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KeB

Opinions On Pre-Mixed Dry Glazes?

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Hello! I'm looking for some advice on using pre-mixed dry glazes. I have always been part of a larger studio and didn't have to worry about mixing up glazes - now I live in a smaller northern community and have just started a small studio with a few others but none of us have ever mixed glazes before. We have an electric kiln. 

 

After searching around for products online I was thinking that buying a larger quantity of pre-mixed dry glaze for Cone 6 (like Laguna ms series or spectrum 1100 series, 50/10 lb) might be a good compromise for us newbies between buying pints of wet glazes and buying all the different ingredients to mix by recipe. 

 

If anyone has any advice for us on the best way to start out with glazing or how pre-mixed dry glazes work or what products work best we would love to hear it! Cost of shipping is definitely an issue for us as well as the possibility of freezing during shipping (it is -20C where we live in the Yukon this morning). 

 

Thanks so much!

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KeB;

There is no issue with freezing dry materials, as they are dry powders.

The issue here is that you are going to have to mix them up and sieve the glaze, if not twice, at least once. I sieve all my glazes through an 80 mesh sieve, and then back through a 100 mesh sieve into the original bucket.

I would suggest getting a couple of good cone 6 recipes- a clear, and another, then use oxides to get your colours. An addition of 10% zircopax will give you a white base, for instance.

Is there a pottery place where you could learn how to mix a glaze? This would save you a pile of money.

TJR.

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Thanks for the glaze advice, TJR! Yes, the freezing aspect was really about why we didn't want to buy wet glazes (also the expense). The nearest pottery place to us is in Whitehorse (5.5 hours south) where you can take courses but they do not sell much for supplies aside from M340 clay and introductory tool kits, everything else would have to be shipped from Vancouver area. We are, however, arranging for a pottery workshop in May with a pottery instructor that is coming from Whitehorse, so maybe he could help us out with getting started with glazes. 

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Mixing glazes is pretty easy.

 

In addition to the dry ingredients you will need

Scale

Sieve / straining device

Buckets with lids. ( I get them for free or $1-3 from sandwich ships....pickle buckets)

 

You need to know what clay bodies are being used and possibly COE of clay and glazes

 

I'm not against pre mixed. With supplies being so far away it does raise cost Of dry ingredients.

 

But you have to ask why most established potteries make most of their glazes.

 

Buying chemicals in small amounts might not be as cost effective at first, but once you start buying bulk prices drop dramatically.

 

I'm relatively new to making glazes. I have less than dozen of my own tried and true tested glazes. Not counting hundreds of tests.

 

There are a lot of resources on the net and here at CAD. If you have skill level to bake a cake you can make a glaze,

 

One of my last tests is with "falls creek shino". From a CAD article. A search will show you my results along with others.

 

There are lots of good resources here. That would be glad to help.

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I bought premixed glazes once and regretted it. Worth putting the time in and making your own I would say, this is because all the ones I tried crazed on the clay body that I use and I couldn't change them to try and get a good fit.

 

If you could get one that fits then it will be a breeze but if it doens't you have a hard time trying to fix it.

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I use one dry commercial glaze and have had no issues with it; I only use it on one clay body. The downside to that glaze is cost; even dry, it still costs an arm and a leg. But I like the color; even more important, customers love the color. And, no, its not a blue.

 

Commercial dry glazes are an option for you. You might want to consult with the manufacturer of your clay to see if the glazes you want to buy have any reported fit problems; I recall the Coyote website has a page where it lists fit issues reported by potters and other vendors may also have similar pages/info. You'll just need basic glaze making items -- a scale (don't accept the weight as being what you ordered or the package says, or you may want to make less than the package amount), sieves (80 mesh minimum, maybe a 60 and 100 if funds allow), stiff brushes for moving glaze through the sieves, plastic pails. Also, some Epsom salts and either sodium silicate/Darvan for dealing with hard-panning (contents settling) and other issues.

 

There may also be vendors who will mix your glaze recipes in the amount you want and then ship them to you.

 

If you look at the Mastering Cone 6 Glazes website, of John Hesselberth's Frog Pond Pottery web site, you'll find a set of well tested and widely used glazes for electric cone six, along with recipes. They have limited the raw materials to a small subset of the glaze materials universe and you could easily add up what is needed for the recipes you want and then order them from a vendor. If the vendor is going to ship pre-mixed glazes, they can also send the raw materials; and the cost per glaze will be much cheaper. My clear glaze is about $14.00 for a 5-gallon bucket; but I measure and mix it myself. Measuring out is not difficult and many books -- see John Britt's Hire Fire Glazes -- for instructions; he also has a DVD out on glazes.

