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Do You Throw Straight Out Of The Pugger?

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"Dog ears" as they are called occur often when the clay/slurry/water consistency in a pugger that gets clay stored in it overnight or for a few days between runs. I usually just reran it until things smoothed out.

ChenowethArts likes this

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yes, that kind of thing is what I have experienced before, I just run stuff through several times softening it up as I do with slurry or water.  but last year was different!

 

I do not want to confess that I have previously left clay in it all winter, counting on the wet sponges and rubber covers to keep it stiff but still able to be run through.

 

(Jim Bailey would have a fit if he knew!)  until the sponge, washer and chamois gummed up the works, I never had any trouble at all.

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My students always throw straight out of the bag, but I have them cone everything at least 3 times. Plus, out of a 25 pound bag you're almost never going to be cutting off and using a chunk the full width of the block, therefore the pugger spiral is a non-issue. You cut off a thick slab, cut that into smaller chunks, pat them into balls and throw them.

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My students always throw straight out of the bag, but I have them cone everything at least 3 times. Plus, out of a 25 pound bag you're almost never going to be cutting off and using a chunk the full width of the block, therefore the pugger spiral is a non-issue. You cut off a thick slab, cut that into smaller chunks, pat them into balls and throw them.

True enough but when you throw from a non industrial sized pugger and are keeping the soup can orientation you do have the full width of the spiral. From what Mea and others have posted it doesn't seem to be an issue with the clays they use and or their techniques. I do know that with my clay, my pugger and the way I work I will get the odd S crack if I don't put the pug on its side. Pug on the side or slap a couple together and no cracks whatsoever. 

 

Simple experiment for those of us that use non industrial puggers, cut 10 slices off the end of a pug, about the same thickness as you would make a pot base, put them on a shelf to dry. I'm betting you will see some cracks in the middle of the slices when they dry.

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Regarding my pugged clay .... and I think this is a highly underrated aspect of using a pugmill .... I pug my clay very soft. Almost sticky soft. Lots of water in the equation, everything fully hydrated. In this state, I think the clay is more likely to be rearranged by the act of throwing, rather than holding on to the layers and spirals made by a pugmill.

 

To anyone whose pugged clay is too short, or more crack-prone, the answer might be as simple as adding more water.

Tyler Miller likes this

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I use slurry method when making clay. So it more than saturated. And still most feel short until a week or two rest "cellaring". I going to try aging my slurry before drying.

But I'm in agreement with mea, often people think a clay is short when it is more so just dry.

Pug mill or not.

All clay bodies are not created equal. Not all clays may be usable out of pug mill. Depending on body ingredients an degree of moisture, may, or may not need aging.

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Regarding my pugged clay .... and I think this is a highly underrated aspect of using a pugmill .... I pug my clay very soft. Almost sticky soft. Lots of water in the equation, everything fully hydrated. In this state, I think the clay is more likely to be rearranged by the act of throwing, rather than holding on to the layers and spirals made by a pugmill.

 

To anyone whose pugged clay is too short, or more crack-prone, the answer might be as simple as adding more water.

 

That is a really good point. When Claylover said her pugs caught her finger while throwing it sounded like the clay was way to dry. I totally agree with pugging and throwing the clay as soft as possible.

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I throw straight from the pugmill, I agree that the clay which has been stored seems to be less short.

I am a bit diligent about compressing bottoms of any form as the S crack can occur in wedged or pugged clay. Any water/slurry left lurking at the bottom and placing hte pot on a non absorbent surface would add to this.

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agree with all above.  throw with soft clay, do not use more than minimal water, a damp sponge for the outside and a run up and down inside with a damp sponge when needed is all I need, throw thin and evenly, trim while making and set aside to dry without covering in plastic.  that works here in high humidityland, I do not know about working in desert conditions. 

 

I throw on a Masonite bat and never cut it off with a wire.  since I usually decorate the pot with banding and carving, it is securely held on that bat for all the decorative work.   outside trimming is done as it dries and it eventually pops off the bat with no problem, the inner footring is then trimmed.  

 

you can see that the investment in that drying pot is considerable so I am careful to make the bottom and walls sufficiently thin and even.  with all that there are no unwelcome surprises when it finally pops off the bat.

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Throwing wet clay is fine for me if I am staying lower than 12". However, once I start getting larger than that I like to use stiffer clay that I have let age a while after a first wedging. I can throw these fingertips to armpit, but It has to be stiffer, and I use no water on some of the final pulls. Wet clay just won't cut it for me.

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some kind of moisture is necessary.  if your hand is dry and the clay is dry it will stick just as if you describe.  put a damp sponge on your outside finger and try that.  you need some kind of lubricant between the clay and your finger, a small amount of water will suffice on the inside. 

 

 you do not need to slop gallons of water into the pot.  all that excess water has to be cleaned up so why put it there in the first place. 

Babs likes this

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Why can't I make a pull without water?  it just grabs and then tourques and is then of center.  What is the essential skill to doing this?

Less water, more drag. Smaller area of contact with the clay, less drag. I use the tip of my index/pointer finger reinforced with my thumb and other fingers on the outside. On the inside I use the index/pointer supported by the fingers, thumb out of the way. Pull in the beginning with the inside finger more above the outside finger. As the walls thin, move the two closer together in the vertical line of the pot, this will lessen the tendency to pull more or torque the walls.  Hope this helps, it works for me, but then I have been working on it for lots of years.

clay lover likes this

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Why can't I make a pull without water?  it just grabs and then tourques and is then of center.  What is the essential skill to doing this?

Less water, more drag. Smaller area of contact with the clay, less drag. I use the tip of my index/pointer finger reinforced with my thumb and other fingers on the outside. On the inside I use the index/pointer supported by the fingers, thumb out of the way. Pull in the beginning with the inside finger more above the outside finger. As the walls thin, move the two closer together in the vertical line of the pot, this will lessen the tendency to pull more or torque the walls.  Hope this helps, it works for me, but then I have been working on it for lots of years.

 

 

Pres, you seem like you've explained that before, a time or two...

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By the time you are done with your career Ben you will have explained it many times also. It really only matters so much here with adults as they are able to put descriptions of fine motor skills into action-sometimes. It does take practice, but good descriptions made when one is throwing, corrections in body position, hand positions and pressure really help a cognizant beginner make major strides. I used to hover over my adults at least 15 minutes to watch their entire process, making comment and adjusting little things like fine tuning an older car! :rolleyes:

LeeU likes this

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I have used a Bluebird Pug mill for the last 30 years or so..............love the pug mill...makes clay that is a wonderful consistency!  Not to hard..soft, ready to throw.  I always wedge this clay as it is just not ready for use without a bit of wedging.  Pugged clay is not as good for hand building...wonderful for throwing and in the extruder for coils added to feet.

 

Nancy Zoller

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clay lover likes this

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Pres, thanks for the reminder.  I can pull  5 lbs.up to 18" but end up using water that I then scrape off with a thin metal rib, and a sponge on the inside bottom. And sometimes a heat gun. It would be great to just pull with less water.

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