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WildCelticRose

Alternatives To Wax Resist For Bottom Of Pots (Floor Wax)?

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I have a hate-hate relationship with using wax resist on the bottom of my pots; It tends to get it everywhere (fingerprints in the oddest places) and often it runs down the sides of my pot.

It's also expensive.

I was reading that some folks have had success with Mop N Glo floor polish.

I stopped by the grocery store on the way to work and noted that the one Mop N Glo product they had was a cleaner with lots of weird ingredients and didn't seem to have much in the way of wax it in.

I looked over and saw a can of Johnson Paste Wax.

The ingredients are carnuba wax, micro-crystalline wax and some paraffin with one solvent that shouldn't be in high enough quantity to cause a problem in the kiln.

I want to try this for two reasons;  I think I'll have more control/less drips wiping a paste on, and once the glaze is dry, I might be able to wipe most of it off limiting the burnout in my kiln.

Has anyone tried this?

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I have used paraffin thinned mineral oil

mixed in the electric frying pan and filled to a good level for the bottom of the pot to touch the surface. You avoid over waxing that way.

I have also used a wet/damp  foam by twisting the bottoms of small pieces on that. Very fast and slick clean surface after swiping on the foam. Just rinse it out and ready for the next time you glaze.

 

Marcia

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I know a wood firer in Seagrove that uses Johnson's as his wax resist.  He keeps a dedicated foam brush with the can of wax.  He green glazes, but I've used it on bisque fired in his kiln with no problems.  I'd say give it a try, though It is a tad smelly with the solvent.   Don't think you will really be able to wipe off much excess.

 

-SD

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Waxing pots is a skill like throwing them-it takes time to master-many many pots.

If its runny than its to thin. I use a cut sponge with zero issues every week. I have a wax hand and a clean hand-never handle the bisqueware with wax hand.

You can clean your wax hand with rubbing alcohol or warm water.

Work your pots at an angle so wax cannot run down them-its all how they are held. I can wax a 35 cubic kiln load in leass than 1 hour.

Like glazing and throwing it all takes a learning curve.

floor polish is for floors-try a better wax.-there has been a lot written up on this here if you search.

Mark

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Great advice Mark, Thanks!  I have been waxing on a banding wheel in order to create a sharp line on my bevels at the foot of the pieces.

I tried the paste wax tonight on some pieces I needed to fire in the small kiln.  An extremely thin and easy to manage layer repelled the glaze better than any wax resist I've ever used; It doesn't run or drip and it stays where it is supposed to.

 

S. Dean, Yes, it really stinks when burning off, despite the fact that very little wax and even less namtha is on the pots (I know the smell very well as I used it for my tools when fire dancing)

Ventilation takes care of the smell, and I have much less chemical exposure to it than I do when performing.

I can't make a final assessment until I open the kiln in the morning and make certain that the namtha burn out doesn't affect the glaze.

I will of course, be on the lookout for something less smelly.

I'll have to check and see what the solvent used in SnoSeal is (it's a beeswax base and I use it on my backpacking boots) I know it doesn't smell when I heat my boots up in the oven.

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At the risk of being insensitive to the vegans and vegetarians among us, I wonder if good old fashioned lard would work?

 

There are worse things that a studio could smell like than bacon.

That isn't being insensitive. 

 

I would use nothing. Just swipe the glaze off with your finger while you are taking it out of the bucket and then wash it off when it is dry or use a stiff brush to scratch it off the bottom. 

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I've recently taken to using PVA glue mixed 50/50 with water as a resist on large areas (like bottoms of large platters) I was running short of wax and wanted to try something different to save a trip to the ceramic shop.

 

It works well, and any overspray of glaze cleans off it easier than it does off of wax resist.

 

PVA glue is a white wood glue used by carpenters, (I  have a never ending supply) , i believe it's called Elmers on the other side of the pond.

 

 

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We used to use Johnson's floor wax when I worked at a pottery in England back in the day. We were a long way from a pottery supply place. Back in Canada, I just use good old wax resist that I buy in the gallon bottle. No smell. Not even bacon smell.

TJR.

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I was tired of taking a gamble every time I ordered an expensive bottle of wax resist.  I switched to soy wax this past year.  I use an electric skillet and a foam brush.  I think the foam brush or a sponge as Mark mentioned is key to application.  The foam brush, dipped then wiped against the edge of the pan will only hold a limited amount of wax.  The sharp edge of the foam applicator makes it easy to put a very straight line.  Another thing you may think about is how you are forming your foot.  This past year I experimented with several types of foot for my bowls.  By putting an indention in between the the foot and the bottom of the bowl gives a place to line up the edge of the wax and also a place to catch any runny glaze.  I also use this area to tie a piece of hemp cord on which I place my hang tag.  I will try and post a pic later. So, there are many ways to think of this, the type of wax, the application, and the shape of the pot.

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To me nothing is simpler than wax resist, and it works. No heating, easy water cleanup, etc. The issues of it running down the pot and getting fingerprints in bad places will not be solved by another type of liquid wax, as those are human errors. Use the wax thicker and make sure you don't have too much on your brush and the drips won't happen.

