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Do You Throw Straight Out Of The Pugger?


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#1 clay lover

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 07:41 AM

When I got my pugger  I tried slicing clay rounds from the long pug, laying them on the bat center in the center, and throwing , not centering, and ended up with s cracks in every piece.  Learned the hard way about that spiral in the pug. 

Have  you come up with a super efficient way to take advantage of that beautiful smooth even pug that eliminates the spiral? 

I'm talking about the small  2-3 lb pieces that would give you instant centering? eliminate wedging?



#2 Min

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 07:55 AM

Put the pug on it's side, ie cut ends at 90 degrees to the wheelhead. Slap the pug into a throwing mound.

 

When I got my pugger I tried cutting off slices from the pug at various thicknesses and then just drying them to see what would happen, pretty well all of them had S cracks. (Bailey deairing mixer pugger)



#3 clay lover

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 08:08 AM

I tried that, it is harder to center than the wedges of clay I was making before the pug mill.  the twist grabs my opening fingers and I can feel it all the way up the pulls. 

Do you do any wedging?



#4 Pres

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 08:10 AM

Our old Walker at school did not de-air. I was in the habit of wedging the clay before ever throwing, started in college and continued til today. I don't have the luxury of a pug mill, and still recycle scraps and slop. I wedge everything using slash and slam first and then cone technique. I taught rams head in school, but it is too energy wasting for me.


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#5 Min

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 08:24 AM

I tried that, it is harder to center than the wedges of clay I was making before the pug mill.  the twist grabs my opening fingers and I can feel it all the way up the pulls. 

Do you do any wedging?

 

I've never had the twist grab my fingers. With my pugger it is very hard to even see the spiral in the pug. I do cone it a couple times. I wedge the pugs if I'm using more than about 5 lbs. I also briefly wedge if I'm using a small amount of clay since it's awkward to throw a thin slice standing on it's edge. Any chance you are pugging the clay to firm?



#6 Benzine

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 08:58 AM

Our old Walker at school did not de-air. I was in the habit of wedging the clay before ever throwing, started in college and continued til today. I don't have the luxury of a pug mill, and still recycle scraps and slop. I wedge everything using slash and slam first and then cone technique. I taught rams head in school, but it is too energy wasting for me.


I'm with you Pres, I'd wedge everything that came out of the Walker. It produced a great consistency, just didn't align the particles.

I also teach, but don't regularly use Ram's Head. It makes more sense for the students, but I prefer to use Spiral Wedging.

In my current classroom, I'm still trying to find the best method of reclaiming, sans a pug mill. We normally just take the wet sloppy bits, with some of the dry workable bits, and cut them into chunks, and wedge, cut into chunks, wedge, and so on.

Also, this talk of throwing directly from the pug mill gave me the idea for a vertically built pug mill. It would face up, and the end of the extrusion barrel would spin. Then you could just literally throw, directly from the pug mill. It would be like throwing off a never ending hump! And don't any of you think about trying to steal my idea! *shakes fist*
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#7 GEP

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 09:01 AM

Maybe different pugmills do things differently. I throw slices of pugged clay all the time, putting the slices down in the "soup can" orientation. I generally do not get s-cracks. I have a Bluebird pugmill.

I do think about compression at the bottom of the floor a lot. I slam the "soup cans" pretty hard onto a bat. I use masonite bats, clay will stick to a dry masonite bat if you slam it hard enough. But also the slamming action compresses the bottom clay. If my intention is to have a flat bottom, I will pull out a floor that has a slight hill in the middle, then spend an extra 30 seconds compressing the hill down until the floor is flat. If my intention is to have a curved bottom, meaning the pot will get a trimmed footring, I don't worry about compression as much, because the act of trimming provides a lot of compression too. Whether the outside bottom gets trimmed or not, I usually spend a few seconds with a dry rib to polish the surface and compress even more. Finally, I usually put my stamp signature right in the middle if the bottom, because I find that extra bit of compression wards off cracks too. I once went through a period where I was putting my stamp on the base of the wall, and I did get more cracks with that approach.

