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Chilly

Pestle And Mortar

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So, I put "pestle and mortar" on my birthday present list.  And he said "why don't you make your own?  I'll turn a wooden handle for it".

 

Anyone done this?

 

What clay, hi-fire, I'm guessing, Porcelain?  Do you glaze them? 

 

I'm sure it will be cheaper and quicker to go buy one, but we don't have any good cookware shops any more, and the one I have in the kitchen is heavy, so shipping costs will be high.  Dilemmas, dilemmas.

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Chilly,
I have been asking myself similar questions, somehow finding myself in need of a pestle and mortar to refine raw glaze material.  I found this YouTube video that seems to say 'yes', use porcelain, and 'yes' glaze the components... and I had not even considered a pour spout. Take a look:
 

 


 
Let's do this.  Looks like a fairly easy project.
-Paul

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Paul C., Thanks for that post reply. I been wanting to do this very thing. I'll post my experience. New here and very exited to join this community.

 

Nick in Latrobe

It may be a week or so, but I'll try to get images online for this project as well... and welcome to the forum, Nick!  I am confident that you will discover a wealth of information and a bunch of terrific people here on the forums.

-Paul

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It would not likely be good for grinding glazes but for grinding seeds or garlic do not overlook the Japanese Suribachi version of a mortar and pestle. They are typically made from earthenware and use a wooden pestle and a ridged pattern on the base of the mortar.

 

Like this one

 

http://store.gourmetsleuth.com/suribachi-and-surikogi-set-green-P58.aspx#

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I have made both on the wheel. by them selves and off the hump. it's pretty easy to do and like the one Marcia mentioned I do mine with no glaze on the bottom of the pestle and i put a small spout on them too. Mine are earthenware and the pestles have a semi flat bottom so they can stand up by them selves in the kiln. i'll see if i can get a picture tomorrow.

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I use them for my overglaze enamels.  Small commercial units... from Japan...about 3" in diameter inside 1/2" thick.  High fire porcelain and totally unglazed inside and on the contact area of the pestle.  The roughness helps with the grinding action.

 

Just like with porcelain ball mill jars and media... a tiny bit of the porcelain does get into the grind... but it is a trace and depends on the grinding time and Mohs scale of the material being ground.

 

best,

 

....................john

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I made mine from stoneware, and left the grinding end of the pestle and the inner surface of the mortar unglazed. Unfortunately I didn't dry the mortars slow enough and they developed fine cracks in the bottom of the bowl :(

 

I found a neat mortar and pestle set on etsy that has a stability flange on the bottom of the mortar. It looks a little like the potter was just lazy, but if you think about it, it's a pretty smart design.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/182091773/ceramic-mortar-and-pestle-white

 

Simon Leach has a couple YouTube videos on throwing mortars and pestles, too. Though, if you throw pestles like he suggests....do it by yourself. My kids kept coming into the workroom while I was working on mine, and I felt very uncomfortable :P

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Made a couple from b-mix fired to cone 6. Have used them for years. Make them beefy 3/8 inch thick at least. Don't glaze inside, if you are going to grind glaze components then make them big enough to do some good. at least 6 inches wide.

 

I made the pestle all in one piece without a wood handle. Mush down the big end to give you a mushroom shape that has more surface area for grinding. You need to kind of fine tune the radius of the pestle to that of the mortar, otherwise you just get a point contact while grinding, which is not very efficient.

 

Leave a good wide  flat bottom so that the pestle doesn't slide around when you are grinding.

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Simon Leach has a couple YouTube videos on throwing mortars and pestles, too. Though, if you throw pestles like he suggests....do it by yourself. My kids kept coming into the workroom while I was working on mine, and I felt very uncomfortable :P

 

 

You get used to the awkwardness, when you teach a class of twenty some high schoolers, how to pull a handle.  

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I always would pull one about 18" long and then stand it on a table and wrap it into a crazy figure 8 explaining that that was why you should learn to do it. No coil would do the same thing without cracking. the ooohs and aaaahs overcame the . . . . . overtones of giggles before.

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