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Love this forum.  Thanks to all of you for taking the time to provide your insight.  I would very much appreciate your professional opinions on the following for my basement studio which is located in my home:

1.   What type of utility sink will be sufficient-will "plastic" hold up?

2.  Should I put my cone 10 kiln into a separate room in the studio?  

3.  About how much room should I leave around the kiln in a separate room for stacking, maintenance, etc.

4.  I'm building a 4x8 studio table.  Any suggestion as to a material for the top?  I am considering hardboard.  But would a Formica-like product be better.  I am concerned about moisture and warping.

5.  Cleaning floors:  I know damp mopping is best but should I vacuum up the dust first with a shop vac?  If not, wouldn't I just be pushing around mud even if I rinse frequently?

6.  I plan on painting the concrete floor with appropriate paint.  Should I leave the kiln area unpainted?  

7.  Which is more desirable as far as venting-downdraft or updraft? 

 

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Nonni4,

 

#7 - Local pickup is ALWAYS the first choice in ventilation engineering. The "hood" type vents start off with the premise that you let the gases and fumes escape from the unit and get into the room air before they are then atempted to be ALL captured and vented out of the space. A downdraft type vent picks them up before they ever get out of the unit. Makes more sense. Plus the downdraft vent adds in the fact that adequate oxygen is present in the kiln chamber for the reactions that need it to go to completion.

 

#5 - Vacume ONLY with a HEPA filtered vacume designed for cermaic dusts. They are tested units that are well sealed for handing the carcionogenic and silica causing clay dust. A general "shop vac", even with a HEPA filter label, is not necessarily certified for such toxic materials. Ceramic dust vacs are expensive....... but your health is more "expensive". A sealed outside venting central vacume is anotehr option.... just be aware of the discharge end of things.....where THAT is going. If you change the water enough when mopping..... you get a lot of it. But you are right... it leaves a film of (eventually) dry stuff.

 

#4 - I use 1/8" Masonite on top os 3/4" plywood (not good quality surface stuff). In full time use...... I change the sheets once a year.

 

#2 - Yes. With good ventilation. Both local pickup and general dilution types.

 

#3 - If you install the kiln correctly... paint on the floor should not be any kind of issue. Paint the floor for cleaning purposes.

 

#1 - Plastic utility sinks hold up just fine. Make sure to protect your septic /sewage treatment pipes from the crap that can go down a studio sink! Use a TRAP!

 

#3 - More then you think you''ll ever need. ;)

 

best,

 

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

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I'll jump in.

My utility sink is plastic, one of the big squarish ones that's deep. I would suggest a clay trap in the drain. I use the two bucket method.

If you have a separate room, it might be easier to vent and keep fumes out of your main studio.

Your kiln should have spacing requirement - distance to keep from flammable material. It's usually something like a minimum of 12 to 18 inches. You might even have code requirements. Also, don't forget you will need a hefty 220-240 volt source.

My table tops are Formica. It's easy for me to keep that clean and it's waterproof.

I have seen that you should not dry vac because fine silica, clay particles can pass right through the standard filter. I think if you have a HEPA filter, that might work. You might be able to wet the floor, then use a wet vac. I wet mop my floor with frequent rinsing. This seems to actually work pretty well.

Painting and venting I'll defer. My vent right now is a fan in the window and I don't work in the shop when firing.

 

Since you are in a basement, you might consider a whole room vent of some kind to bring fresh air in from the outside.

 

Good luck!!!

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I have an overhead hood vent for my electric kilns in my basement. I've been venting my kilns this ways for over 10 years and think it is sufficient to keep the air quality safe. However if you are firing to cone 10 are you doing reduction firing? I am firing cone 6 ox so your needs might be different. Another benefit of an overhead vent hood when your kilns are in your basement ... during the summer months the hood will remove much more heat from your kiln room. I can work in my studio in the summer right after I have fired, but I know potters with undermounted vents who can't use their studios for a few days because it is over 100 degrees in there.

 

Cleaning floors ... I do not vacuum because of the reasons John states. I do have a machine that I love ... a Hoover Floormate. It power scrubs the floor then sucks up the dirty water.

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I had a similar set up of buckets in a basement studio but I had a 5 gal going into a 2 gal bucket which had pvc pipe that drained into a floor drain.  I would check the water routinely to make sure it was clear,  any cloudiness I would clean out the buckets. I'm afraid my vent situation wasn't that good the ceiling was to low for a hood vent and  the basement had been buried beneath ground level for foundation work,  we did manage to install a good size exhaust fan that went outside.  The room had a door that I kept closed and stayed out of the basement on the days I fired, I think I manage pretty well in a 100 year old house but it wasn't perfect.    Denice

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Nonni4,

 

 

#4 - I use 1/8" Masonite on top os 3/4" plywood (not good quality surface stuff). In full time use...... I change the sheets once a year.

 

 

 

 

 

#

#3 - More then you think you''ll ever need. ;)

 

best,

 

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

Sorry everyone!

JB not good advice, need to be more specific!! :D  :D

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1.   What type of utility sink will be sufficient-will "plastic" hold up?

