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DirtRoads

Need Tips On Drying Racks & Procedures

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I want to see other potter's drying techniques.

 

I leave pieces in bisque plates overnight.  Remove, flatten bottom and place on newspapers (7-10 sheet sections).  Bowls are put under plastic covers.  Sometimes plastic covers on individual pieces or a piece of plastic over a group.   I also cover long oval trays (they tend to warp in center if not covered).   I leave some pieces on those wooden bats until they are stable.  Generally I do not move pieces to those wire grid shelves until they are dry enough to the point where no line marks are made on pottery. I have a  designated drying room that is heated with propane in winter.  In summer, no air conditioning or fan is in that room.  I roll those racks around for more storage space.  Also the racks roll into the making area.

 

This system is almost 100% successful but is probably not the most time effective (about 99.9% no cracking or warping).   What can I use instead of newspaper?  Is there anything that will dry pieces from start to finish?  (like sheet rock? or something else?) Can you dry on those wooden bats from start to finish?

 

Any advice or critique will be appreciated.

 

Thank you.

Sharon Grimes

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drywall  is cheap and easy to use.  i use it in many ways and store things directly on it immediately after making most things.  some people think you have to cover the edges with duct tape.  i think that is unnecessary unless other people who are not familiar with common sense use your space.  cutting drywall is simple, but many people make a mess of it.  the  thing to remember is that you are only cutting a piece of paper.  the one on the top is easiest.  once the paper is cut, the gypsum inside the paper covering breaks cleanly if it gets a chance.  just put the cut over the edge of a table so when you tap the extended part it can fall cleanly downward.  then cut the back piece of paper.  perfect.

 

if you mess up, you can simply rub the cut edge flat onto some concrete and "sand" the edge clean.

 

trouble is that people think you have to cut right through the whole board.  not so.

 

i just realized, (2-13) that i did not say the thickness of the drywall is important.  use as thick as possible, it used to be half inch and is now something like 5/8.   if you use thin stuff, do not use it for shelves, just small pieces for single pots.   

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supports for the cut drywall can be just about anything.  in WV  i use old bakers racks with drywall instead of the trays you see at bakeries.  those are about 18x 26 inches and just enough for a comfortable amount of things without being too heavy.  the spacing between shelves is about 8 inches so if you make tall things just adjust the shelves. the supports are welded on and are 2 inches wide so they can hold lots of weight.

 

closet organizers, the white wire basket style you see at home depot or lowes work well, too.  do not buy the baskets, just the frames.  put them together and cut your drywall to the correct measurements for the space above the supports usually used for the baskets.  mine are 17 inches wide.  these have a tendency to spread at the center of the stack so you might want to wire from side to side through the groove for the baskets.

 

slide your shelf in and it will stay out of the way.  if you want to be sure to be able to guide the full shelf in easily, add a vertical rod in the center of the horizontal shelf supports.

 

the florida studio is only 10x16 feet.  i use 2 stacks of closet frame drywall shelves that also support a hollow core door for holding other things.  like those old ideas of making a desk with two file cabinets and a door.  a square table fits under the center of the door so i have some additional horizontal work space.

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I do not use any paper at all-never-nor sheet rock.

All work is put on bats-some are larger 15-18 inch some are smaller-8-10-12-14 inch also I use very thin 1/4 inch thick MDF which has a smooth surface-these are cut into rectangles 12x24 ish.

The main idea is move pottery LESS-I throw it

trim  and handle then cover with thin plastic one night ofter attaching anything to it.

After thats its put all up to dry.I stack greenware when dry to save space.

 

I'm wondering about all this paper use??- seems like a time suck?

I do cover a few tables when waxing with paper but not under greenware.

Mark

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So that drywall

 


 

I'm wondering about all this paper use??- seems like a time suck?

 

 ^ Yes.  Too many points of contact.  I want to put pieces down ONE time and leave them until they are completely dry.

 

So you never move anything from the bats/MDF board until it is dry?  I didn't know the bottom would dry on those.

 

About the drywall, my nephew was asking if the moisture is ever a problem or does the drywall dry out?

 

Going to use both of these methods.  Buying lots of mdf bats & pieces  and am going to cover a few shelves with drywall.    I have 16 metal grid shelving units. 

 

Thanks to all for responses.

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I just keep my pieces on wood bats and cover with a few plastic grocery bags. If I need to move anything that way I move the bat and don't touch the piece. I can control how fast or slow something dries this way too by adding or removing a plastic bag.

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as with anything, common sense is necessary.  yes, drywall CAN get wet if you leave a sopping piece in the same place for days.  but, i assume the user has judged the dampness of the piece and would adjust its location if necessary.  drywall does pull dampness from the bottom and i find that flat things dry well on it.  since i make lots of flat things, i move them by sliding them from one spot to another.  after a day they are trimmed with a damp sponge and replaced on a second sheet.  if the drywall surface looks darker where the pieces were, i stand that sheet up and use another.

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(So you never move anything from the bats/MDF board until it is dry?  I didn't know the bottom would dry on those.)

I just move them from a slow place (drying wise to a hotter place once)  to a dryer (up higher or outside covered area) My large 11x14 pressed baking dishes dry fine without paper or movement other than once. I have a humidity meter in shop so I can see whats up with that anytime.

