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Hot Wax For Bottoms Of Pots?

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When I took a ceramics course in college, we sat pots in a shallow tray of hot wax before glazing. I recall that it worked well.  But trying it recently, I had problems with wax not adhering, dripping, etc. 

 

Do you use hot wax, and if so, how?  What temperature?  Do you add anything to the wax to make it more liquid?

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I have always used the liquid wax resist.  In a high school classroom, a pot of hot wax, is something I want to avoid.  The only downside, is that it takes a while to fully dry.

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I use the wax resist from Ceramic Supply. It washes out of brushes with just water and never gums them up. Wonderful stuff.

 

By comparison, hot wax is a lot more dangerous due to the heat of the wax and the burner plate, and it creates fumes that are not all that great to breathe in.

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Wax not adhering would be that it is not hot enough.Dripping everywhere, have to shake it over the pan but the above comments are very relevant. Hot wax should be used in a well ventilated area.

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Hot wax is very flammable. One of my profs burned down his studio using encaustic, which is a hot wax painting technique.

I use wax resist. you can also use liquid floor polish if wax resist isn't available.

Tom.

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I use a electric grill with temp control. The wax is candle wax from hobby lobby. Adjust the temp until the the wax goes liquid, but not smoking.

If you need to wax large volumes of pots, this method, with care taken, has worked for me for over 18 yrs.

The wax only needs to be about 1/8 in. We use a knife to scrape off any excess wax on the bottom.

Using wax at this temp, it's not around open flame and is not hot enough to combust on it's own.

Care must be taken with any part of a studio .

Wyndham

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I too was using the fry pan method with tea candles.  I had a lot of wax on the bottoms.  Then I felt I had to scrap it because the wax fumes were bad when firing.  I just bought some Forbes wax resist....goes on so easy with a small foam brush.  And you don't get that little " burp mark" on glaze edge.

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This past year I switched to hot soy wax.  I was having a lot of problems with the wax I was purchasing local and on line.  I am neurotic about an even line on the bottoms of my pots.  The wax goes on super smooth, I use a foam brush.  You could dip.  I can't get my table level enough. I use an electric skillet on the lowest setting. No bad smell when firing with the soy. and it is cheap. $5 for 8lbs.

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Soy wax sounds good. If you see to burn candles in the home than I see no problem in the studio. I don't like the wax resist stuff and I believe the fumes may be worse than candle wax in the firing. Temperature is key to good adherence. Hot, but don't let it burn. It works best on bisque ware.

I mostly use a large rectangle of one inch foam that I soak in water first than squeeze out a bit and lie down on a table. Then, after I dip each pot, I slide it across the foam and that usually takes care of it. I mainly glaze green ware.

Babs likes this

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Hey,

I seldom if ever wax the bottoms of anything.  After the vessels are trimmed to my likings, I take the long trimming

tool that has the "triangle" blade on it and gently rock it back and forth on the bottom of the vessel creating a foot.

It serves two or three purposes, 1. it makes a defined foot. 2. it holds in check any drips headed for the shelf.

3. gives my hand something to grip while glazing in either a 5, 10,  or 20 gallon bucket..

 

The reason I quit using wax was because 1. in school there was always a line to wait for...

2. there is a dependancy built upon the use of wax, whereas you see panick strickened

    students completely helpless because the wax has run out.  3. It gives you a false sense of

security as "since i waxed, I have no need to wipe off any glaze."  4. There is always one student

who glazes the entire piece, panicks because they didn't wax, then waxes over the glaze.  (and if it

isn't caught before the firing, its always noticed AFTER the firing.  5. Its annoying when the new guy cranks

up the dial making the wax smoke.  6.  The do-gooder who throws in a smelly scented candle.

Need I say more? ;>)  7. There are costs involved and inventory also.

 

Yall take care,

Alabama

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We use hot wax to resist the bottoms of all our wares. We make thousands of pots annually and I find it to be the most efficient and cost effective method. Time spent cleaning the bottoms of pots that have no resist means thats less time making pots, and glaze going down the drain.  Ive used different room temp resists before with less than desirable results. It takes some practice to dip the pots in evenly to produce a nice glaze line, and you need to be cautious about turning pots over too quickly otherwise a run of wax might be up the side of your pot, and we dip in our spray booth to eliminate fumes. True, hot wax is HOT, so dipping your fingers is no fun, so this method is not great for community studios with less exeperience. Always use a hot plate, and NO open flame.  Ive found that a true parrafin wax with a Melt Point of at least 130 deg is necessary to provide a surface that glaze will bead right off of, requiring just a 2 second swipe with a damp sponge to clean up any residue. Using scrap candles (scented or unscented) will give you headaches (literally and figuratively). We use to use Gulf Brand wax(too expensive ($4/lb), and slow to melt), but now by in bulk prill form($2/lb, melts quick). Wax suppliers can be found all over the country. If you end up with wax in an unwanted area, just run through bisque again. Good ventilation is a must for any kiln, so I dont have any problems with burning wax off in my kiln.

Red Rocks likes this

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I have used both methods ans find latex wax resist a huge waste of time especially for large bowls and platters.  You have to let it dry for several hours, better overnight and you still have to clean a lot of glaze off.

 

We now use hot wax with an electric skillet on the "warm" setting.  I never have a problem with fumes or smoking and the glaze comes off very quickly.  We also add about 1/3 paraffin lamp oil to the mix.  This makes the wax stay fluid longer and easier to apply to a large platter spinning on a banding wheel.  I also break up a crayon to add color to the wax if am applying to white clay.  Makes it much easier to see where your wax line is.

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I use hot wax mostly for wax resist decoration techniques.  Hot paraffin wax ... I prefer the Gulfwax brand used for canning purposes.  No thinning with solvents... the wax fumes themselves are bad enough.  Use a temp set electric frying pan set inside an outside vented hood.  Wax is kept well below smoking but hot enough that it instantly penetrates into the bisque surface or thru the powdered glaze layer.  I use decent brushes for this most of the time... because it is for decoration purposes..... and quality of line matters.  Some of my wax brushes are even handmade (by me).

 

Watch out for FIRE!  And ventilation is very much necessary.

 

At the college we use liquid wax emulsion.... no hot wax.  Too dangerous in that situation for us to have students working with it.  We also teach that wax only needs to be used when wax NEEDS to be used.  Good glazing techniques often do not require a lot of cleanup of the bottoms.  Or it is just as productive (time wise) to just clean the glaze off the un-waxed foot area.

 

best,

 

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

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The soy wax I use is made for candles. It comes shredded in a bag. Melts at a very low temp. No fumes. The last bag I purchased on the web but it is available at craft and candle making supplies store. I use an electric skillet on the warm setting. I brush on with a foam brush or just dip the bottom in. After dipping I continue to hold the pot upside down for a few seconds to prevent drips. Planning to try out some wax resist decoration soon.

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I can't grasp the idea of brushing on hot wax ??? The hot waxing I do sets up the instant I lift the pot out of the electric skillet.  I tried brush filling a bare spot left inside a foot ring, and the wax hardened on the brush before I could get it to the pot.  What don't I know here?

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I use a cheap foam brush.  The melt temp for the soy wax is pretty low.  If the wax hardens in the brush, I just hold it down in the pan of warm wax for a couple of seconds till soft again.  You do have to work fairly quickly, which I like.  By the wax setting up quickly leaves less time for it to drip or smudge.  If you work slowly, than hot wax is probably not a good fit. Hot wax is also best for people with larger amounts of items to glaze.  If you have a small kiln and don't fire often, cold wax would probably be a better fit.

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