 

For your upcoming workshop, if you ask the presenter to include glaze mixing and you have the materials on hand, that could be time well spent.

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Does anyone here have any first-hand experience with glazemixer.com's services? On this site, you input your desired formula, they mix it to your specs, and then ship it to you. So it's "pre-mixed"....but mixed how you say you want it. I've got them on my to-try list, but haven't yet.

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I have used Daven's in Atlanta with good results.

 

I have also used a service that made glazes that I ended up throwing away.  Know your provider.

 

There are ups and downs to each approach.

 

Buying pre mixed commercial glazes is a good place to start while you are struggling with setting up the studio and getting going.  You will spend more on the final bucket of glaze, but not buy scales and wont' spend near as much time trying recipes to see if you like a glaze.  Just buy a wet pint and test that before you commit to a large amount.

You will not have the expense of setting up a glaze mixing room.   The commercial glazes are usually homogenous, so you can mix just a cup full from the bag, or the whole bag.

 

Mixing your own results in a cheaper bucket of glaze, but MUCH more work and a steeper learning curve.  And you might not like the results, so it's toss that one and try again.

 

I do both, mix many from Mastering ^6 Glazes, and other well tested results.  I also chase, with varying success, the elusive, other potter's glaze that I wish I could get to work.  some successes, many no's.

 

I have good results with Mid-South glazes and my friend uses several Amaco.

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I used wet premixed glazes from various suppliers the first few years of teaching-early 70's. Then as I became more aware of shipping costs(wet glazes shipping water), and glaze prices with "Art materials suppliers" I started using dry powder from Minnesota Clay, and ART.  Both of these worked well, and for cone 6 gave me choices that at the time were very limited. Then in the late 80's I started mixing my own glazes as we had budget cuts and other restrictions that would have wrecked my program unless I made some changes. Today, on my in my own studio I still mix my own from my own recipes, adoptions from others, and from books and magazines. I use mostly oxide washes and stains, but some premixed wet stains/underglazes I pick up when in Pittsburgh or on line.

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Does anyone here have any first-hand experience with glazemixer.com's services? On this site, you input your desired formula, they mix it to your specs, and then ship it to you. So it's "pre-mixed"....but mixed how you say you want it. I've got them on my to-try list, but haven't yet.

I have used them - I was very satisfied with the job they did. The only thing I didn't like is that there is very little contact info on the page, the lack of an automated purchase confirmation and no phone number on their website had me freaked out.  Gladly things arrived fine.   

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I've used a couple different, pre-mixed, dried glazes, both low and high fire, all from Continental Clay.  They work fairly well, though they do have a tendency to hard pan, even when mixed as directed.  I never had any fit problems, that I'm aware of.

 

Pres, how much cheaper, was it for you to mix your own glazes?  Right now, I've not had an issue with budget.  I use pre-mixed liquid glazes, and spend a couple hundred on them.  I've often thought of saving money, by mixing, though I'm not sure I have the space or time to do so.

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When I started out on my own and left the fold of the classroom/co-op about 2 years ago I had a few rules that I was going to stick with.  They were just what I set out to do and one of them was never to use a pre-mixed glaze.  I wanted the experience of testing and learning.  It was good time spent with some successes and yes some failures, but in the end I have a set of glazes that are my own and I can repeat them easily whenever I want.  Again I am not knocking the pre-mixed glazes, it was just my choice and how I decided I would take my studio journey.

 

I have two small shelves of material (IKEA shelves), and a small 4'X2' table that I have my mixing.  I use 6 gallon buckets for mixing and I store them in 10 gallon covered tubs.  I use a triple beam balance for all weights, even small tests, and I sieve twice, one at 60 and one at 80. I have a glaze slop bucket that all tests go into and when I need an iron saturate glaze I use it (it is a pretty nice medium dark iron rich glaze that fits perfectly).  I test my slop with a test tile at every firing so I know how it is changing.

 

Sure I made a few mistakes in my initial ordering because I did not know the material, like buying 10lbs of chrome oxide.... it will last three lifetimes.  Such is life.

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 (like buying 10lbs of chrome oxide)

Not even one lifetime grasshopper

 

The question is really do you want to learn what goes into and controls glazes and pre mix you never get that knowledge. 

As Brian above says you get your own journey with it and what comes out is your own glaze palette and knowing how it works.

Mark

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Pres, how much cheaper, was it for you to mix your own glazes?  Right now, I've not had an issue with budget.  I use pre-mixed liquid glazes, and spend a couple hundred on them.  I've often thought of saving money, by mixing, though I'm not sure I have the space or time to do so.

