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I Need Help With Bone Dry Clay

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So I'm working on an independent study, that because I was so busy with my upcoming tests and homework, I forgot about the due date, and I need clay to be bone dry asap. Is there a way I can accelerate the process, such as a blow dryer or something of that sort, thank you so much and I would appreciate a rapid response

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I have dried very small things in my oven at 200 but it's extremely risky for larger items. If the piece is extremely thick you risk cracking. If the piece has other pieces added on, they could crack and/or fall off at the joins. And with anything the clay may warp. 

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Sounds like white stoneware, but there are a bajillion different kinds of that stuff. It *should* be okay to quick-dry, though. :)

Btw, that pinky-white stuff you see is actually called bisque. It's the stage where you put glaze on, then fire it higher to reach maturity (to the point it can hold liquid). You'd be pretty wise to ask what specific type of temperature range that clay gets fired to in order to avoid some awful kiln mishaps! :3

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If it is a thick piece you might find it difficult to dry quickly. The surface might look dry but as long as it feels cool to the touch, it isnt. I would opt for Chilly's solution for as long as you can.

I am assuming you want to fire it and have no control over the kiln??

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I am lucky to have a sunny window that helps drying. but you have to rotate the piece. for larger pieces i usually let them dry slow under loose plastic for awhile to avoid cracking. in a pinch i set things on top of a warm kiln for a little while but again, only little stuff and not for very long.  best practice is to not rush or you will be in crack city.    rakuku

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Yep, a large fan, with the ware on a rotating surface is the way to go.

 

The clay you describe sounds like both, the stoneware my studio used in college, and the Raku clay I use for my classroom now.  Both have grog, which meant they were forgiving, when it came to quick drying.  Does your clay have grog as well?

 

A hairdryer can work, but it's a bit tedious, as you have to move it around a lot, so you aren't drying one area quicker than another.  And, as Chris stated, it might feel dry on the outside, but still be damp on the inside, and that's where the risk for explosion lies.

 

What is it, that you made?  Wheel thrown, slab and/ or coil built, sculptural, etc?  How thick would you say it is overall?

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When I was helping fire kilns at a local studio that took in work -- lots of sculpture -- the artist always swore the piece was completely dry, blah, blah, blah.  We would let the item sit on the shelf another week or two -- usually in the kiln room, before we were comfortable with the piece being dry.  But if they wanted it fast, we gave it to them fast -- and usually in pieces in an empty clay box.  Somethings can't be rushed. 

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Aha, that's exactly it, raku, I don't know what grog is (I am a highschool student) but if your asking if its forgiving. Yes, it is, I made a Bust of a character, no wheel of sorts, simply slab that I molded, I have made a hole in the bottom, so the head through base all have escape vents. Thanks for being one of the most helpful comments, not that anyone didn't help, but you answered quite a lot.

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How thick is the slab you molded?  Slabs do dry, relatively fast.  They also can warp, because they dry so fast.  One issue, with molding slabs, is that they can kink, and create spots that end up being thicker, than the item overall.

 

FYI, grog is ground up ceramic, that is added to a clay body, to make it less prone to cracking, when drying and firing.

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I don't think I'm the only potter who sometimes loads leatherhard pots into the kiln and just fires at low heat with the lid open for a couple hours.  I never get explosions, though admittedly most of my forms are pretty thin and don't have any large variations in thickness.

 

I've never really understood why school and community firers don't take this approach, rather than risking blowing something up.  How much extra can it cost to keep the kiln under 200 F for an extra hour or two?

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My teacher says you should leave it 3 days to dry, its not a large piece at all, perhaps 70% the size of an average head, I only have 2 days, so something to speed it up an extra day is great, I don't have anything that can spin w/ a fan, all I have access to is a blow dryer, as I don't want to take the risk of putting it in our oven

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Go to walmart, buy a cheap lazy susan. Put your scuplture on it. Put it front of a box fan. Turn on a movie or two and put your right or left hand on the lazy susan and turn it while you watch a movie. Will probably be pretty dried out within a few movie. GO GO MULTITASKING!   :ph34r:

 

You could also put it under a lamp at the same time to even further increase the heat + air drying process.

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Do you have any type of box/ floor fan?  That's what I use to dry my student's projects, along with our air vent, that circulates air in the room.

 

You don't have to be scared of using an oven to try it.  As long as you keep the temperature under 212 F, you should have any issues, unless it was fairly wet, when you put it in the oven.

 

For my classroom kiln, I run a fairly slow program, to reduce any potential blow outs.  Most of the time it works, but every once in a while, I'll still have a project, that doesn't fully make it.  The next time, I proceed more cautiously, and make move offerings to the kiln gods.

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I've never really understood why school and community firers don't take this approach, rather than risking blowing something up.  How much extra can it cost to keep the kiln under 200 F for an extra hour or two?

 

 

Most of the sculpture we fired at the studio was brought in by artists taking classes at one of the more upscale Art studios . . . and their kiln techs apparently fired everything the same way.  They brought stuff to us to fire because we had a higher survivability rate . . . even though they had to pay for our firing vs. getting it fired for free at the studio where they took classes.  I could never figure that one out.  But we would preheat a sculptue load any where from 6 hours to 18 hours depending on thickness, size, and complexity of item.  And then we would do a slow bisque.  The only thing we refused were solid items . . . they were certain to crack, break.  And we took care to fire on thick beds of grog. 

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I wouldn't say I'm that careful, but I am fairly cautious.  Sometimes, it doesn't matter, when it's the end of the term, and you have to get everything fired.  When it HAS to go into the kiln, it has to go in.  Which is why I tell students, they have to budget their time, so they can get everything done in time, so it can be fired properly.  Most of them follow my advice, others wait until the last minute, and they end up with hastily made projects, that might not survive the firing, due to moisture, sloppy construction, or both.

 

One thing is for sure.  There is nothing more surefire, than just letting the project air dry over a period of days to weeks.

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Hot box it can dry fast-but if it sculpture it can crack.

Mark

Where's your picture? You suddenly have no face. Yah!

T.

 

 

The avatar problem is being worked on.  Until then, we are paying homage to the countless unnamed potters who have made such wonderful wares in the past. 

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TJR-its like the old Japanese unamed potters who are just making needed work-no photo-just pots on ware boards in the sun drying everyday.

If you want to join this movement just try to change your avatar and you to will have a outline for an avatar.

Mark

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