Plastic will definitely hold up. We have 3 of the deep, hard plastic utility sinks at my studio. They take an incredible amount of daily abuse from kids, adults, students and experienced potters. Aside from some minor discoloration from iron in some of our glazes they are in perfect condition. I've been at this studio for 7 years and the sinks were there before me. We use a commercially manufactured trap. The DIY bucket systems that have been suggested are fine, but compared to what we have they seem (to me) overcomplicated. I'd suggest research into commercial products.

 

3.  About how much room should I leave around the kiln in a separate room for stacking, maintenance, etc.

18" from walls in every direction for fire safety. Make sure to leave enough space behind the kiln to open the lid the whole way so you can load and unload comfortably. I found this out the hard way when helping a friend install her Bailey electric kiln... We were very proud of ourselves for having successfully leveled the kiln on a very uneven concrete basement floor, only to open the lid and realize the whole thing needed to be moved another 6" or so. In terms of space for loading, unloading and maintenance just consider how tight of a space you're comfortable working in, how much space you'd ideally like, and the priorites of your build. Make sure you have ample space to open and work in the control box for thermocouple and element replacements.

 

4.  I'm building a 4x8 studio table.  Any suggestion as to a material for the top?  I am considering hardboard.  But would a Formica-like product be better.  I am concerned about moisture and warping.

I use tables in both my home studio and the community studio where I work that are 2x4/4x4 construction topped with plywood and covered in canvas/duck cloth. They work quite well and they're very cheap to construct.

 

5.  Cleaning floors:  I know damp mopping is best but should I vacuum up the dust first with a shop vac?  If not, wouldn't I just be pushing around mud even if I rinse frequently?

If you mop you can use a squeegee to consolidate the mud and wipe or shop vac it up.

 

6.  I plan on painting the concrete floor with appropriate paint.  Should I leave the kiln area unpainted?  

Why paint the floor?

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I would say no Chris.

 

My classroom has smooth, polished concrete, that the custodial staff, cleans, and rewaxes each year. It is very easy to clean.

 

In contrast, my home, basement studio has old concrete, that is nearly one hundred years old. It is a bit rough and pitted in spots. Not very easy to clean. That why using said epoxy, is on my list of things to do as well.

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I failed to mention that I have a dish pan in my sink that I wash my hands off over and any cleaning, I let the clay settle and then pour the clear water into the drain into the settling buckets.  After a build up of clay in the dish pan I carry it out side and dump it in the trash,  this method keeps my 5 gal containers from filling up with clay to quickly.  This type of system isn't hard to build, you use pvc plumbing parts, pipe and glues and primer.  If your going to be a mass producer a commercial system would probably be worth the money.  I just remember the one at school was always backed up and it was a nasty job to clean.  Denice

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Yeah Denice, some of the commercial traps are a pain. The one I had in my first classroom was great. It was big, and generally got cleaned once a year, maybe twice, if I had a lot of Ceramics classes.

 

My second classroom had no trap. We had a slip sink, with a raised drain, but that was it.

 

My current classroom has a trap on each sink. Unfortunately, the traps are small, and awkward to clean. Removing and replacing the half, that filters out the sediment, is like playing a game of Tetris, due to the tight space, and plumbing being in the way. Last year, it started leaking, and they had to replace it. I suggested a Gleco trap. They opted to go with the exact same model....

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I am currently undergoing this exact thing (basement studio) with a friend.

 

1) we used a standard all on one type plastic utility sink from menards.  Came with faucet and built in drain with basic trap kit.   He bought the standard clay trap and I installed the sink and the clay trap using parts from both the sink kit and the clay trap kit.

 

2) His bisk kiln is has setup outside when we need it, although we talked about also setting up a space in his garage.  When he got the kiln it came with a vented hood that we would use and vent out one of his garage windows.   The glaze kiln ^10 is located in his dads blacksmith shop down the road,  His backsmith shop was already built with fire-proofness in mind as well as venting.  It sits about 10" off the wall with tile backerboard (cement board) behind it.

 

We have also discussed putting the bisk kiln in a shed out back,  Current thoughts on it was 10x14 with some space dedicated to the storage of the rideing lawnmower and misc yard tools.

 

4) we built a 24x48 wedging table that has 2 layers of plywood glued and screwed together with canvas drop cloth streached across the top.   I had an old formica countertop i donated and we put that around the utility sink on the opposite wall.  The slab roller sits at the end of that counter and the slab roller table is at the same height as the counter top.   There is an old dinning room table that is shoved in the corner, its currently being used for misc storage and misc handbuilding while sitting in a chair.

 

5) he uses a shop vac with HEPA filter for "big" stuff although we wet mop a couple of times a week.

6) we have planned to paint the concrete floor but we havn't got the epoxy pant for it yet although its on the short list for next month.

 

 

We are currently useing the studio a couple of times a week.  We are still planning on more storage shelving,  green ware shelving and possible location for a mixing pug mill.

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1.   What type of utility sink will be sufficient-will "plastic" hold up?


