deflocculation were in the studio - and I wrote them, but had to print them out otherwise initially I'd get lost.
A.) Add Magnesium Mg++ (Epsom Salts aka Magnesium Sulfate) and/or Calcium Ca++ (Calcium Chloride) and/or Hydrogen H+ (Acid) to allow a glaze to hold more water = flocculation.
B.) Add Dispex (Darvan) or Sodium Silicate to remove the Mg++ and Ca++, (or a caustic to remove the H+) by locking them up in insoluble form, and the glaze settles to hold less water = defloculation. Pour off the excess water which contains the Sodium which the Dispex or Sodium Silicate swapped for the Mg++ / Ca++ / H+. But give it time to settle out to see where you are.
If you did go far in step B, simply go back to step A and add more Mg++ Ca++ or H+.
P.S.: I've found explanations of "clay particles attracting each other because they both have charges" very unhelpful if you think too far. For example when you add Mg++ you're also adding an SO4-- so why don't they cancel out. This model breaks down because it gets too complex, because not all positive or negative ions have the same effects on the spacing of these particles etc. because of their geometry etc.- so not very helpful at all. Keeping it step A and step B is helpful.
Flocculate and deflocculate - me too! And I thought it was because I was a novice, so reassuring to find others similarly challenged. So....when my glaze settles out with a thick layer at the bottom of the bucket it is ????????? and needs to be ??????????? with ??????? (Epsom salts? Dispex? Something else?)
My partner has me focused on "just making stuff", rather than thinking out a complex hand-building project with prototypes, to try to keep me more social and fun at the studio. Imagine that.