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First Time Spraying Glazes...need Some Advice

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I have ordered a sprayer and compressor that should arrive next Tuesday. I have not had any experience spraying glazes. When I was at the University our compressor was on the fritz so I didn't get a chance to experiment there. Any tips and advice on spraying techniques would be greatly appreciated. I particularly need to know what viscosity the glaze needs to be for spraying...I am assuming it will need to be fairly thin like skim milk?? I did take an airbrush class at the University so I do know how to use the airbrush. I will be doing cone 5/6 glazes.

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Charlotte, I spray just about everything (except mugs) and I am looking forward to reading the responses from people who actually know what they are doing when they spray.  Here are my seat of the pants recommendations:

  1. You'll likely learn that experimentation is the best teacher.
  2. Be safe...I mean REALLY safe when you spray (i.e. a well fitted and properly filtered mask, lots of ventilation & exhaust).
  3. Spray thin coats from a close distance (approx. 12") so that the spray hits the piece wet and then soaks in.  If you are too far away, the glaze can hit the surface nearly dry and form an instant powdery coating...you'll probably have finger prints from handling if that is the case.
  4. Let the glaze get reasonably dry between coats...and check the glaze thickness after 2-3 coats, it may be enough.
  5. I prefer to thin my glaze and then run it through an 80 or 100 mesh screen. If it flows nicely through a 100 mesh screen, the sprayer is happy.
  6. Watch the pressure on the compressor, the object is to spray glaze and not to apply a coat of air *grin*.

Good luck!

-Paul

mel340 likes this

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I know a lot of people spray at skim milk consistency but I haven't found it necessary to have them that thin. With a HVLP spraygun and the compressor at 30 psi I have some that I spray that are a much thicker consistency than any dipping glaze I've ever used. 

 

If I'm just spraying one glaze on a pot that doesn't need to be applied heavily then a thinner consistency is fine. When layering I tend to spray the glazes at a thicker consistency to avoid over wetting the pot. Just have to play with it until you get it sorted out.

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Thanks to all for your advice..and a special thanks to Paul for your "seat of the pants" procedure..I will be sure to follow each and every tip. Looking forward to learning a new technique with glazing. I think that one of the things I love most about ceramics/pottery is that there is always something new to learn. 

ChenowethArts likes this

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I will be giving this a try. I have quite a few spray guns. What  kind of gun do you use? An HVLP automotive touch up gun or a full size spray gun? What is a good tip size for the HVLP guns? I would imagin if you were using an air brush you would want the largest tip you could find, but I'm not real sure. Does anyone use an airbrush for highly detailed color?

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I tried quite a few before settling on the Critter (bottom feeder type). I don't like the glass mason jar that it comes with, replaced them with 1 pint plastic ones. I bought empty 1 pint plastic jars and removed the gun from the mason lid, drilled out the lid from the plastic jar and screwed the gun onto that. No gaskets and no glass.

 

I also like the gravity feed ones with a 0 point 8 mm nozzle but found they needed more maintenance than the Critter. If you do use a gravity feed one I would suggest removing the little filter from inside the gun as it tends to clog up.

 

All the glazes go through a 80 mesh sieve.

 

 

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Where did you guys find plastic jars that fit the rings on the Critter?  I tried U-Line but they did not know the fittings of the jars they sell. I thought the term Mason Jar would answer the Q, but did not.

I also don't like the idea of glass jars, and I like extras filled and ready to spray before I start the process.

Min, did you take the Critter apart, take off the jar base and put on the rings -lid of the plastic jars you found?  Did not think of doing that.

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Where did you guys find plastic jars that fit the rings on the Critter?  I tried U-Line but they did not know the fittings of the jars they sell. I thought the term Mason Jar would answer the Q, but did not.

I also don't like the idea of glass jars, and I like extras filled and ready to spray before I start the process.

Min, did you take the Critter apart, take off the jar base and put on the rings -lid of the plastic jars you found?  Did not think of doing that.

 

If you take the gun assembly off the mason jar lid it can go on any size jar. I bought mine from Seattle Pottery Supply. They look just like the ones commercial pint glazes come in. (they are a lot lighter than glass jars too, makes it easier on the arm when you are spraying all day)

 

Just remove the mason lid (just a couple set screws) and use that as a template for drilling holes in the plastic jar lid. 2 for the set screws, one for the siphon tube and one for an air hole.

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The Critter looks like it would be easy to maintain. I like how you adapted the plastic bottle to the bottom.

After a glaze gun web search It seems the Geil is a 2mm tip.

I have a HVLP Sharp 1.9mm automotive primer gun that would spray molasses.

Never had a use for this gun,

I'm looking forward to giving it a go.

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