 


Mine's plastic and it holds up fine.  I've got a trap in there as well to catch all the clay goobers.


 


 


3.  About how much room should I leave around the kiln in a separate room for stacking, maintenance, etc.


 


18 inches I think is what most manufacturers recommend.  Due to space constraints my kiln is in the same room as the studio itself, i just close the door and stay out when firing.


 


4.  I'm building a 4x8 studio table.  Any suggestion as to a material for the top?  I am considering hardboard.  But would a Formica-like product be better.  I am concerned about moisture and warping.


 


hardboard is probably going to absorb water and deteriorate.  I've got an ancient formica-top dining table right now, and its fabulously easy to clean.  I took and covered 4x4 drywall sheets in canvas duck for when we're doing clay work (take them off and lean them against the wall when we're glazing so we can just wipe off the formica).


 


5.  Cleaning floors:  I know damp mopping is best but should I vacuum up the dust first with a shop vac?  If not, wouldn't I just be pushing around mud even if I rinse frequently?


 


 You'll regret shop vac-ing.  Sooo much dust in the air.  We throw water on the floor (concrete with epoxy over) and scrub with a mop, squeegie it into a puddle and soak up the puddle.  Our studio gets FILTHY (My business partner says my carving has a "blast radius") and even at its worst 2 or 3 rinse and squeegie sessions get it sparkling.


 


6.  I plan on painting the concrete floor with appropriate paint.  Should I leave the kiln area unpainted?  


 


Ours is painted and it's been fine.

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Gleco Traps work great, and are inexpensive compared to most commercial traps.

 

I prefer an unpainted floor because water spills and splashes soak in, preventing a slip hazard. Smooth, unpainted concrete is absorbent but still easy to mop.

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Canvas top work tables are serious dust generators. Can't be well cleaned without removing the canvas....always clay trtrapped in the "pores"/ weave. Every time you then plop something down....... POOF.

 

best,

 

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

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Formica topped table, and use hardi  boards if you want for projects. ( and they can be wiped off to keep from getting clay build-up, just don't use more than a damp sponge.) 

I have different sizes for what ever the item is.  But whatever you use for the table top, PUT WHEELS ON IT!

Makes cleaning and using smaller spaces so much easier.  Also, remember an under mounted shelf will hold masses of stuff.

 

As to sink, yes , plastic , from Lowe's.  but beside the sink, put a large bucket at table height for ease of use, and do ALL rinsing and washing in it, then go over to the sink for final cleaning.  Major decrease in what goes into pipes.  I pour off the top clear water down the sink every few days, ( So the bucket isn't too heavy for me to lift),y  and then empty the dregs of clay and glaze that have settled outside.  Then refill the bucket with clean water.

I have a  painted wood floor that I mop as needed, and linoleum in the glaze room that I mop often. I would think concrete, while easy to clean, would be very hard on my feet and legs when I am hand building and standing all day.

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As to sink, yes , plastic , from Lowe's.  but beside the sink, put a large bucket at table height for ease of use, and do ALL rinsing and washing in it, then go over to the sink for final cleaning. 

forgot to mention this part we use a 5 gal bucket to rinse/wipedown all our slop pans etc.   We only use the sink for hand washing and a source of water for refilling the rise bucket/mop bucket etc.

 

When the rinse bucket gathers 3-4" of clay in the bottom the top is poured off and the rest is poured into a recycle bucket.

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I need to build a clay trap as well! I have a plastic wash basin and it holds up fine. I'm in the process of getting set up as well.

Think about how much you are going to produce and account for some drying racks. For me, for the time being I wont be producing an awful lot but it seems that a rolling bread rack or something of the sort would work great and allow you to drape a bit of plastic over to regulate the times for drying. Portable and wouldnt take much space.

I cant comment on much else as I'm still sorting it all out but I hope you keep us up with your progress :-)

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 I would think concrete, while easy to clean, would be very hard on my feet and legs when I am hand building and standing all day.

 

Amen to that!

 

I spent a whole winter a few years back working in a joinery shop, the concrete floor played hell with my feet, I'm often working on a concrete floor all day but being stuck at the bench involved very little movement apart from shuffling around a bit now and again.

 

A couple of strategically placed pieces of carpet might be all you need to make a difference.

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Good footwear would help with that. The shoes that chefs wear, actually clogs most of them are great,

Rubber mats which can be hosed down , the ones with holes in them, great to stand on all day,again commercial kitchen use. 

I've found the stand all day can be avoided by consciously changing tasks to help your body do it for the long haul.

Mesi likes this

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I have a bastement studio...have run a hose through a window into the line to a plastic

washing sink and it works just fine. I ran a drain line directly into the hole for my sump

pump and it's ideal.

 

I purchased a Gleco clay trap to keep the clay sludge out of my septic system, and I'm

very pleased with it...worth every penny.

 

The one thing I'd encourage is to use heated water if you are able, that makes a huge

comfort difference for cleaning up....I also use a small shop vac (you can often find

them on good sales) for keeping the dust level down since they dump your debris into water.

 

Have fun with your new space,   Melinda King in Vermont

 

 

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