Sometimes, usually in the winter months when things dry too fast in the studio, I will get an attack of s-cracks, all within one month. When that happens, I pay more attention to the things in the previous paragragh, and also use fabric sheets and plastic sheets to dry everything more slowly.
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#8 Pres

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 10:00 AM

Ben, lately at home I have taken to putting a bag in a 2 gal container, putting throwing scrub, and trim in the bag as it happens, then clean up the wheel head and area into the gal throwing bucket that the throwing slurry was in. this I pour over top of the other bits twist the top and turn it upside down to sit somewhere for a few days. Then I take this and another bag that is older and a bit stiffer slash and slam slices from each going several times then finish by wedging. Seems like 25# is pretty easy to do then I let it age for a week or so. I always have several bags of reclaim that I can mix in with a manufacturers bag that gets too dry or a bag that froze and was too stiff for something like plates. Works for me, extra work, but then not 3K for a pug mill.


Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#9 clay lover

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 10:32 AM

Mea, thanks for your input.  Do you do a good bit of coning up and down to undo the twist? 

 

Min,  Yes,the last effort was with sort of stiff clay.

I am using a de airing pugger, if that makes a diff.



#10 GEP

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 10:39 AM

Mea, thanks for your input.  Do you do a good bit of coning up and down to undo the twist? 


No, I don't cone at all. But then I have never detected a twist in my pugged clay.
Mea Rhee
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http://www.goodelephant.com

#11 schmism

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 12:20 PM

 Works for me, extra work, but then not 3K for a pug mill.

I'm curious.  Do you believe there isn't a monetary value associated with the time that could be saved by useing a mixing pug to reclaim your clay?  

Which is to say, do you feel you would not save any time usieng a mixing pug to reclaim your clay vs the process you just described?  

And if that statement is not correct (you DO think you would save time) why has that not motivated you to purchase a mixing pug?   

In my mind, a serious hobby potter much less full time potter could fairly easly recoup the cost of the investment in a mixing pug due to time savings.  



#12 jrgpots

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 01:09 PM

I am curious about something. If the pug mill is creating a spiral which causes s-cracks, would changing the direction of the wheel head while throwing make a difference?

Anyone ever tried this?

Jed

#13 schmism

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 01:17 PM

I am curious about something. If the pug mill is creating a spiral which causes s-cracks, would changing the direction of the wheel head while throwing make a difference?

Anyone ever tried this?

Jed

Easier to flip the clay over.

 

youdan throws right out of his pug mill.  but you see he tosses his lumps on the wheel head "sideways"  



#14 Pres

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 03:39 PM

 

 Works for me, extra work, but then not 3K for a pug mill.

I'm curious.  Do you believe there isn't a monetary value associated with the time that could be saved by useing a mixing pug to reclaim your clay?  

Which is to say, do you feel you would not save any time usieng a mixing pug to reclaim your clay vs the process you just described?  

And if that statement is not correct (you DO think you would save time) why has that not motivated you to purchase a mixing pug?   

In my mind, a serious hobby potter much less full time potter could fairly easly recoup the cost of the investment in a mixing pug due to time savings.  

 

Hmmm, sounds like you are putting me between a rock and hard place for an acceptable answer. There is an easy answer, it is comfortable to do it the way I do. You know the old saying walk in my shoes? So reasons not buy the pug even though I have often thought of it.

  • Space-my small single garage studio will not handle much more in the way of large equipment
  • Amount of use-I go through about 2000# every 2-3 years, maybe a little more now that I am fully retired and have most of the honey do projects done.
  • I am 64 and really don't know how many more years of use I will get out of one. I have accumulated quite a bit of equipment over the years, so some one will have to get rid of them when I am gone.
  • Exercise-I am T2 diabetic, and even though I have excellent health care and will be going on Medicare, I have elected to control the diabetes as long as I can without medications-following strict diet and exercise. Part of my exercise is. . . recycling and wedging clay. Excellent exercise over the years I have found for core muscle and shoulders, and if done properly can help with back pain. Trust me it helps.
  • Expense-at this point in my life, I really need to justify the expense, even though I could plop down the money tomorrow.

 

It kind of boils down to the same as what I just finished up around the house. I invested a major amount of money into upstairs renovations that included a larger bathroom, whirlpool tub, tile shower, new electric, hardwood floors all over, heated bathroom vinyl ceramic tile floor, restructuring and inslulating the whole upstairs. Family asked why not just move to a better neighborhood, and a new house. Reason were we were comfortable, no bills, not in the mood to move, and liked things we had done over the years. Comfortable.


Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#15 alabama

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 08:25 PM

Of course not.  Nor do I throw straight out of a bag, since the clay from the bag came out of what?  a LARGE pugger.