 

Start up was more in the first few years. I started by getting the triple beam, the bins, and buckets for glaze(had janitors save floor wax buckets). Then the next few years I ordered glaze materials for specific glazes that I knew worked. When I ordered these I limited my materials by choosing glazes that used the same materials. Buying the oxides for color is the biggest hit, but once done can last quite a while. After the fourth year I figured savings in the 20-30% range. Second year was equal to buying commercial and the third was about 10% less.  You find that with a good inventory you are not buying all materials every year, and that costs stay level.  Buy at bulk prices, don't buy 10# of frit, buy a bag etc.

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You might want to look at 'Mastering Cone ^ Glazes', it has many glazes for 3 base mixes, very handy. Pretty dependable glazes, with good pictures , much glaze info and a long history of how they work for lots of us.

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Thought I would add my 2bits.  I have been using the Laguna Morrocan sand glazes for two years.  I purchase these dry and mix them myself. 

Positives: 1. you can purchase as little as 1 lb. which makes up about 16 oz.

                  2. easy to use. mix, sieve, use. consistent and reliable

                   3. wide range of colors and effects

                    4. cost much less than equal amount in liquid state

                      5. photos on various website are not reliable as to product results.  Really, like you can tell what it is going to look like from a 1" square.

 

Cons:       1. cannot be easily altered as you don't know the ingredients

                  2. Many hard pan.  I was able to correct this with adding bentonite and salt

 

I don't know if I can recommend a supplier. I use Axner.  Some other supplier may be cheaper, but will get you with the shipping. If you would like I could post test tiles I have made of some of the glazes I use.  Now with all that said, I am now starting to mix my own glazes. Partly due to cost as I am making more pots, partly due to desire for different glazes.

 

-chantay

 

 

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Dry pre mix will be my next glazes purchased. I'm not ready for making my own glaze yet. Do you always add bentonite sodium silicate and or Darvan?

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Dry pre mix will be my next glazes purchased. I'm not ready for making my own glaze yet. Do you always add bentonite sodium silicate and or Darvan?

If the glaze is settling or hard-panning, then you would want to add some bentonite (1 to 2 percent of the dry measured glaze weight; mix the bentonite in hot water in a separate container, then add to the glaze and reseive the glaze) or some Epsom salt dissolved in hot water. If the glaze is too thick, you could add a drop or two of darvan or sodium silicate to make the glaze more fluid.

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I've used several brands of dry glazes. Coyote so far has been my favorite. On the down side, they are expensive. If you are interested in mixing your own I would highly recommend buying a copy of "Mastering Cone 6 Glazes." It has several good base glazes that can be easily altered. Also, Pottery Making Illustrated recently ran a piece on setting up a glaze studio. I found it very informative. If your sharing a studio with others the initial investment might be a reasonable choice. A good source for buckets is your local pizza dive. I talked to the manager and they saved buckets for me, FREE!

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Pres, how much cheaper, was it for you to mix your own glazes?  Right now, I've not had an issue with budget.  I use pre-mixed liquid glazes, and spend a couple hundred on them.  I've often thought of saving money, by mixing, though I'm not sure I have the space or time to do so.

 

Start up was more in the first few years. I started by getting the triple beam, the bins, and buckets for glaze(had janitors save floor wax buckets). Then the next few years I ordered glaze materials for specific glazes that I knew worked. When I ordered these I limited my materials by choosing glazes that used the same materials. Buying the oxides for color is the biggest hit, but once done can last quite a while. After the fourth year I figured savings in the 20-30% range. Second year was equal to buying commercial and the third was about 10% less.  You find that with a good inventory you are not buying all materials every year, and that costs stay level.  Buy at bulk prices, don't buy 10# of frit, buy a bag etc.

Thanks for the information Pres. It's definitely something I've been mulling over. Glazes are one of my biggest costs, in terms of supplies. If I can save money by making those, I can use it elsewhere. Because I really don't plan on making my own materials, for the other big cost items, which are photographic materials.

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Dry pre mix will be my next glazes purchased. I'm not ready for making my own glaze yet. Do you always add bentonite sodium silicate and or Darvan?

I always add 3% bentonite to my glazes to prevent settling and to make the glaze surface harder for decorating. I mix it first in a little bowl with water to get the lumps out, or just mix it thoroughly with the dry glaze before adding water. Lots of people add Epsom Salts instead, a couple of table spoons. I don't do this as I don't like to mess around with the electrical charge of the glaze.

TJR

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