 

Wax is $28 per gallon, and It can be thinned down by a third without problems, which brings it down to about $21 per gallon. I can wax hundreds upon hundreds of pots with a gallon of wax. I buy a gallon every year or so for my studio, and I have 20+ people using it. So it's not really that expensive.

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There are worse things that a studio could smell like than bacon.

 

>>>>I would use nothing. <<<<

Even though I like the idea of having the aroma of bacon in the studio, I agree with Phill and seldom, if ever use a wax

resist.  I trim almost everything with a foot to hold on while glazing or rinsing a washed cup.  Everything I make is stained

with black iron oxide or manganese for a base coating.  The vessels are glazed by pouring the glaze inside and quickly

poured out, then by holding onto the foot, plunged in and out as quick as possible.  Judging on the vessel, it is going to

be glazed on the exterior neck, and handle(leaving an unglazed body) or at an angle  from the neck to the bottom of the handle

(exposing the unglazed body and foot), or glazed all the down to the trimmed foot, (leaving imprints of 3 finger prints and one

opposable thumb).  No vessel bottoms are flat across as they are all slightly concaved by palming the bottoms in.  (A pottery

tip from Jack Troy of Huntington, PA. (He was a demonstrator at an Alabama Clay Conference years ago)

  I've seen soup bowls that spun as they were used when the potter (a legend in his own mind) "thought" the bottom

was flat and wasn't.  I'm not trying to save time by avoiding wax resist, since it takes alot more time sponging the stain on and

wiping it off.... I just think waxing is over rated, in my most humble opinion.

Hope this helps,

Alabama

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There are worse things that a studio could smell like than bacon.

 

>>>>I would use nothing. <<<<

Even though I like the idea of having the aroma of bacon in the studio, I agree with Phill and seldom, if ever use a wax

resist.  I trim almost everything with a foot to hold on while glazing or rinsing a washed cup.  Everything I make is stained

with black iron oxide or manganese for a base coating.  The vessels are glazed by pouring the glaze inside and quickly

poured out, then by holding onto the foot, plunged in and out as quick as possible.  Judging on the vessel, it is going to

be glazed on the exterior neck, and handle(leaving an unglazed body) or at an angle  from the neck to the bottom of the handle

(exposing the unglazed body and foot), or glazed all the down to the trimmed foot, (leaving imprints of 3 finger prints and one

opposable thumb).  No vessel bottoms are flat across as they are all slightly concaved by palming the bottoms in.  (A pottery

tip from Jack Troy of Huntington, PA. (He was a demonstrator at an Alabama Clay Conference years ago)

  I've seen soup bowls that spun as they were used when the potter (a legend in his own mind) "thought" the bottom

was flat and wasn't.  I'm not trying to save time by avoiding wax resist, since it takes alot more time sponging the stain on and

wiping it off.... I just think waxing is over rated, in my most humble opinion.

Hope this helps,

Alabama

 

 

It all depends on what you're after. I want a clean, crisp line at the very bottom of the pot, without finger marks. Wax allows for that. And if I didn't wax the bottoms and just wiped the glaze off without waxing first, my high iron glazes would stain the porcelain no matter how well I wiped it.

 

Just goes to show how we all have different techniques. If you want to avoid using wax at all, there are ways to do it.

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For anything with a foot,  which is most pots, I stick one of those plastic "shower caps" Like you put over dishes of leftovers in the refrigerator.  The elastic around the edge holds it on to the foot and covers over the bottom. You can get these things In a variety of sizes cheap on eBay. You do need to wash them off between pots.  I just throw them in a bucket of water as I pull them off.

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Somewhere, somehow silly-putty has come up as a possible option. I've never tried it but apparently you can make your own.

 

It might be a single use thing and more trouble than it's worth but thought I'd add a 'fix-it-with-silly putty' type post.

 

:P

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I'd be very wary of the chemicals in floor wax.  Not sure how they react in the kiln atmosphere and what they'd do to my pots.  I'd also wonder about the fumes.  Are they toxic? Do they linger? I have used shellac as a resist but it's very thin and hard to control.

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corn starch?   I'd try it in a sample quantity first.   If you have to heat it for the corn starch to dissolve

I might try putting the sample in pan of hot water....like a double boiler.  Its probably not a good idea

to heat the solution up to the point where its boiling and putting off noxious gas vapors inside a house.

Maybe it works, don't know but lots of theories in cooking crosses over to pottery in certain areas.

If I had wax resist, I'd try it before posting.. I'm thinking wax resist is water soluable and thats why

corn starch came to mind since I use it to thicken black berries used in cobblers.

Alabama

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Color crayons....plain and simple. Or even old candles. I like using the color crayons as the color makes it easy to see where I have and haven't applied it. There's no need to buy a brand spanking new box of them either. Watch for them at yard sales, thrift shops.....the bottom of your kids toy box.......

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