We had an "Empty Bowl" event and the committee throwing bowls sliced clay straight out from the Blue Bird pugger and

several bowls were cracked in the bottom.  They were not the typical "S" cracks but cracks that resembled the

radioactive sign.....  Like 3 distinct capitol "C"s joined at the bottom... which I attributed to the blades of the pugger.

 

Pottery cracks from about 5 or 6 reasons, and its my opinion that not wedging is one of those reasons.

 

Sometimes pottery shape and forms are the reason.

 

Sometimes certain clay pushed beyond its means is a reason.  So you would change clay.

 

Having a thinner bottom than sides can make vessels crack.

 

Sometimes the season causes cracking, I had a friend who made large 18 - 22 inch diameter bowls but found out

that bowls made from November to April cracked 100% of the time.  She adjusted and was ok with it.

 

Anyway, just to be on the safe side - Wedge.  Even though some think of it as a necessary evil - Wedge

 

In my most humble opinion,

Alabama



#16 Mug

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 07:05 AM

I'm no expert, I hope this might help....It's funny, most of the books on pottery leave out these details that may help, I found some of those answers on this forum.

 As Min mentioned try throwing on its side. That is what worked for me. I have seen others swear that you have to place the pug on your wheel so the spiral unwinds as you throw. (If its not right when you look at the soup can flip it over, or you could reverse your wheel if you throw well both ways)  I have found certain clays more prone to S cracks. Drying the clay in low humidity can give you S cracks. Uneven drying can also be a problem, such as a stuck pot on a plastic bat. The way you compress the base on the wheel may also contribute to the problem.

I cone up two times sometimes three depeding on how the clay feels. Center it. Then when you bring your base to the correct thickness pull it out the doughnut wider than your container. When you do your first pull you will be pushing it in making it smaller. I'm not sure if that helped my S crack thing, but it was another overlooked detail seemingly unmentioned other potters seem to do that I was not. I have had my share of failure trying to pin point the S crack problem...Lots of failure before finding a consistant sucess.



#17 Idaho Potter

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 06:46 PM

I bought a Peter Pugger Power Wedger  (de-airing pugmill) in 2003, when I was 68.  It has saved me time, and body parts.  Buying a large piece of equipment like that is more of a mental problem than financial or physical.  Once you've decided on the purchase, in your mind it's already in your possession.  Sort of like buying a house or a car--you have to make the mental commitment, first.  Until the object of your desire becomes a high priority, you'll keep waffling.

 

I cut the pugged clay off in 3 to 4 pound sections.  If I need 6 lbs. I slam two three-pounders together.  I seldom wedge--that's why I spent the big bucks!  I have never kept track of which end is up because I take the pugged cylinders and gently form them into squares and then balls.  Small items using 1-2 lbs are thrown as Mea said, in soup can orientation.  The only time I get S-cracks is when I haven't compressed the base well, and that's usually when throwing off the hump.

 

I envy those who can comfortably wedge clay.  It was always the start of any pot and I'd use the time thinking and planning the how and what.  I actually miss it, but arthritis, age, and a bad(sad) result of a shoulder operation forced me to reassess my priorities.  I don't regret my decision.

 

Shirley 



#18 John Hertzfeld

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 04:44 AM

So, you guys/gals don't let the clay sour a bit after running it through the pug mill?
I've only ever used clay from a soldner mixer, and found that working the clay short (straight from mixer) gave a less plastic clay. I started mixing about two weeks prior to needing it to let it get to a good plasticity.

#19 rakujane

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 09:08 AM

As my clay comes out of the pugger I mark the end with an "X". Every time I cut a long piece off I repeat the process. When it comes time cut off a piece, I put the "X" on the appropriate end of the remnant.
Generally I slightly compress the piece I will be using by placing it on my wedging table "X" up and push down. I invert and repeat. I then place the clay "X" facing up on the wheel. As long as I do this, the spiral and I are working together.

#20 schmism

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 11:30 AM

I've only ever used clay from a soldner mixer, and found that working the clay short (straight from mixer) gave a less plastic clay. I started mixing about two weeks prior to needing it to let it get to a good plasticity.

The studio I throw at only has a bluebird mixer.  Freshly mixed clay is extreamly hard to work with and will often split and crack durring opening/first pull because there isnt enough plasticity in the clay.

 

On the other hand I was lucky to get some stuff from the bottom of the clay bin that had been there for a month or more and while stiff,  flowed wonderfully because of the plasticity it had gained.






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