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tb001

Rehydrating Old Glazes

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I'm *almost* finished with the studio remodel that's taken way, way too long. I'm finally starting to get excited about moving in and getting my glaze testing up and going again!

 

My glazes are, of course, a solid mass in the bottom of the bucket... Can I just add water and let them sit for a bit to rehydrate? I found one suggestion online to use distilled water--any thoughts on if this is necessary?

 

I also have a huge number of smaller glaze tests (easily 50+, maybe closer to 100) that are in the same condition. I think I made 100ml batches. Am I crazy to think these can be reconstituted and retested with any hope of being able to have a reasonable chance at replicating any good results I might see?

 

In the downtime, I managed to find a great deal on a used kiln with an electronic controller--a huge upgrade for me! I'd like to rerun my tests in the new kiln, as well as try different firing cycles and add another clay body to the mix. Would love to not have to redo all of those glaze tests, but I know if I find a great glaze and can't scale it I will drive myself nuts! :)

 

Any thoughts would be very appreciated. Can hardly wait to get my hands in the mud again!

 

 

 

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Hi, very nice for you to be back playing in the mud.

 

I have reconstituted dried up glazes by adding water & lots of soaking & mixing but some had large chunks they needed some Epsom salts to break them & restraining. Good luck.

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use a large loop tool to scrape the drying glazes from the bottom of the bucket.  that will make it easier to remove them.

 

i am the distilled water fan.  the water in the last 4 places i lived left calcium and i don't know what on everything.  distilled water is less than a dollar a gallon at most stores. some of my glazes were made in the drywall buckets left over from making my house in 1990.  the buckets were new when i made the glaze.  still using them.  5 gallons of brown takes a long time to go away since i don't like brown.

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Having reconstituted glazes,

It seems counterintuitive, but a wire whisk will stir the glaze up better than a drill with a paint mixer.

Also, you must sieve everything.

It's very time consuming, and for the tester batches, it will take way less time to remix them. The large batches are worth it only because of the amount of materials involved.

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I might add one caution.  I recently reconstituted some glazes that were in old Lowes buckets.  I used a big mortar stirrer on a big drill motor. 

 

Did you know that sometimes those old buckets get brittle?  I lost several gallons of my favorite purple glaze when the stirrer broke through the side of the bucket.

 

Thereafter I put the old bucket into a new bucket before I started stirring.

cam likes this

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Thanks so much for all the advice! Very good point about the buckets getting brittle--wouldn't have occurred to me, but I bet this will be an issue. Hopefully won't be too bad to transfer then into new containers. Now to decide if I want to haul gallons of distilled water back to the house.... Glad to hear it's at least doable and I'm not totally crazy for trying! 

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Sometimes some materials crystalize and won't break back down when you rehydrate so retest all your glazes after you remix them and seive. I've had a lovely translucent emerald glaze turn after rehydrating to a nice opaque pine green.

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i always knew about the brittle buckets, so when i was given 16 bucketsful of glaze, i took them home in my little ford escape very carefully, worrying all the 18 miles home.  new buckets were bought the next day at the local donut shop for $1 each.  no disasters.  :unsure:  

rayaldridge and Chilly like this

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Just to clarify about the brittle buckets.  The easiest way to get them remixed and then into new buckets is to first set the old buckets inside the new buckets.  Then when remixing, if you crack the old bucket, you won't lose any glaze.  When the glaze is remixed to a state you like, then lift the old bucket out of the new bucket and pour the glaze into the new bucket.  This seems a little easier to me than scraping the dried glaze out of the old bucket before remixing in the new.

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I second bciskepottery's answer—I once had a commercial glaze that had settled—quite literally—to dry rock hard at the bottom, while there was still clear water above it. I chiseled out the whole mess into a large tray (including the "clear" water), patiently let it completely dry out, broke it up into fine pieces, and rehydrated it. I have since added a tiny amount of epsom salts solution, and try to remix it about every two weeks if I'm not using it.

 

BTW, I am in love with my Braun stick blender for remixing settled glazes—they don't make them any more, but I found a beauty on Ebay for about $18, and it's one of my favorite tools. :):)

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Some of my commercial glazes, used to develop crystals.  As far as I know, they were never frozen, at least not in my care.  The crystals would do "fun" things to the glazes.  Sometimes I'd save some, in a container, to add to other glazes for effects.

It's crazy to see the difference in the glaze results, from a freshly  mixed batch, to one where the crystals formed.

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Question on sieving - should I run the reconstituted glaze through 80 or 100 mesh? I have some commercial glazes that have dried up. When should Epsom salts be added, and how much??

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For reconstituting smaller batches i found a ninja blender at the thrift that works great. I had been using a stick blender but once i get the glaze loose i pour it into the ninja, works fast.

TallTayl likes this

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