​I think you are overworking them? Keep in mind in winter I have a gas heater in shop and summer I dry most stuff outdoors.

The trick is moving things less often in a production mode-for a hobbits it does not matter move them every few days but as your in the business it does matter. I only have two modes slow dry and fast dry-I keep it simple-my hand slab fish are always on slow dry -pots are on fast dry after the 1st night covered if that have attachments .

Mark

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I use drywall boards with the edges duct taped. Because I spend time in a shared studio and have to bring work there for firing, I made sure I taped my boards with a patterned duct tape as an identifier.

Once a piece is cut from the bat (as soon as it has set up enough to handle without leaving marks,) it is moved to a board. The board will either stay out on the table for immediate drying, or put into my old, unplugged refrigerator if I need it to stay damp. Pieces are turned upside-down once firm enough to do so.

 

I like that I can cut the drywall easily to any size I need, so I always have boards that fit on my shelves and benches, I have boards with measurements for pulled handles, and boards the right size to transport work on the seat of my van.

So far I've just used scrap that other people have given me.

 

The only thing I use newspaper for is protecting surfaces from glaze drips, and wrapping up fired pieces for packing.

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I keep my pots on bats until dry unless it needs a handle. Handled pots get to dry just enough to pick them up without leaving marks, then go into a humid box until I get 30 or so..  I put handles on at the same time even if some are days old. works great for me.. The humid box is a life saver for us, frees up a lot more time..

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Its Speedball bats and ware boards for me.  Humidity is generally high most of the year so fast drying is rarely a huge issue.  Closed shelves are draped with thin plastic for really slow drying...then opened up as pieces begin to get dry.  Bowls start out rim down once trimmed and are flipped once along the drying cycle...not much fondling going on. ;)

 

-Paul

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Dirt Roads, I would be very happy with your 99%.  A question,

I also use rectangular bisque form. I have frequent trouble with the forms arching up in the middle. I leave them in the bisque over night with the edges wrapped in plastic, then turn them out onto wall board still with the edges wrapped more than the center, thinking that way would give more even drying.  A friend uses the same forms and he leaves the piece in the bisque form until it is bone dry, with heavy weights in the center. He has good results, but only makes 1 at a time,  I  have several of these forms and need to get several made at a time and use the forms the next day to make more.  Any suggestions?

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clay lover, one way to prevent the arching is to put weight in the middle of the piece and put the whole thing on drywall.  i sometimes use a thick piece of terrycloth or an old cotton sock and fill the interior with the glass blobs sold to add weight and color to glass vases.  a day on drywall and the piece is dry enough to remove the weights.  the terrycloth is to prevent the weights from marring the surface of the pot and also to provide a handle to lift away the glass blobs when the pot is dry.  the terrycloth will be damp but just dumping the glass out allows it to dry also.  the glass blobs are sold at dollar tree for $1 a bag.  i leave them in an old gallon water bottle when not needed.  the flat clay piece is then slid to a dry spot on the drywall to finish drying totally.

 

since i make most of my flat things pretty dry and slap them down onto the drywall as they are finished, the arching problem isn't an everyday thing.

 

why do you wrap the edges at all?  you live where the humidity is high, why not put the pots directly on drywall and leave them uncovered? 

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I have been thinking the edges would dry faster, therefore unevenly and that by wrapping them I was creating a more even drying. Sort of like Wrapping mug handles.  I have put a slab of 2x4 in the floor of these pieces and had them arch up and lift the wooden piece with it. :wacko:

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I feel so stupid saying this but I had no idea until now that my mug handles were probably cracking due to drying too fast. I am sooooooo glad I read this...using bags now. And since my studio is new, and shelving still needs to go in, I will have some drywall shelves. Those will be easier to make fit into my studio wqll framing too. I love that I can read all your discussions and learn so much!

 

There is this potter on YouTube who turns his pieces upside down as soon as he can do so without deforming them so the bases dry quicker and the rims of bowls-for instance- don't dry as quickly. I am not in my studio more than a few hours each day or every other day...kids/babies really cut back my availability, but my pieces dry so fast or I get too impatient when I am out there for that to work for me. I wish I could be out there for days on end and not have to make dinner, do laundry etc...

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Cut yourself some drywall boards that are just the size of the work you make, like little squares for mugs, bigger for bowls. This makes turning things over much easier, do it like geitting a cake out of the pan, board on top then turn the whole 'sandwich' over. I have several cut to the size of each thing I make.

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You won't want your shelves to be made of just drywall - you'll end up with boards full of ware broken on the floor, because the wallboard doesn't have a ton of structural integrity, and it gets even weaker when it's damp. At least have plywood shelves to put your drywall boards on, if not something even sturdier.

 

I'm one of those people that likes to turn my work over as soon as I can, because it keeps it from drying out too fast on the rim. I pretty much hate dealing with using plastic or damp paper towels, so I try to time my stuff right so once a mug is put together, I can just let it go.

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I use 1x2 and 2x4s to create shelf structures. I have remodeling experience with drywall...it has no structural integrity. I have plaster forms I made that I use to float my work off on and some to catch my waste while throwing. they're too heavy to use to turn the whole piece upside down, I will make some smaller ones...I don't like how crumbly drywall edges can be. I wish I could go out now and implement all these ideas...maybe at my kids naptime.

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